HDR Variation and Extension of Candidature Procedure
This procedure has been established to outline how to apply to make changes to components of a higher degree by research (HDR) candidature.
This procedure addresses HESF Standard 4.2: Research Training.
This Procedure applies to candidates for the HDR Programs offered by the University and associated staff involved in the procedure.
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 This section applies to all types of variation and extension requests, and should be taken in conjunction with the relevant section below as applicable to the approval being sought by the HDR candidate.
1.2 Any request for a Variation to Candidature must first be discussed between the Candidate and their Advisory Panel to ensure that the proposed variation is appropriate for the stage of candidature and the project plan, is sufficiently justified, is able to be supported by the Advisory Panel, and is consistent with the availability of the required resources and supervision. This discussion should occur at a time that will enable completion of the procedure specified below and submission of the approved form to the Graduate Research School (GRS) before the variation is to occur.
1.3 Following informal agreement being obtained from the Advisory Panel, the HDR candidate should complete the Variation of Candidature form.
1.4 Relevant documentation and explanations, where required, must be provided with the Variation of Candidature form to support the request being made, for example, medical certificates and revised candidature plan and timelines.
1.5 The form must be endorsed by the signatories as specified on the form.
1.6 On approval of the Dean, Graduate Research, the GRS will make the necessary amendments to the HDR candidate’s University record and inform the HDR candidate and the Primary Advisor that the variation has been approved, including any consequential changes to candidature such as a change of the due date of the submission of the thesis.
1.7 Any of the signatories to the Variation of Candidature form may request additional documentation, clarification or information from the HDR candidate when considering the variation request.
1.8 If a variation request is denied the HDR candidate may seek assistance from the relevant Associate Dean of Research Education (ADRE) to resolve the matter. A candidate who wishes to request a review of the recommendation of their Variation of Candidature request may do so as per the Student Review and Appeal Policy and Procedures.
1.9 Variations to Candidature will not normally be approved retrospectively. Variations must be formally requested and approved using the procedures outlined in this document prior to the commencement of the variation. For example, Leave of Absence must be approved prior to being taken. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted if it can be demonstrated that special circumstances prevented the timely submission of the variation request.
2. Addition of or withdrawal from coursework subjects
2.1 This procedure does not apply to the research training subjects which are a mandatory requirement for the Higher Degree by Research Programs (RD/RM7001 ‘Planning the Research’, RD/RM7002 ‘Situating the Research’ and RD/RM7003 ‘Professional Development’).
2.2 Candidates may undertake additional coursework subjects during their candidature as per the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.
2.3 Subjects from any degree may be chosen provided the enrolment requirements and conditions for the subject are met and any necessary approvals obtained.
2.4 HDR Candidates may credit additional coursework towards the elective component of RD/RM7003 Professional Development.
2.5 Any additional coursework subjects should normally be undertaken prior to the Mid-Candidature Review degree milestone. Requests for enrolment in coursework subjects after this milestone must be appropriately justified.
2.6 Additional coursework subjects undertaken will be subsumed into the allocated EFTSL of the HDR and will not incur tuition fees, unless the allowable limit for subsumed subjects, as outlined in the JCU Course Handbook for Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy courses has been exceeded. The GRS will advise the candidate if the limit has been exceeded prior to processing any variations.
2.7 Candidates who are requesting enrolment in a coursework subject must ensure that the completed Variation of Candidature form with the required approvals is submitted to the GRS at least ten (10) University working days prior to the commencement of the subject.
2.8 Enrolment in additional coursework subjects may be refused if:
a. the Advisory Panel considers that content or timing of the subject is inappropriate;
b. the required approvals are not obtained, or
c. the credit point limit for additional subjects will be exceeded.
2.9 Candidates enrolled in additional coursework subjects are bound by the policies and procedures that apply to that subject, including academic penalty for late withdrawal or financial penalty for withdrawal after census date, and must complete all requirements for the subject as specified in the relevant Subject Outline.
2.10 Candidates who wish to withdraw from a coursework subject must apply to withdraw using the relevant Variation of Candidature form.. If the subject is a specified requirement of the HDR, justification must be provided as to why the subject will not be undertaken.
3. Extensions to Candidature
3.1 Extension to the duration of candidature
3.1.1 Candidates are required to submit their thesis for examination as specified in the HDR Requirements.
3.1.2 It is expected that during candidature, a HDR candidate and their Primary Advisor will regularly document any delays during candidature in the 6-monthly HDR Progress Report.
