Planned JCU system outage 23 to 27 May 2024 impacting student and application portals.

Policy Student Matters Award Finalisation and Graduation Policy

Award Finalisation and Graduation Policy

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly


This Policy has been established to articulate the University’s approach to fulfilling the requirements set down by the Higher Education Standards Framework in relation to the finalisation and conferral of Awards.

This Policy addresses Higher Education Standards Framework Standards 1.5.1 to 1.5.8.


This policy applies to all students of James Cook University (JCU; the University) including JCU Singapore and JCU Brisbane, receiving an approved Award, including Honorary Awards. This policy does not apply to graduation ceremonies.


The definitions used in this policy are found in the Policy Glossary.

Post-nominal (or award abbreviation) is the abbreviation displayed after a person’s name to denote the qualifications that person has achieved.


1. Coursework Award Finalisation, Conferral and Issuance

1.1 A graduand who has met all of the Course requirements for the course to which they are admitted, or through a related exit award will have an award conferred in accordance with the Coursework Award Finalisation, Conferral and Issuance Procedure and/or Exit and Interim Award Procedure.

1.2 Conferral of awards are undertaken by the University Council, or by the Chancellor outside of Council meetings.

1.3 Upon conferral of an award, a graduate will receive the following graduation documentation:

1.3.1 Testamur; and

1.3.2. Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS) which details subjects and results.

1.4 Reissuing of graduation documentation must only occur where:

1.4.1 the Graduate has officially and legally changed their name since conferring their Award; or

1.4.2 a Testamur has been lost or otherwise damaged or destroyed; or

1.4.3 an administrative error has occurred.

1.5 The University will revoke an Award where:

1.5.1 an error was made in confirming the Award completion in accordance with the Course and Subject Handbook of the year the course was commenced; or

1.5.2 a Graduate is in breach of the Student Code of Conduct, the Academic Misconduct Procedure or the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and the consequence includes the revocation of an Award by the University Council; or

1.5.3 an error was made in calculating the Graduate’s Award level and thus a replacement Testamur showing the correct Award level is required; or

1.5.4 an outcome of the Exit and Interim Award Procedure requires such action.

1.6 Surrender of Testamurs is required as a result of Clause 1.4 and Clause 1.5.

1.7 A Testamur that has been re-issued will be identified as re-issued in the Student Management System.

1.8 Testamurs will be printed on the official University testamur paper that includes the University Seal and JCU approved hologram in accordance with the Use of Corporate Identifiers Policy and the University Seal Procedure.

1.9 A graduate will have access to a Digitised Copy of their Testamur and AHEGS, and will receive their original Testamur via post after their Award has been conferred.

1.10 Graduates are not required to surrender their Testamurs when progressing through a series of lower level courses that lead to a higher level course award..

1.11 The conferral of an Award is considered public information in accordance with the Information Privacy Policy. The University may publish or provide confirmation in relation to a graduate’s name, Award/s conferred and their conferral date/s.

1.12 An Honorary Award is not an AQF qualification. Honorary Awards are approved and conferred in accordance with the Honorary Award Requirements Procedure.

1.13 Graduates are entitled to use the official Award Title once the Award has been conferred by the University Council.

2. Award Documents and Award Titling

2.1 Award titles are the representation of the qualification type, level and field of study/discipline of the qualification consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework and requirements of the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy.

2.2 Appendix 1 – Award Documents and Award Titling are the approved graduand documents and descriptors of Awards at JCU. JCU may use additional descriptors to those detailed in Appendix I following an Award title where the descriptor provides clarification and assists students in identifying the different attributes of a course. The descriptors do not form part of an Award title but may be used in the course title. For example, additional descriptors are shown below in italics:

  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) embedded
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) end-on
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science pre-registration

2.3 Post-nominal/Award Abbreviation

2.3.1 The University’s Academic Board has authority for approving a post-nominal.

2.3.2 Approved post-nominals are listed under Award Details in the specific Course and Subject Handbooks.

2.3.3 Majors and minors do not appear in post-nominals.

3. Posthumous Awards

3.1 The University may bestow a Posthumous Award if at the time of death a student:

3.1.1 Having undertaken undergraduate or postgraduate coursework and successfully completed all requirements for the Award but have yet have the award conferred.

3.1.2 Having undertaken undergraduate or postgraduate coursework and successfully completed a minimum of 66% of the total credit points required for the Award (including credit transfers).

3.1.3 Having undertaken a higher degree by research (HDR) the HDR candidate successfully completed the confirmation of candidature and mid-candidature review milestones; and

(i) The HDR candidate had undertaken design, data collection and preliminary analysis of findings in such a form that, when collated by the Advisory Panel and reviewed by two examiners, the determination is that the HDR candidate had progressed to a point representing 66% completion of their thesis, portfolio, or exegesis, and would have likely successfully completed this output from their research, had death not occurred; and

(ii) The Advisory Panel has inserted any supplementary and/or explanatory material to facilitate the examiners’ understanding of the HDR candidate's research contribution that they have been asked to add. A statement should then be appended to the thesis indicating the work undertaken by the Advisory Panel on the HDR candidate's behalf.

