Policy Academic Governance Higher Doctorate Procedure

Higher Doctorate Procedure

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The Procedure establishes a process for the application of and determining the eligibility of a candidate for a JCU Higher Doctorate.


This document relates to JCU Higher Doctorates only, those being:

  • Doctor of Letters (19501)
  • Doctor of Science (59501)

and does not relate to Honorary Doctorates. It is envisaged that the Higher Doctorates listed in this procedure encompass the needs of all research disciplines at JCU. It should be noted that this course does not consume Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) and currently does not have any tuition fees associated.


Higher Doctorate: An award designed to give formal public recognition of career achievements which represent distinguished (significant, sustained, original and internationally recognised) contributions to a field of research. Candidates for the Higher Doctorate are assessed on the basis of published work judged by national and international peers as an indication of the candidate’s substantive, original and distinguished contributions to knowledge and standing in his/her field.


1.  A candidate for the award shall:

1.1 hold a doctoral degree and be a JCU graduate of not less than ten years’ standing, of a bachelor, honours, research masters or doctoral degree; or

1.2 be a graduate of another university, whose qualifications are of equivalent standing to those in Requirement 1.1 and who satisfies the Panel that he or she is justified in seeking the degree from JCU rather than from another university. Such graduates will be expected to have had at least four years’ active involvement with scholarly research with JCU.

2. Application for candidature shall normally be made in writing to the Office of the College Dean, and shall include particulars of the prima facie case for the award, specifically:

2.1 qualifications and affiliations with JCU

2.2 research achievements and

2.3 a summary of the body of work to be submitted for the award in the form of citations, abstracts and impact statements, including e-links, sufficient to enable determination of suitability for candidature.  (Maximum 5 pages, plus three most significant publications appended, publications if e-links are not available)

3. The College Dean, shall appoint an expert panel to be convened by the Office of the College Dean:

3.1 to review the application;

3.2 to recommend whether the applicant should be allowed to proceed to candidature; and

3.3 to oversee the external examination process including identifying and nominate for invitation potential examiners prior to the candidate being invited to proceed.

4. The expert panel will include at least three researchers who are staff of the University and of appropriate standing in the discipline of the application, plus the Dean of College, the Dean, Graduate Research and the Chair, Academic Board or nominees. In reviewing the application, the Panel shall recommend to the College one of the following:

4.1 the applicant be allowed to proceed, by receiving and accepting an offer for enrolment in the Higher Doctorate, and to be admitted to the course, and enrolled in the relevant Higher Doctorate subject.

4.2 the applicant be recommended to be considered for an Honorary Doctorate of the University.

4.3 the applicant be not allowed to proceed, and the applicant be advised of the Panel’s decision.

5. Once the candidate is enrolled, the candidate proceeds with the submission of the body of work. To qualify for the award, the candidate shall provide evidence that he/she has made a substantial, coherent and internationally recognised contribution of distinguished merit adding to the knowledge or understanding of his/her discipline. This may, for example take the form of a written statement accompanying the body of work appropriately expanding the initial application.

The candidate in submitting their written statement and body of published works shall also state generally in a preface and specifically in notes the main sources from which the information is derived and the extent to which the candidate has made use of the work of others, especially where joint publications are concerned. The candidate may also signify in general terms the portions of the work claimed as original. Any part of the work submitted for a degree in this or any other university shall not be accepted.

6. The candidate shall lodge with the Graduate Research School, four copies of the material for examination. The Graduate Research School will facilitate the examination and forward reports to the College.

7. Once the candidate has submitted the body of work, the Panel shall provide the details the examiners to the Graduate Research School.  The Panel must ensure there are three external examiners of appropriate standing, including at least one international examiner, and at least one examiner who holds a Higher Doctorate from a cognate discipline.  The examiners would examine the body of work against the criteria outlined in Appendix 1, and provide their report to the GRS.

8. The Panel appointed by the College will consider the examiners’ reports and make recommendations to the Academic Division and the Academic Board concerning the award of the degree.

9. A candidate who has complied with the provisions of these Requirements and all other relevant Statutes and Requirements shall be recommended for the award of the appropriate Higher Doctorate.

Related policy instruments

Higher Degree by Research Requirements Policy


Appendix 1: Criteria for examination


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domainResearch Education

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Procedure established to provide requirements for application and eligibility for  JCU Higher Doctorate

Chair of Academic Board


Higher Doctorate, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Science

Contact PersonDean, Graduate Research