Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures

Go to Backoffice

Accessibility links

Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures

Breadcrumbs

Approval authority
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Responsible officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Designated officer
Director, Office of Research
First approved
29 July 2014
Last amended
23 October 2017
Effective start date
1 July 2017
Review date
30 May 2022
Status
Active
Related documents
Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy
Higher Degrees by Research Supervision - Procedures
Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Submission and Examination - Procedures
Research - Academic Policy
Research Authorship - Procedures
Research Misconduct - Governing Policy
Research Misconduct Allegations and Investigation - Procedures
Research Training Program Scholarships - Managerial Policy
Selection of Students for Commonwealth Scholarships - Procedures
Student Academic Misconduct - Procedures
Student Conduct - Governing Policy
Student Grievance Resolution - Governing Policy
Student Review and Appeals - Procedures
Superseded documents
Higher Degrees by Research - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
Higher Education Support Act 2003
Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)
Australian Qualifications Framework
Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:

Candidate means a person admitted to a Higher Degree Research course at the University (also known as a “student”).

Candidature means duration of enrolment in a higher degree by research program. A Research student is considered to be a “candidate” for the higher degree by research program in which they are enrolled. All research and related work towards fulfilment of the requirements for a higher degree by research must be completed during enrolled candidature.

Confirmed candidature means period of enrolment in a HDR program after the successful completion of the Confirmation of Candidature milestone, up to the date of expiry of candidature for that program.

Co-Supervisor means a USC academic staff member who meets the criteria for and has been approved for registration as a USC HDR supervisor, but has not yet supervised a research student to successful completion of their degree. A registered Co-Supervisor may join an individual student’s supervision panel as a Co-Supervisor only (i.e. may not be appointed to a student’ panel as their Principal Supervisor).

Consultant supervisor means a person appointed to a student’s supervision panel who does not meet the criteria for registration as a USC supervisor. Consultant supervisors are usually external to the university, but may also be USC staff who do not meet the criteria for registration as a supervisor. Refer to the HDR Supervision – Procedures for a detailed description of a Co-supervisor’s roles and responsibilities.

Creative work means an original product designed, created or constructed by a candidate during candidature deriving from one or more of the creative arts including graphical and new media techniques.

Exegesis means a scholarly, critical commentary on the original creative work in dialogue with, and informing that original work or collection of works, resulting from research undertaken and produced during candidature. The exegesis also includes explicit reference to the research methodologies employed in the creation of the original creative work.

Leave of Absence means a voluntary and temporary suspension of the higher degree by research candidature, also known as “break from studies”.

Monitored candidature means candidature that is placed under three-monthly review after being identified as not making satisfactory progress (or being at risk of not making satisfactory progress). Monitored candidature is designed to provide intensive support to a student to support achievement of their research goals and candidature milestones within maximum durations of candidature.

Principal Supervisor means a USC academic staff member who meets the criteria for and has been approved for registration as a USC Principal HDR supervisor. A registered Principal Supervisor may join an individual student’s supervision panel as the student’s Principal Supervisor or as a Co-Supervisor. Refer to the HDR Supervision – Procedures for a detailed description of a Principal Supervisor’s roles and responsibilities.

Probationary candidature means period of enrolment in a HDR program up to and including the successful completion of the Confirmation of Candidature milestone, or the date of expiry of probationary candidature for that program (whichever comes first).

Significant research component means a substantial research project undertaken with appropriate research methodology.

Thesis means an original substantial piece of scholarly writing resulting from research undertaken by a candidate and produced during candidature to meet the requirements of the degree.

1. Purpose of procedures

These procedures provide the framework for HDR candidature at the University. They should be read in conjunction with the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy, and the following associated procedures and guidelines:

  • Higher Degrees by Research Supervision – Procedures
  • Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Submission and Examination – Procedures
  • Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Confirmation of Candidature – Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Presentation – Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Thesis Review – Guidelines
  • Higher Degrees by Research Examiners – Guidelines

Refer to HDR candidature

2. Advice to prospective candidates

Responsibility for promoting research training opportunities at the University is distributed broadly across Student Services and Engagement, the Office of Research, the Office of Marketing and Communications, USC International, Faculties, Schools, Research Concentrations, research groups and individual researchers.

All enquiries from prospective candidates should be dealt with promptly and professionally. Any initial HDR enquiry must be referred to Student Services and Engagement (information@usc.edu.au) to facilitate provision of timely and consistent advice.

3. Entry requirements

This section should be read in conjunction with the ‘Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines’.

3.1 Doctoral degrees

To be eligible for admission to a doctoral degree, an applicant shall hold:

(a) a Bachelor Honours degree (AQF Level 8) with a significant research component with a minimum of Class IIA from a recognised higher education institution; or

(b) a Masters degree (AQF Level 9) with a significant research component equivalent to Honours degree research component from a recognised higher education institution; or

(c) a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7) from a recognised higher education institution, and shall have achieved by subsequent work and study a standard equivalent to at least Class IIA Honours as may be approved by the Research Degrees Committee or the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee; or

(d) a record of research or professional qualifications deemed by the Research Degrees Committee or the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee to be of a standard equivalent to at least Bachelors Honours degree Class IIA and providing a suitable background for the doctoral research the candidate is proposing to undertake.

