Policy

Higher Degree by Research Admission - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy relates to admission to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy Programs at The University of Queensland.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Dean – means the Dean of the UQ Graduate School

Enrolling AOU - Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates

HDR - Higher Degree by Research

MPhil - Master of Philosophy

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

Research Training Program – Commonwealth block grant provided, on a calendar year basis, to higher education providers to support domestic and overseas students undertaking a higher degree by research. (https://www.education.gov.au/research-training-program).

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to academic staff, enrolling AOU’s, and applicants for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy Programs.

For the Professional Doctorate (research) refer to Program Rules.

4. Policy Statement

Candidates undertaking a HDR program carry out and publish or disseminate original research, where relevant, and progress towards becoming independent researchers. For these reasons admission into the HDR program involves criteria that are different from those used to determine entry into an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework program.

When interacting with applicants, University staff should be mindful of the University's Code of Conduct and of the provision of various Acts of Parliament relating to recruitment and selection, as detailed in Section 2 of the University's Recruitment and Selection Policy.

5. Admission Criteria

In addition to program entry requirements, as prescribed in section 8 of PPL 4.60.04 HDR Admission – Procedures, the Dean may approve an application provided criteria are met that ensure the admission of candidates only where there is an appropriate fit between the applicant, research environment, available resources and supervision. These criteria are defined in section 6 of PPL 4.60.04 HDR Admission – Procedures.

Approval of admission to the HDR program should be consistent with the intention of the Research Training Program, which is to deliver graduates with the skills required to build careers in academia and other sectors of the labour market (Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 section 1.3 (2)).

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan

Procedures

Higher Degree by Research Admission - Procedures

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Body

1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures define the criteria and requirements for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy programs at The University of Queensland.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Dean – means the Dean of the UQ Graduate School

Deputy Dean – means the Deputy Dean of the UQ Graduate School

Enrolling AOU - an Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates

FTE – Full-time equivalent

GPA – Grade Point Average

HDR - Higher Degree by Research

Head of Enrolling AOU – means the Head of School, Institute Director, or Executive Dean at a UQ School, Institute or Faculty

MPhil – Master of Philosophy

PhD – Doctor of Philosophy

Research Training Program – Commonwealth block grant provided, on a calendar year basis, to higher education providers to support domestic and overseas students undertaking a Higher Degree by Research (https://www.education.gov.au/research-training-program).

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to academic staff, enrolling AOUs, and applicants for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy Programs.

For the Professional Doctorate (research) refer to Program Rules.

4. Procedures Statement

Applicants to the PhD and MPhil programs at the University apply for admission and enrolment in accordance with the requirements outlined in these procedures and associated policy.

Applications for admission must be supported by the enrolling AOU.

Approval of all applications for admission is at the discretion of the Dean of the UQ Graduate School.

5. Delegations

5.1 The functions and powers of the Dean may also be performed or exercised by the Deputy Dean where the Dean is not available or it is otherwise not reasonably practicable for the Dean to perform or exercise the functions and powers.

5.2 The functions of the Head of Enrolling AOU may also be performed by the Postgraduate Coordinator, if approved by the Dean.

6. Admission Criteria

The Dean may approve an application for candidature, or transfer from MPhil to PhD, provided that:

  • the applicant is considered to be a developing researcher in their proposed field of research[1] who requires HDR education and training in order to progress towards becoming an independent researcher,
  • the applicant has an appropriate academic background and prior research training to meet entry requirements for the proposed HDR program,
  • the applicant meets the minimum English language proficiency requirement set by the University,
  • the proposed program can be completed in the recommended duration of candidature,
  • the applicant has a preliminary research project that is academically appropriate for their proposed HDR program,
  • the applicant will create a thesis comprised only of research undertaken while enrolled in the HDR program,
  • the University has sufficient facilities and resources to fund and support the candidate and proposed research project to completion,
  • the University has sufficient academic expertise to support the candidate and the proposed research project, and
  • the Head of Enrolling AOU supports the application for admission.

