University Requirements for Postgraduate Courses

Masters by Research

1. Award Requirements

1. General

In these Requirements —

1.1 “Higher Degrees by Research Sub-Committee” (RESC) means a group appointed to monitor the supervision of candidates for the degree of Masters by Research and to report to the Research Committee.

1.2 “Register of Supervisors” means a list of academic and research staff of the University and other persons who are qualified to be appointed as supervisors of candidates undertaking a Masters by Research degree.

1.2.1 The RESC on the recommendation of the Faculty shall approve academic and research staff of the University and other persons for inclusion on the Register according to criteria approved by the Research Committee and listed in the Handbook for Research Higher Degree Students.

1.2.2 Membership of the Register shall be reviewed annually by the RESC on the basis of each member’s record of supervision and according to the agreed criteria.

1.3 “Supervisory Committee” means a group convened to support the Principal Supervisor and the Head of the School in their supervision of a candidate as outlined in Requirement 5.

1.4 “Principal Supervisor” means a person who meets the criteria for full supervision status as recognised by the Register of Supervisors and is a member (or adjunct member) of the academic and research staff of the University in a school in which the candidate is enrolled.

1.5 “Associate Supervisor” or “Co-supervisor” means a person who meets the criteria for membership of the Register of Supervisors appointed by the RESC on account of a special knowledge of the candidate’s approved program or in order to ensure effective supervision of the candidate during any periods spent by the candidate, with the RESC’s approval, elsewhere than at the University. Associate Supervisors or Co-supervisors need not be members of the academic staff of the University.

1.6 “Research” means the process leading to the production of original scholarly or creative work to be presented for the purpose of obtaining the degree.

1.7 “Thesis” means a substantive description of the research undertaken for the purpose of obtaining the degree, together with any associated material that is also subject to examination.

1.8 “Adjudicator” means an additional examiner appointed to adjudicate between the examiners’ reports where consensus has not occurred between the original examiners. The adjudicator is normally an expert in the field external to the University.

1.9 “Graduate Research School” means the staff responsible for the administration of the degree of Masters by Research.

1.10 “Research Student Monitor” means a person (as defined in Requirement 1.4), normally from a School, or a discipline other than that of the candidate, who is appointed to the Supervisory Committee by the RESC, to ensure that all procedures relating to the candidature are fulfilled, especially with respect to the confirmation of candidature and exit seminar processes.

2. Admission Requirements

2.1 A person may be admitted to the degree of Masters by Research if that person has:

2.1.1 qualified at this university for a bachelors degree in a cognate discipline, with First Class or Second Class (Division A) Honours; or

2.1.2 qualified at this university for a cognate postgraduate or graduate diploma that provides evidence of the necessary research training; or

2.1.3 obtained from this or another university or recognised provider of postgraduate education, qualifications and subsequent experience deemed to be equivalent by the Head of School and the Dean of Postgraduate Studies.

3. Application for Candidature

A person wishing to be admitted to the degree of Masters by Research shall:

3.1 initially consult with the Head of the School in which the person intends to study and shall formulate and cost the research component of the program. It is acknowledged that such costing can only be approximate at this stage. However, major costs which are central to the success of the proposed research must be identified e.g. new equipment, significant travel expenses, a proposed generalised program of advanced study and research to be pursued;

3.2 if the proposed research involves working with children under 18 years of age, be eligible to hold a “Positive Notice for Child Related Employment” (Blue Card) or equivalent as required by government legislation, which must be included in any ethics application submitted to the Human Ethics Sub-Committee. Ethics approval will not be granted until a copy of the “Positive Notice for Child Related Employment” (Blue Card) or equivalent required documentation, is received; and

3.3 shall submit the prescribed application form together with the proposed study topic and generalised and costed program of advanced study and research to the Graduate Research School.

4. Enrolment

4.1 On approval by the RESC of a student’s application for candidature, the candidature shall be designated as (1) full-time or part-time, and (2) on-campus or off-campus.

4.2 An international candidate shall be required to complete the International Bridging Program in the first six months of enrolment.

