Policy

Higher Degree by Research Examination - Policy

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

  1. The purpose of this policy is to describe the principles and key requirements for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) examinations at The University of Queensland.
  2. This policy applies to all students enrolled in, and all staff involved in the delivery of, Higher Degree by Research at The University of Queensland.

 

2.0 Principles and Key Requirements

The thesis examination is conducted by at least two recognised experts in the discipline who are external to the University, independent of the conduct of the research of the candidate, and approved in accordance with the Conflict of Interest guidelines for the appointment of Examiners.

The University is committed to the following principles with regard to the HDR examinations:

  • The thesis adheres to the principles of research integrity as stipulated in the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research including authorship, plagiarism and research ethics. A thesis includes a statement of originality incorporating an acknowledgement of other contributors, editorial assistance, and copyright provisions and approvals.
  • That examiners hold a degree or possess professional experience equivalent to the degree they are examining.
  • Conflicts of Interest between examiners, advisors and candidate are declared so that the thesis may be assessed free from bias or preferential treatment.
  • Confidentiality of the examination process is maintained and the candidate and advisors must not communicate with examiners during the examination process unless directed to do so.
  • Examiners provide written reports on the thesis and participate in an oral examination of the candidate, where applicable.
  • The University’s processes for determining the outcome of the examination are available to candidates, advisors and examiners.
  • Open access to the final thesis is provided by the University except when circumstances require an embargo for a designated period of time.

 

3.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  1. The academic roles and accountabilities for advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.
  2. The Chair of Examiners provides outcome recommendations to the Dean and oversees the oral examination component, where applicable.
  3. The Dean decides on the examination outcome.
  4. The Provost approves the conferral of the degree, upon recommendation from the Dean.
  5. The Director of the Graduate School is responsible for ensuring Recording and Reporting as described in section 5.
  6. Candidates who commence enrolment in an HDR program from 1 January 2018 will undergo an oral examination.
  7. Candidates who commence enrolment in an HDR program from 1 January 2017 and include a published work, or part of a published work, in their thesis will undergo an oral examination. 

 

4.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Review of, and compliance with, this policy is overseen by the Dean of the UQ Graduate School and the Academic Board's Higher Degree by Research Committee.

 

5.0 Recording and Reporting

  1. All thesis examination transactions and activities are recorded within UQ’s student system.
  2. All student records including final outcome, applications and University decisions are filed in the student’s personal record in UQ’s digital student record system.

 

6.0 Appendix

6.1 Definitions, Terms and Acronyms

Advisor – suitably qualified person who provides expertise related to the candidate’s research and is available to provide advice throughout candidature.

Chair of Examiners – UQ staff member who provides academic oversight of the examination process, including the oral examination, as described in the HDR Examinations Guidelines.

Dean - Dean of the UQ Graduate School or delegate.

Examiner - an experienced researcher with expertise in the relevant discipline who is not a UQ staff member and has been approved in accordance with the HDR Examinations guidelines relating to Conflict of Interest.

HDR - Higher Degree by Research comprising MPhil, PhD, and PDR.

MPhil - Master of Philosophy.

Open Access Thesis - thesis publicly searchable and available via the Internet.

PDR - Professional Doctorate by Research.

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy.

Principal Advisor – approved UQ staff member who takes primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature with their role and eligibility outlined in PPL 4.60.01 Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors.

Thesis - material outcomes of a sustained program of supervised research undertaken by a candidate whilst enrolled in a HDR program.

Thesis embargo - restriction of open access of a thesis.

 

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan

Procedures

Higher Degree by Research Examination that includes an Oral Examination

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

This procedure describes the process for HDR examination for the award of PhD, MPhil and PDR degrees that require an oral examination. The award of an HDR degree is based on an assessment of the quality of the thesis and of the candidate’s performance at the oral examination. External examiners with recognised disciplinary expertise make a written assessment of the thesis and participate in the oral examination. Following discussion with the external examiners the Chair of Examiners makes an outcome recommendation to the Dean. The decision to recommend conferral of the degree is made by the Dean for approval by the Provost.