On approving admission the Dean will:

  • approve the enrolling AOU in which the applicant will be enrolled,
  • appoint the advisory team on the recommendation of the Head of Enrolling AOU,
  • approve the applicant for admission,
  • set the date of enrolment and provisional enrolment period,
  • set the enrolment status,
  • set any special conditions of admission, determine whether a domestic applicant will receive support via the Research Training Program in accordance with the objectives of the Program or determine whether a tuition fee be charged, and
  • set the tuition fee to be charged.

7. Application Process

7.1 The applicant should initiate the admission process by contacting relevant UQ researchers and/or the enrolling AOU setting out preliminary proposals of areas of research interest.

7.2 The proposed advisory team and/or Head of Enrolling AOU will:

  • provide advice and guidance on the feasibility and development of the project,
  • discuss the suitability of the applicant to carry out the proposed HDR program,
  • determine the availability of a suitable advisory team and their compatibility with the applicant,
  • engage in realistic discussions about the availability of necessary resources at UQ, and
  • establish that the timing of the project is appropriate for the applicant, the advisory team and the current state of the research field.

7.3 An application for admission is submitted using the University’s online application system.

7.3.1 Applicants who are unable to use the University’s online application system should contact the UQ Graduate School.

7.4 The enrolling AOU process outlined in 7.2 may commence before or after an application for admission is submitted.

7.5 If the enrolling AOU has the appropriate academic expertise, facilities, funding and resources to support the applicant in their proposed research project the Head of Enrolling AOU may recommend the applicant to the Dean.

7.6 The UQ Graduate School will assess the application against admission criteria in order to determine the outcome of the application.

7.7 If the applicant is advised at any stage they will not proceed further through the application process they are given that advice and the reasons for that decision in writing.

7.8 A successful applicant will be notified in writing of the decision.

7.9 An unconditional offer of admission will be provided once funding arrangements are in place.

8. Minimum Requirements for Consideration for Entry

8.1 Minimum program entry requirements are not necessarily sufficient for consideration of admission to a HDR program. Meeting the requirements does not guarantee acceptance and the following must also be considered:

  • Limitations on the capacity of an enrolling AOU to admit students means that it may deny support for admission if there is a lack of available and appropriate supervisory capacity and/or insufficient resources to support a potential candidate.
  • Enrolling AOU’s can also determine the quality of students admitted into the HDR program within the AOU by requiring a standard of academic and/or other achievement that is greater than the UQ minimum program entry requirements. These standards should be publicly available.

8.2 Doctor of Philosophy

8.2.1 A bachelor’s degree with honours class IIA or better from approved universities which includes relevant research experience, approved by the Dean.

8.2.2 A research master’s degree, approved by the Dean.

8.2.3 A coursework master’s degree with an overall GPA equivalent to 5.65 on the 7-point UQ scale which includes relevant research experience, approved by the Dean.

8.2.4 A postgraduate degree of at least one year full-time equivalent with an overall GPA equivalent to 5.0 on the 7-point scale together with demonstrated research experience equivalent to honours IIA will be considered by the Dean on a case by case basis.

8.2.5 A bachelor’s degree plus at least 2 years of documented relevant research experience including research publications, approved by the Dean.

8.3 Relevant Research Experience

8.3.1 Courses directed at the formation of research skills and/or a supervised research project that includes a written report completed as part of the bachelor’s or coursework master’s degree.

8.3.1.1 The courses must have a minimum course volume equivalent to #4 units at UQ.

8.3.1.2 Courses contributing to the development of research skills should comprise of a minimum value of #1 unit at UQ (e.g. 50% of a #2 unit course), or equivalent.

8.3.1.3 Research carried out in groups should have been graded individually.

8.3.2 Scholarly papers involving a substantial contribution by the applicant as an author, appearing in recognised academic journals or in volumes published by recognised academic publishers.