In addition to this, an applicant for admission to the Doctor of Creative Arts shall:

(e) provide a portfolio containing evidence of the applicant’s own original work which is assessed by the Head of School, as providing evidence of very high levels of creativity, knowledge and skill in one or more creative areas.

3.2 Research master degrees

To be eligible for admission to a research master degree, an applicant shall hold:

(a) a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7) with a Grade Point Average of 5.0 or higher on a seven point scale from a recognised higher education institution; or

(b) a Bachelor Honours degree (AQF Level 8) Class IIB from a recognised higher education institution; or

(c) a record of qualifications and/or professional research experience deemed to be equivalent to the standard of (a) or (b) as may be approved by the Research Degrees Committee or the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee.

3.2.1 The prior study must be in an area of study relevant to the discipline area of the Master degree. If the prior study has not included an appropriate preparation in research methodology, the candidate will be required to undertake an appropriate research methodology course, as specified by the relevant Head of School, as part of their candidature.

3.2.2 In addition to the above general qualifications for admission, the admission requirements for a specific Master degree may include additional requirements, such as a Bachelor degree in the relevant discipline, professional registration, a specified number of years of professional practice, or other requirements indicative of a suitable preparation to undertake a research program at Master level. Admission requirements for specific HDRs are specified in the Program Summary, available on the University website.

3.3 English language proficiency requirements

Proficiency in the English language is required for entry to all programs and courses and any international or domestic applicant from a non-English speaking background must satisfy the University’s standard and program specific English language requirements.

The University’s standard and program specific English language requirements are approved by the Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor on the recommendation of the relevant Executive Dean and the Pro Vice Chancellor (International and Quality). These must be readily available for all students and displayed on the University web site.

Any changes to the University’s standard or program specific English language requirements must allow a sufficient lead time for the entry of students and must be approved through the appropriate channels.

Test scores must be not more than two years old at the time of application. If the applicant has undertaken more than one test, then only the most recent test result will be considered.

4. Application for admission

4.1 An applicant for admission must complete and submit an approved application form and provide documentation required to support the application, including but not restricted to academic transcripts and testamurs, a brief outline of the intended area of research (this must be provided electronically to facilitate application of text matching software), and, where relevant, a portfolio of peer-reviewed or refereed research publications or other research works, or a portfolio of original creative works.

An applicant seeking admission on the basis of professional research experience must provide an updated curriculum vitae including contact details of their employer/supervisor who may be contacted by the proposed USC Principal Supervisor to verify the claimed research experience and providing an assessment of the research activity.

The University reserves the right to request original or certified copies of supporting documentation (e.g. academic transcripts and completion certificates) as part of the admission process, as a condition of offer or at any time during candidature.

4.2 Applications for admission to candidature are considered by the proposed School of enrolment. Admission decisions shall be based on:

(a) the applicant meeting the requirements for admission; and

(b) the quality and feasibility of the applicant’s proposed program of research, study or creative work in terms of the HDR to which the applicant seeks admission; and

(c) the extent to which the applicant has the background knowledge and skills to pursue the proposed program of research, study or creative work; and

(d) the coherence of the proposed research program with the University’s designated areas of research as specified in the University’s Build Research Productivity and Output Plan; and

(e) the recommendation of the relevant proposed Principal Supervisor concerning the application; and

(f) the availability of appropriate supervision, resources and facilities to support the proposed program of research, study or creative work.

An applicant previously enrolled in an HDR on the same or a similar topic at this or another institution who has failed the examination for the degree will not normally be admitted as a candidate.

5. Admission decision

5.1 The Head of School is the authority to make an offer of admission to an applicant for admission to HDR. Admission decisions will be based on the recommendation by the Principal Supervisor, and will be monitored by the Research Degrees Committee.

5.1.1 Exceptional Cases and Special Offers

Provision is made to admit individual persons who may not meet the standard entry requirements but, on the basis of other considerations, are persons who have a high probability of success in research and whose admission is considered to bring benefits to both the University and the applicant. Consideration of exceptional cases must take into account equity considerations in relation to all other applicants.

Applications for entry under this category require the approval of the Research Degrees Committee, or on the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee.

5.1.2 Prior research work undertaken as a candidate in a research higher degree undertaken at this or another recognised institution may be recognised towards the degree, provided that it has not been recognised for another award. Recognition of work done prior to admission normally results in a change in the maximum thesis submission date. For students transferring between Australian institutions, the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Research Training Program (RTP) apply.

5.1.3 Applicants are normally admitted to probationary candidature. An applicant may be approved for direct entry to confirmed candidature, if the relevant Head of School is satisfied that:

(a) at the time of, or immediately prior to, applying for entry, the applicant was enrolled as a candidate for a HDR at this or another approved higher education institution; and

(b) the research to be undertaken towards the degree is substantially the same as that undertaken by the applicant towards the other HDR; and

(c) the applicant has not submitted for examination a thesis or dissertation based on the research undertaken by the applicant towards the other HDR; and

(d) the applicant has provided evidence of having made sufficient progress in the other HDR to warrant entry to confirmed candidature.

5.2 An applicant who is approved for admission to a higher degree by research will receive a Letter of Offer.

5.2.1 An offer of admission shall specify the applicant’s name, program of offer, School of enrolment, fee type, candidature status (probationary or confirmed), study mode (full or part-time), attendance status (internal or external), Field of Education and Field of Research codes, research topic, prior HDR consumption (if applicable), commencement date and subsequent program milestone dates, program expiry date, the supervision arrangements and any requirements for additional study or supporting activities.

