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Graduate Research School Policy & Procedure HDR Milestone and Reporting Procedure

HDR Milestone and Reporting Procedure

This procedure elaborates the Milestones and Progress section of the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.

Intent

The candidature milestones and progress reporting requirements to help you to navigate and plan your degree; obtain regular feedback on progress; and improve the likelihood of timely completion

Scope

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

Definitions

Terms not defined in this document 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.

Milestone and Reporting Timeline

1.1 A full-time doctoral candidature will follow the following timeline (double due dates for part time)

Candidate Advisor Agreement

Six weeks from commencement

Confirmation of Candidature

Six months full time equivalent

Mid-Candidature Review

18 months – 2 years full time equivalent

Pre-Completion Milestone

Three years and three months from commencement

Thesis Submission and Examination

Three years and six months from commencement

Consideration of Examiners’ Reports

To be completed before 4 years full time equivalent

1.2 A full-time MPhil candidature will follow the following timeline (double due dates for part-time)

Candidate Advisor Agreement

Six weeks from commencement

Confirmation of Candidature

Six months full time equivalent

Pre-Completion Milestone

One year and six months from commencement

Thesis Submission and Examination

One year and nine months from commencement

Consideration of Examiners’ Reports

To be completed before 2 years full time equivalent

1.3 Progress Reports must be completed in reporting periods where a milestone has not been met. Reporting periods are 1 November to 30 April and 1 May to 31 October.

Milestone 1: Candidate Advisor Agreement

Intent:

1.4 The aim of the Commencement Agreement is to enable candidates and their advisors to embark on a productive research relationship by identifying matters that should be discussed early in candidature.  These include roles and expectations of all parties, data management, timing and authorship of publications, and contingency planning.

Procedure

1.5 Candidates and advisors should complete the Candidate Advisor Agreement (form CAA-FORM-01) and submit it to the College Academic Services Officer six weeks after the commencement of candidature.

1.6 This document should then be revisited by the candidate and panel at each candidature milestone.

1.7 This document should also be revisited by the candidate and panel in the event that there is a change of Primary Advisor.

1.8 Candidates and advisors may email any confidential concerns that they do not want recorded on this form to the College Associate Dean of Research Education with a copy to grs@jcu.edu.au.

Milestone 2: Confirmation of Candidature

Intent

2.1 Candidature is provisional until Confirmation of Candidature is successfully achieved.

2.2 Completion of this milestone demonstrates that the candidate’s proposed project is of a suitable scope and standard for the degree.

2.3 Completion of this milestone demonstrates 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.
Procedure

2.4 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.

2.5 Successful completion of the Confirmation of Candidature milestone requires the candidate has successfully completed all relevant Professional Development requirements. The GRS may be contacted to confirm that all requirements have been met.

2.6 The candidate, through their Primary Advisor, should ask the College Academic Services Officer to organise the seminar and the post-seminar meeting of the Candidature Committee.

2.7 The candidate must prepare the following materials and provide them to each member of their Candidature Committee six weeks before the seminar:

2.7.1 Written work - complete COC-Proposal Template for the ‘Planning the Research’ subject (RD7001/RM7001) which is a detailed research proposal.

2.7.2 Written work – complete for the ‘Situating the Research’ subject which is a literature review of some or all of the proposed topic of the research or other synthesis consistent with the subject outline (RD7002/RM7002).

2.7.3 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

2.8 The Primary Advisor must review the written proposal component of the Planning the Research subject using COC-Proposal Template.

2.9 The Advisory Panel may decide that the Candidate should repeat particular components of the milestone.

2.10 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

Note: For Master of Philosophy candidates, this step in the Confirmation of Candidature process is not required.

2.11 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 using the COC-Assessment Form which must be brought by the Advisory Panel to the seminar.

2.12 The seminar must be delivered in person or via live-feed 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 detail the research proposal and should be no longer than 30 minutes excluding questions.