8.3.3 Research or technical reports prepared for industry, government or business which adhere to the broad conventions of academic publishing (i.e. contain an up-to-date review of relevant literature, a description of relevant research methods and an evaluation of results, etc.) and which identify the applicant as a significant contributor.

8.3.4 A portfolio of published creative work together with published critical discussion of some or all of the work, or of a comparable body of work by others, and which demonstrates the applicant’s development of scholarly approach to creative work as research investigation.

8.3.5 Demonstrable industry or work experience where the applicant can demonstrate a planned and executed project working with a high level of independence.

8.4 Master of Philosophy

8.4.1 A bachelor’s degree with honours class IIB or better from approved universities which includes relevant experience, approved by the Dean.

8.4.2 A postgraduate degree of at least one year full-time equivalent with an overall GPA equivalent to 5.0 on the 7-point UQ scale which includes relevant experience, approved by the Dean.

8.4.3 A bachelor’s degree plus at least two years of documented relevant experience, approved by the Dean.

8.4.4 Other qualifications and/or experience to satisfy the Dean that the candidate is suitably qualified for entry will be considered on a case by case basis.

8.5 Relevant Experience

8.5.1 Courses directed at the formation of research skills and/or a supervised research project that includes a written report completed as part of the bachelor’s or postgraduate degree.

8.5.1.1 The courses must have a minimum course volume equivalent to #2 units at UQ.

8.5.1.2 Courses contributing to the development of research skills should comprise of a minimum value of #1 unit at UQ (e.g. 50% of a #2 unit course).

8.5.1.3 Research carried out in groups should have been graded individually.

8.5.2 Scholarly papers involving a substantial contribution by the applicant as an author, appearing in recognised academic journals or in volumes published by recognised academic publishers.

8.5.3 Research or technical reports prepared for industry, government or business which adhere to the broad conventions of academic publishing (i.e. contain an up-to-date review of relevant literature, a description of relevant research methods and an evaluation of results, etc.) and which identify the applicant as a significant contributor.

8.5.4 A portfolio of published creative work together with published critical discussion of some or all of the work, or of a comparable body of work by others, and which demonstrates the applicant’s development of scholarly approach to creative work as research investigation.

8.5.5 Demonstrable industry or work experience where the applicant can demonstrate a planned and executed project working with a high level of independence.

8.6 The applicant’s degree and/or professional experience must be in an area that is relevant to the intended HDR program.

8.7 The applicant’s degree and/or professional experience must demonstrate that the applicant’s knowledge of the discipline is current, and have been undertaken in the ten years immediately prior to intended entry to the HDR program.

8.8 The Dean may set conditions on the enrolment of candidates, such as satisfactory completion of coursework.

8.8.1 Conditions of enrolment will be outlined in the offer of admission issued to the applicant.

8.9 The Dean may approve admission to an alternative program if the applicant’s academic background and research experience is more suited to a different level of entry.

8.10 The Dean may withdraw the offer of a place in the program and cancel enrolment if the applicant has supplied incomplete or inaccurate information associated with the enrolment.

8.11 An applicant who has been refused enrolment at another institution due to academic or non-academic reasons may be refused admission.

9. Enrolment Status

9.1 Enrolment is in research quarters and commencement in a research quarter is fixed to a specific period.

9.2 An applicant may apply to enrol full-time or part-time with the approval of the Dean, Head of Enrolling AOU and advisory team.

9.2.1 Full-time status is the equivalent of a standard five day working week, usually between the hours of 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday for at least 48 weeks per year with public holidays excepted.

9.2.2 The actual pattern of research and study may vary depending on the candidate’s personal circumstances and other commitments. The actual working hours are to be negotiated with the Head of Enrolling AOU and advisory team.

9.2.3 Part-time status is the equivalent of 50% of the timeframe specified in 9.2.1.

9.2.4 In addition to 9.2.1, a full-time candidate may undertake limited employment. The Head of Enrolling AOU and advisory team must be satisfied that the candidate’s progress will not be impeded.

