Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Research Higher Degrees

Establishment: Academic Senate, 24 September 1993                                                 
Last Amended: Council, 9 March and 25 May 2017
Nature of Amendment: Consequential to the repeal of statutes
Date Last Reviewed: May 2017
Responsible Officer: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Index

  1. Publication of Research Higher Degree Policies and Procedures
  2. Application of Policies and Procedures
  3. Definitions
  4. Research Higher Degrees and Course Rules
  5. Qualifications for Admission to Research Higher Degree Candidature
  6. Applications
  7. Appointment of Supervisors
  8. Dean of the School (or nominee) and Postgraduate Coordination
  9. Admission and Enrolment
  10. Intellectual Property
  11. Ethics and Biosafety Approval, and Work Health and Safety Requirements
  12. Responsibilities of the Candidate, Supervisor, Coordinator of a Professional Doctorate, School and University refer to Appendices A-E
  13. Required Program of Structured Activities
  14. Status, Duration and Extension of Candidature
  15. Variations to Conditions of Candidature
  16. Withdrawal from Candidature
  17. RHD Milestones for the time-based research component and progression toward completion
  18. Unsatisfactory Progress in the time-based research component
  19. Appointment of Examiners 
  20. Preparation and Submission of Thesis
  21. Examination Process
  22. Consideration of Examiners’ Reports
  23. Consideration of Examiners’ Reports – Allegation of Plagiarism
  24. Recommendation of Award of PhD for a Thesis submitted for a Masters by Research degree
  25. Outcome of the Examination
  26. Uploading of Thesis to the Library
  27. Requirements for award of the degree

Appendix A: Responsibilities of the Research Higher Degree Candidate

Appendix B: Responsibilities of the Supervisor

Appendix C: Responsibilities of the Coordinator of a Professional Doctorate Course

Appendix D: Responsibilities of the School

Appendix E: Responsibilities of the University

Appendix F: Rules for Research Higher Degree Theses

Appendix G: Conciliation and Arbitration Procedures relating to Supervised Higher Degree Research

Appendix H: Higher Doctorates – Policies and Procedures

Appendix I: Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors

Appendix J: Policy on Autonomous Sanctions for Research Higher Degree Candidates

 

1.  Publication of Research Higher Degree Policies and Procedures

The University's policies and procedures relating to research higher degree study will be published annually. Course Rules governing higher degrees are published annually. All information on higher degrees specific to faculties, including information on Faculty policies and procedures, coursework requirements, masters qualifying courses, research interests of the School, facilities for higher degree study and thesis production etc, will be published and provided to all research candidates in each Faculty. Faculty policies and procedures will accord with the University's policies on research higher degree matters. 

2.  Application of Policies and Procedures

Unless exempted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) these research higher degree policies and procedures apply to the research component of all higher degree courses where the degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis embodying the results of a research project undertaken during candidature or published work accumulated prior to acceptance into candidature and any coursework topics or other formal studies undertaken during the candidature which do not constitute more than one-third of the final assessment for the degree.

Courses exempted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will be covered by the Research Components of Postgraduate Coursework Policies and Procedures

3.  Definitions

3.1  'Thesis' refers to the outcome of independent supervised study undertaken during a time-based research component that produces significant and original research outcomes culminating in a thesis, dissertation, exegesis, creative works, or other major assessable research outputs or equivalent, including separately assessed elements thereof.

3.2  'School' refers to an independent academic unit within a Faculty having responsibility for designing and teaching a range of topics within its discipline areas.

3.3  'Faculty' refers to any Faculty committee or representative to which the Faculty has delegated functions concerning research higher degree candidature.

3.4  'Research degree' means a degree which is awarded on the basis of a thesis embodying the results of research undertaken during candidature or published work undertaken prior to acceptance into candidature and any coursework topics or other formal studies undertaken during the candidature which do not constitute more than one-third of the final assessment for the degree.

3.5  'Time-based research component' refers to enrolment in a topic that is based on calendar days rather than a semester. Enrolment in a time-based research component commences and finishes on specified dates with a full-time or part-time rate of study consistent with the number of units to be completed for the research component of the award as outlined in the course rule. For the purposes of time-based study, each half-year period is deemed to be equivalent to 18 units or 0.5 Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL).

3.6  'Supervisor' should be read as principal supervisor, unless otherwise specified.

3.7  'Masters by Research degrees' are degrees that generally have the objective of training candidates in specialised knowledge and research techniques, in critical evaluation of such methodology appropriate to their field of study, and in the application of the methodology by conducting a specified program of research under appropriate supervision, all of which together must comprise at least two-thirds of the course of study.

Flinders Masters by Research degrees accord with the Australian Quality Framework (AQF) which states that: Graduates of Masters by Research degrees will have an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in one or more disciplines or areas of practice. They will have expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills in a body of knowledge or practice to independently: analyse critically; reflect on and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories; research and apply established theories to a body of knowledge or practice; and interpret and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgement, adaptability, and responsibility as a practitioner or learner.

Examiners of a thesis submitted for a Masters by Research degree should satisfy themselves that the candidate has demonstrated:

(a)  evidence of an original investigation or testing of ideas;

(b)  competence in independent research or experimentation;

(c)  a thorough understanding of the appropriate techniques in the field demonstrated both by their application and a thorough review of the literature;

(d)  critical use of source material, experimental results (where appropriate), and published works;

(e)  an appreciation of the relationship of the special theme to the wider field of knowledge; and

(f)  the capacity to present well-written work.

3.8  'PhD degrees' are degrees that provide training and education with the objective of producing graduates with the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality. By the end of their candidature the candidate ought to be capable of conceiving, designing and carrying to completion a research program without supervision. The PhD candidate should uncover new knowledge either by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative re-interpretation of known data and established ideas.

Flinders PhD degrees accord with the Australian Quality Framework (AQF) which states that: Graduates of PhD degrees will have expert, specialised cognitive, technical and research skills in a discipline area to independently and systematically: engage in critical reflection, synthesis and evaluation; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge; disseminate and promote new insights to peers and the community; and generate original knowledge and understanding to make a substantial contribution to a discipline. Graduates will apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability, and responsibility as an expert and leading scholar.

Examiners of a thesis by a PhD candidate, or a PhD by Published Work candidate should satisfy themselves that the candidate has demonstrated:

(a)  evidence of an original investigation or testing of ideas;

(b)  competence in independent research or experimentation;

(c)  a thorough understanding of the appropriate techniques in the field demonstrated both by their application and a thorough review of the literature;

(d)  critical use of source material, experimental results (where appropriate), and published works;

(e)  appreciation of the relationship of the special theme to the wider field of knowledge;

(f)  the capacity to present well-written work;

(g)  a higher degree of independence of thought and approach; and

(h)  a significant original contribution to knowledge.

3.9  'Professional Doctorate Degrees' are degrees that provide training and education with the objective of producing graduates with the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality in the context of professional practice. By the end of their candidature the candidate ought to be capable of conceiving, designing and carrying to completion a research program without supervision. The Professional Doctoral candidate should make a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the context of professional practice and uncover new knowledge either by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative re-interpretation of known data and established ideas. The Professional Doctoral candidate will typically achieve these goals in the context of professional practice. The Professional Doctoral candidate will also demonstrate, via a program of advanced and specialist coursework or research-integrated practice, the attainment of advanced skills and knowledge and the capacity to apply them so as to be able to undertake a variety of advanced professional roles in an area of professional practice associated with the Professional Doctorate studies. Research which is specifically aimed at practitioners in the field will comprise at least two years of the assessable content of the degree. 

Flinders Professional Doctorate degrees accord with the Australian Quality Framework (AQF) which states that: Graduates of Professional Doctorate degrees will have expert, specialised cognitive, technical and research skills in a discipline area to independently and systematically: engage in critical reflection, synthesis and evaluation; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge or professional practice; disseminate and promote new insights to peers and the community; and generate original knowledge and understanding to make a substantial contribution to a discipline or area of professional practice. Graduates will apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and leading practitioner or scholar.

Examiners of a thesis, submitted by a Professional Doctoral candidate, should satisfy themselves that the candidate has demonstrated:

(a)      evidence of an original investigation or testing of ideas;

(b)      competence in independent research or experimentation;

(c)      a thorough understanding of the appropriate techniques in the field or in an area of professional practice demonstrated both by their application and a thorough review of the literature;

(d)      critical use of source material, experimental results (where appropriate), and published works;

(e)      appreciation of the relationship of the special theme to the wider field of knowledge or area of professional practice;

(f)      the capacity to present well-written work;

(g)      a higher degree of independence of thought and approach;

(h)      a significant original contribution to knowledge, including in the context of professional practice; and

(i)         achievement of any specialised learning outcomes that are specific to the discipline or area of professional practice and that have been identified as essential to satisfying the degree requirements.

3.10  'Higher Doctorate Degrees' include Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Science and Doctor of Theology. Higher Doctorates are governed by Appendix H of this policy.

3.11  'External' refers to a program of study which is conducted primarily off campus and which does not require regular attendance at the University. 

3.12  'Interview/Meeting/Discussion' – Where an interview or meeting or discussion is required under this policy, and the candidate is unable to attend, this may be conducted by an alternative process.

3.13  'Cotutelle' refers to a doctoral degree program which is undertaken jointly at Flinders University and an international higher education institution and which, if successful, results in the candidate being awarded a doctoral degree by both institutions.

3.14   'Research Training Program' (RTP) – The Research Training Program fee offset is a Commonwealth Government scheme provided to the University that pays for the tuition fee for domestic research higher degree candidates for up to four years full-time equivalent study for a Doctorate by Research and Professional Doctorate and up to two years full-time equivalent study for a Masters by Research. 

4.  Research Higher Degrees and Course Rules

Research higher degrees are governed by the Course Rules. These Rules are published annually. Candidates will be provided with web links to the relevant Course Rules with their letter of offer. 

5.  Qualifications for Admission to Research Higher Degree Candidature 

Qualifications for admission to research higher degree candidature will be as prescribed in the course Rules.  Information about course requirements will be available from Faculty offices.

6.  Applications 

6.1  Before making an application for admission to a research higher degree course, intending applicants will be advised to contact the Dean of School (or nominee) in which the research work is likely to take place in order to ascertain whether the School is able to accommodate the research work. In the case of Professional Doctorate applications, additional material may be sought by the Coordinator of the course. References below to a proposed ‘field of research’ include ‘research in an area of professional practice’.

6.2  Intending applicants will be advised that the School will require the following information before serious consideration can by given to an application for admission to candidature:

  • certificates and official certified transcripts of academic records, including full details of all courses undertaken and grades obtained;
  • details of any published papers;
  • details of any experience since graduation which is relevant to the proposed field of research or which is essential to meet specified admission requirements;
  • a statement about the specific field in which the postgraduate work is to be undertaken. An applicant can only be accepted for admission to candidature if the University is able to offer research facilities and supervision appropriate to the proposed field of research;
  • where appropriate in the case of a Professional Doctorate application, evidence of a collaborator from a relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body willing and qualified to contribute to the development of a program of research-integrated practice;
  • the names of two academic referees and, in instances where specified non-academic experience or achievements (eg work experience or professional qualifications or achievements) constitute criteria for admission, the name of at least one referee able to provide a relevant evaluation;
  • evidence of any scholarship or other financial support from a government or private organisation to the prospective candidate if an international applicant; and
  • evidence of proficiency in English if an international applicant (refer to Clause 6.9 in this policy).

6.3  If it appears that the applicant is qualified for admission and acceptable to the School, the Dean of School (or nominee approved by the Dean of School) will arrange for discussions to be held between the applicant and appropriate staff members regarding a possible research topic and supervision.

6.4  In developing the research topic, the applicant and the supervisors must identify:

(a)  the resources that will be required to undertake the research and their governance (refer to the University-prescribed form Application for Admission); and

(b)  whether fieldwork or other travel will need to be undertaken and how these will be financed.

6.5  An application for admission will be made via the application portal in the Student Information System. Applicants who lodge a Scholarship application will submit a My Scholarship application via the Student Information System.

6.6  Whilst there are generally no set closing dates for research higher degree applications, it should be noted that applications for Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships and for Flinders University Research Scholarships close on 31 October each year. Since Professional Doctorate degrees include coursework, those applications may be subject to firm closing dates as determined by the relevant College.

6.7  All enquiries from international candidates in relation to application for research higher degree candidature will be directed to the International Centre. International applicants seeking admission to the University must apply via the application portal in the Student Information System.

6.8  All applications for admission to candidature will be accompanied by the information outlined in Clause 6.2 in this policy. English translations will be supplied for documents in languages other than English.

6.9  Candidates who come from a country where English is not the first language will need to provide evidence of competence in the English language. Such evidence is specified in Clause 3 of the University's Policies and Procedures for International Students.

6.10  Australian Government regulations prescribe that international candidates undertaking their candidature in Australia must be enrolled on a full-time basis.

6.11  Applications received from international candidates will be referred from the International Centre to the relevant School and the Faculty. Such applications will be considered in accordance with the principles outlined in Clauses 6.13 to 6.16, and Clauses 7 and 9 in this policy.

6.12  If an application from an international candidate is approved for admission to candidature, an offer of admission will be made to the applicant by the International Centre.

6.13  Applications for admission to candidature which are supported by the School will be considered by the relevant Faculty. In considering an application, the Faculty will be satisfied that:

(i)  the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for admission;

(ii)  the proposed research project is appropriate for the degree for which the applicant wishes to be a candidate and the specific research project can be undertaken with a reasonable expectation of success;

(iii)  the School in which the applicant intends to undertake the research is appropriate for the research topic, has the space and other facilities the work may need, and can offer an appropriate academic environment for the candidature;

(iv)  the proposed principal supervisor is sufficiently expert in the area of research and has the time and commitment to be able to offer the candidate proper supervision;

(v)  proper supervision can be provided and maintained throughout the period of candidature (refer to Clause 7 in this policy);

(vi)  an applicant is able to devote sufficient time to the approved studies and meet any conditions which may be prescribed by the Faculty or in University policies;

(vii)  the applicant, the supervisors and the Dean of School (or nominee) have considered whether the project is likely to generate intellectual property which has potential for commercial development and in which the University or an outside funding body may have an interest (refer to Clause 10 in this policy);

(viii)  in addition, in considering an application for external candidature, the Faculty will be satisfied that:

  1. the methods to be used to carry out the supervision have been specified, and can be monitored by the Faculty;
  2. where a candidate undertakes study within an institution, the academic environment and standard of research activity within the institution is acceptable;
  3. appropriate resources are available for supervision, costings have been detailed in advance and funding is budgeted for the duration of the candidacy;
  4. details of any proposed program of visits to the University for consultation, especially during the early phases of the project, and for participation in research seminars and similar activities have been provided, with the responsibility for funding clearly indicated;
  5. the integrity and security of any data generated as part of the research activity can be assured;
  6. library and related resources are available to the candidate at the external location such that there is a reasonable prospect of the project being completed;
  7. there has been agreement about the attribution of any papers published and presented by the candidate as a result of his/her research;
  8. the implications of the Universities Australia Code of Practice in the Provision of Education to International Students for the candidacy of international candidates has been addressed by the School;
  9. arrangements are in place to provide an acceptable alternative to the mandatory induction program;
  10. access to the University's grievances procedures is available; and
  11. all aspects of the candidature have been explained to the candidate in writing and the candidate has agreed in writing to the arrangements.