2.13 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.

2.14 Once the review is received, the candidate must revise their proposal in accordance with the feedback and record the amendments on COC-Proposal Template.

2.15 Once finalised, the COC-Assessment Form must be returned to the College Academic Services Officer.

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

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

2.18 A candidate who fails the Confirmation of Candidature milestone, or exceeds the maximum times stipulated in this procedure without an approved extension will be subject to the Progress Support Procedure.

2.19 A candidate is allowed one 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 (see HDR Discontinuation of Candidature Procedure).

Milestone 3:  Mid-Candidature Review Milestone

This milestone relates to doctoral candidates only
Intent

3.1 To improve the quality of research by providing the candidate with formal feedback from their Candidature Committee.

3.2 To facilitate the acquisition of professional skills.

3.3 To increase the likelihood that thesis submission will be timely.

Procedure

3.4 Doctoral candidates are required to do their Mid-Candidature Review Milestone when they have consumed between 1.5 and 2 EFTSL.

3.5 Successful completion of the Mid-Candidature milestone requires the candidate has successfully completed all relevant Professional Development requirements. The GRS may be contacted to confirm that all requirements have been met.

3.6 The candidate, through their Primary Advisor, should ask the College Academic Services Officer to organise the seminar if required and a meeting of the Candidature Committee.

3.7  The candidate must prepare the materials required for assessment at the Mid-Candidature Review milestone.  The required materials are:

3.7.1 Written work - drafts of all materials prepared for the thesis including at least one substantive piece such as the draft of a chapter, manuscript, creative work or exegesis.

3.7.2 Public Presentation – submitted a paper to a peer-reviewed publication or made a comparable presentation at a conference external to JCU JCU or any oral presentation of the research deemed appropriate by your college ADRE. If evidence cannot be provided that the candidate has completed any of these outputs, the candidate must present a seminar or poster to the Candidature Committee.

3.7.3 Mid-Candidature Review Assessment form MCR-FORM-01 including the record of completion of elective or required Professional Development undertaken.

3.7.4 Gantt chart outlining plan for completing the research project and thesis in the candidature time remaining.

3.8 One week before this meeting, the candidate must provide each member of their Candidature Committee, materials from clause 3.7.

3.9 If the candidate is delivering an oral presentation to the Candidature Committee, this presentation must be delivered in person or by live-feed and viewed by all members of the Candidature Committee. Other persons should be encouraged to attend unless such an arrangement is precluded by a confidentiality agreement. The presentation should be no longer than 30 minutes including questions and should provide a synthesis of one aspect of the research findings. If the candidate is presenting a poster to the Candidature Committee, the poster must be evaluated by all members of the Candidature Committee and the candidate must be available for questions.

3.10 The Candidature Committee must review all materials provided and meet to finalise MCR-FORM-01 and any additional written feedback to the candidate. The program of professional development must also be checked against requirements and recorded in MCR-FORM-01. The Candidature Committee may recommend that all of the Professional Development requirements have either been “met” or “not met.”  For the other assessable components of this milestone, the candidature committee may recommend “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.

3.11 The decision about the outcome of the process will be made by the Chair of the Candidature Committee and the Independent Academic. The Advisors and candidate should not be present when this decision is made.

3.12 The signatures of the candidate and Advisors must be obtained to signify acknowledgement that they have been advised of the recommendation.

3.13 Once finalised, MCR-FORM-01 is to be returned to the College Academic Services Officer who will forward to the Graduate Research School with supporting documentation.

3.14 The Dean, Graduate Research (or delegate) will approve the final recommendation of the Mid-Candidature Review Milestone.

3.15 The Graduate Research School will communicate the Dean, Graduate Research’s approved course of action to the candidate and the Candidature Committee.

3.16 Candidates who receive “unsatisfactory” for the assessable components of the Mid-Candidature Review or exceed the maximum times stipulated in clause 3.3 without an approved extension will be subject to the Progress Support Strategy.

