How is my Research Higher Degree examined?
Every student is required to complete a research thesis. Your thesis will be examined (reviewed and graded) by two external and independent examiners who are experts in their discipline. Each examiner will provide a written report and a grade for your thesis.
Will there be an oral defence of my thesis?
Currently there is no oral defence as part of the Flinders University RHD examination process. However, you will be able to gain experience and advice through the oral presentation as part of your RHD milestones before your thesis is submitted for examination.
Am I allowed to know who my examiners are?
Your examiners will remain confidential from the point of nomination by your supervisor. The names of your examiner may be released once the examination process is finalised, but only if the examiners give their permission to release this information.
Who chooses my examiners?
Your supervisor will submit a Nomination of Examiners form to the Office of Graduate Research three months before you submit your thesis. This form will recommend two examiners who are experts of international standing, have empathy with your theoretical framework, and be external and independent of Flinders University. These examiners will be considered and checked to ensure that there are no real, perceived or potential conflicts of interest. The Dean of Graduate Research reviews and approves the final nomination of your examiners.
What if there is someone who I don’t want to examine my thesis?
As a research higher degree student you have a right to provide your supervisor with the names of any people who you do not wish to examine your thesis. For example, these may be academic professionals who are not sympathetic to your work, with whom you have a personal or professional relationship, or with whom you have had an academic disagreement. We recommend you put this in writing to your supervisor.
Do I have to put my thesis through TurnItIn?
You are required to put the final draft of your thesis through TurnItIn and provide the report to your supervisor to review. This helps to ensure there are no intentional or un-intentional breaches of Academic Integrity in your thesis. TurnItIn can be accessed viathe Research Higher Degrees FLO site.
If you are affected by export controls, please contact the Office of Graduate Research before submitting any work through TurnItIn.
Do I have to get any co-authors to approve the inclusion of a publication in my thesis?
Yes. If you have co-authored a publication and included 2000 words or more of the publication in your thesis, you will need to declare this publication on your Submission of Thesis form. You are required to outline your contributions at the appropriate section on the form for each publication and obtain approvals from the other co-authors.
If you are unsure whether to include a co-authored publication on the form, it is best to include it. This information will be provided to your examiners so they can determine the work on which they are grading you.
If the publications are in your appendix, you will not need to obtain approval from co-authors.
You will always be expected to use correct referencing throughout your thesis, whether you are a co-author of a publication or not.
It is important to note that your examiners are examining your work and your original contribution to knowledge and therefore if publications are included in the body of your thesis, you must be a sole or significant contributor the work.
What if there are multiple co-authors?
If there are more than three co-authors then you need to obtain approvals from the three most significant contributors to the work.
Do I need to declare publications if I am the sole author?
It is useful to include a list of all your publications as an appendix in your thesis or included in the thesis after the declaration page. If you are the sole author of a publication and you include material from the published work in your thesis then you will need to reference the work in the standard format. You will not need to declare publication on the ‘Submission of Thesis Form’ if you are a sole author.
I want to submit my thesis, what do I need to do?
You will need to download and complete a Submission of Thesis form. We recommend that you start preparing this form at least two weeks before you intend to submit your thesis. This form needs to be signed by your Principal Supervisor and any other colleagues who are co-authors of publications that you have used in the body of your thesis to indicate their contribution.
What should my title page look like?
There is a template for your thesis' title page available on the Office of Graduate Research's Examination Forms page.
I have signed an Intellectual Property (IP) agreement and there is confidential material in my thesis, what happens?
Your examiner will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before they are provided with your thesis for examination.
How long will the examination process take?
An examiner is given 8 weeks to examine your thesis; however at times this can be delayed depending on the individual circumstances of the examiner. The Office of Graduate Research will keep track of your examination and send reminders to examiners if necessary. Once both of your examiners reports are received they will be considered by the Dean of Graduate Research and you will be notified of the results. The time taken to complete your degree will depend on whether the examiners have recommended any amendments to your thesis and how substantial these are.
What should I do while I am waiting for my results?
We recommend that you use this time to take a break, connect with family and friends, work on publications, and, if you haven’t already, update your CV and start applying for jobs. Don’t forget to apply to graduate.
We understand that this is an anxious time for students and we will ensure that we process your examination as efficiently as possible while maintaining the integrity of the examination process.
Do I still have access to the university’s facilities while my thesis is being examined?
Yes, you are still a student of Flinders University and will have access to your email, the library and other resources. You will need to speak with your Faculty to see if you still have access to laboratory spaces.
How will I be notified of my results?
By email from the Office of Graduate Research to your Flinders University email account.
What grades can I receive?
Each examiner has the option of recommending the following grades:
A: The degree should be awarded, subject to satisfying any coursework requirements (if applicable);
B: 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: 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: 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: 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: the degree should not be awarded and the candidate should not be allowed to present for the degree again.
What if the examiners don’t agree with each other?
If you receive an A and B/C or B and C the Dean of Graduate Research will normally recommend your degree be awarded subject to completion of amendments approved by the supervisor and Dean of Research of College (or nominee) and once you have completed any coursework requirements.
When examiners are not unanimous in making any other recommendation, you and your supervisor will be provided with copies of the Examiner Reports. In consultation with you, your supervisor will be invited to write a statement in response to the differing examiner recommendations. Your examination will then be referred to the University Research Higher Degrees Committee (URHDC) who will determine your final examination result. There is a possibility that the URHDC will engage a third examiner to provide the committee with additional expertise and insight.
My examiners have asked me to make changes to my thesis, what do I do?
If you received a B or C you will need to address these changes based on the feedback from the examiners. You have a maximum of 6 months to make these changes. Your changes will need to be approved by your supervisor, the Dean of Research of your College (or nominee) and the Dean of Graduate Research.
If you received two D reports you will need to re-enrol in your degree and make more substantial changes to your thesis, based on the feedback from the examiners. Your thesis submission due date will be set by the Dean of Graduate Research after consulting with you and your supervisor. If you received a D from both examiners then your thesis will be re-examined by the same two examiners (if possible). If you received a D from one examiner and a different grade from another and the University Research Higher Degrees Committee determines that you should be given a final D result, your thesis will be re-examined by two new examiners.
What if I am not happy with my final result?
You can appeal your examination grade to the Student Appeals Committee if you fall into one of the categories below:
(i) you received divergent results and a decision was made by the URHDC;
(ii) you received an (E) Award Alternate Degree or (F) Non-Award;
(iii) you are 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.
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.
Do I have to print my thesis for the university?
No. To complete your degree you will need to upload a final digital copy of your thesis to the library. You will be given instructions on how to do this after your thesis has been examined and any amendments have been approved.
You are welcome to print a copy of your final thesis for yourself and/or your family.
Can I claim for costs associated with the preparation of my thesis?
Yes, you can complete a RHD allowances claim form for up to $500. Submit your form and receipts to the Student Finance Office.
When can I use the title Doctor?
If you are a PhD candidate, you are able to use "Dr" once your degree has been conferred by Flinders University. The conferral process occurs at a Graduation Ceremony or Council Meeting.
Can I keep my email and other Live services when I graduate?
Yes, you can keep your email for 12 months after you graduate. Refer to Student Email FAQs.