Graduate Research School Policy & Procedure HDR Pre-Completion Evaluation Milestone Procedure

HDR Pre-Completion Evaluation Milestone Procedure

This Procedure elaborates the Pre-Completion Evaluation section of the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.

Intent of the Pre-Completion Evaluation

  1. To improve the quality of research by providing the Candidate with public feedback during the final stages of thesis writing.
  2. To increase the likelihood that thesis submission will be timely.
  3. 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. To provide an opportunity for the Candidate to present a plan for the publication of unpublished components of their research including the proposed authorship arrangements and the protocol for publication if the Candidate does not initiate manuscript preparation within a mutually agreed time period.
  5. To review the arrangements for storing the Candidate’s data.
  6. To ensure that creative work (where applicable) is of a standard that is ready for examination.


These requirements apply 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 The time frame for the Pre-Completion Evaluation is within six months prior to the expected submission of the thesis for examination, where the maximum duration of candidature is as per clause 2.4 in the HDR Requirements.

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

1.2.1 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.

1.2.2 Public presentation – a public seminar on the synthesised research findings.

1.2.3 If enrolled after 1 January 2018, Doctoral Candidates only must have completed 120 hours total of Professional Development (an additional 40 hours since the Mid-Candidature Review Milestone) and RD7003 would be assessed at this milestone.  If enrolled prior to 1 January 2018, RD7003 would have been evaluated at the Mid-Candidature Review with 80 hours only of Professional Development.

1.2.4 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 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.

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

1.4 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.

1.5 The seminar must be delivered in person 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.

1.6 If the Candidate is unable to deliver the seminar in person, two alternatives are permissible:

  1. The seminar is delivered by videoconference;
  2. The Candidate provides a video of their seminar presentation in an appropriate format to the Administrative Officer responsible for organising the seminar. This video is viewed by their Candidature Committee in the normal manner. The Candidate is then questioned at a pre-arranged time by teleconference.

1.7 The Candidature Committee must meet after the seminar to complete PCE-FORM-01 and provide feedback to the Candidate. The decision about the outcome of the process will be made by the Chair of the Candidature Committee and the Independent academic and the Advisors and the Candidate should not be present when this decision is made.  The signatures of the Candidate and Advisors must be obtained subsequent to the decision having been explained to them in acknowledgement that they have been advised of the recommendation, before providing PCE-FORM-01 to the Graduate Research School.

1.8 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.

1.9 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 within 20 working days of signing PCE-FORM-01. 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.

1.10 Once finalised, PCE-FORM-01 is to be returned to the Graduate Research School.

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

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

1.13 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 placed Under Review.

Approval Details

Procedure custodian:

Dean, Graduate Research

Approval authority:


Version no.:


Date for next review:

April 2019

Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date




Removed 50 word abstract requirement.

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

Unsatisfactory leads to “Under Review” note Merit Review.



RD7003 not signed off until Pre Completion Evaluation and 120 hours prof dev total required, but only for those enrolled from 1 Jan 2018. Change to appeal Procedure. Change to Under Review Clause.