Milestone 4:  Pre-Completion Milestone

A. Doctoral candidates
Intent

4.1 To improve the quality of research by providing the candidate with public feedback during the final stages of candidature.

4.2 To ensure that the thesis (or creative work where applicable) is of a standard that is ready for examination.

4.3 To increase the likelihood that thesis submission will be timely.

4.4 To facilitate the acquisition of essential generic skills by providing the candidate with the opportunity to synthesise the results of their research, present their results orally and defend them.

4.5 To provide an opportunity for the candidate to present a plan for the publication of unpublished components of their research including the proposed authorship arrangements and the protocol for publication

4.6 To review the arrangements for storing the candidate’s data.

Procedure

4.7 The Pre-Completion Evaluation should be completed no later than 3 years and 3 months (equivalent full time) from enrolment.

4.8 Successful completion of the Pre-Completion milestone requires the candidate has successfully completed all relevant Professional Development requirements. The GRS may be contacted to confirm that all requirements have been met.

4.9 The candidate, through their Primary Advisor, should ask the College Academic Services Officer in their College to organise the Pre-Completion Evaluation including the seminar and the post-seminar meeting of the Candidature Committee.

4.10 The candidate must prepare the materials required for assessment at the Pre-Completion Evaluation.  The required materials are:

4.10.1 Written work - drafts of all materials prepared for the thesis including at least one substantive piece such as the draft of a chapter, manuscript, creative work or exegesis nominated for detailed consideration.

4.10.2 Public presentation – a public seminar on the synthesised research findings. The seminar should be presented using the PhD Pre Completion Evaluation Template.

4.10.3 When the major output of the degree is a creative work, the following additional requirements apply:

  • an advanced draft of the complete exegesis apart from the post-examination reflections must be available for detailed consideration by the Candidature Committee
  • the creative work should be available to the Candidature Committee to determine whether or not it is ready for immediate external examination
  • If the Advisors do not consider that the creative work is ready for external examination the Pre-Completion Evaluation can be considered as a staging event and the candidate required to provide new or additional work for external examination.

4.11 One week before the seminar, the candidate must provide each member of their Candidature Committee, materials from clause 1.2, plus a plan for the publication of unpublished components of the research including the proposed authorship arrangements and the protocol for publication if the candidate does not initiate manuscript preparation within a mutually agreed time period.

4.12 The seminar must be delivered in person or via live-feed and viewed by all members of the Candidature Committee. Other persons should be encouraged to attend unless such an arrangement is precluded by a confidentiality agreement. The presentation should be no longer than 40 minutes excluding questions and should provide a synthesis of the research findings.

4.13 If the candidate is unable to deliver the seminar in person or via live-feed, they may provide a video of their seminar presentation in an appropriate format to the Administrative Officer responsible for organising the seminar. This video will be viewed by their Candidature Committee in the normal manner and the candidate will be questioned at a pre-arranged time by teleconference.

4.14 The Candidature Committee must meet after the seminar to complete PCE-FORM-01 and provide feedback to the candidate.

4.15 The decision about the outcome of the process will be made by the Chair of the Candidature Committee and the Independent Academic. The Advisors and the candidate should not be present when this decision is made.

4.16 The signatures of the candidate and Advisors must be obtained to signify acknowledgement that they have been advised of the recommendation.

4.17 Once finalised, PCE-FORM-01 is to be returned to the College Academic Services Officer who will forward to the Graduate Research School with supporting documentation.

B. Masters Candidates
Intent

4.18 To facilitate the acquisition of essential generic skills by providing the candidate with the opportunity to synthesise the results of their research, present their results orally, and defend them.

4.19 To ensure that the thesis (or creative work where applicable) is of a standard that is ready for examination.

4.20 To review the arrangements for storing the candidate’s data.

Procedure

4.21 The candidate must present a public seminar on the synthesised research findings.

4.22 The time frame for the Pre-Completion Seminar is no later than 1 year and 6 months (full time equivalent) from enrolment.