Where the candidature is to be undertaken wholly or partly at a location away from the University, the approved arrangements are specified in conjunction with the Letter of Offer, including any requirement for work undertaken on campus for External students.

The Letter of Offer will include advice of relevant procedures for applicants to respond to their offer.

5.2.2 Wherever possible, a student’s research commencement date is set to align with scheduled research training events such as the HDR Student’s Induction.

5.2.3 An offer of admission to candidature is valid for one month from the date of issue (i.e. the date the offer is sent), after which time the offer will lapse.

5.3 The Head of School may decline to accept an application for admission from an applicant. Decisions regarding applications for admission are made in consultation with nominated Principal Supervisor (if applicable).

5.3.1 Applicants or their proposed Principal supervisor may request that the Research Degrees Committee reviews a decision regarding admission to a HDR.

5.3 The University aims to respond to applications within eight weeks. Incomplete applications may take longer while the missing information is obtained from the applicant or during peak periods.

6. Response to offers

6.1 An applicant receiving an offer of candidature who wishes to accept the offer must complete such acceptance procedures as specified in their Letter of Offer, including payment of applicable fees for the first semester described in the Letter of Offer.

5.2Applicants may request a single delay of commencement. The application for admission must be reviewed by the relevant Head of School and where applicable, USC International, to allow appropriate reconsideration of the availability of resources required for the program (including coursework components and other scheduled research training activities and resources, and the availability of supervisors).

6.3 The Office of Research and Student Services and Engagement enrols the student from the commencement date, and enrols the student in any coursework components stipulated as a requirement of their program or as a specific condition of candidature. Student Services and Engagement notifies the student of their enrolment in a HDR, including advice of candidature commencement date.

6.4 The Office of Research creates the candidature record in the Graduate Research Student Management System including creating candidature milestones.

6.6 A student who wishes to defer their commencement after accepting their offer and prior to commencing must seek permission from the University. Domestic students liaise with their supervisors and the Office of Research. International students on a student visa may only request a deferment in exceptional circumstances, and will need to liaise with USC International.

6.7 If the candidate has been awarded a University scholarship which includes a stipend, the Office of Research liaises with the applicant on scholarship specific requirements, and provides advice to Student Services and Engagement and Financial Services as may be required.

6.8 If an applicant rejects the offer of admission, or allows the admission offer to lapse, at the request of the applicant, the offer may be reactivated with the agreement of the Head of School.

7. Right to withdraw offers

7.1 The Head of School reserves the right to withdraw an offer for admission to candidature or cancel enrolment of any person where an offer was incorrectly made on the basis of incomplete or inaccurate or fraudulent information supplied by the applicant or a certifying authority. Any such decision should take into account equity principles and the amount of time that has elapsed between the admission of the student and the identification of this error.

8. Fees

8.1 All candidates must pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee. Information about this fee, including payment options, is provided on the University website.

8.2 A candidate’s offer letter for admission to HDR candidature will stipulate their tuition fee liability. Where applicable, a subsequent scholarship offer letter will provide information about fee scholarship including scholarship value, conditions and duration.

8.3 Domestic candidates (Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents) pay tuition fees in accordance with the standard tuition fee schedule, processes and due dates. Information about domestic tuition fees, including payment options, is provided on the University website. Student Services and Engagement (Student Central) provides advice to domestic candidates about their tuition fee liability, including payment options.

8.4 International candidates (candidates other than domestic candidates) pay tuition fees in accordance with approved international tuition fee schedule, processes and due dates. Information about international tuition fees is provided on the University website. International students also pay for their Overseas Student Health Cover. International students on an externally funded scholarship are responsible for liaising with the funding provider for advice about extension to funding (if required).

8.5 Student Services and Engagement (Student Central) provides advice to all students about fee payment options, processes fee payments and follows up on outstanding fees. The student enrolment system provides advice to candidates about fee liability implications throughout candidature as appropriate (e.g. extension requests, change from full-time to part-time, leave of absence). Candidates are responsible for ensuring that they understand their fee liability at all times during candidature.

9. Standard of academic and research conduct

Candidates are expected to undertake their program in accordance with the accepted standards of academic conduct, including the Research – Academic Policy. Any form of conduct that is contrary to these standards is misconduct and may be penalised under the Student Academic Integrity - Governing Policy, and/or the Research Misconduct – Governing Policy. The Research Misconduct – Governing Policy applies to all research activities. The Student Academic Integrity – Governing Policy applies to formal coursework components of a higher degree by research.

10. Candidate support

10.1 HDR candidates are provided with information necessary to support their candidature, including hyperlinks to relevant research and academic policies. Supervisors, the Associate Dean (Research) and the Office of Research each have obligations in this area. Commencing candidates are provided with face-to-face, online and print HDR induction material. In addition:

  • international students commencing candidature are provided with an International Student Orientation
  • students utilising specialist equipment such as laboratories participate in relevant specific inductions.

Commencing candidates must participate in all relevant induction and orientation sessions as advised by their School of enrolment.

10.2 Each faculty or school provides candidates with a statement of support for candidates enrolled within the School(s).

