Policy Academic Governance HDR Discontinuation of Candidature Procedure

HDR Discontinuation of Candidature Procedure

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This procedure has been established to specify the process by which a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidature may be discontinued.

This procedure addresses HESF Standard 4.2: Research Education.


This Procedure applies to HDR candidates for the research higher degrees offered by the University, and University staff involved in the discontinuation process.


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. A HDR candidate may have their candidature discontinued at any time after enrolment and prior to conferral for the following reasons:

1.1 At the end of a period of being Under Review, if the HDR candidate has not fulfilled the agreed requirements of their Candidature Management Plan.

1.2 It has been recommended in the outcome of a Confirmation of Candidature, Mid-Candidature Review or Pre-Completion Evaluation milestone.

1.3 Failure to maintain contact with Advisors for a minimum of three months, following substantiation and attempts to make contact with the HDR candidate by the Graduate Research School (GRS).

1.4 Via a request to withdraw from the candidature by completion and submission of the VOC-FORM-01 Variation of Candidature form or by email.

1.5 The Research Education Advisory Committee has determined that a HDR candidate has failed the thesis examination process after review of the examiners’ recommendations.

1.6 The HDR candidate has breached the conditions set out in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements including the requirement to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct , the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and other relevant University Policies.

1.7 The HDR candidate is no longer able to undertake the agreed research project for reasons such as but not limited to:

i. The University has determined on the basis of recommendations from two independent experts that the material being prepared for presentation in the thesis will not meet the requirements for the degree.

ii. The HDR candidate is no longer able to undertake the approved research project and an appropriate alternative cannot be found after reasonable efforts by the College.

iii. The HDR candidate is unable to be supervised by appropriate Advisors and alternatives cannot be found after reasonable efforts by the Dean of College.

iv. The HDR candidate has refused to abide by a reasonable formal notification from the University within the period nominated in the notification which must be at least 20 working days.

v. The University requires that the HDR candidate be discontinued as the result of a misconduct or complaint process.

2. The GRS will provide the HDR candidate with a Notification of Discontinuation, which will include the reason for the discontinuation. The notice will be sent to the HDR candidate’s JCU student email address.

3. A HDR candidate may appeal the Notification of Discontinuation unless their appeal is under Clause 1.1 or 1.2 of this procedure.  To appeal the Notification of Discontinuation, a HDR candidate must refer to the Student Review and Appeal Policy.

4. If the candidate has not submitted a written appeal to the notification of discontinuation within 20 working days of the date of the notification, the GRS will withdraw the HDR candidate from their degree in the Student Management System.

5. In the case of discontinuation of an International HDR candidate, the GRS must inform the Academic Administration and Enrolments team so that any reporting required may be undertaken.

6. Following discontinuation, candidates do have the opportunity for external appeal via the Queensland Ombudsman.

Related Policy Instruments

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements

Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

HDR Confirmation of Candidature Procedure

HDR Mid-Candidature Review Procedure

HDR Pre-Completion Evaluation Procedure

HDR Under Review Procedure

Student Code of Conduct

Student Review and Appeal Policy

VOC-FORM-01 Variation of Candidature form




Approval Details

Policy Domain

Academic Governance

Policy Sub-domain

Research Education

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major review


Revision History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date


24-1NA15/03/2024Administrative amendment to replace reference to International Student Support team with Academic Administration and Enrolments team (clause 5).Manager, Graduate Research School
23-104/09/202313/09/2023Major review.Manager, Graduate Research School
19-1   19/07/19 Minor Change: Added reference to Student Appeal Procedure (General) in Clause 3.  Moved reference to Student Complaint Policy and Procedure from Clause 3 to Clause 6. 
17-3 17/10/17 17/10/17 Clause 1.f.iv added, approved in Res Comm. 
17-2   09/08/17 Administrative changes in response to ESOS Audit 




Removed references to Merit Review

KeywordsDiscontinue, discontinuation
Contact personDean, Graduate Research