4.23 When the major output of the degree is a creative work, the following additional requirements apply:

  • an advanced draft of the complete exegesis apart from the post-examination reflections must be available for detailed consideration by the Candidature Committee
  • the creative work should be made available to the Candidature Committee to determine whether or not it is ready for immediate external examination
  • If the Advisors do not consider that the creative work is ready for external examination the Pre-Completion Evaluation can be considered as a staging event and the candidate required to provide new or additional work for external examination.
Seminar Procedure – all candidates

4.24 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.

4.25 The seminar must be delivered in person or via live-feed and viewed by all members of the Candidature Committee. Other persons should be encouraged to attend unless such an arrangement is precluded by a confidentiality agreement. The presentation should be no longer than 40 minutes excluding questions and should provide a synthesis of the research findings.

4.26 If the candidate is unable to deliver the seminar in person or via live-feed, they may provide a video of their seminar presentation in an appropriate format to the Administrative Officer responsible for organising the seminar. This video will be viewed by their Candidature Committee in the normal manner and the candidate will be questioned at a pre-arranged time by teleconference.

4.27 The Candidature Committee must meet after the seminar to complete PCE-FORM-01 and provide feedback to the candidate.

4.28 The decision about the outcome of the process will be made by the Chair of the Candidature Committee and the Independent Academic. The Advisors and the candidate should not be present when this decision is made.

4.29 The signatures of the candidate and Advisors must be obtained to signify acknowledgement that they have been advised of the recommendation.

4.30 Once finalised, PCE-FORM-01 is to be returned to the College Academic Services Officer who will forward to the Graduate Research School with supporting documentation.

Recommendations - All HDR candidates

4.31 The Candidature Committee must recommend whether or not the candidate’s research is of a standard and extent appropriate for a thesis in the degree in which the candidate is enrolled or an alternative qualification.

4.32 Once finalised, PCE-FORM-01 is to be returned to the College Academic Services Officer who will forward to the Graduate Research School with supporting documentation.

4.33 The Dean, Graduate Research will approve the final recommendation of the Pre-Completion Evaluation Milestone.

4.34 The Graduate Research School will communicate the Dean, Graduate Research’s approved course of action to the candidate and their Candidature Committee.

4.35 Candidates who receive the recommendation that the work is not of a standard or extent appropriate for submission of a thesis or exceed the time frame for completion of this milestone, will be subject to the Progress Support Strategy.

Milestone 5:  Thesis Submission and Examination

Intent & Scope

6.1 To outline the process to submit and arrange for the examination or re-examination of a thesis produced by a candidate for a Higher Degree by Research, PhD by Prior Publication or a Higher Doctorate.

Procedure

6.2 The candidate must have a subject status of “enrolled” in the Student Management System to submit the thesis. Once the thesis is submitted, the status will be changed to “under examination”.

6.3 To minimise the examination period it is important that the nomination of examiners has been finalised prior to thesis submission as outlined in the HDR Nomination of Examiners Procedure.

6.4 When submitting their thesis, a candidate must submit the following to the Academic Services Officer in their College:

a. an electronic copy of the thesis as a single pdf document

b. SUB-FORM-01 HDR Thesis Submission and Release Form completed and signed by the candidate and the Advisory Panel.

6.5 In exceptional cases when the candidate elects to submit the thesis for examination without the relevant certification of advisors, the Advisory Panel must provide the candidate with written advice of the reasons for refusing to sign this certification.  The candidate must respond to this advice in writing and a copy of this correspondence must be submitted with the thesis.

6.6 The College Academic Services Officer will check the thesis and the required documentation is complete and sends the copies of the thesis and the documentation to the Graduate Research School.

6.7 The Graduate Research School will contact the nominated examiners and confirm no conflict of interest, and continued willingness to examine the thesis.