2.0 Process and Key Controls

(1) All HDR examinations must be conducted in accordance with the principles and requirements described in the HDR Examination Policy and those described in this procedure.

(2) An overview of the process for HDR examination is illustrated in the flowchart in the Appendix.

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Nomination of the Chair of Examiners

(1) The Chair of Examiners is an academic staff member of the University who is familiar with the research discipline, or in the case of multi-disciplinary theses, is familiar with part of the research discipline represented in the thesis.

(2) The Principal Advisor nominates a Chair of Examiners with the endorsement of the PGC.

3.2 Nomination of Examiners

(1) Following the attainment of the Thesis Review Milestone and prior to thesis submission, the Principal Advisor nominates a minimum of three examiners. The candidate has an opportunity to review and comment on the nominations. Nominations of examiners must be endorsed by the PGC.

(2) All actual, potential or perceived COIs must be declared by the advisory team members and the candidate at the time of nomination of thesis examiners.

(3) The Dean will invite two nominated examiners to participate.

(4) Additional nominations from the Principal Advisor may be requested. All examinations should be treated as confidential. Where an additional level of legal protection is required, in the case of material that may be commercial-in-confidence, give rise to a patent, or be legally or culturally sensitive, then a request for a Confidentiality Agreement should be made at the time of nomination of examiners.

(5) Examiners will be advised to seek independent legal advice prior to signing the Confidentiality Agreement.

3.3 Thesis Format Requirements

(1) The thesis should not exceed 80,000 words for a PhD or 40,000 words for an MPhil. The word limit includes all footnotes and appendices but not the bibliography. Requests to exceed this word limit must be approved by the Dean.

(2) Formatting should be: line spacing 1.5, Times New Roman or Arial 12pt font, all four margins 20mm.

(3) A thesis must adhere to the templates provided by the Graduate School.

3.4 Thesis Submission

(1) The thesis examination process is initiated when:

(a) An approved Thesis Submission request has been received by the Graduate School.

(b) The thesis and abstract have been uploaded to the University’s digital repository as instructed by the Graduate School.

(2) An HDR candidate will maintain enrolment in the program until the oral examination is completed after which their enrolment status will change to ‘under examination’ until an outcome of the examination is determined. This enrolment status does not consume load and as a consequence tuition fee is not incurred.

(3) If an HDR candidate has submitted their thesis and has been enrolled for 4 years FTE, but not yet completed the oral examination, then they will be placed ‘under examination’. For a candidate who has not submitted their thesis by 4 years FTE enrolment, a review of candidature may be conducted in accordance with PPL 4.60.11 Higher Degree by Research Candidature Procedure (section 11).

(4) Where a candidate requests permission to submit without the Principal Advisor’s approval, the candidate must make a written case to the Dean. Following consultation with the Head of the enrolling AOU, PGC and Principal Advisor, a decision will be made by the Dean.

3.5 Examination

The examination comprises a review of the thesis and an oral examination

3.5.1 Examination of Thesis

(1) All examiners are provided access to an electronic copy of the thesis by the Graduate School.

(2) Examiners are asked to assess the thesis document against the following quality measures:

• Does the thesis demonstrate a significant and original contribution to knowledge (PhD) or show originality in the application of knowledge (MPhil)?
• Does the thesis engage with the literature and the work of others?
• Does the thesis show an advanced knowledge of research principles and methods relating to the applicable discipline?
• Is there a clear and discernible coherence in the presented research, its arguments and conclusions?
• Is the thesis convincingly written?

(3) Examiners are requested to return their written reports along with the summary form within 5 weeks of receiving the thesis. Once both reports are received, they will be distributed to the Chair of Examiners and the candidate.

(4) After the requisite time period, the Dean may elect to replace an examiner if there has been undue delay in receiving the examiner's report.

3.5.2 Oral examination

(1) The oral examination panel is comprised of:

(a) Chair of Examiners.