4.3 All candidates shall be required to attend a workshop on ethical research practice as part of their generic skills program and as a condition of their confirmation of candidature.

4.4 A candidate shall not enrol concurrently for any other degree, diploma or certificate at this or any other institution without the written permission of the RESC. Concurrent enrolments will normally only be considered where the total enrolment does not exceed the equivalent of a full-time load.

4.5 Each candidate’s personal course of study and any modifications of that course shall require the approval of the relevant Head of School and the Board of Research Education Sub Committee (BRESC).

5. Supervision

5.1 The relevant Faculty shall appoint for each candidate a Supervisory Committee which shall be a group convened to support the Principal Supervisor, as Chair of the Committee, and the Head of the School in their supervision of a candidate.

5.2 If the Principal Supervisor leaves the University the Head of School shall nominate, at the time of enrolment, a replacement Supervisor who is a member of the Supervisory Committee as a Co-Supervisor or Associate Supervisor and who is eligible to assume the role of Chair.

5.3 Members of the Supervisory Committee shall:

5.3.1 be members (or adjunct members) of the University’s academic and research staff, in a school in which the candidate is enrolled and be listed on the Register of Supervisors, or other persons with expertise appropriate to, but not necessarily or specifically in, the candidate’s research area;

5.3.2 not be near relatives or partners of the candidate. If such circumstances arise during the candidature, this shall result in consequential changes to the membership of the Supervisory Committee.

5.4 The Supervisory Committee shall include:

5.4.1 a Chair (i.e. Principal Supervisor), who shall be a member (or adjunct member) of the University’s academic and research staff in a school in which the candidate is enrolled, and be listed on the Register of Supervisors at the appropriate level;

5.4.2 the Head of the School (or nominee);

5.4.3 the Head of Discipline (if appropriate);

5.4.4 the Research Student Monitor nominated by the Faculty; and

5.4.5 other Co-Supervisors or Associate Supervisors as approved by the Faculty.

5.5 The full Supervisory Committee shall participate in the confirmation of candidature and exit seminar processes. The day-to-day management of the candidature shall be performed by the Principal Supervisor (and any Co-Supervisors or Associate Supervisors) under the direction of the relevant Head of School.

5.6 The Principal Supervisor shall, in respect of the candidate under supervision:

5.6.1 fulfil the functions of a supervisor as described by the University in its guidelines for Doctoral studies;

5.6.2 ensure that the candidate complies with all regulations relating to the candidature; and

5.6.3 report as required to the RESC through the Supervisory Committee on the candidate’s work.

5.7 The HDRS-C may at any time, on the recommendation of the Head of the School, approve a change in the membership of the Supervisory Committee.

6. Confirmation of Candidature

6.1 The candidate shall apply to have their candidature confirmed:

6.1.1 normally within the first four months of enrolment for a full-time candidate; or

6.1.2 normally within the first eight months of enrolment for a part-time candidate.

6.2 The candidate shall orally present a seminar on the work. The candidate’s Supervisory Committee (or their nominees) must attend the seminar and meet after the seminar to discuss the outcome.

6.3 The candidate shall present seven days before the seminar, to the Chair of the RESC through the Principal Supervisor and the Head of the School, a 2000 word project proposal including the aims, methodology, budget, timeline, progress to date and any other academic and/or artistic issues arising from the program of work, together with a second piece of substantive written work, usually a literature review.

6.4 The seminar presentation and the proposal shall be reported upon by the members of the Supervisory Committee in a combined report to the RESC.

6.5 The HDRS-C may make suggestions to the candidate as to how the research might be improved and may seek independent peer review. The Principal Supervisor and the head of the School shall also be informed of such suggestions. The advice provided need not necessarily be accepted by the candidate.

6.6 The RESC shall approve one of the following:

6.6.1 confirmation of candidature;

6.6.2 confirmation of candidature with additional specified work requirements; or

6.6.3 that the candidate be asked to show cause why his or her candidature not be terminated.