(ix)  where the application is in respect of a Cotutelle arrangement, a formal proposal has been drawn up and approved.

6.14  The Faculty will determine the conditions under which the candidature may be accepted in the case of an applicant who has commenced, but not completed, work for a higher degree in another institution and who wishes to continue work in the same area at the University.

6.15  A Faculty may prescribe qualifying work which an applicant must satisfactorily complete before being considered further for admission to candidature. The nature of qualifying work will be determined by the Faculty taking into account the circumstances of the applicant. The work may range from being a course equivalent to an honours year, to a course comprising an amalgam of topics designed to provide the applicant with the relevant background for the proposed higher degree study. In prescribing the qualifying work, the Faculty will state what standard must be achieved in order to be considered further for admission to higher degree candidature. Applicants should note that where a quota exists on admission to higher degree courses, satisfactory completion of qualifying work at the minimum level will not guarantee admission.

6.16  Routine applications for candidature may be approved executively on behalf of the Faculty. 

7.  Appointment of Supervisors

7.1  In accordance with Appendix I: Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors, one Principal Supervisor and at least one Associate Supervisor will be appointed for each higher degree candidate. The Principal Supervisor and the Associate Supervisor(s) must be listed on the Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors.  If the candidate is enrolled on an external basis, normally the University will appoint, in addition to the supervisors, a suitably qualified person who is resident at or near the place of study to provide advice and support to the candidate. If this person meets the criteria, he/she could be appointed as an Adjunct Supervisor. Cotutelle arrangements require the identification of a doctoral supervisor at each institution. These two supervisors jointly exercise the relevant academic authority. The Faculty will ensure that:

(i)  the Principal Supervisor and the Associate Supervisor(s) are suitably qualified to supervise the candidate and have proven and current research credentials, in accordance with Appendix I:  Policy on Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors.  Either the Principal Supervisor or Associate Supervisor has a satisfactory record of postgraduate supervision;

(ii)  either the Principal Supervisor or the Associate Supervisor(s) must be employed by Flinders University or its affiliated institutions at a fraction of 0.5 or greater.  A person will only be appointed as a Principal Supervisor if he or she can reasonably be expected to be able to provide supervision for the duration of candidature;

(iii)  supervision is provided for the duration of candidature and that an appropriate replacement be made in the event of the prolonged absence (longer than three months), retirement or resignation of either the Principal or Associate Supervisor(s); and

(iv)  prospective candidates are consulted about their nominated supervisors and agree to work with the supervisors before their appointment is confirmed. Where it becomes necessary to appoint a replacement supervisor for the reasons as prescribed in Clause 7.1(iii) in this policy, the candidate will be consulted about the supervisor and agree to work with the replacement supervisor before the appointment is confirmed.

7.2  The Principal Supervisor must have relevant knowledge, expertise and interest in the candidate's research topic.

7.3  The Associate Supervisor(s) will be involved from the outset in the development of the candidate's research plan and an agreed mechanism will be established to ensure the maintenance of communication with the candidate and the Principal Supervisor.

7.4  In some cases, for example where the topic is multi-disciplinary, more than one Associate Supervisor or a panel of supervisors may be appointed. Whatever the supervisory arrangement, the primary responsibility must be made clear to all parties.

7.5  The Principal Supervisor carries the responsibility of coordinating communication between the supervisors and the candidate, and for resolving any issues. 

8.  Dean of the School (or nominee) and Postgraduate Coordination

It is the responsibility of the Dean of School (or nominee) to oversee the research higher degree work of the School and specifically to:

(i)  meet each new candidate at the beginning of his or her candidature;

(ii)  engage with each candidate as part of their RHD Milestones;

(iii)  engage with each supervisor as part of the RHD Milestones;

(iv)  help resolve problems that may arise between the candidate and the supervisors;

(v)  receive complaints regarding research higher degree matters in the School and recommend action as appropriate; and

(vi)  assist research higher degree candidates with the administrative aspects of their candidature.

9.  Admission and Enrolment

9.1  An applicant who has been accepted as a candidate for a research higher degree will be sent a letter by the Faculty (or the International Centre in the case of international candidates) containing the following information:

  • the degree for which the applicant is a candidate;
  • the commencement date of candidature;
  • the date for the submission of the thesis;
  • the approved field of research;
  • the names of the supervisors;
  • the School and Faculty;
  • the attendance status of the candidature (full-time or part-time);
  • details of any coursework requirements;
  • any special conditions relating to the candidature;
  • for a Masters by a Research candidate, information on the conditions which must be met before being eligible to transfer to PhD candidature and the method of applying for such a transfer;
  • notification that any variation to conditions of candidature must be sought in writing from the Faculty;
  • fees payable including information on whether the candidate has been granted a Research Training Program (RTP) place or is eligible to apply for one and if so, the method of application;
  • the method of enrolment;
  • rules for extension of candidature and information on the method of application;
  • in the case of external candidates, details of all arrangements and conditions which will apply to all aspects of the candidature including attendance and supervision; and
  • in the case of a Cotutelle candidature, the terms and conditions of the Cotutelle arrangement between the two institutions.

9.2  Subject to acceptance of the offer, the candidate will be provided with an information package containing:

9.3  A candidate is required to enrol by the date specified in the letter of acceptance of candidature. If he or she has not enrolled by the date specified, the authority to enrol will lapse and it will be necessary to reapply for candidature if he or she wishes to enrol subsequently.

9.4  The enrolment of a candidate will cease either when their thesis is officially submitted for examination, or on their thesis submission due date, whichever occurs first. If a candidate does not extend or intermit their candidature or submit their thesis by their submission due date their candidature will lapse and they will not have active enrolment. Refer to clause 20.4.

10.  Intellectual Property

Research higher degree candidates will be made aware of the University's policy relating to intellectual property before embarking on their research project. The policy will be made available to candidates at the time of enrolment. Where a research project involves a confidentiality agreement, research higher degree candidates will be counselled by the responsible University officer prior to a confidentiality agreement being signed by the candidate, about the consequences of restricted access to their research results, particularly in relation to research publications, seminars and activities associated with future applications for employment or research grants, and about the advisability of seeking professional advice. At the counselling session, the candidate may be accompanied by an independent person. 

11.  Ethics and Biosafety Approval, and Work Health and Safety Requirements

11.1  Any research project involving human subjects, animals, or biosafety (e.g. gene technology) matters must obtain prior ethical and/or biosafety approval from the relevant committee listed below:

Human Subjects:

Southern Adelaide Clinical Human Research Ethics Committee (managed by SA Health)

Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee (SBREC)

NB: Proposals to conduct research that involves or impacts upon Indigenous peoples are forwarded by SBREC to the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research for comments and recommendations, which are incorporated into the Committee’s response.

Animals:

Animal Welfare Committee

Biosafety:

Biosafety Committee - Under its terms of reference, the Biosafety Committee receives applications for approval of research projects involving the use of:

(i)  a genetically modified organism (GMO); or

(ii)  biohazardous material (including human body fluids, human tissue samples and other body products but excluding clinical activities such as collection and testing of specimens).

Researchers proposing to use carcinogenic or toxic chemicals must refer to the Workplace Substances Procedures.

Researchers proposing to use ionising radiation must consult the relevant Area Radiation Safety Officer.

11.2  It is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that the candidate's project has appropriate ethical and/or biosafety approval.

11.3  Candidates and supervisors will note that in the event of a candidate's proposed research topic not receiving appropriate ethical and/or biosafety approval, the candidate will need to choose another research topic or his or her candidature will be terminated. Supervisors should attempt to identify alternative research projects in the event of candidates not receiving ethical and/or biosafety approval of proposed projects. Enquiries may be directed to the Research Services Office.

11.4  The supervisors will ensure that the candidate's research is conducted in accordance with the University's Work Health and Safety requirements.

12.  Responsibilities of the Candidate, Supervisor, Coordinator of a Professional Doctorate, School and University

Appendix A: Responsibilities of the Research Higher Degree Candidate
Appendix B: Responsibilities of the Supervisor of a Research Higher Degree
Appendix C: Responsibilities of the Coordinator of a Professional Doctorate Course
Appendix D: Responsibilities of the School
Appendix E: Responsibilities of the University  

13.  Required Program of Structured Activities 

13.1  A candidate commencing a research higher degree will satisfactorily complete within the first twelve months of candidature a required program of structured activities, including meeting RHD Milestones, as specified in the Faculty or School in which the candidate is enrolled refer to 13.4. In the case of Professional Doctorates, this program may be constituted in part by a program of advanced coursework or research-integrated practice that is an essential component of the Professional Doctorate and which may, according to the approved course structure, extend into and be completed during the second twelve months of candidature.

Structured activities for the entirety of the research higher degree candidature at Flinders include, as detailed below:

  • Online RHD Induction;
  • Face-to-Face Induction;
  • Confirmation of Candidature;
  • Mid-Candidature Review;
  • Final Thesis Review; and
  • Interim Review Report for Part-Time RHD Candidates.

13.2  Under certain circumstances, the Faculty may waive the requirement for successful completion of the required program of structured activities. The reasons for the waiving of the requirement shall be recorded on the University Student Information System.

13.3  The required program for RHD Induction will be divided into two components: a core component and a specialist component. Unless clearly contained within a program of advanced coursework or research-integrated practice that is an essential component of the Professional Doctorate, the core component will consist of an online RHD Induction and a formal University and Faculty-based induction session that introduces University-wide and Faculty specific general information, including all the general aspects relating to research higher degree candidature and information on the development of a successful research proposal.

13.4  The required program for the RHD Milestones comprises assessable components as prescribed by the Faculty or School and provide a structured opportunity for candidates to ensure their research project is on track and to obtain feedback about the project as well as to learn about additional training requirements. Candidates will deliver written work as well as an oral presentation to their supervisors and peers at School and/or Faculty level. Candidates enrolled in a PhD by Published Work are exempted from the RHD Milestones.

The assessable RHD Milestones for doctoral candidates will be:

  • Confirmation of Candidature (6-12 months – to be completed by 12 months FTE)
  • Mid-Candidature Review (normally by 24 months FTE)
  • Final Thesis Review (normally by 36 months FTE)
  • Interim Review Report for Part-Time RHD Candidates (to be completed in between the Milestones above, and to be used for all candidates beyond the Final Thesis Review at 6-monthly intervals).                        

The assessable RHD Milestones for Masters by Research candidates will be:       

  • Confirmation of Candidature (6-9 months FTE)
  • Mid-Candidature Review (normally by 12 months FTE)
  • Final Thesis Review (normally by 18 months FTE)
  • Interim Review Report for Part-Time RHD Candidates (to be completed in between the Milestones above, and to be used for all candidates beyond the Final Thesis Review at 6-monthly intervals).

13.5  A specialist component may be prescribed for a candidate to provide additional preparation for research and may include any specialist or School-specific components of the core component. The specialist component will be developed by the Principal Supervisor and the School in conjunction with the appropriate area to address specialist needs or enhance the prospect of successful candidature. Such a specialist program might include computer training, statistical data analysis and techniques, language skills acquisition, or writing skills training.

13.6  The Faculty will make special provision for part-time or external or Cotutelle candidates for the completion of the required program of structured activities.  

14.  Status, Duration and Extension of Candidature

14.1  A candidate may enrol on a full-time or a part-time basis.

14.2  Minimum and maximum duration of candidature:

(a)      For the Masters by Research degree, the minimum and maximum will be one year and two years respectively for a full-time candidate, and two years and four years respectively for a part-time candidate

 (b)     For the PhD by thesis and Professional Doctorate degrees, the minimum and maximum duration of candidature, including any compulsory coursework, for a full-time candidate commencing their candidature from 1 January 2001 will be two years and four years respectively, and for a part-time candidate commencing their candidature from 1 January 2001 will be three years and eight years respectively. For candidates who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January 2001, the maximum duration of candidature will be four and a half years (full-time) and nine years (part-time).

NB: For some Professional Doctorates, the course rule might necessitate a longer minimum timeframe to complete.

(c)      For the PhD by Published Work, a candidate must submit bound copies of the published work to the Faculty within one year of approval of enrolment by the Board.

14.3 Candidates for the PhD by Published Work (publications completed prior to the commencement of the degree, refer to the Course Rule that contains specific admission requirements) will note that the thesis may not be submitted until:

(a)  at least three years have elapsed since the candidate qualified for the bachelors degree with honours or equivalent qualification; and

(b)  the candidate has spent at least three years following graduation substantially engaged in the practice and study of the discipline or a related discipline.

14.4   For the time-based research component of candidature, an extension to candidature of six months full-time (or twelve months part-time) may be approved by the Faculty upon the recommendation of the supervisor and Dean of School (or nominee). In approving an extension of candidature, the Faculty must be satisfied that there is an appropriate plan in place for completion within the period of the extension. Note: Candidates for Masters by Research degrees who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January 2009 may apply for an extension of twelve months full-time (or twenty-four months part-time). Further extensions of up to six months may be approved by the Faculty (on the recommendation of the supervisor and Dean of School, or nominee) in exceptional circumstances and under specific conditions determined by the Faculty.

14.5  Where a candidate has exceeded their Research Training Program (RTP) entitlement under the Commonwealth Research Training Program, an extension of candidature may be subject to the payment of fees as determined by the University in accordance with the Policy on Continuity of Study

15.  Variations to Conditions of Candidature

15.1  Applications relating to any of the circumstances listed below will be made in writing by the candidate to the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) and must be accompanied by a recommendation from the supervisor. Applications will be considered in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Course Rules governing the degree. In case of disagreement or conflict between the candidate and the supervisor, the Faculty will determine the appropriate course of action. The Faculty General Manager (or nominee) will notify the candidate in writing of the outcome of the application and any implications for the other conditions of candidature, including the liability for fees.