6.8 The Graduate Research School will send the thesis out for examination to the appointed examiners with the examiner information, and assessment form.

6.9 The Graduate Research School will advise the candidate when the thesis has been sent to the examiners.  During thesis examination the candidate and advisors must not have contact with the examiners.

6.10 From the time of submission of the thesis to the Graduate Research School for examination or re-examination, all communication regarding the examination of the thesis must be conducted through the Graduate Research School.

6.11 In the process of examination, the examiners may consult with one another through the Graduate Research School but must submit separate reports.

6.12 Examiners will be asked to ascertain whether a thesis conforms to the learning outcomes of the relevant degree as described in the Australian Qualifications Framework and detailed in the relevant Guidelines for Examiners provided to examiners with the thesis.

6.13 Each examiner will be asked to submit an Examiner's Report form which includes the criteria to be used in making summative and formative recommendations to the University, and detailed comments on the quality, significance, originality, cohesiveness, and presentation of the thesis (normally in a written report). Examiners will be asked to complete their reports within six weeks of receipt of the thesis.

6.14 If an examiner is not satisfied with any aspect of the thesis, he/she may submit written questions, via the Graduate Research School, to which the candidate will be required to respond in writing. A copy of the questions and answers will be sent to the other examiners.

6.15 The University will endeavour to have the results of the examination process advised to candidates within eight to ten weeks of submission.

6.16 If the examiner has not submitted their report within three months of the date of receiving the thesis, the Dean, Graduate Research, in consultation with the Primary Advisor may appoint an alternative examiner, normally the nominated replacement examiner.

6.17 The examiners’ reports and examination outcomes will be handled by the Graduate Research School in accordance with the Consideration of Examiner Reports section of this Procedure.

6.18 If the candidate/advisors wish to have an oral examination, examiners may finalise recommendations concerning the thesis after the oral examination has been held as outlined in the Guidelines for Conducting an Oral Examination.

6.19 The examination procedure outlined above may only be varied with approval from the Dean, Graduate Research if:

6.19.1 The candidate is enrolled under a Cotutelle or Conjoint Degree Agreement with another University and this variation is specified in the Agreement; or

6.19.2 Part of the material to be examined is not ‘print on paper’, necessitating a variation in the examination procedure.

Milestone 6:  Consideration of Examiner Reports

Intent and Scope

7.1 To outline the process to be followed by the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate, their Advisory Panel, the College Dean, the Research Education Sub-Committee (RESC-E)  and the Graduate Research School when the reports of thesis examinations for a Higher Degree by Research (HDR), PhD by Prior Publication or a Higher Doctorate are received by the University.

Procedure

7.2 The possible recommendations that each examiner can make upon examining a thesis are:

  • NA: The thesis may be passed with no requirement for correction or amendments.
  • MA: The thesis may be passed after the candidate has made the minor textual corrections recommended by the examiner to the satisfaction of the College.
  • SA(A):The thesis may be passed without further examination provided that the candidate has rewritten specific sections of the thesis identified by the examiner to the satisfaction of the College Dean; this rewriting will clarify but not change the substantive conclusions of the thesis.
  • RR: The thesis should be resubmitted for examination after re-writing specified sections of the thesis as recommended by the examiner.
  • Fail: The thesis is unlikely to achieve the required standard even after revision.

7.3 Bearing in mind that a thesis can be examined by 2 or 3 examiners, there are 4 possible scenarios/actions arising from thesis examination, as per Table 1, below:

Table 1: Matrix of outcomes of thesis examination. Each outcome is explained in detail, below.

 

Outcome of Examiner B

  

NA

MA

SA(A)

RR

F

Outcome of Examiner A

NA

A

B

B

C*

D*

MA

B

B

B

C*

D*

SA(A)

B

B

B

C*

D*

RR

C*

C*

C*

C

D*

F

D*

D*

D*

D*

D

*Circumstances in which it is legitimate for the candidate and their Advisors to formally request the Research Education Sub-Committee to approve an adjudicator or in exceptional circumstances a new examiner as outlined in Appendix 2.

