Policy Academic Governance HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure

HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure

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This procedure has been established to outline the process to submit and arrange for the examination or re-examination of a thesis produced by a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate.

This procedure addresses HESF Standard 4.2: Research Training (4.2.1 d-g).


This procedure applies to HDR candidates at JCU who are submitting their thesis for examination, and University staff involved in the thesis submission and examination 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. 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.

2. When submitting their thesis, HDR candidates must submit the following to the HDR Academic Services Officer in their College:

a) An electronic copy of the thesis in both Word and single PDF document formats.

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

c) PUB-FORM-01 Thesis Publications, Copyright and Sensitivity Declaration by HDR candidates whose thesis contains publications derived from the research conducted during their HDR enrolment.

3. The HDR Academic Services Officer from the HDR candidate’s College will check the thesis and the required documentation is complete and send copies of the thesis and the documentation to the Graduate Research School (GRS).

4. Upon thesis submission to the GRS, the HDR candidate will be placed ‘Under Examination’ in the Student Management System.

5. In exceptional cases where the HDR candidate elects to submit the thesis for examination without the relevant certification of advisors, the HDR candidate must have been provided with written advice of the reasons for refusing to sign this certification by the Advisory Panel and have responded to this advice in writing. Copy of this correspondence must be submitted with the thesis.

6. The GRS will contact the nominated examiners and confirm no conflict of interest, and continued willingness to examine the thesis.

7. The GRS will send the thesis out for examination to the appointed examiners with the examiner information, and assessment form.

8. The GRS will advise the HDR candidate when the thesis has been sent to the examiners.  During thesis examination the HDR candidate and advisors must not have contact with the examiners.

9. From the time of submission of the thesis to the GRS for examination or re-examination, all communication regarding the examination of the thesis must be conducted through the GRS.

10. In the process of examination, the examiners may consult with one another through the GRS, but must submit separate reports.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. The University will endeavour to have the results of the examination process advised to candidates within eight to ten weeks of submission. However, examinations can sometimes take considerably longer than this if examiners do not submit their report in the required time frame.

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

15. The examiners’ reports and examination outcomes will be handled by the GRS in accordance with the HDR Consideration of Examiner Reports Procedure.

16. If the HDR candidate or 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.

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

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

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

Related policy instruments

HDR Requirements

HDR Nomination of Examiners Procedure

SUB-FORM-01 HDR Thesis Submission and Release Form

PUB-FORM-01 Thesis Publications, Copyright and Sensitivity Declaration

HDR Consideration of Examiner Reports Procedure

Guidelines for Conducting an Oral 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

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date


23-117/07/202304/08/2023Major reviewManager, Graduate Research School



Merged Thesis Submission and

Examination Procedures.

Contact person

Dean, Graduate Research