(i)  During the time-based research component of candidature, absences from the normal place of study for a period of more than nine weeks per year. Absences of less than nine weeks may be approved by the supervisor. In addition, scholarship holders must contact Student Finance Services.

(ii)  During the time-based research component of candidature, intermission of candidature for reasons of illness or any other reasons preventing the candidate from carrying out the work for the degree. Candidates who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January 2001 may apply for periods of intermission for up to 12 months at a time. Such candidates may apply for more than one period of intermission during the candidature. Candidates who commenced their candidature after 1 January 2001 may apply for periods of intermission from their candidature for up to a total of twelve months. Such candidates may apply for additional periods of intermission if there are exceptional circumstances which warrant further periods of intermission. In addition, scholarship holders seeking intermission must contact Student Finance Services.

(iii)  Transfer of status between full-time and part-time. Scholarship holders should be enrolled on a full-time basis. The Scholarships Committee may approve a request to study part-time if a candidate can provide sufficient evidence that there are exceptional circumstances which preclude full-time study.

(iv)  Transfer of status from internal to external. In considering an application for transfer of status from internal to external, the Faculty will ensure that the conditions specified in Clause 6.13 (viii) have been met.

(v)  Significant amendment to research topic. Where an amendment to the research topic requires a change in supervision, refer to Clause 15.3 of this policy.

(vi)  Extension of period of candidature. Refer to Clause 14 of this policy. In addition, scholarship holders requiring an extension must contact Student Finance Services.

(vii)  Reduction of minimum total period of time-based research component of candidature. Applications for a reduction in the minimum total period of time-based research component of candidature will be made on the grounds of previous research experience and/or evidence of exceptional progress during candidature. Applications must be supported by written reports from the candidate's supervisor and the Dean of School (or nominee) and should not normally be made until the thesis is estimated to be within six months of completion.

(viii)  Writing-up away from the University. Candidates other than external candidates will write and submit their thesis before leaving the University. However, a candidate may apply for 'writing-up away' status if the supervisor certifies that all experimental work has been completed, that the candidate no longer requires access to the University's resources (other than consultation with the supervisors), and the candidate has completed a satisfactory first draft of the thesis. The termination date of candidature will remain unchanged (unless the candidate has also applied to transfer status between full-time and part-time). If the candidate is unable to submit the thesis by that date he or she must apply for an extension as specified in Clause 15.1(vi) in this policy.

15.2  Transfer between candidatures

15.2.1  Except in the case of transfers on academic grounds (see 15.2.5) pursuant to the availability of a designated exit award, applications relating to transfer of candidature will be made in writing by the candidate to the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) and must be accompanied by a recommendation from the supervisor and the Dean of School (or nominee).

15.2.2  The Faculty shall consider the application and recommendation in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Course Rules governing the degrees and, in the case of transfers from Masters by Research to PhD or Professional Doctoral candidature and (or vice-versa) in either direction between PhD and Professional Doctoral candidatures, with any other requirements specified by the Faculty or in University policies or included in approved admission criteria for the degree in question.

15.2.3  An application to transfer from Masters by Research to PhD or Professional Doctoral candidature  (or vice versa) supported by the supervisor and the Dean of School (or nominee) will make a sufficiently strong case for the upgrading/downgrading of the candidature. In considering an application, the Faculty will require assurance that:

Transfer to PhD

(i)  the candidate has demonstrated a capacity to undertake work at the more advanced level, in the form of either:

  • draft chapters; or
  • evidence, in the form of written reports, of progress in fieldwork, research or data analysis; or
  • written seminar or conference papers, dealing with the substance of the thesis, that have been presented formally;

(ii)  the nature of the proposed research topic is substantial enough to warrant the expansion of the research framework; and

(iii)  the definition of the project is such that the candidate has a reasonable prospect of completing a doctoral thesis that will make a significant contribution to knowledge or, in the case of a Professional Doctorate, knowledge and/or professional practice.

A case for upgrading which simply asserts that the area is large enough to warrant an expanded scale of activity will not be considered. It will be necessary to demonstrate that the analytical framework has been considered and is appropriate.

Transfer to Masters by Research

(i)  the candidate has demonstrated a capacity not to reach the standard required of a doctoral program. The candidate and supervisor will review the scale, scope, level and originality of the work to ensure it fits with the Masters by Research Course Rule.

15.2.4  The Faculty General Manager (or nominee) will notify the applicant of the outcome of an application. Where the transfer has been approved, the notification shall contain all the details specified in Clause 9.1 of this policy.

15.2.5  Transfers pursuant to the availability of a designated exit award will occur following the candidate’s acceptance of an offer from the Faculty in circumstances where review of progress has disclosed that specified academic performance criteria essential to continue with initial candidature have not been satisfied but capacity to meet the learning outcomes of the exit award has nevertheless been demonstrated.

15.2.6   Where the candidate is a scholarship holder, the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) will notify Student Finance Services of the outcome of the application.

15.2.7  Scholarship holders requiring an extension should consult Student Finance Services.

15.3  Temporary or Permanent Change of Supervisor

15.3.1  In the event that a candidate's supervisor will be absent from the University for more than three months, the Dean of School (or nominee) will recommend the appointment of a temporary replacement supervisor.

15.3.2  The Dean of School (or nominee) will, after consultation with the candidate, recommend the appointment of a permanent replacement supervisor in the event of:

(a)  the supervisor leaving the University; or

(b)  the nature of the candidate's research project changing to the extent that it would be more profitably supervised by a staff member other than the principal supervisor; or

(c)  irreconcilable differences between the candidate and the supervisor requiring a change in supervision arrangements.

15.3.3  The recommendation of the Dean of School (or nominee) will be considered by the Faculty. The temporary or permanent replacement supervisor will be appointed by the Faculty, and the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) will notify the candidate in writing of the change.

16.  Withdrawal from Candidature

16.1  A candidate who wishes to withdraw from candidature will discuss this with his or her supervisors and the Dean of School (or nominee), who should satisfy themselves that every attempt has been made to resolve any difficulties in the study environment which may have prompted the candidate to consider withdrawing from candidature. Where the option of a designated exit award is available, special attention to pursuing that option will be included in the discussions.

16.2  A candidate who decides to withdraw will notify the Executive Dean of the Faculty (or nominee) of this in writing, giving the reasons for and the effective date of the withdrawal. The Faculty General Manager (or nominee) will acknowledge the notification, confirm the date on which the withdrawal is effective and take any action necessary to suspend any scholarship.

16.3  The withdrawal, including the following information, will be reported to the Faculty for noting:

  • the candidate's name and gender;
  • thecommencement date of candidature;
  • thestatus of candidature;
  • the School and Faculty;
  • the supervisors;
  • the effective date of withdrawal; and
  • the reasons for withdrawal.

16.4  A candidate who has withdrawn and who subsequently wishes to re-enrol will apply to the Faculty for re-admission. The Faculty will determine whether the candidate will be re-admitted and whether the period of candidature will be adjusted to take account of the previous candidature.

17. RHD Milestones for the time-based research component and progression toward completion

17.1  It is the responsibility of the supervisors to monitor the performance of the candidate relative to the standard for the degree, and to ensure that inadequate progress or work below the standard generally expected is brought to the candidate's attention.

Regular contact between the candidate and supervisors as outlined in the responsibilities of the candidate and supervisor should facilitate the early identification of problems and the provision of timely academic counselling.

17.2 The RHD Milestones are the key benchmarks for assessing the candidate’s progress. The RHD Milestones comprise assessable components as prescribed by the Faculty or School and provide a structured opportunity for candidates to ensure their research project is on track and to obtain feedback about the project as well as to learn about additional training requirements. Candidates will deliver written work as well as an oral presentation to their supervisors and peers at School and/or Faculty level. Candidates enrolled in a PhD by Published Work are exempted from the RHD Milestones.

The assessable RHD Milestones for doctoral candidates will be:

  • Confirmation of Candidature (6-12 months – to be completed by 12 months FTE)
  • Mid-Candidature Review (normally by 24 months FTE)
  • Final Thesis Review (normally by 36 months FTE)
  • Interim Review Report for Part-Time RHD Candidates (to be completed in between the Milestones above, and to be used for all candidates beyond the Final Thesis Review at 6-monthly intervals).                    

The assessable RHD Milestones for Masters by Research candidates will be:       

  • Confirmation of Candidature (6-9 months FTE)
  • Mid-Candidature Review (normally by 12 months FTE)
  • Final Thesis Review (normally by 18 months FTE)
  • Interim Review Report for Part-Time RHD Candidates (to be completed in between the Milestones above, and to be used for all candidates beyond the Final Thesis Review at 6-monthly intervals).

17.3  The emphasis of the RHD Milestones is on providing authentic learning strategies to ensure that the communication between candidate and supervisor is sound and focused on completion. The RHD Milestone written reports are an important and formal means by which feedback and any problems concerning the candidature can be identified. The reports must be frank appraisals of progress by both the supervisors and the candidate. The reports provide the means by which the University assesses whether the candidature is progressing satisfactorily, and whether the candidature should continue.

17.4  The RHD Milestones assessed by the Faculty and/or School are an essential component of the research higher degree candidature. They provide an opportunity for candidates to submit written work and present their research to promote a more realistic assessment of progress. They provide a scaffolded approach and encourage candidates to continue writing throughout candidature.

17.5  In addition to the completion of the RHD Milestones, the candidate will submit written evidence of the progress of his or her work. This submission may take a variety of forms, as appropriate to the particular nature and duration of the candidature, and might include any of the following:

  • a literature review;
  • discussion of research methods, ideas investigated and/or work undertaken in the past year;
  • a draft outline of the structure of the thesis;
  • a written seminar paper; and
  • a draft chapter.

17.6  Furthermore, to enhance the development of candidates' skills, each School will organise seminars, work-in-progress sessions, workshops etc., whereby candidates are able to make regular oral presentations to staff and their peers on the progress of their research work.

17.7  Outside of the RHD Milestones, where a supervisor perceives that it may become necessary to recommend that a candidature be terminated because of unsatisfactory progress, the supervisor must give the candidate a preliminary warning in writing to that effect, stating the reasons why the candidate's progress is considered to be unsatisfactory. The supervisor should inform the candidate's other supervisor(s) of the preliminary warning. At that point the supervisor should organise a meeting (with the candidate and the Associate Supervisor) to discuss actions that must be completed by the candidate within a specified timeframe to rectify the unsatisfactory progress.

18.  Unsatisfactory Progress in the time-based research component  

18.1  A Faculty will, upon receipt of any of the RHD Milestone reports and may at any other time, review the progress of a candidate and, taking account of recommendations from the supervisor and the School, may:

(i)  if progress is satisfactory, allow the candidate to continue as a candidate for the degree; or

(ii)  if progress is unsatisfactory, allow the candidate to continue as a candidate subject to such conditions as the Faculty/School may impose; or

(iii)  if progress is unsatisfactory and the candidate is a PhD candidate or Professional Doctoral candidate, ask the candidate to show cause why his or her candidature should not be transferred to an appropriate Masters degree candidature or designated exit award; or terminated; or

(iv)  if progress is unsatisfactory and the candidate is a Masters by Research candidate, ask the candidate to show cause why his or her candidature should not be terminated.

18.2  Should a Faculty determine to ask a candidate to show cause why his or her candidature should not be terminated or transferred, the following procedures will apply:

(i)  The Faculty General Manager (or nominee) will write to the candidate, by registered mail, asking him or her to show cause why his or her candidature should not be terminated or transferred. This letter will contain a statement of the procedures for the termination of candidature and a description of why the candidate's progress has been found to be unsatisfactory. The letter will also explicitly notify the candidate that if he or she does not reply within the specified period the candidature will be terminated or transferred.

(ii)  A candidate who has received such a letter may request an interview with the Executive Officer or Chairperson of the relevant Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee or Examinations Board of the Faculty in order to discuss his or her response to the letter. An interview will be granted upon the candidate's request.

(iii)  The Faculty will consider the case of any candidate whose progress has been identified as unsatisfactory, taking into account any response from the candidate, and shall determine which course of action outlined in Clause 18.3 of this policy is appropriate. The candidate will be invited to attend a meeting of the relevant Faculty committee at which his or her case is to be considered or, in the case of a candidate who is not a resident of South Australia, to send a representative. If attending in person, the candidate may be accompanied by a staff or student member of the University or a representative of the Flinders University Student Association (FUSA) – Student Assist. A candidate will not be permitted to have legal representation at the meeting (but this does not prevent a legally qualified candidate or representative from attending the meeting provided that the person with legal qualifications is not acting in a professional legal capacity). The candidate and/or representative must be present throughout discussion of the case and allowed to participate in the discussion. The candidate and/or representative must be absent when the case is decided.

(iv)  If a candidate required to show cause fails to respond to the request, the Faculty will either transfer the candidature or make a determination that the candidature be terminated.

(v)  A candidate will be informed of the Faculty's decision or recommendation immediately, by registered mail.

18.3  The following courses of action will be taken by the Faculty after the review of a candidate's progress in accordance with the procedures in Clause 18.2 in this policy:

(i)  take no further action; or

(ii)  permit the candidate to continue as a candidate subject to such conditions as the Faculty may impose; or

(iii)  transfer candidature from PhD or Professional Doctorate to an appropriate Masters degree candidature or designated exit award; or

(iv)  make a determination that the candidate's candidature be terminated.

18.4  The Faculty must immediately inform the candidate of its determination, and the reasons for the determination and the procedures for appeal, by registered mail. Where the Faculty has determined to terminate candidature (as per Clause 18.3(iv) in this policy), the Faculty will provide the candidate with the opportunity to appeal that determination.

18.5  A candidate who wishes to appeal against the decision of a Faculty (in relation to Clauses 18.3 (ii), 18.3 (iii) and 18.3 (iv) of this policy) will, in the first instance and without delay, discuss the matter with the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) or the Executive Officer or Chairperson of the relevant Faculty Research Higher Degree Committee or Examinations Board of the Faculty. Should the candidate still be dissatisfied with the response, he or she may appeal to the Student Appeals Committee. An appeal may be lodged only on the following grounds:

(i)  that the appropriate policy was not adhered to or correct procedures were not followed in considering the matter; or

(ii)  that the decision was made without due regard to facts, evidence or circumstances; or

(iii)  that the penalty, where applicable, was too harsh.