(b) Examiners – examiners may participate in person or use video conferencing. The examination may proceed with the approval of the Dean in exceptional circumstances with one examiner and comments from the second examiner if the attendance of both examiners is not possible.(all reports must be taken into consideration)

(2) The advisory team does not form part of the examination panel.

(3) Examiners are asked to assess the candidate’s performance in the oral examination against the following quality measures;

• Did the candidate demonstrate detailed knowledge of the thesis?
• Did the candidate demonstrate an understanding of their research in the broader context of their discipline?
• Was the candidate able to defend the methodology and conclusions of the thesis and display an awareness of any limitations?
• Did the candidate effectively communicate the results of the research in terms of impact and application of new knowledge?
• Did the candidate as an individual demonstrate a substantive and independent contribution to the discipline?

3.6 Examination Outcomes

3.6.1 Possible outcomes from the first examination

(1) The candidate be awarded the degree without further changes.

(2) The candidate be awarded the degree, without further examination, after the changes (see 3.7 Thesis Corrections) required by examiners have been made to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners and the Dean.

(3) The candidate not yet be awarded the degree, but be allowed to repeat the oral examination component in response to the comments and recommendation of the oral examination panel. Before the degree is awarded, the candidate must also make any changes to the thesis required by the examiners to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners and the Dean.

(4) The candidate not yet be awarded the degree, but be allowed to submit for re-examination a thesis revised in response to the comments and recommendations of the examiners (see 3.9 Revise and Resubmit), which may also require a repeat of the oral examination.

3.6.2  Possible outcomes from a second examination

(1) The candidate be awarded the degree without further changes.

(2) The candidate be awarded the degree, without further examination, after the changes (see 3.7 Thesis Corrections) required by examiners have been made to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners and the Dean.

(3) The candidate be awarded an MPhil (for a PhD re-examination only) - the candidate has not demonstrated a contribution to knowledge that is of sufficient significance or originality for a PhD but fulfils the criteria for an MPhil.

(4) Fail - the thesis is not of the appropriate standard for the award of any higher degree by research and/or the candidate has not adequately met the expectations for the oral examination component.

3.7 Thesis Corrections

(1) Corrections to the thesis in response to an outcome requiring changes but no further examination are required to be completed within 3 months.

(2) The enrolling AOU will forward a fully endorsed Recommendation to Confer Degree to the Dean once satisfied the candidate has made the changes requested by the examiners or satisfactorily defended on academic grounds the absence of changes.

(3) A candidate can request a 3-month extension to complete the thesis corrections. Candidates who do not submit their thesis corrections for review following this extended period may be withdrawn from the program without academic penalty.

3.8 Repeating the Oral Examination

(1) If a candidate is required to repeat the oral component of the examination, this must be undertaken within 3 months of notification.

(2) The oral examination will be repeated with the Chair of Examiners and both original examiners, whenever possible.

(3) If an examiner is unable to participate in the repeat of the oral examination, a replacement examiner will be nominated by the Principal Advisor and appointed by the Dean.

(4) Upon repeating the oral examination, the possible outcomes are listed in section 3.6.2.

3.9 Revise and resubmit

(1) When a candidate is required to revise the thesis and repeat the examination they will have up to 12 months to do so.

(2) Following revision of the thesis, the submission process, as outlined in section 3.4, is repeated.

(3) Both the written and oral components of the examination are repeated.

(4) If either of the original examiners is unable to continue to participate, a replacement examiner will be nominated by the Principal Advisor and appointed by the Dean.

(5) Examiners will be sent the revised thesis, the examiners' original reports (including oral examination report if applicable) and the candidate's response to the examiners' comments.

(6) Where the examiners disagree on the examination outcome following revision of the thesis, the Dean may appoint a third examiner nominated by the Principal Advisor. This examiner is appointed to provide an independent assessment of the thesis and will not be provided with the original examiners’ reports. All three reports will then be considered by the Dean in determining an examination outcome.

(7) The possible outcomes for the examination are described in section 3.6.2.

(8) Candidates who are not able to resubmit their thesis for examination within 12-months of the first examination, may request an extension.