10.3 On-campus HDR Study Centres provide candidates with a focal point for interaction and communication, convenient connection with the School of enrolment, access to research seminars, and access to a comfortable and efficient working space. Asset Management Services manages the HDR Study Centres in consultation with the Schools. The Schools coordinate the allocation of desks within the HDR Study Centres in consultation with the Faculties. The relevant Faculty Committee acts as a reference group, providing advice on any aspect of the HDR Study Centres.

The School of enrolment and Asset Management Services ensures all full-time candidates who spend the equivalent of a standard working week on campus, and who so desire, are accommodated in a HDR Study Centre (subject to availability of space). Part-time candidates have access to hot desk work spaces.

10.4 Student Wellbeing offer support to students including (but not limited to) confidential counselling, academic services and disability services.

10.5 Student Services and Engagement provides advice to all students, and coordinates a program of research training activities for research students. In support of a coordinated research training effort and a central platform on which all research training activities can be promoted, the Library, Faculties, Office of Research and other departments liaise with Student Services and Engagement about their research training activities.

10.6 USC International provides information about maintaining compliance with student visa matters.

11. Period of candidature

11.1 A candidate is required to maintain a current enrolment throughout their candidature, completing re-enrolment procedures as required, up to the time at which they lodge their thesis or exegesis and creative work for examination, or terminate their candidature.

11.2 A candidate enrolled in an HDR may not undertake concurrent study in any program at this or other higher education institution without the permission of the relevant Associate Dean (Research).

11.3 The maximum period of probationary candidature, and the minimum and maximum duration of total candidature, calculated from the date of initial enrolment to the date of completion of program requirements (including revisions to the thesis or exegesis and creative work after external examination), is:

  Full-time candidature Part-time candidature
Doctoral degrees - Maximum duration of probationary candidature duration one and a half years (78 weeks) - Minimum total candidature duration (prior to thesis submission) one and a half years (78 weeks) - Maximum total candidature duration four years (208 weeks) - Maximum duration of probationary candidature duration three years (156 weeks) - Minimum total candidature duration (prior to thesis submission) three years (156 weeks) - Maximum total candidature duration eight years (416 weeks)
Research Masters degrees - Maximum duration of probationary candidature duration one year (52 weeks) - Minimum total candidature duration (prior to thesis submission) one year (52 weeks) - Maximum total duration two years (104 weeks) - Maximum duration of probationary candidature duration two years (104 weeks) - Minimum total candidature duration (prior to thesis submission) two years (104 weeks) - Maximum total duration four years (208 weeks)

11.4 The minimum and maximum submission dates for the thesis or exegesis and creative work are calculated according to these durations. If a candidate changes between full-time and part-time candidature, the minimum and maximum submission dates are adjusted pro rata. On request from candidates prior to requesting a change, Student Services and Engagement provides advice to candidates about implications on changes to candidature on fee liability and relevant scholarship support. If a candidate is given credit for work undertaken prior to admission, the minimum and maximum submission dates are adjusted accordingly.

International students on a Student visa must complete program requirements by the program end date listed in their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

11.5 In exceptional circumstances, a candidate may be given permission by the relevant Associate Dean (Research) to submit their thesis or exegesis and creative work prior to the minimum submission date.

11.6 A candidate is enrolled as a full-time or part-time candidate in accordance with the initial offer of candidature. Changes between full-time and part-time candidature affect the calculation of the duration of candidature as the minimum and maximum submission dates are adjusted pro rata. Services and Engagement provides advice to candidates about implications on changes to candidature on fee liability. The Principal Supervisor is the authority for approval for changes between part-time and full-time enrolment. Scholarship recipients must also comply with the conditions of their scholarship regarding study mode changes.

11.7 When the candidature is full-time, it is expected that only a limited amount of time will be available for undertaking paid employment. As a general guide, 18 hours of paid employment per week should be the limit. If the student holds a scholarship, the limitation on paid employment may be prescribed in the relevant scholarship conditions booklet. Students on a student visa must check their work rights attached to their student visa.

11.8 On application by the candidate and with the support of the Principal Supervisor, the relevant Associate Dean (Research) may approve an extension to candidature milestone due date within the maximum periods of probationary and confirmed candidature provided above. Employment commitments will not be accepted as a reason for extension to candidature. Any extension beyond the maximum duration of probationary or confirmed candidature requires the approval of the Research Degrees Committee, or the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee, and will incur further fee liability (including to domestic students who were on a RTP Fee Offset Scholarship supported place).

International students must ensure that their visa conditions allow an extension to candidature and may not extend candidature beyond the CRICOS registered duration of their program. Applications for extension to candidature from international students are forwarded to the International Student Services Coordinator for advice regarding the student’s visa status before the extension can be approved.

Students on an externally funded scholarship are responsible for liaising with the funding provider for advice about extension to funding (if required).

11.9 On application from the candidate the Principal Supervisor may approve a leave of absence which extends the subsequent candidature milestones (including thesis due date). Periods of approved leave are not counted for the purposes of determining the period of probationary enrolment, the minimum and maximum periods of candidature or the overall time to completion. Accordingly, a candidate may not undertake research, study or creative work for the degree during any period of approved leave from candidature. In considering an application for leave of absence, the Principal Supervisor may take into consideration: the candidate’s record of progress; the reasons given by the candidate for seeking the leave. Student Services and Engagement provides advice to candidates about implications of leave of absence on fee liability.