18.6  A candidate wishing to appeal to the Student Appeals Committee must lodge the appeal with the Manager, Student Policy and Projects within 20 working days of the date of the notification of the determination. The appeal must:

  • be accompanied by the original show cause submission, any correspondence which the candidate has received from the University in relation to the request to show cause, and the outcome of deliberations;
  • include details of the grounds for the appeal, including evidence in support of the candidate's case (together with supporting documentation);
  • include any additional information which the candidate considers relevant; and
  • specify what outcome is being sought.

18.7  On receipt of the appeal, the Manager, Student Policy and Projects (or nominee) will:

  • within 5 working days acknowledge receipt in writing, check the documentation to ensure that it is complete and that a case has been outlined and if not, seek the missing information; and
  • refer the appeal to the Student Appeals Committee which will proceed in accordance with the Policy on the Student Appeals Committee.

18.8  The Student Appeals Committee will consider the matter and inform the candidate and appropriate Faculty Board of its decision.

18.9 If the candidate is not satisfied with the outcome, the candidate may lodge a complaint or appeal with a relevant external agency.

19. Appointment of Examiners

19.1 Examiners of a thesis submitted for a research higher degree will judge the candidate’s approach to research (and in the case of Professional Doctorates, professional practice), construction of hypotheses, argument and analysis in addition to the candidate’s understanding of a body of existing knowledge. If the degree is awarded, candidates will become the peers of the examiners. Selection of examiners is therefore of critical importance.

19.2 The following general principles will apply in the selection of examiners:

(i)  examiners must be free from real or perceived bias, either for or against the candidate, the supervisor or the University;

(ii) examiners will be experts of international standing in the discipline and will be research active, thus ensuring that their knowledge of the field or area of professional practice is current;

(iii) examiners must hold a qualification equivalent to or higher than the degree for which the thesis is being examined, or possess equivalent professional experience;

(iv) examiners will have empathy with the theoretical framework used by the candidate;

(v) examiners will be made familiar with the requirements of the institution, and the essential parts of the Course Rules governing the particular degree;

(vi) examiners must be external and independent of Flinders University and not have any real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest with the candidate, or the supervisor(s), or the University, of either a personal, professional or commercial nature. Any potential or perceived conflicts must be declared by the Principal Supervisor on the University-prescribed form. Declaring a conflict of interest may not necessarily preclude an individual from examining the thesis; however, all conflicts must be declared in advance so that the Office of Graduate Research can assess whether the individual is appointable as an examiner. Examiners who have had a close relationship with the supervisors or candidate in the past five years, including recent graduates from Flinders University will not be appointed. This is in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Section 7 and the ACGR Inc Australian Graduate Research Good Practice Principles Clause 6;

(vii)  examiners must not be from the same institutions;

(viii) in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the examination process, the identity of examiners will not be revealed to candidates until the examination process has been completed and not then if an examiner has requested to remain anonymous.

19.3 There will be two examiners for a Masters by Research thesis, PhD thesis, PhD by Published Work thesis or Professional Doctorate thesis. A supervisor will not act as an examiner. In exceptional circumstances, the University Research Higher Degrees Committee may agree to the appointment of a third examiner. Examination arrangements for Cotutelle degrees are specified in the Cotutelle Agreement.

19.4 In order to avoid delays in the examination process, at least three months before the submission of the thesis, the Principal Supervisor will:

(i) consult the candidate on any objections the candidate may have to potential examiners. Any such objections will be taken into account in the process of selection of examiners. The supervisor will remind the candidate of the University's policy concerning the confidentiality of examiners and that any attempts by the candidate to contact potential examiners will undermine the integrity of the examination process.

(ii) submit to the Office of Graduate Research a completed Nomination of Examiners form that includes the following information:

  • information about Intellectual Property/Confidentiality Agreements;
  • information about the degree type; for example: creative component; Cotutelle Agreement; submitted in another language (refer to Clauses 20.7); or PhD by Published Work (refer to Course Rule);
  • a citation and 2-3 short sentences for Graduation purposes (for doctoral candidates only);
  • the nomination of two possible examiners, their credentials, full CV, email and postal addresses;
  • a list of publications of the examiners from the previous 5 years
  • copies of email correspondence where the supervisor has requested the examiner to review the thesis;
  • information on any objections expressed by the candidate to potential examiners;
  • acknowledgement that the supervisor supports the submission of the thesis or has made a case to the contrary;
  • details of any conflicts of interest with the potential examiners either with the candidate or supervisor(s) or the University;
  • summary of the thesis (maximum of 500 words) which has been written by the candidate and approved by the supervisor. This summary will provide the Office of Graduate Research with background information when the nomination and appointment of examiners is being considered. This summary will also be sent with the invitation to examiners; and
  • Information about export controls for the candidate’s research.

The Office of Graduate Research may, at its discretion, seek advice from the Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) or other relevant experts concerning the selection of examiners.

19.5 The appointment of any examiner will be approved by the Dean of Graduate Research. In the case of a Cotutelle candidature, examiners must be approved by both institutions.

19.6 Once the nominated examiners have been approved by the Dean of Graduate Research, the Office of Graduate Research will write to the examiners inviting them to act and will provide them with:

  • the name of the candidate, the degree for which the thesis is being submitted, the College in which the work has been undertaken, the title and summary of the thesis, and the names of supervisors;
  • information about the requirements of the degree, including copies of the relevant Course Rules and any additional documents concerning requirements;
  • information on the University's policy on the differences between the requirements of a Masters by Research, a PhD, a PhD by Published Work and a Professional Doctorate degree (refer to Clause 3 of this policy);
  • for Cotutelle candidates, information about the examination arrangements and other relevant aspects of the Cotutelle agreement;
  • where relevant, information about the examination arrangements and other relevant aspects of the degree type; for example: creative component; thesis submitted in another language (refer to Clauses 20.7); or PhD by Published Work (refer to Course Rule)
  • information on the University's policy concerning confidentiality of examiners and the release of Examiner Reports to candidates;
  • information on the procedures that will be followed in the event of significant divergence between Examiner Reports (refer to Clause 22.4 of this policy);
  • the Examiner Report form;
  • if relevant, information on any Intellectual Property agreements pertaining to the thesis (refer to Clause 10 of this policy). If relevant, examiners will be sent a Thesis Examiners’ Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement that must be completed and returned to the Office of Graduate Research before the thesis is dispatched;
  • deadlines for response to the invitation to act as an examiner (10 working days) and for submission of the completed Examiner Report (eight weeks); and
  • information on the honorarium payable for the examination of research higher degree thesis.

19.7 If an examiner is unable to accept an invitation or fails to respond to an invitation within 10 working days (despite being sent reminder notifications), an invitation will be sent to a person approved as a reserve examiner.

20.  Preparation and Submission of Thesis

20.1 A digital copy of the thesis prepared in accordance with the Rules for Higher Degree Theses (see Appendix F of this policy) and with information in this section will normally be uploaded to the University's digital repository for examination purposes.

20.2 A candidate must be enrolled to submit their thesis.

20.3 A person whose candidature has lapsed and who wishes to submit a thesis may only do so with the permission of the Vice President and Executive Dean (or nominee) of the College.

20.4 Where a College recommends word limits for the length of a thesis, this information will be published on the College website and also provided to examiners.

20.5 A candidate must sign a declaration that the thesis does not contain any material previously published or written by another person except where due reference is made in the text or footnotes. There can be no exception to this rule. Material produced jointly by a candidate and their supervisors or others can be included in the narrative of the thesis only if it is the original work of the candidate. To ensure compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007), if the thesis involves the original work of the joint authors other than the candidate, this work must be fully acknowledged in exactly the same way that the work of any other authors is referenced. A candidate is required to obtain permission from any co-authors to include their work in the thesis.  For further information refer to Clause 9 of Appendix F Rules for Higher Degree Theses of this policy.

20.6 Before a thesis can be submitted for examination a candidate is required to submit the final draft of their thesis through electronic text-matching software.  The text-matching software report must be reviewed and signed off by the supervisor on the University-prescribed form.  See Appendix F for further details regarding text-matching software.

20.7 Unless studying under a Cotutelle Agreement, candidates enrolled in disciplines other than foreign language disciplines are not permitted to submit their theses in a language other than English.  In the case of candidates enrolled in foreign language disciplines, permission to submit a thesis in a language other than English will be considered by the relevant College before thesis submission. Each case will be considered on its merits and the following points taken into account:

(a) the competence of the supervisors in the language proposed;

(b) the availability of a sufficient range of qualified examiners competent in the language; and

(c) evidence of an appropriate link between the subject of the thesis and the language in which it is proposed to submit the thesis.

Where a candidate is given permission to submit a thesis in a language other than English, the candidate will be required to include an abstract in English in the thesis.

20.8 A candidate may submit a thesis for examination if this is against the advice of the supervisor(s) only after an attempt has been made to resolve the matter through discussion with the supervisor(s) and a RHD Contact Officer, or with the Dean of Research of their College (or nominee when this is the same person).

20.9 Where a candidate believes that the supervisor will not support the submission of the thesis because there has been a breakdown in the relationship between the candidate and supervisor, the candidate should contact the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee), Dean of Research of the College or a RHD Contact Officer to initiate a process to overcome any possible prejudice in the examination of the thesis.

21.  Examination Process

21.1 When a candidate submits a thesis to the University’s digital repository, the Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate that it has been received and will then forward the thesis and relevant documentation to examiners.

21.2 From the time of the submission of the thesis a candidate must not initiate contact with the examiners on any matter concerning the thesis.

21.3 From the time of the approval of examiners no direct contact between an examiner and a supervisor can occur in relation to any material under examination. Should an examiner require clarification of any aspect of the material under examination, enquiries will be directed to the Office of Graduate Research who will refer it to the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee). The Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) will, if necessary, consult with the candidate, the supervisor or, on the advice of the candidate or supervisor, another suitably qualified person.

21.4 Consultation between examiners will not be permitted.

21.5 If an Examiner Report has not been received by the eight-week deadline, a reminder will be sent by the Office of Graduate Research to the examiner including the due date for submission of the Examiner Report.

21.6 If, after a reminder has been issued, an examiner fails to provide a report by the due date, the examiner will be requested in writing to indicate when the report will be received. In exceptional circumstances or in the event that an examiner fails to report within three months of receipt of the thesis and has not notified the University as to why the examination of the thesis has been delayed, the Office of Graduate Research will request the supervisor nominates a  reserve examiner. When two reports have been received a decision on the outcome of the examination will be made in accordance with Clause 22 of this policy. The non-responsive examiner will receive written notification that a report is no longer required because a replacement examiner has been appointed.

21.7 An examiner of a thesis will submit a written report (minimum of one page) on the Examiner Report form regarding the quality of the thesis and its strengths and weaknesses and will make one of the following recommendations on the thesis:

  • A:   Award: that the degree should be awarded, subject to satisfying any coursework requirements (if applicable);
  • B:   Award: that the degree should be awarded, subject to the completion of minor amendments to the thesis (specified by the examiner) to be carried out to the satisfaction of the supervisor and the Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) and subject to satisfying any coursework requirements (if applicable);
  • C:   Award: that the degree should be awarded, subject to the completion of major amendments to the thesis (specified by the examiner) to be carried out to the satisfaction of the supervisor and the Dean of Research of the College  (or nominee) and subject to satisfying any coursework requirements (if applicable);
  • D:   Resubmit: that the degree should not be awarded but the candidate should be permitted to revise and resubmit the thesis or take a further examination or both. A thesis may be resubmitted for examination only once;
  • E:    Award alternate degree: that in the case of a candidate who has submitted a thesis for the degree of PhD or Professional Doctorate an appropriate Masters degree or designated exit award should be awarded;
  • F:    Non Award: that the degree should not be awarded and the candidate should not be allowed to present for the degree again.

21.8 Examiners of a doctoral thesis will be asked to indicate via the Examiner Report form whether they would recommend the thesis for the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

22.  Consideration of Examiners' Reports

After receiving both Examiner Reports, the Dean of Graduate Research will determine the outcome of the examination in accordance with the following procedures.  For Cotutelle candidatures, variations to these procedures, or additional procedures, may apply, as detailed in the Cotutelle Agreement.

At the end of the examination process the candidate will receive full copies of the Examiner Reports (redacted if necessary to preserve the anonymity of an examiner if this has been requested)

22.1 Where both examiners have recommended the award of the degree (AA), the Dean of Graduate Research will normally recommend the award of the degree, once any coursework requirements have been satisfied and in accordance with Clause 25.1.

22.2  Where both examiners have recommended the award of the degree subject to the completion of minor (BB) or major (CC) amendments to the thesis, or when one examiner has recommended the award of the degree and the other examiner has recommended the award of the degree subject to the completion of minor (AB) or major (AC) amendments to the thesis, or where one examiner has recommended the award of the degree subject to minor amendments and the other examiner has recommended major amendments (BC) the Dean of Graduate Research will normally recommend the award of the degree subject to completion of amendments approved by the supervisor and Dean of Research of College (or nominee) and in accordance with Clauses 25.2 and 25.3 and once any coursework requirements have been satisfied.

Note: Minor amendments may include the correction of spelling or typographical errors and small changes to the text. Major amendments apply when an examiner is assured that the thesis is sound but the amendments suggest changes to the structure and/or substance of some chapters of the thesis to improve the thesis without re-examination.  

22.3 Where both examiners are unanimous in making one of the other recommendations listed in Clause 21.7 in this policy (DD, EE, FF), the Dean of Graduate Research will make a decision on the outcome of the examination in accordance with clause 25.4, 25.5 or 25.6.

22.4 Where examiners are not unanimous in making any one recommendation, the supervisor and the candidate will be provided with copies of the Examiner Reports.  In this process the examiners' identities will not be revealed to the candidate. In consultation with the candidate, the supervisor will be invited to write a formal diagnostic statement on the discipline specificities and the contextual challenges that led to the examination outcome. Supervisors are required to provide the comments within 10 working days of the date of the request to comment. At the conclusion of 10 working days the Office of Graduate Research will proceed with the examination process.

(i)  Where one examiner recommends the degree should be awarded (A) or that the degree should be awarded subject to minor (B) or major (C) amendments to the thesis and the other examiner recommends that the degree should not be awarded but the candidate should be permitted to revise and resubmit the thesis (D) and in all other cases where the examiners are not unanimous in making one recommendation the examination will be referred to the University Research Higher Degrees Committee. The University Research Higher Degrees Committee will be provided with copies of the supervisor's comments and both Examiner Reports.  While considering the divergent results the University Research Higher Degrees Committee may determine that it is necessary to engage a third examiner.  A third examiner will be provided with a copy of the original thesis only and asked to provide an Examiner Report form as per Clause 21.7 the University Research Higher Degrees Committee will make a decision on the outcome of the examination. 