7.4 Scenarios:

  1. All examiners recommend no corrections (NA).
  2. All examiners recommend corrections to the Dean of College’s satisfaction (MA or SA(A)) or one examiner recommends no corrections (NA) and the other/s recommend MA or SA(A).
  3. One or more examiners recommends that the revised thesis be re-examined (RR) but no examiner recommends Fail.
  4. One or more examiners recommends Fail.

Action for each scenario:

A. All examiners recommend no corrections.

A.1. The Graduate Research School will provide the examiner reports to the candidate and advisory panel and College Dean.

A.2. The College Dean will send a memo to the Graduate Research School that the degree can be awarded.

A.3. The Dean, Graduate Research will notify the candidate in writing that their degree can be awarded and provides instructions on how to graduate.

B. All examiners recommend corrections to the Dean of College’s satisfaction (MA or SA(A)) or one examiner recommends no corrections (NA) and the other/s recommend MA or SA(A).

B.1. The Graduate Research School will provide the examiner reports to the candidate and advisory panel and College Dean.

B.2. The candidate must consider all examiner reports in consultation with their Advisory Panel, and make corrections to the thesis as recommended by the examiners.

B.3. The candidate must document in a neutral tone, the changes made to the thesis in the format in Appendix 1: Detailed Response to Examiner Comments.  This document should detail how the candidate addressed each of the examiner comments, and if/why any recommendations were not addressed.  The candidate will be given 6 weeks to complete the thesis corrections.

B.4. The amended thesis and “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” must be provided to the Primary Advisor.  The Primary Advisor must check the revised thesis against the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” and the examiner reports and provide written confirmation to the College Dean that the thesis has been corrected as recommended by the examiners. The College Dean must check this advice and “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” and advise the Dean, Graduate Research that the requirements have been met, and that the degree can be awarded.  The revised thesis must also be provided to the GRS by the College with the College Dean’s notification.

B.5. The Dean, Graduate Research will check that the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” has been completed and notify the candidate in writing that their degree can be awarded and provide instructions on how to graduate.

C. One or more examiners recommends that the revised thesis be re-examined (RR) but no examiner recommends Fail.

C.1. The Graduate Research School will provide the examiner reports to the Candidate and Advisory Panel and College Dean.

C.2. The candidate must consider all examiner reports in consultation with their Advisory Panel, and either (1) make corrections to the thesis as recommended by the examiners (preferred response) , or (2) make a case to the Research Education Sub-Committee that an adjudicator or in exceptional circumstances, a new examiner be appointed as per Appendix 2.

C.3. The candidate must document in a neutral tone, the changes made to the thesis as per the format in Appendix 1: Detailed Response Examiner Comments, which details how they addressed each of the examiner comments, and if/why any recommendations weren’t addressed.  The candidate will be given 3 months to complete the thesis corrections (or 6 months in the case of two RRs) and resubmit the revised thesis, and “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” to the Graduate Research School along with a member from the Dean of College, co-signed by the Primary Advisor, stating that they approve the revisions for re-examination. A thesis may normally be re-submitted for examination once only.

C.5. In the case of examiner(s) recommending RR, those examiner(s) will be provided with the original examiner reports, the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments,” the revised thesis, and a Re-Examination Summary form, which provides the options of recommending NA, MA, SA(A) or Fail. The option RR will not be available to the examiners. The Dean, Graduate Research will recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree when the result of a revision and re-examination of the thesis by the examiner(s) is a recommendation of NA, MA or SA(A), or the award of another degree, and the College Dean confirms in writing to the Dean, Graduate Research that all necessary amendments have been completed.