3.1.3 If there are delays during candidature, it is expected the HDR candidate and their Primary Advisor will regularly document and be able to demonstrate that:
- If the original project cannot be completed in 3.5 EFTSL, a contingency project plan has been designed, including a timeline.
- Consideration has been given to whether the contingency project plan can be completed in the original project plan time frame, and therefore the extension may not be needed.
- Consideration has been given to whether research completed to date is sufficient to prepare the thesis.
3.1.4 If after consideration of the above information it is found that an extension is required, an application for extension may be submitted by the HDR candidate using the Variation of Candidature Form, and must include the following:
- the revised, realistic and achievable timeline to thesis submission.
- Records of documented delays.
- Evidence that all options for completion in the original time frame have been considered (for example: can the candidate submit a thesis based on research to date, despite originally planning for further work, or is the project plan able to be completed in the original time frame.)
3.1.5 An application for an extension to candidature should not be submitted more than 6 months prior to the thesis submission date.
3.1.6 An extension to the duration of candidature will not be automatically granted. An extension to the duration of candidature is approved by the Dean, Graduate Research, and requires the support of the Advisory Panel and the College Dean.
3.1.7 HDR candidates whose request for an extension is denied will normally have their candidature discontinued but may be able to withdraw from their candidature in good standing and reapply for admission as specified in the HDR Re-admission Procedure.
3.1.8 Both full-time and part-time HDR candidates may request a maximum of twelve (12) months extension of the due date, in periods no more than six months. Extensions beyond this twelve (12) month period will only be granted if special circumstances can be demonstrated.
3.1.9 During an approved extension period, the HDR candidate will remain enrolled and will be required to meet all requirements for candidature and thesis submission as specified in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements and its procedures.
3.1.10 In approving an extension to the duration of candidature, the Dean, Graduate Research may place the candidate Under Review for the period of the extension. In this case, the HDR Under Review Procedure will apply.
3.1.11 At the conclusion of the extension period, the Candidate must submit their thesis for examination as specified in the HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure. Failure to do so will result in the Candidate being placed Under Review.
3.2 Extension to a scholarship
3.2.1 Extensions to GRS-managed scholarships are addressed in the relevant Scholarship Conditions. Therefore it is expected that the HDR candidate and their Advisors will source alternative funds available to support any extension of a scholarship. Sources of funding might include but are not limited to:
- College Minimum Resources Funds
- Candidate’s Minimum Resources Fund or Competitively Awarded Minimum Resources Funds
- Research Funding of members of Advisory Panel
- External Funding (External Advisors or Industry Partners)
- Any other College funds
- Funds from affiliated Research Centre/Institute
3.3 Extension to tuition fee exemption
3.3.1 Candidates wishing to apply for an extension to their tuition fee exemption should do so using the Variation of Candidature Form and the form indicated in the Information for Applications under the Internal Sponsorship & Exemption Procedure. Applications for Tuition Fee Exemption may not be approved if more than 3.5 EFTSL has been consumed unless the tuition fee is paid by the candidate’s college. Applications for Tuition Fee Exemption may not be approved if more than 4 EFTSL has been consumed.
3.4 Extension of the due date of a milestone
3.4.1 Candidates and their Advisory Panel must be aware of the due dates of the HDR candidate’s Confirmation of Candidature, Mid-Candidature Review, Pre-Completion Evaluation, and Progress Reports, and must make arrangements to ensure that these reports are completed by those dates.
3.4.2 It is expected that the HDR candidate and their Advisors will be aware a substantial period in advance of the milestone due date of a Candidate’s likely inability to meet the due date and therefore, the request for an extension should be submitted as soon as it is apparent that an extension will be required. HDR candidates must apply for an extension to the due date by submitting a completed Variation of Candidature form to the GRS.
3.4.3 The duration of the extension requested for a degree milestone or Progress Report must be no longer than that reasonably required to complete the requirements of the milestone.
3.4.4 A request for extension of a degree milestone must include a revised timetable for the completion of the degree by the due date specified in the Candidate’s offer letter.
3.5 Extension of the due date of a revised thesis
3.5.1 If the HDR candidate is unable to resubmit a revised thesis (with changes that must be to satisfaction of the College Dean, or requiring checking by one or more examiners or formal re-examination) by the date specified by the Graduate Research School, the Primary Advisor of the HDR candidate must write to the GRS indicating the expected date of thesis submission and the reason for the delay.
3.5.2 If the delay results in the examiner(s) who requested the re-examination being unavailable, the Candidature Committee will be asked to nominate an alternative examiner who and must be approved by the Dean, Graduate Research in accordance with the Nomination of Examiners Procedure. The Dean, Graduate Research may consult with the Executive of the Research Education Sub-Committee in regard to the appointment of alternative examiners.