International candidates must ensure that their visa conditions allow a suspension of studies (leave of absence can only be approved for compassionate and compelling circumstances). Applications for leave of absence from international students must be accompanied by relevant supporting documentation (e.g. medical certificates). Complete applications for leave of absence will be forwarded to Student Services and Engagement for advice before they can be approved.

Candidates on scholarship should refer to their Schedule of Scholarship Conditions for advice about impacts of leave on their scholarship payments. International students on an externally funded scholarship are responsible for liaising with the funding provider for advice about extension to funding (if required).

Exemption from normal leave of absence allowances require the approval of the Associate Dean (Research) and the Research Degrees Committee, or the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee. Leave of absence is not normally granted for less than 3 months at a time (except for medical leave), or more than a combined total of 12 months of full-time candidature (or part-time equivalent) over the maximum duration of the program. Leave of absence is not normally granted during the first six months of full-time candidature (or part-time equivalent). Retrospective applications for leave of absence are not normally approved, except Medical leave.

Following are examples of reasons a student may seek an approved leave of absence:

(a) Medical leave A candidate who submits an acceptable medical certificate for a period of illness in excess of two weeks (10 business days) may apply to have the period recognised as a temporary cessation of candidature. Applications for sick leave must be made within two weeks of the return from sick leave.
(b) Family leave A candidate may apply for maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or other carer’s leave consistent with the University’s policy on such leave for University staff.
(c) Employment A candidate may seek study leave to support periods of time not in excess of six months, and cumulative total of 12 months when they are unable to make the required commitment to their study due to competing employment commitments. Candidates are expected to enrol in a higher degree by research when they can make the required commitment to complete their higher degree by research within maximum program timeframes. Not available for student visa holders.
(d) Thesis submission A candidate will automatically be placed on a period of examination leave upon submission of their thesis or exegesis for external examination. This practice prevents consumption of candidature during examination.

Following are examples of informal leave that are negotiated between a student and their Principal Supervisor (i.e. a Research Plan is not submitted to formalise the leave):

(e) Recreation A candidate may negotiate a period of informal recreation leave directly with their Principal Supervisor, up to a maximum of four weeks (20 business days) per year of full-time candidature which is accrued throughout candidature (e.g. maximum 60 business days during three years of full time enrolment). The Principal Supervisor will consider a candidate’s progress when considering an application for recreation leave. Candidates do not formally apply for leave using their research plan, and milestone dates must not be adjusted to allow for recreation leave.
(f) Sick-leave A candidate may take up to 10 business days of paid sick leave per year of full-time candidature which is accrued throughout candidature (e.g. 30 business days during three years of full-time enrolment). Candidates do not formally apply for short sick-leave using their Research Plan, and milestone dates must not be adjusted to allow for short periods of sick-leave.

11.10 A candidate who fails to submit required candidature milestone by the due date, fails to maintain contact with their Principal Supervisor as agreed in their Research Plan or, fails to notify the University of their return after an approved leave of absence is considered to be Absent Without Leave.

11.10.1 A student who is Absent Without Leave for three months and who has not been approved for Leave of Absence will be advised in writing of their “Absent without Leave” status. A student who does not then resume their candidature or have an approved leave of absence for the following three month period (that is, six months of Absence Without Leave” will have their program enrolment discontinued by the University. In the case of an international student, USC International will be notified to support USC’s compliance with immigration requirements.

12. Research Plan and Progress Review (RPPR)

12.1 Research Plan and Progress Review (RPPR) is the mechanism by which candidates their supervisors and the Associate Dean (Research) develop and monitor a tailored research training program to support each individual candidate to achieve the knowledge, skills and learning outcomes provided in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for level 9 and 10 degrees.

12.2 A candidate’s HDR program will be planned in consultation with their supervisors and the Associate Dean (Research) within the first two months of full-time equivalent candidature, and will be stored on the candidate’s student file. The Research Plan will include:

(a) conditions of candidature provided in the offer documentation

(b) candidature milestones including revised due dates within policy, as appropriate for the individual research project

(c) overall assessment of progress (e.g. exceeds expectation, meets expectations, needs improvement, unsatisfactory)

Candidates and their supervisors should also discuss and document in their preferred planning format:

(d) participation in relevant research training workshops, modules and seminars

plans to publish research in appropriate publications including agreements regarding authorship and publication during and after candidature

(e) research supervision agreement (i.e. meeting schedule, the role of each member of the supervision panel including a percentage allocation of supervision for the candidate and plans for the management of research data and materials)

(f) planning for expenditure to support the research activities using the relevant School HDR budget guidelines and templates

12.3 The Research Plan, including the budget component, is a dynamic document, and must be thoroughly reviewed (and revised as required) by the Candidate, supervisors and the Associate Dean (Research) at:

(1)Initial Research Plan (after two-months of full-time equivalent candidature); and

(2)Confirmation of Candidature milestone; and,

(3)Research Plan and Progress Review reports;

1. International candidates: six monthly intervals from date of confirmation of candidature to thesis submission (in accordance with the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) requirements)

2. Domestic candidates: 12 monthly intervals from date of confirmation of candidature to thesis submission (regardless of study mode); and

(4)As required, e.g. and when requesting any changes to candidature such as change of study mode, extension requests, break from studies, change of program, change of topic or thesis title and change to supervision or to otherwise document initiatives to support continued progress.

Note submission of an ad-hoc Research Plan and Progress Review under 11.3 (d) can be accepted in place of the next scheduled RPPR where progress is assessed to be satisfactory.