C.6. The Research Education Sub-Committee will not recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree and may recommend discontinuation of candidature or other outcomes as considered appropriate when:

a) Any examiner(s) of a revised and resubmitted thesis recommends a Fail.

b) The candidate has failed to revise and resubmit the thesis as required within the specified timeframe without an approved extension and after notification has been given.

D. One or more examiners recommend Fail when a thesis is submitted for examination for the first time

D.1.  If one or more examiners recommend ‘Fail’ the Dean, Graduate Research will contact the College Dean, the Primary Advisor and the other members of the Advisory Panel members (if appropriate) to discuss the examiner recommendations.

D.2. The matter will then be referred to the Research Education Sub-Committee to determine an appropriate course of action.  The Research Education Sub-Committee may recommend one of the following:

  • That the College Dean, the Advisory Panel and the candidate be asked to submit a response as per Appendix 2: Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations for further consideration of the Research Education Sub-Committee before making a recommendation or
  • That the thesis should be sent to either an adjudicator or additional examiner immediately or
  • That the thesis be revised and resubmitted for re-examination or
  • That, in the instance of two or more examiners recommending ‘Fail’, that the examination outcome be recorded as fail and candidature discontinued or
  • Any other course of action as deemed appropriate to the situation.

D.3. The Dean, Graduate Research will communicate the examiner recommendations and the course of action recommended by the Research Education Sub-Committee to the candidate, their Advisory Panel, the Chair of their Candidature Committee and other relevant parties within ten (10) University Working days of the Sub-Committee’s decision.

D.4. The Research Education Sub-Committee will not recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree and may recommend discontinuation of candidature or other outcomes as considered appropriate when:

  • All examiners recommend that the thesis be failed.
  • An appointed adjudicator supports the recommendation that the thesis be failed.
  • An additional examiner recommends that the thesis be failed.
  • Examiners recommend the candidate be awarded another degree.
  • Examiners recommend that candidate resubmit their thesis for examination for another degree.
  • The candidate has failed to undertake the actions required by the Research Education Sub-Committee within the specified timeframe without an approved extension and after notification has been given.

7.5 In the circumstances asterisked in Table 1, the Advisory Panel and candidate may after any initial examination and consideration of the examiners’ reports request that an adjudicator be appointed or in exceptional circumstances only that the thesis be examined by a new examiner, by providing to the Research Education Sub Committee an “Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations” as per Appendix 2.

7.6  Appointment of adjudicator

The appointment of an adjudicator will only be considered in the circumstances marked with an asterisk in Table 1 above, which indicate substantive disagreement between the recommendations of the examiners.  To request an adjudicator, an Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations (Appendix 2) should be submitted for consideration by the Research Education Sub-Committee.  An adjudicator is required to adjudicate between the examiner reports in the context of the thesis and to make a recommendation to the Research Education Sub-Committee.  Note: An adjudicator must be a senior academic with expertise in the field of the research topic, and extensive experience in HDR supervision and the Australian thesis examination system.

7.7 The appointment of a new examiner

The appointment of a new examiner is an extremely rare event. Such action will only be considered in the circumstances marked with an asterisk in Table 1 above if there is a substantive reason (which must be identified) to believe that one of the examiner reports is biased or otherwise inappropriate and should be disallowed. To request an adjudicator, an Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations should be submitted along with evidence that the original examiner report is inappropriate, for consideration by the Research Education Sub-Committee.  In such a case, the Research Education Sub-Committee must decide to disallow the report for the examiner of concern before inviting an additional examiner. The report from the additional examiner will be considered by the Research Education Sub-Committee in conjunction with the original allowed examiner reports.

7.8 All examiners will be advised of the final outcome of the examination process. When the Research Education Sub-Committee requires that the thesis be revised and resubmitted, the examiners will be advised of that decision at the time it is made and where necessary invited to re-examine the revised thesis.  Examiners will be provided with a de-identified copy of the allowed reports of the other examiner(s).