3.5.3 Failure to submit a revised thesis by the date specified or formally approved by the GRS may result in the HDR candidate being placed Under Review and may lead to discontinuation of candidature.
4. Take a break (including leave of absence)
4.1 HDR candidates are entitled to a total of 20 working days of leave each calendar year without the need for a formal request for Leave of Absence. Such leave should be negotiated and agreed between the HDR candidate and their Advisory Panel prior to the period of leave commencing. The HDR candidate should advise their Primary Advisor by email so the intended leave period can be recorded. Candidates who wish to take leave exceeding the period specified above in one calendar year must formally apply for a Leave of Absence.
4.2 Candidates wishing to take more than 20 working days per year of leave in a calendar year from their course may apply for a maximum six (6) months Leave of Absence using the Variation of Candidature form (see 4.13 for exceptions).
4.3 During an approved Leave of Absence period, a HDR candidate will not consume any EFTSL. The duration of such leave will be added to the duration of the candidature and the due date for thesis submission for examination amended accordingly.
4.4 Any request for a Leave of Absence must be submitted and approved prior to the proposed period of leave using the Variation of Candidature form. The completed form must be submitted to the GRS at least ten (10) University working days prior to the commencement of the period of Leave.
4.5 A HDR candidate who takes leave from their course without the necessary approvals may be placed on HDR Progress Support or Under Review depending on the length of the unauthorised absence.
4.6 HDR candidates who wish to take a Leave of Absence prior to completing the Confirmation of Candidature degree milestone must have a compelling reason for doing so (see 4.13 below).
4.7 International HDR candidates who wish to take a Leave of Absence are responsible for ensuring that they remain compliant with the terms of their Australian Visa and any other Australian Government requirements. International HDR candidates must discuss any planned Leave of Absence period(s) with the University’s International Student Support team prior to requesting leave.
4.8 During a Leave of Absence period, the HDR candidate will retain access to the Library, their student email account and eStudent.
4.9 During a Leave of Absence period the HDR candidate is not entitled to Advisory support, unless specific arrangements have been negotiated with the Advisory Panel prior to the Leave of Absence period commencing.
4.10 During a Leave of Absence period, the enrolment in a candidate’s course is paused and therefore they candidate is not considered enrolled in their degree. Therefore, a HDR candidate must not undertake field or laboratory work or any other activity related to their research project that requires a HDR candidate to be enrolled in their degree.
4.11 The candidate will not be covered by University insurance during a Leave of Absence period.
4.12 During a Leave of Absence period HDR candidates who are receiving a scholarship may have the scholarship payments suspended in accordance with the conditions of the scholarship. If the scholarship conditions permit, the duration of the scholarship may be extended for a period equivalent to the duration of the Leave of Absence.
4.13 Candidates who wish to apply for Leave of Absence under the following categories must be able to demonstrate compelling circumstances such as those listed below and ensure that any necessary documentation, such as letters from medical professionals are attached to their Variation of Candidature form.
4.13.1 Requesting leave in excess of the maximum duration, or prior to completing the Confirmation of Candidature degree milestone may include: paid employment commitments, accident or sudden illness, extended illness, carer responsibilities, major life events such as pregnancy, death or illness of the Primary Advisor, requirement to change the project due to reasons beyond the control of the HDR candidate
4.13.2 Requesting leave retrospectively may include: Emergency hospitalisation, sudden death of a relative, unexpected major life event.
4.13.3 All International Student Visa holders requesting leave: it is recommended that the HDR candidate contact the International Student Support team directly for further advice.
4.14 At the conclusion of an approved Leave of Absence period, a HDR candidate will automatically be re-enrolled in their degree and will resume consuming EFTSL. It is the Candidate’s responsibility to ensure that at the end of the Leave of Absence period they re-commence their study, including contacting their Advisory Panel and resuming research project activities.
5. Change between full-time/part-time
5.1 HDR candidates may be enrolled in their degree at either the full-time (1 EFTSL per year) or part-time rate (0.5 EFTSL per year). HDR candidates who are not subject to visa or scholarship conditions that prevent part-time candidature may apply to vary their attendance pattern from full-time to part-time or vice versa using a Variation of Candidature Form.
5.2 HDR candidates should consider the time they have available for their study and the expected time commitment as stated in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements when considering which attendance pattern is more suitable.
5.3 Eligible HDR candidates may apply to change their attendance pattern for a specified period within their candidature, or for the remainder of their candidature. HDR candidates and Advisors should be mindful of the effect that changing attendance pattern may have on the due dates for milestones and thesis submission.