12.4 In reviewing a candidate’s progress, the candidate, their Principal Supervisor and the relevant Associate Dean (Research) will:

(a) review progress made towards the goals set in the last Research Plan and revise the Research Plan and associated budget as required to set new goals

(b) discuss any gaps in the candidate’s research skills or knowledge and identify any enrolment/registration for appropriate training

(c) consider whether the candidate is on track to achieve their next candidature milestone (e.g. confirmation of candidature or thesis submission) within the maximum probationary or confirmed candidature duration. This step involves planning for an extension to candidature, leave of absence and or change to study mode if required, and ensuring that candidates are aware of the tuition fee liability for additional periods of enrolment and for postgraduate research scholarship recipients, consideration as to whether extension to funding is available

(d) meet to discuss the candidate’s progress in an open and supportive setting, as required by the candidate, Principal Supervisor and/or Associate Dean (Research).

12.5 If a candidate fails to lodge a Research Plan and Progress Review report without acceptable explanation, within one month of the due date for that report, or if the reports from the candidate and/or Principal Supervisor and any other associated evidence indicate unsatisfactory progress, the Associate Dean (Research) may decide that the candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory.

11.6The Associate Dean (Research) notifies the Office of Research of one of the following outcomes and subsequent actions after a RPPR and the Office of Research informs the candidate:

Outcome Actions
(1)Exceeds expectations Identify which areas the candidate exceeds expectations (e.g. adjust milestone submission dates to plan for early submission); and Continue candidature until next scheduled Research Planning Review
(2)Meets expectations Continue candidature until next scheduled Research Planning Review
(3)Needs improvement Continue under monitored candidature: (i) document specific conditions on continuation of the candidature (e.g. attendance at relevant training activities to address gaps in required skills or knowledge); and (ii) require the candidate to submit a follow up RPPR within maximum three months’ time to monitor candidature and support return to satisfactory progress;
(4)Unsatisfactory   Where a candidate’s progress continues to be assessed as less than satisfactory despite remedial actions agreed to during the previous period(s) of monitored candidature, the Associate Dean (Research) will liaise with the relevant Head of School to determine whether to invite the candidate to show cause as to why their candidature should not be terminated. This outcome represents notification of a University decision under Stage 1 of the Student Grievance Resolution– Procedures. Refer to section 19 for information on Response to Show Cause and to section 20 for consideration by the Executive Dean of recommendations to terminate candidature.
Failure to submit any milestone including RPPR by due date without reason Progress is automatically recorded to be “(c) needs improvement”, and subsequent actions are implemented (see above).

12.7 The School conducts the review and submits approved initial Research Plans, and subsequent Research Plan and Progress Reviews to the Office of Research for quality assurance assessment and for retention on the relevant student file and reports outcomes of all Research Planning and Progress Reviews to the Research Degrees Committee.

13. Confirmation of candidature

This section should be read in conjunction with the ‘Higher Degrees by Research Confirmation of Candidature – Guidelines’.

13.1 Probationary candidature will commence from the date on which the candidate is first enrolled in the HDR program. Candidature must be confirmed before the probation expiry date. Candidates should plan to apply for confirmation of candidature as early as possible, allowing time for revisions as may be required before their probation expiry date.

13.2 Principal Supervisors are required to apply text matching software to the candidate’s research proposal prior to submission for confirmation of candidature to assist with avoidance of plagiarism.

13.2 A probationary candidate must apply for confirmation within the following timeframe:

  Full-time Part-time Maximum probationary candidature
Doctoral candidates 3-12 months into candidature 6-24 months into candidature 18 months full-time   36 months part-time
Master candidates 3-9 months into candidature 6-18 months into candidature 12 months full-time 24 months part-time

13.2.1 With the approval of the Principal Supervisor, a candidate may apply for confirmation ahead of the specified time period.

13.2.2 If a probationary candidate has not submitted an application for progression to confirmed candidature within this timeframe, the relevant Associate Dean (Research) may decide that the candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory and invite the candidate to show cause as to why their candidature should not be terminated.

13.3 To apply for confirmation of candidature, the candidate must:

(a) prepare the research proposal; and

(b) revise the Research Plan and associated budget for discussion with the confirmation review panel

(c) present the research in an appropriate format at the discretion of the Associate Dean (Research); and

(d) submit (a) and (b) to their School of enrolment.

13.4 The research proposal includes: the proposed descriptive title for the thesis; an explication of the candidate's research issues or problems or questions or hypotheses; in the case of a candidate for the Doctor of Creative Arts, an outline of the proposed creative work(s); a comprehensive literature review; details of the candidate's proposed research methodology or methodologies; proposed timelines for completion of various stages of the research, creative works, and thesis including, where appropriate, any manuscripts to be submitted for publication and any variations from discipline specific Higher Degree by Research Thesis Presentation - Guidelines.