3.10 Meeting Degree Requirements

Once a candidate has fulfilled the requirements of the examination process, the Graduate School will direct the candidate to confirm their thesis title and 100-word abstract. Once this is completed, the candidate will receive confirmation from the Graduate School that degree requirements have been met.

3.11 Access to a Thesis

(1) Upon submitting the thesis for examination, a candidate must indicate whether they intend to have the thesis made available immediately upon conferral as Open Access or to apply for an Embargo placed on access on the basis of academic, cultural, ethical, legal or commercial reasons. The application must be supported by the candidate's Principal Advisor and be approved by the Dean. The Dean will consider the principles for academic freedom when determining whether or not to embargo a thesis, which recognise the importance of academic freedom and the right to disseminate, and only deny this in limited circumstances where there is a compelling case. If approved, the embargo will be set for a 3-year period in the first instance. Where the candidate and Principal Advisor have differing views on the selection of the access option, the matter will be referred to the Dean for determination.

(2) In circumstances where a candidate has transferred their IP to the University, the Principal Advisor will make a recommendation to the Dean on the thesis access arrangements, taking academic, cultural, ethical, legal and commercial factors into consideration. In cases where the Principal Advisor is not employed by the University a recommendation will be sought from the Head of the AOU.

(3) Every three years for theses under Embargo, the Graduate School will contact the thesis author, or the Principal Advisor in the case where IP has been transferred to the University, to advise that the Embargo period is due for review. Where the Principal Advisor is not employed by the University, the matter will be referred to the Head of the enrolling AOU for a recommendation.

(4) Requests for renewal of the Embargo will be considered by the Dean. In the absence of an approved request for an Embargo extension, a thesis will transfer to Open Access.

(5) The University's responsibilities, together with any relevant academic, cultural, ethical, legal or commercial factors will be considered when determining whether a request for an Embargo extension will be approved.

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1 Provost

The Provost approves the conferral of the degree, upon recommendation from the Dean of the UQ Graduate School.

4.2 Dean of the UQ Graduate School

The Dean of the UQ Graduate School (or their delegate) decides on the examination outcome of the HDR candidate and provides recommendation for the conferral of the degree to the Provost.

4.3 Chair of Examiners

The Chair of Examiners is a UQ staff member that provides academic oversight of the HDR examination process, including the oral examination, as described in the HDR Examinations Guidelines.

The Chair of Examiners provides outcome recommendations to the Dean of the UQ Graduate School and oversees the oral examination component, where applicable.

4.4 Principal Advisors

Principal Advisors are approved UQ staff members that take primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for principal advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

4.5 Advisors

Advisors are suitably qualified persons who provide expertise related to the candidate’s research and are available to provide advice throughout candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Review of, and compliance with, this procedure is overseen by the Dean, UQ Graduate School and the Academic Board's Higher Degrees by Research Committee.

6.0 Recording and Reporting

(1) All thesis examination transactions, activities and approvals are recorded within UQ’s student system.

(2) All student records including final outcome, applications and University decisions are filed in the student’s electronic record.

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Flow chart describing examination process

Click to enlarge image

 

7.2 Definitions, terms, and acronyms

Advisor – suitably qualified person who provides expertise related to the candidate’s research and is available to provide advice throughout candidature.

Chair of Examiners – UQ staff member who provides academic oversight of the examination process, including the oral examination, as described in the HDR Examinations Guidelines.

COI – Conflict of Interest declared so that a thesis may be assessed free from bias or preferential treatment (see HDR Examinations Guidelines).

Dean – Dean of the UQ Graduate School or delegate.

Enrolling AOU – an Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates.

Examiner – an experienced researcher with expertise in the relevant discipline who is not a UQ staff member and has been approved in accordance with the HDR Examinations guidelines relating to COI. 

FTE – Full-Time Equivalent.

HDR – Higher Degree by Research comprising MPhil, PhD and PDR.

MPhil – Master of Philosophy.

Open Access Thesis – thesis publicly searchable and available via the internet.

PDR – Professional Doctorate by Research.

PGC – Postgraduate Coordinator.