5.4 A HDR candidate who changes their attendance pattern for a defined period will be automatically converted to the previous attendance pattern at the conclusion of this period. HDR candidates are responsible for ensuring they are aware of their current attendance pattern and the attendance requirements.
6. Change between internal/external mode
6.1 A HDR candidate wishing to change their attendance mode must apply via a Variation of Candidature form.
6.2 HDR candidates applying for external mode must be able to provide information about:
- the reason for the change;
- how they will be supported during their candidature;
- how often they plan to attend a JCU campus;
- how they will maintain contact with their Advisory Panel, and how often; and
- what support services they will have access to in their new location.
6.3 Candidates must continue to meet the requirements of their current mode of study until they are approved to switch modes, and from the time of approval, must then meet the requirements of their new mode of study.
6.4 Candidates who are subject to the conditions of a Student Visa or a scholarship have responsibility to ensure they maintain compliance with those conditions.
7. Change course
7.1 To change course (or transfer enrolment) within JCU to another Higher Degree by Research at the same or a lower level, a Variation of Candidature Form must be completed in accordance with the HDR Transfer of Enrolment Procedure.
8. Change thesis title
8.1 During candidature, the title of the thesis is regarded as a ‘working title’ that may be updated by completing the relevant Variation of Candidature form at any time during candidature. The title of the thesis submitted for examination will be the title shown in the University Records upon conferral of the degree.
8.2 Changes to the thesis title that reflect a significant shift in the focus of the research after the HDR candidate completes their Confirmation of Candidature degree milestone must be accompanied by an appropriately revised project proposal and ethics amendment if required.
9. Changes to the Advisory Panel member(s)
9.1 All Advisory Panels must be compliant with the HDR Supervision Procedure.
9.2 A change in a HDR candidate’s Advisory Panel must be requested using the Variation of Candidature Form. In addition, the following must also be submitted depending on the type of change being requested:
a. if the change to the Advisory Panel involves a change of College or of the entire Advisory Panel, APP-FORM-01 must also be completed and attached to the Variation of Candidature Form as per the HDR Transfer of Enrolment Procedure.
b. If a Primary Advisor is being removed after the HDR candidate has already completed their Confirmation of Candidature Milestone, the Variation of Candidature form must be accompanied by a completed CAA-FORM-01 Candidate Advisor Agreement.
9.3 HDR candidates and Advisors are responsible for ensuring that the recorded Advisory Panel is accurate, as this information cannot be altered after the degree is conferred.
9.4 All members of the Advisory Panel must be consulted before any changes to the Advisory Panel are requested.
10. Withdrawal from course
10.1 HDR candidate may withdraw from their degree program at any time by completing the Variation of Candidature form.
10.2 Failure to attend supervisory meetings, workshops or meet other requirements of the Higher Degree by Research course does not constitute a withdrawal and may result in the HDR candidate being placed on HDR Progress Support or Under Review depending on the time frame and stage of candidature.
10.3 A HDR candidate wishing to withdraw from their course will normally be asked to undertake an exit interview with the relevant ADRE or nominee.
10.4 Candidates who have withdrawn will be required to pay any outstanding University fees in accordance with JCU Policies and Procedures.
10.5 On completion of the course withdrawal process, the Candidate’s access to University services, materials and restricted University areas will be revoked.
11. Review and Appeal
A HDR candidate who wishes to request a review of a decision made in relation to this procedure may do so as per the Student Review and Appeal Policy and Procedures.
Related policy instruments
Note: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be issued at the time of printing.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research
Date for next Major Review
|23-1||29/05/2023||20/06/2023||Major review.||Manager, Graduate Research School|
|22-1||Minor||25/07/2022||Update link to APP-FORM-01|
|21-1||20/01/2021||01/01/2021||Consequential changes as a result of the HDR Progress support Procedure implementation|
|19-2||Minor||21/11/19||Added reference to International Student Support Clause 3.13.3 on advice of International Compliance.|
|19-1||Minor||19/3/19||Added reference to HDR Transfer of Enrolment Procedure to clause 8.2.|
|18-1||Minor||29/08/18||Milestone extension request is by Variation of Candidature rather than in writing to GRS.|
|17-2||17/10/17||17/10/17||Changes to Section 2.1 as per Research Committee Agenda 17 October 2017.|
Add requirement for CAA-FORM-01 if Primary Advisor replaced after Confirmation of Candidature. Transfer between internal/external now done on Variation of Candidature Form.
|Contact person||Dean, Graduate Research|