In the event that the URHDC determines a revise and resubmit (D) outcome for divergent Examiner Reports (DE, DF). The resubmitted thesis will be re-examined by two new examiners with no prior knowledge of the examination and student case. There may be circumstances in which this is not possible or desirable and these will be considered by the Dean of Graduate Research.

22.5 Should an examination process become protracted, the candidate will be kept regularly informed on the progress of the examination process by the Office of Graduate Research.

22.6 The following candidates are eligible to appeal their final thesis examination result to the Student Appeals Committee:

(i) a candidate who received divergent results and a decision was made by the URHDC;

(ii) a candidate who received an (E) Award Alternate Degree or (F) Non-Award;

(iii) a candidate who is able to provide documented evidence of a flaw in the examination process, such as prejudice or bias on the part of one or more examiners.

An appeal to the Student Appeals Committee must be lodged with the Manager, Student Policy and Projects within 20 working days of the date of the notification of the decision. Such an appeal may only be made on one or more of the following grounds:

  • the appropriate policy was not adhered to or correct procedures were not followed in considering the matter;
  • the decision was made without due regard to facts, evidence or circumstances.

The Manager, Student Policy and Projects will acknowledge receipt of the appeal within 5 working days.

The appeal must:

  • be accompanied by copy of the Examiner Reports,
  • be accompanied by a copy of the letter which the student received from the University Research Higher Degrees Committee outlining the examination decision,
  • indicate the grounds for the appeal and include evidence in support of the case for the appeal; and
  • specify what outcome is being sought.

If it is determined that a candidate has been successful in their appeal, the Student Appeals Committee may determine that two new examiners can be appointed to re-examine the thesis.

All other matters relevant to an appeal and its conduct will be governed by the provisions of the Students Appeals and Complaints Policy and Procedures.

23.  Consideration of Examiners' Reports - Allegation of Academic Dishonesty

In the event that an allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity has been made during the examination process, the Office of Graduate Research will follow Clause 4.3 of the University's policy on Academic Integrity. The Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) will then determine the outcome of the examination in accordance with the following procedures.

23.1  In the event that the allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity is substantiated and the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) has determined that the candidate should be permitted to revise and resubmit the thesis or take a further examination or both, the Office of Graduate Research, in consultation with the supervisor and Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) will appoint two new examiners to examine the (revised) thesis in accordance with Clauses 19.4 and 19.6 of this policy.

23.2  In the event that the allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity is not substantiated but the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) is unable to determine the outcome of examination due to substantial divergence between the examiners' recommendations, the Office of Graduate Research, in consultation with the supervisor and the Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) will appoint two new examiners to examine the (revised) thesis in accordance with Clauses 19.4 and 19.6 of this policy.

23.3 Following the appointment of new examiners, the outcome of examination will be determined in accordance with procedures specified in Clause 22 of this policy.

23.4 In the event that an allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity is not substantiated, and there is not substantial divergence between the examiners' recommendations, the outcome of examination will be determined in accordance with procedures specified in Clause 22 of this policy

24.  Recommendation of Award of PhD for a Thesis submitted for a Masters by Research degree 

24.1 On rare occasions examiners of a degree submitted for the award of Masters by Research may consider the work to be of such merit that the examiners unsolicitedly recommend the degree of PhD be awarded instead. The awarding of a PhD will only be considered if both examiners independently recommend the upgrade. If the Dean of Graduate Research approves the recommendation, the Office of Graduate Research will inform the candidate and supervisor.

24.2 After receiving both Examiner Reports, determination of the outcome of the examination will normally proceed in accordance with the relevant procedures outlined in Clause 22 of this policy.

25.  Outcome of the Examination 

Once the outcome of the examination has been determined, the following procedures will apply:

25.1 Award of degree without thesis amendments (A): The Office of Graduate Research will provide the candidate and supervisor(s) with a copy of the Examiner Reports and notify the candidate of the requirements to certify that the candidate has completed the requirements for the award of the degree in accordance with Clause 27 of this policy.

25.2 Award of degree subject to minor thesis amendments (B): The Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate of the requirement to make minor amendments based on the Examiner Reports and provide the candidate and supervisor(s) with a copy of the Examiner Reports. Candidates are required to make amendments within a maximum of 6 months of the date of notification of the outcome of the examination, unless a longer period is negotiated by the Principal Supervisor and approved and the Office of Graduate Research. A candidate who does not submit their amendments by the agreed due date and does not seek an extension in writing before the end of the 6 months will have their candidature withdrawn after one year of notification of the outcome of the examination.

The supervisor and Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) will notify the Office of Graduate Research, on the University-prescribed form, that the amendments have been made to their satisfaction. The candidate and supervisors will also be notified of the requirements for the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) to certify that the candidate has completed the requirements for the award of the degree in accordance with Clause 27.

25.3 Award of degree subject to major thesis amendments (C): The Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate of the requirement to make major amendments based on the Examiner Reports and provide the candidate and supervisor(s) with a copy of the Examiner Reports. Candidates are required to make amendments within a maximum of 6 months of the date of notification of the outcome of the examination, unless a longer period is negotiated by the Principal Supervisor and approved and the Office of Graduate Research. A candidate who does not submit their amendments by the agreed due date and does not seek an extension in writing before the end of the 6 months, will have their candidature withdrawn after one year of notification of the outcome of the examination.

The supervisor and Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) will notify the Office of Graduate Research, on the University-prescribed form, that the amendments have been made to their satisfaction. The candidate and supervisors will also be notified of the requirements for the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) to certify that the candidate has completed the requirements for the award of the degree in accordance with Clause 27.

25.4 Revise and Resubmit the Thesis for Examination or take a Further Examination or Both (D):

25.4.1 A candidate who is required to revise and resubmit the thesis is required to re-enrol in their degree at the University. A deadline for the resubmission of the thesis will be set by the Dean of Graduate Research after consultation with the Principal Supervisor and candidate and taking into account the scale of the revisions required and whether the candidate is able to undertake the work on a full-time or part-time basis. The Office of Graduate Research will liaise with the College to re-enrol the candidate for the agreed period of time. If a candidate is unable to meet this deadline, they will apply to the College for an extension in accordance with Clause 14.4 of this policy.

25.4.2 The resubmitted thesis will normally be re-examined by the original examiners. There may be circumstances in which this is not possible or desirable and these will be considered by the Dean of Graduate Research.

25.4.3 The Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate and supervisor(s) in writing of the decision of the Dean of Graduate Research regarding this examination outcome and the conditions associated with it.

25.4.4 When the thesis is resubmitted, the procedures for its examination will be in accordance with Clauses 22-25 of this policy. A thesis may be resubmitted for examination only once.

25.5 Award of Masters by Research Degree or designated exit award (E): If the Dean of Graduate Research determines that a Masters by Research degree should be awarded to a PhD candidate, the appropriate Masters degree will be specified; or in the case of a Professional Doctoral candidate an appropriate designated exit award should be awarded in accordance with the Course Rule. The Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate of any requirements to make amendments based on the Examiner Reports and provide the candidate and supervisor(s) with a copy of the Examiner Reports. Candidates are required to make amendments within a maximum of 6 months of the date of notification of the outcome of the examination, unless a longer period is negotiated by the Principal Supervisor and approved by the Office of Graduate Research. A candidate who does not submit their amendments by the agreed due date and does not seek an extension in writing before the end of 6 months will have their candidature withdrawn after one year of notification of the outcome of the examination.

The supervisor and Dean of Research of the College (or nominee) will notify the Office of Graduate Research, on the University-prescribed form, that the amendments have been made to their satisfaction. The candidate and supervisors will also be notified of the requirements for the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) to certify that the candidate has completed the requirements for the award of the degree in accordance with Clause 27 of this policy.

25.6 Non Award of Degree (F): If the Dean of Graduate Research determines that the degree should not be awarded and the candidate should not be allowed to present for the degree again, the Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate and supervisors.

25.7 Award of PhD for Masters by Research thesis: The Office of Graduate Research will provide the candidate and supervisor(s) with a copy of the Examiner Reports. The candidate and supervisors will also be notified of the requirements for the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee) to certify that the candidate has completed the requirements for the award of the degree in accordance with Cause 27 of this policy.

26.  Uploading of Thesis in the Library

26.1 Once the examination process is completed the candidate is responsible for uploading the thesis to the University's digital repository, in the format prescribed by the Library. The Office of Graduate Research will ensure a copy is uploaded to the University’s digital repository. This will be the authoritative copy of the thesis. As outlined in Clause 12 of Appendix F Rules for Research Higher Degree Theses of this policy, the digital thesis will be available for open access, unless otherwise exempted as outlined in Clause 13 of Appendix F Rules for Research Higher Degree Theses of this policy.

26.2 Conditions under which the thesis may have restricted access are outlined in Clause 13 of Appendix F Rules for Higher Degree Theses of this policy.

27.  Requirements for award of the degree 

For award of the degree, candidates will be required to upload a digital copy of their thesis to the University’s digital repository as per Clause 26 and the Office of Graduate Research must confirm receipt.

In the case of Professional Doctorates, any coursework requirements must also be satisfied.

Once requirements are met, the Dean of Graduate Research will certify that the candidate has qualified for the award of the degree. The Office of Graduate Research will notify the candidate of the award and of degree conferral procedures.

The Office of Graduate Research will notify the examiners of the award.

Appendix A:  Responsibilities of the Research Higher Degree Candidate

The responsibilities of the research higher degree candidate include:

  1. becoming familiar with the relevant Course Rules governing the degree, and the University's policies and procedures on research higher degrees;
  2. selection of supervisors with the assistance of the Dean of School (or nominee);
  3. planning an appropriate research project with the supervisor;
  4. discussing with the supervisor the type of help considered most useful, and keeping to an agreed schedule of meetings which will ensure regular contact;
  5. making the supervisor aware, at the beginning of the candidature, of any theoretical, methodological and/or philosophical assumptions held by the candidate that might have an impact on the research project or the working relationship between candidate and supervisor;
  6. taking the initiative in raising problems or difficulties and sharing responsibility for seeking solutions;
  7. maintaining the progress of the work in accordance with the stages agreed to with the supervisor, including, in particular, presentation of any required written material in sufficient time to allow for comments and discussions before proceeding to the next stage;
  8. discussion at regular intervals of the progress towards, and impediments to, maintaining the agreed timetable with the supervisor;
  9. discussion with the supervisor of any proposed changes to the candidature (such as a change from full-time to part-time status, an amended field of study, etc);
  10. informing the University in writing of any proposed changes to the candidature;
  11. participation in the RHD Milestones together with the supervisor and the Dean of School (or nominee);
  12. adopting, at all times, safe working practices relevant to the field of research and adhering to the ethical practices appropriate to the School;
  13. coordinating with the supervisor to inform the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) in writing three months before the proposed date of submission, of the candidate's intention to submit and of any objections to potential examiners;
  14. accepting responsibility for producing the final copies of the thesis, its content, and ensuring that it is in accord with the relevant requirements, including the standard of presentation;
  15. ensuring that all publications and presentations that arise directly from research undertaken for a higher degree at Flinders University, whether published or presented during a higher degree candidature at Flinders University or subsequently, must carry a Flinders University attribution. These requirements do not preclude additional attribution to other appropriate institutions.
  16. Recipients of RTP scholarships are required to acknowledge the contribution of the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship in any publications that arise directly from the studies undertaken during this research higher degree candidature, whether published or presented during candidature or subsequently.

Appendix B:  Responsibilities of the Supervisor of a Research Higher Degree Candidate

The responsibilities of the supervisor include:

1.  planning an appropriate research project with the candidate. This planning will initially include:

  • evaluating the feasibility of the proposed research topic;
  • discussing the value of the research;
  • ensuring that the scope of the research is appropriate to the degree;
  • ensuring that he or she has the necessary knowledge/expertise to effectively supervise the candidate in the area chosen; and
  • ensuring that adequate resources and funding will exist to support the project;

2.  becoming well acquainted with the candidate's academic background so that if the candidate needs additional skills and/or knowledge to undertake the proposed research project, the candidate can be informed how these might be acquired;

3.  suggesting ways that the candidate can make the most effective use of time. This will include planning of the research program, suggesting appropriate research methods/techniques to be used and ensuring the availability of library resources in the field and bibliographical and technical assistance;

4.  making the candidate aware at the beginning of the candidature of any theoretical, methodological and/or philosophical assumptions held by the supervisor that might impact on the research project or the working relationship between the supervisor and candidate;

5.  informing the candidate about any planned long leave (or retirement) during the candidature and the arrangements made to provide effective supervision during such an absence;

6.  ensuring the candidate is aware at the start of the candidature of any confidentiality agreements that are associated with the proposed research;

7.  ensuring the candidate's project has appropriate ethical and/or biosafety approval (if applicable), that the candidate is aware of issues of intellectual property and that the candidate's research is conducted in accordance with the University's Work Health and Safety requirements;

8.  handling the student maintenance allocation;

9.  maintaining close and regular contact with the candidate and establishing at the beginning of the candidature the basis on which contact will be made. This will facilitate the supervisor's role in advising the candidate on the pace of progress, and ensuring that a reasonable timetable is set to permit the degree to be completed in the appropriate time. Supervision sessions should be structured so that it is relatively easy to exchange ideas;

10.  requiring written work from the candidate on a pre-arranged and agreed schedule so that his or her progress can be assessed at regular intervals. Constructive and critical comments should be made on any written work presented to the supervisor during the candidature. In each instance, a turnaround time for any submitted work should be established;

11.  ensuring that any criticism is given in a constructive, supportive and sensitive fashion. The supervisor needs to recognise that doing a research degree is an emotional as well as an intellectual commitment; candidates will be discouraged by continual harsh criticism;

12.  fulfilling administrative obligations regarding the candidate's candidature which includes supporting the candidate in relation to outside organisations and funding agencies; ensuring appropriate access to the facilities of the School and reminding the candidate to advise the University in writing of any changes in their candidature (ie, change of field of study, request for intermission, etc);

13.  monitoring carefully the performance of the candidate relative to the standard for the degree, and ensuring that inadequate progress or work below the standard generally expected is brought to the candidate's attention. The supervisor should assist with developing solutions to problems as they are identified. Where a supervisor perceives that it may become necessary to recommend that the candidature be terminated because of unsatisfactory progress, then the supervisor should give the candidate a preliminary warning, in writing, to that effect;

14.  being alert to the development of the kind of research that requires expenditures not identified in the original application for admission to candidature. The supervisor should keep in touch with the research to ensure that resources are available; if the research develops in such a way as to require additional resources, the matter should be brought immediately to the attention of the Executive Dean of the Faculty, and where appropriate, the Research Services Office and research funding bodies;

15.  using the regular reporting procedures established by the University as the minimum means by which any difficulties and problems discussed during the year are noted; and supervisors should indicate the action taken or advice given. If a problem is not resolved, the Dean of School (or nominee) should be consulted in the first instance. The Dean of School (or nominee) and the Executive Dean of the Faculty should be notified in writing of continuing problems between reporting periods. The supervisor shall participate in the RHD Milestones together with the candidate and the Dean of School (or nominee).