6.7 The decision of the RESC on a recommendation from Requirement 6.7 shall be conveyed to the candidate in writing within 14 days of the date of the decision with advice of the candidate’s right of appeal according to Requirement 13 below.

7. Generic Skills Training

7.1 A candidate shall normally be expected to undertake a program of transferable (generic) skills training as detailed in the Handbook for Research Higher Degree Students.

7.2 A candidate must develop an individual program in collaboration with the Principal Supervisor, the Co-Supervisor and any Associate Supervisors as soon as possible after the commencement of candidature to reflect the candidate’s research training needs and career aspirations.

7.3 A candidate’s progress shall be reviewed as part of the confirmation of candidature, annual reporting and exit seminar processes.

8. Duration of Candidature

8.1 A full-time candidate shall pursue an approved program of study for a period normally of not less than two nor more than four years from the date of enrolment.

8.2 The candidate shall undertake a course of study leading to the submission of a thesis for examination. The thesis may not normally be submitted earlier than one calendar year nor later than two (for a full-time candidate) or four (for a part-time candidate) calendar years after enrolment, except that in special circumstances the RESC may grant an extension of the relevant period.

8.3 If Requirement 3.2 is applicable, continued enrolment shall be contingent upon the candidate remaining eligible to hold a “Positive Notice for Child Related Employment” or equivalent as required by government legislation. If the candidate becomes ineligible, the candidate will be required to show cause why candidature should not be terminated.

8.4 The University will not normally accept a candidate who has been enrolled at another institution for more than one year (full-time equivalent) or release a candidate who has been enrolled for more than one year (full-time equivalent).

9. Progress Reports

9.1 A progress report must be submitted by a candidate annually. The report shall be on the prescribed form which shall be forwarded to the candidate by the Graduate Research School.

9.2 The completed form shall bear the comments of the candidate, the Principal Supervisor and the Head of the School (or nominee).

9.3 In the event of problems being identified in the report, the candidate’s progress shall be formally monitored by the Head of School for a prescribed period.

9.4 In the event of an unsatisfactory progress report, the RESC shall interview the candidate and/or the Principal Supervisor and recommend one of the following:

9.4.1 candidature be approved to continue;

9.4.2 reconsideration of candidature subject to work undertaken to the satisfaction of the Supervisory Committee and the RESC; or

9.4.3 that the candidate be asked to show cause why his or her candidature not be terminated.

9.5 The recommendation shall be conveyed in writing to the candidate within 14 days of the date of the decision together with advice of the candidate’s right of appeal according to Requirement 14 below.

10. Final Year (Exit) Seminar Presentation

10.1 A candidate shall, at a seminar, present an overview and synthesis of major findings of the thesis in a public forum during the final year of candidature.

10.2 The candidate shall submit a written piece of work (e.g. a publication, chapter of the thesis or other evidence of academic writing skills as specified by the Head of School) to the Supervisory Committee one week before the scheduled seminar.

10.3 The candidate’s Supervisory Committee (or their nominees) must attend the seminar and meet after the seminar to discuss the outcome.

10.4 The seminar presentation on the work shall be reported upon by the members of the Supervisory Committee in a combined report to the RESC.

10.5 The RESC shall then approve one of the following:

10.5.1 that the research is of a standard and extent appropriate for submission as a thesis; or

10.5.2 that further research work is required.

11. Examination of Thesis

11.1 The normal maximum length of the thesis is 60,000 words.

11.2 At the appropriate time for each candidate, the RESC shall appoint two examiners. Both examiners shall normally be external to the University. On receipt of the examiners’ reports the RESC shall recommend:

11.2.1 that the degree be awarded subject to such minor amendments to the thesis as the examiners may suggest; or

11.2.2 that the degree be not awarded but that the candidate be allowed to resubmit the thesis (once only) or take such further examination as the RESC shall prescribe; or

11.2.3 that the degree be not awarded.

11.3 The following material shall be released to the candidate without request, after examination:

11.3.1 each examiner’s report; and

11.3.2 the name of each examiner, except where the examiner has expressly requested that his or her identity not be disclosed.