3.2 Where a Posthumous Award cannot be bestowed under Clause 3.1:

3.2.1 In the case of coursework studies, a Certificate of Achievement (which is not a formal AQF qualification) will be issued.

3.2.2 In the case of higher degree by research studies, an alternate intermediate Award where the HDR candidate had progressed to a point representing 66% completion of the alternative or intermediate Award or a Certificate of Achievement (which is not a formal AQF qualification).

4. Academic Excellence

4.1 The University will recognise academic excellence in accordance with the criteria in Table 1.

Table 1 – JCU Award of Recognition

Award of Recognition

Delegated Approver


Eligibility Criteria

University Medal

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academy

For outstanding academic achievement in a combination of coursework studies and research undertaken at undergraduate level.

Awarded to graduands who:

  • have completed at JCU at least 50% of either Bachelor degree and end on Research Honours degree; or Bachelor degree with embedded Research Honours;   and
  • the Research Honours component had a credit point value of 6 or more; and
  • achieved a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 6.50 for JCU subjects   (excluding thesis subjects) undertaken across the abovementioned degrees; and
  • achieved Honours Class I rank of either IA, IB or IC; and
  • are of good character and a meritorious recipient for the medal; and
  • are endorsed by the College Dean to receive the Award.

Medal for Excellence for a Higher Degree by Research (Doctoral or Masters) Thesis

Dean, Graduate Research

For a higher degree by research (doctoral or masters) thesis judged to be passed ‘cum laude’

Awarded to graduands who:

  • have a recommendation for their higher degree by research to be   awarded ‘cum laude’ independently by two examiners;
  • meet all conditions specified in the HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure; and
  • were endorsed as eligible to receive the Medal for Excellence for a Higher Degree by Research (Doctoral or Masters) Thesis by the candidate’s   Advisory Panel.

Dean’s Award for HDR Excellence

Dean, Graduate Research

For demonstrated excellence in a research higher degree where the candidate has been commended by their independent examiners for substantial contribution to their field of research.

Awarded to graduands who:

  • have been awarded a research doctorate or research masters degree by   JCU during the previous calendar year; and
  • meet the criteria specified in the Dean’s Award for HDR Excellence Procedure; and
  • were endorsed for the Award by the relevant JCU College Dean or Deans   if the student was enrolled in more than one College.

Indigenous Academic Excellence Award

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy

For Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who have demonstrated academic excellence and/or perseverance and commitment to their studies.

Awarded to graduands who:

  • have identified as Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait   Islander and have this identity recorded in the University’s Student Management System; and
  • are currently enrolled as a full time student in an undergraduate course at JCU; and
  • be endorsed as eligible for the Indigenous Academic Excellence Award by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy; and
  • have achieved Excellence in Academic results as indicated by their Award course GPA; or
  • have demonstrated perseverance and commitment to their studies.

With Distinction

Director, Student Services

For excellent academic achievement in coursework studies undertaken at an undergraduate or postgraduate level at JCU

Awarded to graduands who have achieved a minimum GPA of 6.00 for the coursework studies undertaken at JCU.

4.2 For GPA determination refer to the Student Results Policy.

5. Review and Appeal

5.1 A student may request a review and appeal of a decision made under this policy and associated procedures under the Student Review and Appeal Policy.

6. The University Secretary/Marshall or Ceremonies Coordinator Officer may prevent a graduate from being able to participate in a Graduation Ceremony if reasonable grounds of a risk or threat have been identified.

Related policy instruments

Coursework Award Finalisation, Conferral and Issuance Procedure

Exit and Interim Award Procedure

Higher Degree by Research Requirements

Coursework Enrolment Policy

Posthumous Award Procedure

Honorary Award Procedure

Recognition of Academic Excellence Procedure

University Seal Procedure

Academic Dress Policy

Information Privacy Policy

Use of Corporate Identifiers Policy

HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure

Dean’s Award for HDR Excellence Procedure

Student Review and Appeal Policy

Student Results Policy


Appendix 1 - Award Documents and Award Titling

Related documents and legislation

Higher Doctorate Degrees

Course and Subject Handbook

AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy


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

Approval Details

Policy Domain Academic Governance
Policy Sub-domain Student Experience

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date



24-1 15/04/2024 01/05/2024 Major review. Manager, Examinations and Graduations
20-1 28/08/2020 01/09/2020 Minor amendment to refer to new procedure - 'Exit and Interim Award Procedure' Manager, Student Facing Policy




Policy established

Manager Student Finance and Examinations


Graduand, Graduation, Graduate, Confer, Conferral, Award, Ceremony, In Absentia, medal, posthumous

Contact person Manager, Examinations and Graduations