16.  immediately informing the Dean of School (or nominee) should the supervisory relationship break down. In such an instance, the Dean of School (or nominee) should ensure that other supervisory arrangements are made to the satisfaction of the candidate. Where the supervisor is the Dean of School (or nominee), the Executive Dean of the Faculty shall ensure that satisfactory supervisory arrangements are made;

17.  notifying the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) of the candidate's intention to submit in accordance with 19.4 of this policy;

18.  commenting critically on the content and the drafts of the thesis and, at the time of submission, check that the thesis is properly presented, conforms to the specifications for the thesis and is of sufficient standard to be, prima facie, worthy of examination;

19.  advising the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) of the names and credentials of suitable examiners; and

20.  ensuring that the candidate is aware that all publications and presentations that arise directly from research undertaken for a higher degree at Flinders University, whether published or presented during a higher degree candidature at Flinders University or subsequently, must carry a Flinders University attribution. These requirements do not preclude additional attribution to other appropriate institutions.

21. Supervisors of recipients of RTP scholarships will ensure that they acknowledge the contribution of the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship in any publications that arise directly from the studies undertaken during this research higher degree candidature, whether published or presented during candidature or subsequently.

Appendix C: Responsibilities of the Coordinator of a Professional Doctorate Course

The responsibilities of the Coordinator include:

  1. consideration of the candidate’s research interest and allocation of a supervisor;
  2. oversight and management of the candidate’s coursework study plan and progress;
  3. fulfilling administrative obligations regarding the candidature, which include supporting the candidate in relation to outside organisations and funding agencies; ensuring appropriate access to the facilities of the School; and reminding the candidate to advise the University in writing of any changes in their candidature (ie, change of field of study, request for intermission, etc); and
  4. monitoring carefully the performance of the candidate relative to the standard for the degree, and ensuring that inadequate progress or work below the standard generally expected is brought to the candidate’s attention. The Course Coordinator should assist with developing solutions to problems as they are identified.

Appendix D: Responsibilities of the School

It is the responsibility of the School to ensure that:

  1. the candidate meets the requirements set down by the institution for admission to candidature;
  2. the proposed research project is appropriate for the degree;
  3. the School is appropriate for the research to be undertaken, and has the space and other facilities to adequately support the candidature and can offer an appropriate academic environment for the candidature;
  4. the proposed supervisor is sufficiently expert in the area of research, and has the time and commitment, to be able to offer the candidate proper supervision. The School should aim to avoid excessive demand being imposed on academic staff in taking on too many postgraduate candidates. It is the responsibility of the School to determine how many postgraduate candidates any member of staff may supervise;
  5. proper supervision can be provided and maintained throughout the research period;
  6. a candidate proposing research involving a confidentiality agreement has been counselled by the responsible University Officer about the consequences of restricted access to their research results;
  7. each candidate has written guidelines (and where appropriate, training) concerning ethical and safety procedures appropriate to the School;
  8. each candidate has been informed as to what facilities are available to the candidate within the School;
  9. appropriate opportunities are provided by the School, by way of seminars and the like, for candidates to develop their skills at presenting their work as well as facilitating their integration into a cohesive group. The School should inform candidates of any conferences, seminars, etc by display of notices and distribution of circulars. The School should actively encourage postgraduate candidates to participate in such conferences and seminars;
  10. appropriate opportunities are provided for candidates to interact with and develop profitable intellectual relationships with one another and with staff;
  11. all new candidates are provided with a statement which sets out the procedures by which candidates may make representation to the Dean of the School (or nominee) if they believe that their work is not proceeding satisfactorily for reasons outside their control;
  12. an appropriate procedure is established for dealing with unresolved conflicts between supervisors and candidates;
  13. the Dean of the School (or nominee) will engage with candidates and supervisors as part of the RHD Milestones; and
  14. it fulfils any other institutional administrative obligations regarding the candidate's candidature.

Appendix E: Responsibilities of the University

The University has the responsibility to establish a policy framework within which School and Faculty specific policies can be developed.

The University is responsible for general policies related to: 

  1. clearly specified entry standards which apply regardless of discipline, and which are set to ensure that enrolling candidates are likely to have the capacity to succeed, given adequate commitment;
  2. access to physical facilities and resources which, while varying between different parts of the University, will be made clear to candidates at the outset;
  3. administration of research higher degrees and scholarships;
  4. the status of intellectual property arising from the work of candidates as part of their studies;
  5. minimum reporting requirements;
  6. procedures by which either the candidate or the supervisor(s) may make representations, as appropriate, should significant difficulties arise (grievance procedures, appeals, etc);
  7. a procedure which, while enabling inexperienced staff to supervise candidates, makes clear a process by which assistance from experienced staff may be sought (either by the supervisor or the candidate) should it be required. In general, inexperienced staff should begin as joint supervisors only;
  8. explicit procedures relating to all aspects of the examination process, including clear guidelines for examiners (and for candidates) outlining the University's expectations for the particular degree;
  9. induction and general training programs for candidates, and staff development courses in areas such as supervising higher degree candidates; and
  10. publicity of research programs, scholarships and awards.

Appendix F: Rules for Higher Degree Theses

1.  It is compulsory for all research higher degree candidates to submit a digital copy for examination purposes and conferral of the degree to the University’s digital repository; as appropriate, a printed version may also be requested by an examiner or the Office of Graduate Research. The digital copy of the thesis will be the authoritative version.

Thesis preparation for submission for examination

2.  From 2017 it will be compulsory for all research higher degree candidates to submit a digital copy of their thesis for examination to the University’s digital repository. In accordance with Clause 27 of this policy, the degree shall not be awarded until an approved digital copy is uploaded to the University’s digital repository.

3.  A high standard of presentation is required. Candidates are encouraged to use a good word processing or desktop publishing computer package to ensure that presentation of text is both clear and attractive to the reader. The preferred font size is 11-12, and double or 1.5 spacing can be used for the main text. Margins should be moderate and in accordance with the professional standard appropriate to the discipline. Support materials on thesis preparation are available under the "Word" section in the above link.

4.  All research higher degree candidates have a responsibility to understand and respect the rules and practice of academic integrity. The University's policy on Academic Integrity states at Clause 2.1 that "Academic integrity means that all work which is presented is produced by the student, with all sources and collaboration fully acknowledged". All research higher degree candidates must ensure that their thesis is consistent with the Policy on Academic Integrity.

All research higher degree candidates will be required to put their work through electronic text-matching software at each of the RHD Milestones and before their thesis can be externally examined.  The electronic text-matching reports must be reviewed and signed off by the supervisor(s) on the University prescribed form.  Flinders University provides the opportunity for all enrolled candidates to use electronic text-matching software (academic integrity software) to assist with the monitoring of academic integrity. Details regarding how to access text-matching software can be found at: flinders.edu.au/graduate-research/progress-completion. The text matching software is available to all Flinders University students via Flinders Learning Online (FLO). It is recommended that a thesis which contains confidential or sensitive matter be put through the text-matching software, Turnitin, as a ‘Draft’ only.

5.  The thesis shall incorporate in the following order:

(a)  a title page giving the title of the thesis in full, the names and degrees of the candidate, the name of the College of the University associated with the work and the date when submitted for the award of the degree.  (For examination: use the month it was submitted; for award of the degree: use the date the Office of Graduate Research advises that the degree can be awarded subject to any conditions, minor amendments and uploading the digital copy.) Candidates can include the Flinders University crest on their title page. An email requesting the use of the logo should be sent to gradresearch@flinders.edu.au. A copy of the most up-to-date logo will be sent to candidates;

(b)  table of contents;

(c)  a thesis abstract of not more than 500 words;

(d)  the following declaration signed by the candidate:

'I certify that this thesis does not incorporate without acknowledgment any material previously submitted for a degree or diploma in any university; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief it does not contain any material previously published or written by another person except where due reference is made in the text.';

(e)  an acknowledgment by the candidate of help given or work carried out by another person or organisation; Recipients of RTP scholarships are required to acknowledge the contribution of the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship in the examinable thesis and any publications that arise directly from this study undertaken during this research higher degree candidature.

(f)  the main text, or in the case of a thesis by published work, the contextual statement and the published papers;

(g)  appendices if any; and

(h)  bibliography.

The conventions of certain professional associations may not conform to the above order. In such instances, candidates should prepare the thesis in accordance with the professional standard appropriate to the discipline.

6.  Diagrams, figures and photographs included in the thesis should be presented in a manner acceptable to the discipline.

7.  Wherever possible, tables should be inserted in the appropriate place in the text, but lengthy or bulky tables should appear as an appendix.

8.  Publications arising out of work conducted during candidature may be included in the body of the thesis provided they contribute to the overall theme of the thesis and are appropriately placed and discussed in the body of the thesis. In accordance with the Authorship section of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) contributions from additional authors will be detailed in prose at the front of each chapter clearly indicating which authors have contributed to the publication (including details of design, data collection, writing and editing) and a percentage of the contribution. Extensive published papers submitted as additional evidence may be included as an appendix. Refer to Preparation of Thesis Guidelines in the Research Higher Degree Student Information Manual.

Co-authors of any material which is included in a thesis will be required to give permission for the inclusion of their work on the University-prescribed form.

9.  Other materials (eg digital media, creative works) may be included in the thesis, if approved by the College at the time of admission or confirmation of candidature.

10.  Use of a professional editor is permitted, if undertaken in accordance with the conditions described below. Professional editing of a thesis refers to editing services involving a financial transaction:

(a)  professional editing must be undertaken before the final version of the thesis is submitted to the candidate's supervisor for consideration;

(b)  supervisors must oversee the process and monitor professional editing on an individual basis to ensure the consistency of thesis quality however;

(c) supervisors are not responsible for the changes made by an editor to a thesis;

(d) all professional thesis editing is considered to be of a private nature arranged between the candidate and a third party.  The university is not responsible for the payment of editors engaged by candidates.  The university is not responsible for the working conditions of editors engaged by candidates;

(e)  professional editing must be limited to formatting, grammar and style and must not alter or improve the substantive content or conceptual organisation of the thesis;

(f) editors may draw attention to, but not alter errors in primary sources. These include graphs, tables, direct quotes and translations;

(g)  candidates must include an acknowledgement of the help given or work carried out by another person or organisation in editing their thesis.

Thesis preparation for award of the degree

11.  Once the examination process is completed the candidate is responsible for uploading the final thesis to the University's digital repository. The Office of Graduate Research will ensure a copy is uploaded to the University's digital repository in digital format. This will be the authoritative copy of the thesis. On request, a printed copy may be submitted to the College. A recommendation for the award of a degree will subsequently be forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Research (or nominee).

Digital copy: Candidates must refer to the Digital Thesis Submission Guidelines on the Library's website for guidance on the acceptable formats for digital submission.

Printed copy (optional): Where approval by the College has been provided, an optional printed copy may be submitted and housed in the College.  The printed copy of the thesis should be sewn, trimmed and bound with stiff covers made of dark cloth. On the spine, in gold lettering of suitable size, the surname of the candidate and the title of the thesis, abbreviated if necessary, will appear. If the lettering will not fit across the spine it shall run along the spine reading from top to bottom

Open Access and Restrictions

12.  Unless otherwise approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (or nominee) in accordance with the provisions of Clause 13 below, theses accepted for the award of a degree* and uploaded to the University's digital repository shall be available for open access. For the advantages of open access refer to the Library Thesis Collection information.

13.  When uploading their final thesis to the library, a candidate can request to restrict access to his or her thesis completely for a period of up to 3 years subject to approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (or nominee). Such requests will be considered by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (or nominee) only on the grounds:

  • that the thesis contains confidential and/or sensitive material; or
  • that it was a condition imposed by the owner of private records and material used by the author; or
  • that the author was in an employment or other contract relationship with a third party that made the restriction a condition of the contract; or
  • that the thesis contains creative, critical, academic or equivalent material with a likelihood of publication, performance or equivalents.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (or nominee) may approve an application from a candidate to restrict access to his or her thesis for a period of up to an additional 18 months beyond the original 3-year embargo from the acceptance of the award of the degree. In exceptional circumstances, longer periods of restriction or a total embargo may be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (or nominee).

*Theses are accepted for the award of a degree on the date that the Office of Graduate Research approves the award of the degree.

Appendix G: Conciliation and Arbitration Procedures relating to Supervised Higher Degree Research

1.  Coverage

In December 2002 the Universities Australia published a 'Guidelines for Maintaining and Monitoring Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Degrees', which has been adopted by the University. In accordance with the Guidelines, the University developed its own document entitled 'Research Higher Degrees Policies and Procedures'.

The following procedures for the conciliation and arbitration of problems about supervised higher degree research concern any matters which are covered by the 'Research Higher Degrees Policies and Procedures'. The procedures also apply to Faculty policies, procedures and practices which relate directly to the application of the 'Research Higher Degrees Policies and Procedures'.

The University has developed a Policy on Intellectual Property and any matter relating to intellectual property shall be referred to the Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee. These procedures should be used by a candidate when he or she has reason to believe that a policy or procedure has not been followed properly or has been applied in a manner which constitutes unfair treatment, and that this has been detrimental to his or her candidature.

2.  Policy Statement

The University is committed to ensuring that research higher degree candidates are able to engage in high quality programs of supervised research. As a means to achieve this goal, the University has adopted policies and procedures for the administration of research higher degrees which include clear definitions of the responsibilities of candidates, supervisors, Schools and the University.

While these provisions will enable supervised research to proceed smoothly, it is recognised that at times problems about aspects of candidature may arise. To ensure that such problems can be resolved fairly and expeditiously, the University has adopted the procedures contained in this document, and committed itself to resolving problems about supervised research through conciliation. If resolution cannot be achieved in this way, a means for arbitration will be provided through the University Research Higher Degrees Committee.

3.  Contact Officers and Conciliators

3.1  Contact Officer

In consultation with the Deans of the relevant Schools and the postgraduate candidate members of the Research Higher Degrees Committee in a Faculty, each Executive Dean of the Faculty shall appoint an appropriate number of members of the academic staff of the Faculty as Contact Officers to provide the relevant parties with access to advice and support, and the means to achieve resolution of matters.