7.9 The candidate may appeal any decision of the Research Education Sub-Committee or Dean, Graduate Research in relation to the examination process or outcome in accordance with the JCU Student Complaint Policy and Procedure.

Appendix 1: Detailed Response to Examiner Comments

Detailed Response to Examiner Comments by [NAME] [STUDENT ID]

Page Number if Original Thesis

Examiner Comment

Candidate Response to Comment

Amendments made to Thesis

Page Number in Amended Thesis

Examiner 1 (add rows as required)

     
     

Examiner 2 (add rows as required)

     
     

Examiner 3 (if required)

     

Appendix 2: Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations

Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations

This document should be framed as a correspondence to the Research Education Sub-Committee and must contain the below information.

Name of Candidate

Degree

Title of Thesis

Summative Recommendation of each examiner

Date of meeting to develop this evaluation

Recommendation to the Research Education Sub-Committee

Justification for Recommendation

Brief overview of what the Candidate intends to do to revise the thesis

Signatures of Candidate, Advisory Panel and Chair of Candidature Committee

Six-monthly HDR Progress Reporting

Intent

8.1 To check whether progress on the candidate’s thesis is proceeding according to plan; to identify and address as far as possible any impediments to progress; and to comply with the external regulatory reporting requirements for international HDR candidates.

Procedure

8.2 A report on the candidate’s progress must be submitted to the Graduate Research School on the HDR Progress Report Form every six months except if one of the major milestones (Confirmation of Candidature, Mid-Candidature Review or Pre-Completion Evaluation) has been completed successfully in the previous six months, or the thesis has been submitted for examination.

8.3 The Graduate Research School will advise the candidate and their Advisory Panel of the due date for submitting the upcoming Progress Report at least twenty (20) working days before it is due to be submitted to the Graduate Research School.

8.4 The HDR Progress Report Form should be completed by the candidate followed by the members of their Advisory Panel, all of whom are asked to be frank in their report to facilitate the identification and timely resolution of any problems.

8.5 The candidate must have read the Explanatory Statement if there is one, and any Advisor comments before signing the report.

8.6 The completed HDR Progress Report Form must be forwarded to the Graduate Research School with all the required signatures including that of the candidate. The Graduate Research School will communicate the approved course of action of the Dean, Graduate Research to the candidate, Advisory Panel and Dean of College.

8.7 A Candidate who wishes to appeal the outcome of their Progress Report should appeal in writing to the College Dean, prior to HDR Progress Report Form being provided to the Graduate Research School.  The College Dean may support or rescind the recommendation for the Progress Report.

8.8 Where a candidate fails to submit a required HDR Progress Report Form, the outcome for that report will normally be recorded as ‘Review of Progress Required’, unless an alternative outcome is approved in writing by the Dean, Graduate Research.

8.9 A candidate who fails to submit two successive reports or who receives two successive ‘Review of Progress Required’ outcomes will be subject to the HDR Under Review Procedure.

8.10 The Dean, Graduate Research or the Research Education Sub-Committee may at any time require a candidate to submit a progress report, provide material and undertake activities in order to evaluate their progress.

8.11 The candidate and Advisory Panel may submit an additional confidential report at this time or at any time to provide additional confidential information in relation to the candidate and their progress.

Requesting a Review of a Milestone Recommendation– all candidates

9.1 A candidate who wishes to request a review of the recommendation of their Pre-Completion Evaluation, may submit an appeal in writing to the Manager, Graduate Research Operations

9.2 Within 20 working days of signing the milestone assessment form (Confirmation, Mid-Candidature or Pre-Completion). 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.

9.3 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.

9.4 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.

Approval Details

Procedure sponsor:

Dean, Graduate Research

Approval authority:

Provost

Version no:

21-1

Date for next review:

2024

Modification History

Version No.Approval DateImplementation DateDetails
22-122 March 202219 April 2022Add flexibility to MCR presentation 3.7.2