PhD – Doctor of Philosophy.

Principal Advisor – approved UQ staff member who takes primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature with their role and eligibility outlined in PPL 4.60.01 Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors.

Thesis – the material outcomes of a sustained program of supervised research undertaken by a candidate whilst enrolled in an HDR program.

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan

Procedures

Higher Degree by Research Examination without Oral Examination

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

This procedure describes the process for HDR examination for the award of PhD, MPhil and PDR degrees that do not require an oral examination. The award of an HDR degree is based on an assessment of the quality of the thesis by two external examiners with recognised disciplinary expertise. Upon the recommendation of the examiners, the final decision to recommend conferral of the degree is made by the Dean for approval by the Provost.

2.0 Process and Key Controls

All HDR examinations must be conducted in accordance with the principles and requirements described in the HDR Examination Policy and those described in this procedure.

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Nomination of the Chair of Examiners

(1) The Chair of Examiners is an academic staff member of the University who is familiar with the research discipline, or in the case of multi-disciplinary theses, is familiar with part of the research discipline represented in the thesis.

(2) The Principal Advisor nominates a Chair of Examiners with the endorsement of the PGC.

3.2 Nomination of Examiners

(1) Following the attainment of the Thesis Review Milestone and prior to thesis submission, the Principal Advisor nominates a minimum of three examiners. The candidate has an opportunity to review and comment on the nominations. Nominations of examiners must be endorsed by the PGC.

(2) All actual, potential or perceived COIs must be declared by the advisory team members and the candidate at the time of nomination of thesis examiners.

(3) The Dean will invite two nominated examiners to participate.

(4) Additional nominations from the Principal Advisor may be requested. All examinations should be treated as confidential. Where an additional level of legal protection is required, in the case of material that may be commercial-in-confidence, give rise to a patent, or be legally or culturally sensitive, then a request for a Confidentiality Agreement should be made at the time of nomination of examiners.

(5) Examiners will be advised to seek independent legal advice prior to signing the Confidentiality Agreement.

3.3 Thesis Format Requirements

(1) The thesis should not exceed 80,000 words for a PhD or 40,000 words for an MPhil. The word limit includes all footnotes and appendices but not the bibliography. Requests to exceed this word limit must be approved by the Dean.

(2) Formatting should be: line spacing 1.5, Times New Roman or Arial 12pt font, all four margins 20mm.

(3) A thesis must adhere to the templates provided by the Graduate School.

3.4 Thesis Submission

(1) The thesis examination process is initiated when:

a. An approved Thesis Submission request has been received by the Graduate School.

b. The thesis and abstract have been uploaded to the University’s digital repository as instructed by the Graduate School.

(2) Once the thesis has been uploaded the candidate’s enrolment status will change to ‘under examination’ until an outcome of the examination is determined. This enrolment status does not consume load and as a consequence tuition fee is not incurred.

(3) Where a candidate requests permission to submit without the Principal Advisor’s approval, the candidate must make a written case to the Dean. Following consultation with the Head of the enrolling AOU, PGC and Principal Advisor, a decision will be made by the Dean.

3.5 Examination

(1) All examiners are provided access to an electronic copy of the thesis by the Graduate School. In exceptional cases a printed copy may be supplied upon request.

(2) Examiners are asked to assess the thesis document against the following quality measures:

• Does the thesis demonstrate a significant and original contribution to knowledge (PhD) or show originality in the application of knowledge (MPhil)?
• Does the thesis engage with the literature and the work of others?
• Does the thesis show an advanced knowledge of research principles and methods relating to the applicable discipline?
• Is there a clear and discernible coherence in the presented research, its arguments and conclusions?
• Is the thesis convincingly written?

(3) Examiners are requested to return their written reports along with the summary form within 5 weeks of receiving the thesis. Once both reports are received, the Dean will provide an examination outcome and distribute the reports to the Chair of Examiners and the candidate.

(4) After the requisite time period, the Dean may elect to replace an examiner if there has been undue delay in receiving the examiner's report.