Contact Officers will be selected on the basis that they can demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and a good level of understanding of the administration of higher degree matters and the operation of these procedures; and have appropriate experience in supervising the research of higher degree candidates. It is the responsibility of Contact Officers to act in accordance with these procedures to:

  • provide advice to candidates and staff about the University's policies and procedures for the administration of research higher degrees;
  • provide support to candidates and staff in relation to the Conciliation and Arbitration Procedures Relating to Supervised Higher Degree Research;
  • provide a first point of contact to enable the parties to resolve a matter of concern in accordance with Stage 1 of the procedures outlined in Section 5 below;
  • refer a candidate to a Conciliator, if the parties are unable to resolve a matter.

3.2  Conciliators

Conciliators must be accredited in mediation and have had recent experience in mediation. In the event that a Conciliator does not have experience in the supervision of research higher degree candidates, they may seek advice about supervising such candidates and the administration of higher degree matters and the operation of these procedures. A Conciliator or co-conciliators will be appointed from a pool of appropriately qualified people within the University in consultation with the relevant parties. It is the responsibility of Conciliators to act in accordance with these procedures to:

  • make all reasonable attempts to resolve matters through mediation in accordance with Stage 2 of the procedures outlined in Section 5 below;
  • refer a candidate to the Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee if a matter cannot be resolved by conciliation.

4.  Principles

  • The normal expectation is that most matters of concern to candidates will be resolved through discussion at the local level. However in exceptional circumstances, a candidate may proceed directly to a formal review of a matter in accordance with Stage 3 of the procedures (refer Section 5 below).
  • The procedures outlined below will be administered with reference to principles of natural justice and fairness to all parties.
  • Strict confidentiality will be observed at all times, which means that only those directly and legitimately involved in the resolution of a matter shall be informed about it.
  • A candidate shall be free to cease the conciliation and arbitration procedures at any stage. However, this shall not prevent the University Research Higher Degrees Committee pursuing a matter at the level of general policy.
  • At all stages of the conciliation and arbitration procedures, matters of concern to candidates will be dealt with as expeditiously as possible.
  • All parties will be kept informed of the progress of a matter.
  • Any person who has a direct interest or involvement in a matter shall not be involved in considering it or determining its outcome.
  • All relevant documentation will be made available to all parties involved in a matter prior to the consideration of the matter at each stage of the procedures.
  • At all stages of the procedures, the candidate and the staff member who is the subject of a matter have the right to be accompanied by a person of their choice. However, such a person may not represent the candidate or the staff member.

5.  Procedures

Candidates who consider that they have a serious problem with any aspect of their candidature should normally endeavour to resolve it by discussion with their supervisor and, where appropriate, the Dean of the relevant School. Where a problem is not resolved by discussion and the candidate considers that it is necessary to take the matter further, the following procedures shall be followed.

If, during the course of these procedures, any party to a matter is unable to attend in person due to an approved absence from the University (including candidates studying in the external mode or candidates in an offshore program), alternative arrangements may be made to replace a personal interview.
 
Stage 1:  The candidate should approach a Contact Officer. Contact Officers shall provide advice and support to the candidate and make all reasonable attempts to assist the candidate to resolve the matter. The Contact Officer may consult the Chair of the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee. If the matter is not resolved at this stage, the candidate may seek resolution by conciliation through the Manager of the Equal Opportunity Unit.

Stage 2:  The role of the Conciliator shall be to bring the relevant parties together and make all reasonable attempts to resolve the matter through conciliation. The Conciliator shall provide the Chair of the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee and the parties with a summary of the conciliation and any outcome. It is the normal expectation that this stage will take no longer than twenty-one days. If the matter is not resolved by mediation or within the specified timeline, and the candidate wishes to seek resolution by conciliation, the candidate must present a case in writing to the Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee.

Stage 3:  The Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee shall appoint and chair a Review Panel of three Committee members which must include one candidate and one academic staff member. Where the Chair is unable to act due to prior involvement in the case, the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) shall appoint a Chair. The Review Panel shall be empowered to determine the matter on behalf of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee. Because it is recognised that a number of staff may have been involved in a matter, the Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee shall select a person or persons to act as the respondent. The respondent(s) shall be given a copy of the written advice from the candidate and be asked to provide, within ten days, written comments on the matter. The candidate shall receive a copy of the responses at least seven days in advance of the meeting of the Review Panel. The Review Panel shall normally interview the candidate and the respondent(s) together. The candidate and the respondent(s) shall have the right to be accompanied by a person of their choice. The Review Panel shall, whenever possible, make a decision within thirty working days from the date when the matter was first brought to the attention of the Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee. The Review Panel shall notify the candidate and the respondent(s) in writing within five working days of its decision and the reasons for it. The Review Panel shall provide to the University Research Higher Degrees Committee a written report on the general nature of the matter and its outcomes.

6.  Outcomes

The intended outcome of a successful resolution is that the candidate is able to resume his or her candidature without further difficulties, and that the effect of any previous disadvantage on the candidate is minimised. Where a problem is resolved through arbitration, the Review Panel of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee shall determine a suitable outcome with reference to the scope and intent of the 'Research Higher Degrees Policies and Procedures' and within the limits of the Committee's authority. With regard to issues arising from consideration of a matter which are beyond the Committee's authority, the Review Panel shall recommend action to other committees and parties as appropriate. Where there is evidence:

(i)  that a matter has substance, outcomes such as the following may result:

  • where a supervisory arrangement has broken down, alternative supervisory arrangements may be made;
  • a previous decision or action taken under a policy or procedure may be reviewed and revised;
  • where the matter relates to inadequate provision of resources or facilities, it may be recommended that this inadequacy be redressed;
  • the candidate may receive an extension of candidature and a recommendation may be made to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) that an extension of funding for a scholarship or other award should be granted; and
  • where there is evidence that a member of staff or a person appointed as a supervisor may be guilty of serious misconduct, disciplinary action may be taken and it may be recommended that the Vice-Chancellor initiate proceedings against a staff member under the relevant industrial award. These procedures cannot find a staff member or a person appointed as a supervisor guilty of misconduct.

(ii)  that a matter does not have substance, it will be dismissed.

(iii)  that a matter is malicious or vexatious, the Review Panel may recommend that the Vice-Chancellor initiate proceedings under Statute 6.4 Student Conduct.

7.  Appeals

Where a candidate has received a determination from the Review Panel of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee and believes that proper process has not been followed, he or she may appeal to the Student Appeals Committee. Such an appeal must be lodged with the Manager, Student Policy and Projects within 20 working days of the date of dispatch of the notification from the Chair of the Review Panel about the outcome of the matter. The appeal must:

  • be accompanied by a copy of the letter to the candidate informing him or her of the decision of the Review Panel;
  • include details of the appeal and the action which the candidate has taken so far; and
  • specify what outcome is being sought.

On receipt of the appeal, the Manager, Student Policy and Projects (or nominee) shall: acknowledge receipt, check the documentation to ensure that it is complete and that a case has been outlined, and if not seek the missing information; refer the matter to the Student Appeals Committee which shall proceed in accordance with the policy on the Student Appeals Committee.
 
Where a staff member has cause to believe that a determination of the Review Panel reflects unfairly on his or her academic standing, the staff member may approach the Dean of the relevant School and the Executive Dean of the relevant Faculty requesting an investigation of the matter. If it is found that the determination of the Review Panel reflects unfairly on the academic standing of the staff member, the Executive Dean of the Faculty shall ensure that the documentary records contain a statement of that finding.

8.  Record keeping

To ensure that these procedures operate effectively to resolve problems, it is important that records are kept and that they are maintained in a secure manner. Records will be kept in confidence, and in accordance with University policy and the provisions of the SA Freedom of Information Act 1991.

The following principles and procedures shall be observed: 

  • Contact Officers will not retain any record of the matters in which they are involved other than for the purposes of recording informal actions taken to resolve a matter. Notes may be taken while the matter is in progress, but they should be destroyed as soon as the Contact Officer's involvement has concluded.
  • Conciliators will keep brief records of matters in which they are involved, ensure that these records are confidential and kept in a secure place, and provide a summary of the conciliation and any outcome, to the Chair of the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee.
  • The Chair of the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee will ensure that these records are confidential and kept in a secure place. The records will be destroyed at the end of 7 years if no further problems arise between the parties.
  • If a candidate decides to refer an unresolved matter to Stage 3, the Conciliator will submit a copy of his or her records and report to the Review Panel of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee.
  • The Review Panel appointed by the Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee will keep records to assist it to resolve a matter by arbitration. All records will be confidential to the members of the Panel and the Secretary, and will be kept in a secure place by the Secretary. The Secretary will destroy these records at the end of 7 years if no further problems arise between the parties.
  • The parties to a matter shall be entitled to have access to all records held about that matter and shall be required to maintain strict confidentiality. All parties to the matter shall normally include the candidate and the respondent(s) and those that accompany them, the Dean of the relevant School, the Executive Dean of the relevant Faculty, and members of the Review Panel.

Appendix H:  Higher Doctorates: Policies and Procedures

1.  Introduction

The policies and procedures in this document apply to the degrees of Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Science and Doctor of Theology.

2.  Qualifications for Admission to Candidature

To ber eligible to become a candidate for a higher degree doctorate a person must:

(i) either be a graduate of the University of at least five years standing, or hold equivalent qualifications in another university or institute recognised for the purpose by the University, and have a substantial association with the University; and

 (ii) be able to provide satisfactory evidence that he or she has made a substantial and scholarly contribution to the advancement of letters, the arts or science or the law.

3.  Applications

3.1  Before making an application for admission, intending applicants are advised to contact the Executive Dean of the appropriate Faculty (or nominee). Intending applicants are advised that the award of the degree shall be determined on a consideration of such of the candidate's published work and any unpublished material that the candidate may submit in support of his or her candidature.

3.2  Applications for admission which are supported by the Executive Dean of the Faculty (or nominee) shall be referred to the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee. The Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee shall establish an expert panel of three, at least one of whom shall be external to the Faculty, to review the material submitted. The expert panel shall advise the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee whether, in its view, the applicant should be accepted as a candidate for the degree.

4.  Appointment of Examiners

4.1  In the event that the expert panel determines to recommend that the applicant be accepted as a candidate, it shall nominate a list of examiners from which the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee shall choose three. At least two of the examiners shall be external to the University.

4.2  The following general principles apply in the selection of examiners:

(i)  examiners must be recognised as eminent authorities in the field of knowledge;

(ii)  steps must be taken to ensure that examiners are free from bias; and

(iii)  in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the examination process, the identity of the examiners must not be revealed to the candidates.  However, before examiners are appointed, candidates must be given the opportunity to object to potential examiners.

5.  Admission to Candidature

5.1  The Faculty Board, on the recommendation of the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee, shall admit the applicant to candidature and appoint three examiners, at least two of whom shall be external to the University.

5.2  Once examiners have been approved by the Faculty Board, the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) shall write to them inviting them to act as examiners.

5.3  The candidate shall formally enrol for the degree.

6.  Submission of Material

The candidate shall lodge, with the Faculty General Manager (or nominee), three copies of the material submitted for the degree. In the case of unpublished material, the ‘Rules for Research Higher Degree Theses’ shall apply.

A candidate shall, in submitting material for examination for a degree:

(i)  state the main sources from which the information is derived and the extent to which the candidate made use of the material of others;

(ii)  state what part, if any, of the material submitted for the degree has been submitted for any other degree; and

(iii)  provide in respect of each co-authored publication a signed statement outlining the nature and extent of the candidate's own contribution to the publication and including the name and current address of at least one of the other co-authors to enable the University or the examiners to verify the significance of the candidate's contribution.

7.  Examination of Material

7.1  Upon submission of the material, the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) shall forward copies to examiners who have accepted invitations to examine the material.

7.2  Each examiner shall submit a written report to the Faculty General Manager (or nominee) on the material by way of the University's examiner's report form and shall indicate whether in their opinion the material submitted by the candidate represents a substantial and scholarly contribution to the field of knowledge to which it relates, and if so, whether it is of sufficient merit for the award of the degree.

Note that the option to submit revised material for further examination is not available.

8.  Consideration of Examiners' Reports

After receiving the examiners' reports, the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee shall make a recommendation concerning the award of the degree to the Faculty Board.  In the event of examiners not being unanimous in making a recommendation, the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee shall appoint an external arbitrator who shall be given copies of the material and all examiners' reports.  The arbitrator shall be asked to make a recommendation on the outcome of the examination in the light of the divergent examiners' reports and their assessment of the material.  The Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee shall make a decision on the outcome and make a recommendation to the Faculty Board.

9.  Outcome of the Examination

If the Faculty determines that the degree should be awarded it shall make a recommendation to this effect to the Executive Dean (or nominee).  The Executive Dean (or nominee) shall then make its recommendation to Council. 

Appendix I: Policy on Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors

Section 1:  Coverage

Unless exempted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), these Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisor Policies and Procedures apply to the research component of all Masters by Research and Doctorates where the degree is awarded primarily on the basis of a thesis embodying the results of a research project undertaken during candidature or published work accumulated prior to acceptance into candidature (PhD by Published Work).

Section 2:   Policy Statement

The University will maintain a Register of Research Higher Degree Supervisors (herein known as the ‘Register’). Only those staff members who are listed on the Register will be eligible to be appointed as Principal or Associate Supervisors of research higher degree candidates.  Adjunct Supervisors will not be required to register.

The Register will list those supervisors who satisfy requirements deemed by the University to be essential in order to assume primary research higher degree supervision responsibility.  Normally, the following requirements will apply:

  • A registered supervisor must hold an academic qualification of at least the same level as the degree supervised, or have equivalent recognised academic expertise.  In newly emerging discipline areas, exceptions to this requirement may be approved by the Dean of Graduate Research, on the recommendation of the relevant Faculty Executive Dean.
  • A registered supervisor must be a member of academic or research staff of Flinders University holding a continuing, continuing contingent-funded or convertible appointment or a contract appointment of at least 3 years duration, or have been awarded full academic status (refer to: Academic Status Policy, and have a reasonable expectation of being able to complete supervision of the proposed candidature. From 2017, staff in Teaching Specialist roles can only hold Adjunct Supervision status as per the Academic Profiles (Academic) and (Clinical/Practitioner).
  • A registered supervisor must be active in research or creative work as demonstrated by publishing at least 5 Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) items (or weighted equivalent) in the previous 5 years, or a non-traditional output or equivalent as recognised by Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA),
    and by acting as Chief Investigator on at least 1 NCRG (category 1) grant in the previous 5 years;
    or by acting as supervisor for at least 1 research higher degree completion in the previous 5 years;
    or has received at least $50,000 in external research funding in the previous 5 years;
    or has an equivalent peer-reviewed track record. 
    There may be other circumstances, such as Early Career Researchers, that justify staff being classified as research-active and exceptions to this definition can be nominated by the Dean of the School and approved by the Executive Dean of the Faculty.
  • A registered supervisor must have completed the Postgraduate Research Supervisor Induction Program and be committed to improving the quality of supervision, as demonstrated by completing at least 1 module from the Postgraduate Research Supervision Program every 5 years, or equivalent contribution to supervisor development.