13.5 The research proposal and the research presentation are assessed by the Principal Supervisor, Co-Supervisors, the Associate Dean (Research), and one or more independent assessors appointed by the Associate Dean (Research) who meet requirements for thesis examiners as described in the Thesis Submission and Examination - Procedures. The Associate Dean (Research) will provide feedback to the candidate on their research proposal and will provide feedback on the revised Research Plan as part of the confirmation process. The Associate Dean (Research) will determine the outcome as one of the following options and advise the Office of Research which will advise the candidate accordingly:

  Outcome Actions
(a)   Exceeds expectations The candidature is confirmed, with the supervision arrangements confirmed and the thesis title approved. Where judged to be appropriate, a probationary Masters candidate may be offered the opportunity to be admitted as a confirmed candidate to one of the University’s research Doctoral degrees;  
(b) Meets expectations The candidature is confirmed, with the supervision arrangements confirmed and the thesis title approved.
(c) Needs improvement The candidate is required to continue enrolment as a probationary candidate for a specified period of time within the candidate’s maximum period of probationary candidature to revise the research proposal and where applicable, to undertake further research work in accordance with the detailed feedback provided by the reviewer. 1)Minor corrections must be completed within two-months full-time to the satisfaction of the Principal Supervisor and the Associate Dean (Research) and 2)Further research work must be completed within six months full-time to the satisfaction of the Principal Supervisor, independent reviewer and Associate Dean (Research).
(d) Unsatisfactory Where a candidate’s application for progression to confirmed candidature is assessed as less than satisfactory, the Associate Dean (Research) will liaise with the relevant Head of School to determine whether to: (i) where judged to be appropriate, a probationary doctoral candidate may be offered the opportunity to be admitted as a confirmed candidate to one of the University’s research Master degrees; or   (ii) invite the candidate to show cause as to why their candidature should not be terminated. This outcome represents notification of a University decision under Stage 1 of the Student Grievance Resolution – Procedures. Refer to section 19 for information on Response to Show Cause and to section 20 for consideration by the Executive Dean of recommendations to terminate candidature.

13.6 For outcome 13.5 (c), a candidate will not normally be permitted to continue enrolment as a probationary candidate beyond the maximum probationary candidature period which is:

  Full-time Part-time
Doctoral candidates One and a half years after commencement Three years after commencement
Master candidates One year after commencement Two years after commencement

The Research Degrees Committee, or the Chairperson acting on behalf of the Committee, is the authority for approval of a recommendation to continue probationary candidature beyond the probation expiry date.

13.8 Candidates who are required to make revisions to their application for progression to confirmed candidature under section 13.6 (c) must:

(a) revise their research proposal in accordance with feedback provided (if applicable); and

(b) revise the Research Plan in accordance with feedback provided (if applicable); and

(c) submit (a) and (b) to the with the relevant form.

13.9 The relevant Associate Dean (Research) forwards the complete application for progression to confirmed candidature to the Office of Research for quality assurance assessment and retention on the relevant student file.

13.10 The Office of Research provides advice to candidates about the final outcome of their application for progression to confirmed candidature.

14. Candidature at external locations

14.1 A candidate proposing to undertake all or part of their research, study or creative work at a location external to this University must seek the approval of the Head of School via standard school processes. On the recommendation of the Principal Supervisor, the relevant Head of School may approve a candidate’s request to pursue part of their program of research, study or creative work away from the University and will provide advice to the candidate, copied to the Office of Research for retention on the relevant student file for insurance purposes.

14.2 Where the research, study or creative work requires the resources or facilities of an external organisation, the candidate’s access to such resources or facilities must be documented in written correspondence to the satisfaction of the Head of School.

14.3 In approving candidature wholly or partly at an external location, the Head of School will appoint an Associate Supervisor from the relevant organisation and may specify a minimum period during which the candidate must attend this University.

15. Transfer between Doctoral and Research Master degrees

15.1 Student Services and Engagement provides advice to candidates about implications of transfer between Doctoral and Research Master degrees on fee liability. International students on a student visa must ensure they maintain their student visa conditions.

15.2 Where a candidate has not yet progressed to confirmed candidature, the confirmation and program transfer processes can be considered simultaneously.

15.2.1 A confirmed candidate must present a research proposal for confirmed candidature of the length and standard that would be expected for the proposed degree. The candidate includes their request to change program on their revised Research Plan and the application to transfer program is considered as part of the confirmation process.

15.3 The relevant Associate Dean (Research) may approve:

15.3.1 an application to convert a confirmed master candidature to a doctoral candidature. The period completed as a master candidate will be deducted from the candidature duration for the purpose of determining the minimum and maximum length of the doctoral candidature.

15.3.2 an application to convert a doctoral candidature to candidature in a research master program. The period completed as a doctoral candidate will be deducted from the candidature duration for the purpose of determining the minimum and maximum length of the master candidature.

15.4 Documentation relating to the Associate Dean (Research) decision is forwarded to the Office of Research for quality assurance checking, required updates to the Candidature Management System and for retention on the student file and communication of the outcome to the candidate and Principal Supervisor.

16. Change of research topic and or thesis title

16.1 If, following confirmation of candidature, a candidate wishes to change the topic of their research work to any significant extent, the candidate must make application to the relevant Associate Dean (Research) through the Principal Supervisor, who must support the application for a change of research topic. In making a decision to change the candidate’s research topic, the Associate Dean (Research) must also determine whether the candidate is to be returned to probationary status and to undergo a standard or modified process for confirmation of candidature and must determine any adjustment to the maximum thesis submission date. Where the change of research topic has been substantially addressed in conjunction with the initial confirmation process, the Associate Dean (Research) may determine that the change of research topic be approved without a change to the candidate’s confirmation status or maximum thesis submission date.