9.3 A candidate is expected to be located at UQ, or other location approved by the Graduate School, for their research and study, unless approved as remote.

9.3.1 An applicant may apply to study remotely subject to the approval of the Dean and the Head of Enrolling AOU.

9.3.2 The enrolling AOU and applicant will need to have an agreed upon plan to manage the progress of remote status.

9.3.3 The enrolling AOU are to advise the Graduate School if a student placement agreement is required. A copy of the fully executed agreement is to be added to the student record in UQ’s record management system prior to commencement of study.

9.4 An applicant may apply to enrol on an approved concurrent enrolment program with the approval of the Dean, Head of Enrolling AOU and advisory team.

10. Duration of Program

10.1 The duration of the PhD program is a minimum of 3 years and a maximum 4 years, FTE. The duration of the MPhil program is a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years, FTE.

10.2 The HDR program is CRICOS registered for 4 years PhD, 2 years MPhil, FTE.

10.3 The duration of a part-time program is double the full-time equivalent.

10.4 The HDR project should be scoped appropriately within the program duration outlined in point 10.1.

10.5 Shortened Duration

10.5.1 An applicant may apply for admission with a shortened program duration with the approval of the Dean, Head of Enrolling AOU and advisory team, on the basis of work that:

  • was done while enrolled in the HDR program at UQ (readmission) or another institution (transfer of study),
  • was done since the candidate satisfied the program entry requirements for the current HDR program,
  • has not been counted towards a completed award,
  • was appropriately conducted and monitored, and
  • is of a nature and quality appropriate to the current program.

10.5.2 The Dean must consider a report from the Head of Enrolling AOU and/or advisory team containing:

  • comments on the nature and duration of the work completed, and the guidance exercised, including progression milestones,
  • comments on the suitability of the work to the program to be shortened,
  • comments on the quality of the work done,
  • a recommendation on how much the program should be shortened, and
  • proposed dates for future progression milestones.

10.5.3 The total program duration should not exceed 4 years PhD, 2 years MPhil, FTE, including previous periods of enrolment at the University (readmission) or another institution(s) (transfer).

10.5.4 Applications for transfer to the University from another institution should occur before the mid-candidature review progression milestone, or equivalent.

10.5.5 The candidate is required to undertake at least one third of the work required to produce the thesis at the University.

11. Transfers between HDR programs

11.1 Transfer from PhD to MPhil

Subject to approval of the Dean, a candidate may transfer from PhD to MPhil at any stage of candidature.

11.1.1 A confirmed PhD candidate may transfer to confirmed MPhil at any stage of their candidature.

11.1.2 A provisional PhD candidate may transfer to provisional MPhil prior to completion of the confirmation milestone.

11.1.3 Milestone and/or submission due dates will be reset to ensure the candidate completes the MPhil within the maximum timeframes (24 months FTE).

11.2 Transfer from MPhil to PhD

Subject to approval of the Dean, a candidate may transfer from MPhil to PhD prior to completion of the MPhil mid-candidature progression milestone.

11.2.1 Provisional MPhil candidates are not permitted to transfer to the PhD.

11.2.2 Confirmed MPhil candidates are required to transfer to provisional PhD only.

11.2.3 All transfer requests must be submitted prior to completion of the MPhil mid-candidature review.

11.2.4 Transfer requests must include information to support section 6 ‘criteria for entry’ of this procedure.

12. Grievances and Complaints

The Student Grievance Resolution policy sets out the grievance resolution process to be followed for all matters relating to admission to the HDR programs. Formal grievances and appeals by HDR applicants regarding decisions made during selection for admission therefore follow the processes outlined in Student Grievance Resolution and Appeals to Senate by Students.


[1] Defined by the two digit Field of Research (FOR) code

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan

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Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan
Custodians
Dean, Graduate School
Professor Alastair McEwan