Section 3:  Supervisory Roles and Eligibility

Supervisors will perform the duties and responsibilities of supervision in accordance with relevant University policies and procedures for research higher degrees (refer to Appendix B: Responsibilities of the Supervisor of a research higher degree candidate and Section 7: Appointment of Supervisors .

  • Principal Supervisors will have primary supervisory responsibility for the candidature and for maintaining effective communication with the candidate and with other supervisors.
  • Associate Supervisors will provide additional supervisory support for the candidate and additional expertise to the supervisory panel.  Associate Supervisors may be required to temporarily assume primary supervisory responsibility when the Principal Supervisor is unavailable.
  • Adjunct Supervisors may be appointed to provide additional expertise to the supervisory panel.  The Adjunct role is appropriate where extra expertise would be beneficial, but where the supervisor is not eligible to assume a Principal or Associate Supervisory role.

Supervisory Panel: For each research higher degree candidate, one Principal Supervisor and at least one Associate Supervisor should be appointed.  In addition, one or more Adjunct Supervisors may be appointed.

Either the Principal Supervisor or one of the Associate Supervisors must be an experienced supervisor, as demonstrated by a significant contribution to the supervision (either as Principal or Associate) of at least one successful research higher degree completion within the preceding 5-year period, or have equivalent supervisory experience.  Either the Principal Supervisor or the Associate Supervisor(s) must be employed by Flinders University or its affiliated institutions at a fraction of 0.5 or greater.

Where the Principal Supervisor is not an experienced supervisor, an experienced Associate Supervisor must be appointed who will assume the role of mentor to the Principal Supervisor in addition to the normal duties of Associate Supervisor.  In these circumstances, the additional duties of the Associate should be acknowledged in terms of academic workload as being comparable to those of a Principal Supervisor.

Section 4: Postgraduate Research Supervision Programs

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching will be responsible for providing the Postgraduate Research Supervision Programs.

These Programs provide both an induction of staff new to supervision (or new to the University) and ongoing development of experienced staff. Staff who have not previously supervised research higher degree candidates will be required to complete an induction program that provides an overview of research higher degree policies and procedures and that introduces a range of supervision strategies and approaches. Staff new to Flinders but with recent research higher degree supervision experience will be given credit for that experience and only required to complete an abbreviated induction program that focuses on local policies and procedures.  These requirements will normally be satisfied through participation (either as presenter or enrolee) in the Postgraduate Research Supervision Program run by the university.

Section 5:  Registration and Deregistration

Applications for inclusion in the Register or for an upgrade of supervisor level must be made on the Standard Form, approved by the Dean of Graduate Research, and will be considered by the relevant Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee. In approving an application, the Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee must be satisfied that the applicant meets the requirements set out in section 2 of this appendix.

The Faculty will forward approved applications to the Office of Graduate Research which will be responsible for entering the details of the supervisor on the Register. 

The Register will be reviewed annually by the Office of Graduate Research and Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee to ensure that supervisors continue to meet registration requirements.

If the Office of Graduate Research or a Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committee considers that a supervisor is in danger of losing registration, it will write to the supervisor to ask what steps the supervisor is taking to rectify the situation.  If the Committee is of the opinion that a supervisor should be deregistered, it will refer the matter to the appropriate Head of Academic Unit, who will discuss the matter with the staff member concerned, prior to recommending a course of action to the Executive Dean of the relevant Faculty. After a course of action has been recommended to the Executive Dean, he or she will report the matter to the Office of Graduate Research and the staff member.

Section 6:  Access to the Register and Content

The Register is confidential and will only be accessed by those whose responsibility includes administration, management, and monitoring of research higher degree activities, including Faculty Research Higher Degree Administrative staff, Faculty Research Higher Degrees Committees, Student Finance, the University Research Higher Degrees Committee and the Office of Graduate Research.

The content of the Register will include the requirements to qualify for the Register; for example: name; contact details; qualifications; employment status; confirmation of research activity; research higher degree completions; and confirmation of attendance at the Postgraduate Research Supervision Programs. Office of Graduate Research staff will be able to provide individuals with a report of their Supervisor Register record upon request.

Section 7:  Commencement Date and Transitional Arrangements

The following transitional arrangements will apply to ongoing candidatures which commenced prior to 1 January 2013:

  • All current Principal Supervisors and those who have acted as Principal Supervisor for a successful completion in the past two years will be deemed to satisfy registration requirements and added to the Register.
  • For current candidatures, Principal Supervisors will continue in that role, and Co-Supervisors will be assigned to the Associate Supervisor role if they qualify to be registered or to the Adjunct Supervisor role otherwise.
  • Where these arrangements would result in a supervisory panel that does not satisfy the new requirements, for example where there would be no Associate Supervisor, the current supervision arrangements will continue while alternative arrangements are made.  It is expected that resolving the situation will be given high priority.


Appendix J: Policy on Autonomous Sanctions for Research Higher Degree Candidates

Section 1: Preamble

The Autonomous Sanctions for Research Higher Degree Candidates Policies and Procedures apply to the research component of all Masters by Research and Doctorates where the degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis embodying the results of a research project undertaken during candidature or published work accumulated prior to acceptance into candidature (PhD by Published Work).

The Policies and Procedures on Autonomous Sanctions for Research Higher Degree Candidates are not designed to discriminate against people from countries with an Autonomous Sanction in place, but rather to ensure that the University is compliant with government legislation and that it does not supply sanctioned goods and services to those countries or benefit them, or provide a sanctioned service in relation to those countries.   

Section 2: Background and Purpose

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade(DFAT) have implemented an Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 and Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 that comply with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions. The Australian Autonomous Sanctions countries with a prohibition on providing a ‘sanctioned service’ are: Myanmar, Russia/Ukraine, Syria, The Former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Iran and Libya. The UN Security Council countries with a prohibition on providing a ‘sanctioned service’ are: Central African Republic, Counter-Terrorism, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ginea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida, Lebanon, Libya, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Somalia, South Sudan, The Taliban and Yemen (January 2017).(enerally DFAT considers a citizen who is also an Australian citizen or permanent resident has an insufficient connection to their country of origin, unless he or she has some additional ongoing connection with their country of origin beyond his or her citizenship.

Accordingly, Flinders University is required to comply with these sanctions as they have the potential to expose the University to a certain degree of risk. The sanctions include restrictions on certain technical advice, assistance (including financial assistance or a financial service) or training in sanctioned goods related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD); e.g. potentially in physics, chemistry, et al.  The University will breach the Act if it is unable to prove that it has taken ‘reasonable precautions’ and ‘exercised due diligence’ in the assessment of research higher degree applications. The University has a responsibility to complete a risk assessment for all new research higher degree applications and monitor existing research higher degree candidates. 

There are serious penalties for breaches of the sanctions laws imposed by the Autonomous Sanctions Act and Regulations. Individuals could be liable for a fine the greater of $425,000 or three times the value of the transaction or up to 10 years imprisonment. The University could be liable for a fine the greater of $1.7 million or three times the value of the transaction. 

Section 3: Definitions

Autonomous Sanctions Laws refers to Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011and Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011.

Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL)means DFAT’s list of goods that should be consulted when assessing whether the University is providing a ‘sanctioned service’ to a Research Higher Degree candidate to provide technical assistance or training that assists with the manufacture, maintenance or use of certain controlled goods. The full DSGL is available at: comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2011L02061.

Additional lists that should be consulted include (there may be some duplication between lists):

Items on this list include: Chemical Weapons Precursors; Dual-use chemical manufacturing facilities and equipment and related technology and software; Dual-use biological equipment and related technology and software; Human and Animal Pathogens and Toxins; and Plant pathogens.

Items on this list include: Nuclear materials, facilities and equipment; Nuclear materials, chemicals, micro-organisms and toxins; Materials processing; Electronics; Sensors and lasers; Navigation and avionics; and Further dual-use goods of utility in a nuclear program.

DFAT means the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Key Risk Activity means an activity identified in the Policy as an activity that forms part of the University’s usual activities, which may be affected by the Sanctions Laws.

Prohibited Persons and/or Entities means individuals and/or entities whose names appear on the DFAT list dfat.gov.au/international-relations/security/sanctions/pages/consolidated-list.aspx.

Prohibited Purpose means:

a.  technical assistance or training that relates to military activity, arms or related material to a  sanctioned country or prohibited person;

b.  technical assistance or training if it assists with the manufacture, maintenance or use of Sanctioned Goods by an Iranian national, or for Iran, North Korea or Syria; or

c.  Assisting with a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).

RHD means research higher degree.

Sanctioned Goods means any goods defined as ‘export sanctioned goods’ under the Sanctions Laws.

Sanctions Laws means the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 and Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 and the regulations made under them, together with all such other Acts, Regulations and Legislative Instruments used by the Australian Government to give UN and autonomous sanctions the force of law.

WMD means Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Section 4: Policy

This policy will:

1.  Identify the following Key Risk activities:

  • Research Higher Degree candidate admission and enrolment;
  • Receipt of fees, particularly tuition fees;
  • The conduct of education and research training; and
  • Access to and use of Sanctioned Goods held by the University.

2.   Describe the requirements for each of the Key Risk activities to facilitate compliance with the Sanctions Laws.

3.   Require that staff exercise reasonable precautions and due diligence to comply with the Sanctions Laws in all University activities, particularly in the Key Risk Activities, and ensure that precautions are appropriate, taking into consideration the University’s environment and requirement to comply with other laws (including anti-discriminatory and privacy laws).

Section 5: Key Risk Activities

5.1  Research Higher Degree candidate admission and enrolment

The University will ensure that care, consideration and due diligence will be applied to each research higher degree candidate application for admission or enrolment from a person from a sanctioned country or a prohibited person. The University will assist research higher degree applicants in ensuring that their research projects do not contravene the Sanctions Laws. When a Principal Supervisor and Faculty reviews an application for admission, they will complete the university-prescribed form pertaining to autonomous sanctions to assess the risk of the research project. If an applicant has been identified by DFAT as a prohibited person or if the applicant’s research project is medium or high risk the assessment procedures in Section 6 will be applied.

 5.2  Receipt of fees, particularly tuition fees

Flinders University admits and enrols RHD candidates to study its courses and many of these candidates pay tuition fees. These payments may be made by the candidate personally, or by a sponsor who has accepted that they will be responsible for the payment of the candidate’s tuition fees to Flinders University. In order for international RHD candidates to study in Australia, they have been subjected to Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) assessment of their visa application before their visa to study in Australia has been granted. Part of this assessment is to ensure that the prospective candidate is not a Prohibited Person and is not acting on behalf of or being funded by a Prohibited Person or Entity.

The University relies upon the checks by Australian banks and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as well as internal processes adopted as the exercise of reasonable precautions and due diligence to identify and respond to the possible receipt of a payment of tuition fees from a Prohibited Person or Entity.

Periodically, the University will perform additional checks against transactions greater than $10,000.                                                                                       

5.3  The conduct of education, research training and research collaboration activities, including student exchange

The University will ensure that any research undertaken by a research higher degree candidate who is a citizen from a sanctioned country does not contravene the Sanctions Laws. The University will monitor the research at regular intervals, in particular at confirmation of the project and RHD Milestones, and confirm that the project complies with the Sanctions Laws as outlined in Section 7.

Section 6: Assessment Procedures

6.1  Retrospective Assessment (prior to date of policy implementation):

Research higher degree candidates who were identified by the Office of Graduate Research and recorded on the Autonomous Sanctions list prior to policy implementation will have the university-prescribed form completed by the Principal Supervisor. The form will be assessed for compliance by the Dean of School, Faculty RHD Committee Chair and the Dean of Graduate Research.

  • If the risk rating is 'Low Risk' then the applicant may continue with their current candidature;   
  • If the risk rating is 'Medium Risk' then the candidate’s research will be referred to DFAT. Once approval is granted by DFAT the candidate may continue with their current candidature.
  • If the risk rating is 'High Risk' then the candidature will be reviewed and it will be determined if the research can be altered to a low or medium risk level. If not, the candidature may need to be terminated.

6.2  Assessment of new research higher degree applications (post policy implementation date):

Where an applicant is a citizen of any of the countries with autonomous sanctions listed above the Office of Graduate Research will require the Principal Supervisor to complete the university-prescribed form. The form will be assessed for compliance by the Dean of School, Faculty RHD Committee Chair and the Dean of Graduate Research. 

  • If the risk rating is 'Low Risk' then the applicant will be offered candidature and, if applying for scholarships, will be added to the scholarship round that is open at the time of approval, not the time of application submission.
  • If the risk rating is 'Medium Risk' then the application will be referred to DFAT. Once approval is granted by DFAT to proceed then the applicant will be offered candidature and, if applying for scholarships, will be added to the scholarship round that is open at the time of approval, not the time of application submission.
  • If the risk rating is 'High Risk' then the application for candidature and a scholarship will be rejected.

Applications from citizens of ‘sanctioned service ‘countries that are still undergoing this rigorous assessment process will not be shortlisted for scholarships until approval from every necessary level is granted. The reason for this is that the process can be very time consuming and the University cannot allocate scholarships to applicants who have not been offered admission or hold scholarship offers indefinitely.

Section 7: Ongoing Review of RHD Candidates from countries with autonomous sanctions

The University will monitor the research projects of RHD candidates from countries with autonomous sanctions at regular intervals and confirm that they comply with the Sanctions Laws.  These intervals include the confirmation of the project and RHD Milestones. In addition, if a candidate makes an application to change their project they will be subjected to the scrutiny outlined in section 6.2 above.

Section 8: Record Keeping

Only the Office of Graduate Research will record a comment on the Student Information System for RHD candidates from countries with Autonomous Sanctions. These comments will record that:

  • the research project of the RHD candidate has been checked by the Faculty in which they are enrolled; and
  • periodically, the University will perform additional checks against transactions greater than $10,000.