16.2 With the approval of the Principal Supervisor, a candidate may change the title of their thesis from the title approved when their candidature was confirmed. Providing that the change of thesis title is not indicative of a significant change in the research topic, a change of thesis title does not require the approval of the relevant Associate Dean (Research).

17. HDR Publication

17.1 Research publications will be planned throughout candidature, and this will be documented in the candidate’s Research Plan.

17.2 If any component of a candidate’s research has not been published after completion of the HDR, the supervisor(s) may publish the research, provided appropriate authorship is attributed to the candidate subject to a documented agreement to transfer any intellectual property from the candidate to the University. This does not apply in the case of Creative Works, such as literary works, artworks, audio-visual presentations or performance rights. Candidates are encouraged to seek independent legal advice before signing an agreement to assign their intellectual property to the University.

18. Withdrawal from candidature

18.1 A candidate may withdraw from candidature by informing the Office of Research using the appropriate form.

18.2 The withdrawal will take effect from the date of receipt of such notification.

19. Response to an invitation to show cause

19.1 A student who is invited to show cause as to why their candidature should not be terminated should prepare a written response as described in Stage 2 of the Student Review and Appeals – Procedures. A response to a request to show cause why candidature should not be terminated may include (but is not limited to):

(a) an updated Research Plan with revised goals and evidence of research training undertaken,

(b) a statement summarising obstacles to progress, and the candidate’s recommendation for a path forward

(c) medical certificates (if applicable).

19.2 Candidates are encouraged to seek advice from academic skills advisors available via Student Services and Engagement (Student Central), their supervisors and the relevant Associate Dean (Research) to discuss their situation and to develop their response. Candidates may also seek counselling from Student Wellbeing, advice on the processes from the Student Ombudsman, and/or assistance from the Student Guild.

19.3 The relevant Associate Dean (Research) considers the representations of the candidate in response to the show cause request and in consultation with the relevant Head of School, determines whether to:

(a) Continue candidature, with any subsequent conditions; or

(b) Recommend termination of candidature to the Executive Dean.

19.4 The relevant Associate Dean (Research) returns completed documentation to the Office of Research for quality assurance, and will report all outcomes of invitations to show cause to the Research Degrees Committee as part of regular candidature progression reporting.

19.5 In the case of international students on a student visa, the University is obliged to advise students that termination of their candidature will result in them being reported to the relevant Government departments for unsatisfactory progress and may result in the cancellation of their student visa, unless they can demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances. The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017 (the ‘National Code’) requires that when the University notifies a student of its intention to report the student for not achieving satisfactory academic progress, the student must also be informed that they are able to access the University’s ‘complaints and appeals process’ and have 20 business days in which to do so. Responding to the show cause is deemed to be accessing this process, as per Stage 2 of the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy.

20. Termination of candidature


20.1 The Executive Dean considers the representations of the candidate in response to the show cause request together with the recommendation to terminate candidature made by the Associate Dean (Research). The Executive Dean may terminate candidature if:

(a) the student has failed to:

  • respond to the invitation to show cause within the specified timeframe; or
  • make satisfactory progress or meet any candidature requirements; or
  • comply with any other condition imposed by their Head of School or Associate Dean (Research); and

(b) the Principal Supervisor and Associate Dean (Research) have ensured and demonstrated that the student has been:

  • clearly warned of shortcomings in performing the research and/or in meeting candidature requirements; and
  • advised of ways in which such shortcomings might be remedied.

20.2 The Executive Dean will determine whether to:

(a) permit the student to continue under specified conditions; or

(b) terminate the candidature.

20.2.1 A Doctoral student may be offered the opportunity to be admitted to one of the University’s research Master degrees.

20.3 The Executive Dean will provide advice to the student and the relevant Associate Dean (Research) within 5 business days of the determination.

20.4 A student whose candidature is terminated may lodge an internal appeal under Stage 3 of the Student Grievance Resolution - Governing Policy, via the Student Review and Appeals – Procedures, where they can show grounds as to why an appeal should be considered (i.e. new information, evidence of failure of process). Appeals should be addressed to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and must be lodged within 10 business days of the notice of the Executive Dean’s determination.

20.5 The student’s enrolment will cease at the end of the appeal period or if an appeal is lodged, when the outcome of their appeal is determined.

21. Grievances

Refer to the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy and associated Procedures.

21.1 Candidates experiencing difficulty with any aspect of their enrolment or program of study should discuss the problems with their Principal Supervisor or a Co-Supervisor in the first instance.

21.2 Where the issue cannot be resolved at the supervisor level, or where the candidate does not wish to discuss the matter with their supervisors (e.g. in the event of a breakdown in the supervisory relationship), the matter should be brought to the relevant Head of School for resolution.

21.3 A candidate who has a grievance concerning any action or decision of a supervisor, or any other member of staff, and is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution through informal discussions and conciliation, as described in 21.1-21.2, may lodge a formal grievance under the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy and associated procedures.

21.4 Candidates will be invited to provide anonymous feedback each year via the annual HDR Candidate survey.

Appendix 1: HDR Roles and Responsibilities

END

Back to top

Searching {{ model.SearchType }} for returned more than {{ model.MaxResults }} results.
The top {{ model.MaxResults }} of {{ model.TotalItems }} are shown below.

Searching {{ model.SearchType }} for returned {{ model.TotalItems }} results.

Searching {{ model.SearchType }} for returned no results.