Graduate Research School Policy & Procedure HDR Confirmation of Candidature Procedure

HDR Confirmation of Candidature Procedure

This procedure elaborates the Confirmation of Candidature section of the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.


1. To demonstrate that the Candidate’s proposed project is of a suitable scope and standard for the degree;

2. To demonstrate that the Candidate has the capacity to: (a) complete the proposed project in a timely manner with the resources available and the potential to obtain any required permits and (b) undertake a degree at the required level by demonstrating:

  • mastery of a substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of the field of research, including principles and methods.
  • the cognitive skills to demonstrate expert understanding of the associated theoretical knowledge, and to reflect critically on the theory and practice of the field of research.
  • the communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions and present cogently a complex investigation to peers and the wider academic community.


This procedure applies to Candidates for the research higher degrees offered by the University.


Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Policy Glossary in the Learning and Teaching domain of the University Policy Library, and in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.


1.1 Candidates must aim to have their candidature confirmed when they have consumed 0.5 EFTSL (6 months full time equivalent) of provisional candidature.  Candidates can be granted an extension of a further 0.5 EFTSL (PhD) or 0.33 EFTSL (Masters) under special circumstances by Variation of Candidature Form.

1.2 Successful completion of the Confirmation of Candidature Process requires the Candidate receive the grade of “pass” for each of RD7001/RM7001and RD7002/RM7002, and to complete all the requirements for this milestone as detailed in the relevant forms.

1.3 The Candidate must prepare the materials required for assessment at the Confirmation of Candidature Milestone.  The required materials are:

1.3.1 Written work - complete COC-Proposal_Template for RD7001/RM7001 ‘Planning the Research’ which is a detailed research proposal.

1.3.2 Written work – complete for RD7002/RM7002 ‘Situating the Research’ a literature review of some or all of the proposed topic of the research or other synthesis consistent with the RD7002/RM7002 Subject Outline.

1.3.3 Presentation – a seminar on the research proposal, the assessment of which is recorded on COC-Assessment Form. This presentation must be public for doctoral candidates.

1.4 The Advisory Panel may decide that the Candidate should complete RD7001/RM7001 and RD7002/RM7002 on separate occasions

1.5 The Candidate, through their Primary Advisor, should ask the Responsible Administrative Officer in their College to organise the seminar and the post-seminar meeting of the Candidature Committee.

1.6 Six weeks before the seminar, the Candidate must provide each member of their Candidature Committee, material from clause 1.3.1 so that it can be sent to an expert reviewer.

1.7 The Primary Advisor must review the written proposal component of the Planning the Research subject RD7001/RM7001 using COC-Proposal_Template.

1.8 Doctoral Candidates: The Primary Advisor must also obtain an expert review of the written proposal. The expert reviewer must be external to JCU.  An “expert” in this case is defined as a person who has at a minimum, published in the area of the proposed research.  A link to the expert reviewer’s research profile should be provided to the Candidature Committee and ADRE. The template for this step can be found at COC-Expert Reviewer

Research Masters Candidates: This step in the Confirmation of Candidature process is not required.

1.9 The Candidate must revise their proposal in accordance with the review(s), and record the amendments on COC-Proposal_Template.

1.10 At least one week before the seminar the Candidate must provide to the Advisory Panel COC-Proposal Template and their Literature Review.  The Advisory Panel must then undertake the assessments of these on COC-Assessment Form Assessment. COC-Assessment Form must be brought by the Advisory Panel to the seminar.

1.11 The seminar must be delivered in person and viewed by all members of the Candidature Committee. Others should be encouraged to attend unless such an arrangement is precluded by a confidentiality agreement. The presentation should be no longer than 30 minutes excluding questions and should detail the research proposal.

1.12 The Candidature Committee must meet to complete COC-Assessment Form and advise the Candidate of the recommendation of the Confirmation of Candidature Milestone. The decision about the recommendation of the process will be made by the Chair of the Candidature Committee and, in the case of doctoral candidates, the Independent Academic. The Advisors and the Candidate should not be present when this decision is made.  The signatures of the Candidate and the Advisors must be obtained subsequent to the decision having been explained to them, in acknowledgement that they have been advised of the recommendation.  The Candidature Committee may recommend that the Confirmation of Candidature milestone be passed or failed. Not passing one or both of RD7001/RM7001 and RD7002/RM7002 constitutes a fail.

1.13 A Candidate who wishes to request a review of the recommendation of their Confirmation of Candidature, may submit an appeal in writing to the Manager, Graduate Research Operations within 20 working days of signing COC-Assessment Form. The milestone recommendation review will be assessed by two Associate Deans of Research Education from Colleges other than that of the Candidate. The two Associate Deans of Research Education who are assessing the review may obtain additional expert review and interview any people involved if they wish to do so.

In submitting a request for a review of a milestone recommendation, the Candidate must provide evidence for why a recommendation should be rescinded.  Such a case would at the very least include evidence of inconsistencies between assessments of milestone components, by for example the Chair of Candidature Committee, Independent Academic, any expert reviewers, and the Advisory Panel.

The decision of the review of a milestone recommendation may be to support or rescind the recommendation for that milestone and will be communicated to the Candidate within 20 working days of submitting the appeal.

1.14 Once finalised, the COC-Assessment Form must be returned to the Graduate Research School.

1.15 The Dean, Graduate Research will approve the final recommendation of the Confirmation of Candidature Milestone.

1.16 The Graduate Research School will communicate the Dean’s approved course of action to the Candidate and the Candidature Committee.

1.17 A Candidate who fails the Confirmation of Candidature milestone, or exceeds the maximum times stipulated in clause 1.1 without an approved extension will be placed Under Review.

1.18 A Candidate is allowed 1 reattempt of the Confirmation of Candidature milestone. If the Candidate fails the second attempt of the Confirmation of Candidature milestone their candidature will be discontinued in accordance with the HDR Discontinuation of Candidature Procedure.

Approval Details

Procedure custodian:

Dean, Graduate Research

Approval authority:


Version no.:


Date for next review:

June 2022

Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date




Refer to subjects and new forms.

Appeal of result to occur within college prior to submission of form to GRS.

Unsatisfactory leads to “Under Review”

No Merit Review.



Changed appeal process.  Change to Under Review clause.



Added requirement for CAA-FORM-01. Changed appeal process.




Expert Reviewer must be external to JCU




Candidates should aim to complete their confirmation in 6 months




Amended for Masters Requirements




Amended to accommodate new paperwork requirements