11.4 The degree may be conferred only when a final unbound copy, and normally a PDF file, of the thesis have been deposited in the Library, or a written guarantee has been provided by the appropriate Head of School that the said School holds all the material necessary for the preparation of these copies.

12. Granting an Award of the University

Candidates who have fulfilled the requirements of the Masters by Research award in which they are enrolled and have complied with all Statutes and other requirements applicable to them may be granted the Award.

13. Termination of Candidature

13.1 A candidate must be asked to show cause why his or her candidature not be terminated if the BDRESC determines that the candidate has not:

13.1.1 made satisfactory progress with the work after receiving sufficient notice of and guidance about unsatisfactory progress and how to remedy it; or

13.1.2 complied with a reasonable direction of the Supervisor or the Head of School; or

13.1.3 provided in sufficient detail a report required under the Masters by Research Requirements; or

13.1.4 complied with a condition of enrolment or candidature set by the RESC; or

13.1.5 lodged a form required under the rules of the University.

13.2 Under Requirement 5.2 above, if a replacement Principal Supervisor is required during candidature, the HDRS-C must make reasonable attempts to ensure that the candidate is able to complete the award with the University.

If the University is unable to provide a suitable replacement in an appropriate timeframe, the candidate must be notified to that effect and given an opportunity to make representations as to why the candidature should not be terminated. The HRDS-C must have regard to any representations made by the candidate, before deciding whether to terminate the candidature.

13.3 If Requirement 3.2 is applicable, continued enrolment shall be contingent upon the candidate remaining eligible to hold a “Positive Notice for Child Related Employment” (Blue Card) or equivalent as required by government legislation. If the candidate becomes ineligible, the candidate will be required to show cause why his or her candidature not be terminated.

13.4 Before making any decision upon a recommendation of the kind referred to in Requirements 13.1 or 13.3, the RESC shall by written notice call upon the candidate to show cause in writing within the time specified in the notice why candidature should not be terminated.

13.5 The RESC shall before making its decision consider the recommendation and any material submitted to it by the candidate.

14. Appeal

14.1 A candidate affected by a decision of the RESC pursuant to the Masters by Research Requirements may appeal against the decision. Such appeal shall be instituted by a notice in writing setting out the grounds thereof and shall be submitted to the Graduate Research School within 28 days (of the notification to the candidate) of the decision.

14.2 The Appeal Panel which is independent of the RESC shall consist of the Chair, Academic Board (or nominee) (Chair) and four members appointed by the Chair. Two members of the Appeal Panel shall be postgraduate research students, who have completed the confirmation of candidature process, chosen in consultation with the President of the Postgraduate Student Association.

14.3 The Appeal Panel shall meet within 28 days of the University Registrar receiving the notice in writing from the candidate as outlined in 14.1 above.

14.4 The Appeal Panel shall consider only:

14.4.1 the grounds of the request for the appeal;

14.4.2 any documents relevant to the decision against which the candidate has appealed;

14.4.3 such further material as the Appeal Panel may, in the exercise of its discretion, permit to be placed before it if it considers it necessary or desirable in the interests of justice to do so.

14.5 The candidate shall have the right to be heard in person or to make submissions in writing; and to be represented by a Student Association Case Worker or another member of the University community not acting in a legal capacity, provided that any candidate to be so represented must notify the Graduate Research School at least 48 hours prior to the time set for the appeal.

14.6 The Appeal Panel shall have the power to allow or dismiss an appeal against the decision; or vary the decision of the RESC.

14.7 The Chair of the Appeal Panel shall notify the Graduate Research School forthwith of its decision and reasons and the Graduate Research School shall notify in writing the student within 14 days of the Appeal Panel’s decision. The Chair of the Appeal Panel shall also advise the Research Committee of the outcome and any recommendations made by the Appeal Panel.

14.8 The Appeal Panel’s decision shall be final.

14.9 A candidate who has successfully appealed against a decision of the RESC pursuant to the Masters by Research Requirements is not permitted a second appeal against a decision regarding the same matter.