3.6 Examination Outcomes

3.6.1 Possible outcomes from the first examination

(1) The candidate be awarded the degree without further changes.

(2) The candidate be awarded the degree, without further examination, after the changes (see 3.7 Thesis Corrections) required by examiners have been made to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners and the Dean.

(3) The candidate not yet be awarded the degree, but be allowed to resubmit for re-examination a thesis revised in response to the comments and recommendations of the examiners (see 3.8 Revise and Resubmit). Before the degree is awarded, the candidate must also make any changes to the thesis required by the examiners to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners and the Dean.

3.6.2  Possible outcomes from a second examination

(1) The candidate be awarded the degree without further changes.

(2) The candidate be awarded the degree, without further examination, after the changes (see 3.7 Thesis Corrections) required by examiners have been made to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners and the Dean.

(3) The candidate be awarded an MPhil (for a PhD re-examination only) - the candidate has not demonstrated a contribution to knowledge that is of sufficient significance or originality for a PhD but fulfils the criteria for an MPhil.

(4) Fail - the thesis is not of the appropriate standard for the award of any higher degree by research.

3.7 Thesis Corrections

(1) Corrections to the thesis in response to an outcome requiring changes but no further examination are required to be completed within 3 months.

(2) The enrolling AOU will forward a fully endorsed Recommendation to Confer Degree to the Dean once satisfied the candidate has made the changes requested by the examiners or satisfactorily defended on academic grounds the absence of changes.

(3) A candidate can request a 3-month extension to complete the thesis corrections. Candidates who do not submit their thesis corrections for review following this extended period may be withdrawn from the program without academic penalty.

3.8 Revise and resubmit

(1) When a candidate is required to revise the thesis and repeat the examination they will have up to 12 months to do so.

(2) Following revision of the thesis, the submission process, as outlined in section 3.4, is repeated.

(3) If an examiner is unable to continue to participate, a replacement examiner will be nominated by the Principal Advisor and appointed by the Dean.

(4) Examiners will be sent the revised thesis, the examiners' original reports and the candidate's response to the examiners' comments.

(5) Where the examiners disagree on the examination outcome following revision of the thesis, the Dean may appoint a third examiner nominated by the Principal Advisor. This examiner is appointed to provide an independent assessment of the thesis and will not be provided with the original examiners’ reports. All three reports will then be considered by the Dean in determining an examination outcome.

(6) If a candidate has an outcome of revise and resubmit, the possible outcomes for the examination are described in section 3.6.2.

(7) Candidates who are not able to resubmit their thesis for examination within 12-months of the first examination, may request an extension.

3.9 Meeting Degree Requirements

Once a thesis has fulfilled the requirements of the examination process, the candidate must confirm their thesis title is correct and submit a 100-word abstract when directed by the Graduate School. Once this is completed, the candidate will receive confirmation from the Graduate School that degree requirements have been met.

3.10 Access to a Thesis

(1) Upon submitting the thesis for examination, a candidate must indicate whether they intend to have the thesis made available immediately upon conferral as Open Access or to apply for an Embargo placed on access on the basis of academic, cultural, ethical, legal or commercial reasons. The application must be supported by the candidate's Principal Advisor and be approved by the Dean. The Dean will consider the principles for academic freedom when determining whether or not to embargo a thesis, which recognise the importance of academic freedom and the right to disseminate, and only deny this in limited circumstances where there is a compelling case. If approved, the embargo will be set for a 3-year period in the first instance. Where the candidate and Principal Advisor have differing views on the selection of the access option, the matter will be referred to the Dean for determination.

(2) In circumstances where a candidate has transferred their IP to the University, the Principal Advisor will make a recommendation to the Dean on the thesis access arrangements, taking academic, cultural, ethical, legal and commercial factors into consideration. In cases where the Principal Advisor is not employed by the University a recommendation will be sought from the Head of the AOU.

(3) Every three years for theses under Embargo, the Graduate School will contact the thesis author, or the Principal Advisor in the case where IP has been transferred to the University, to advise that the Embargo period is due for review. Where the Principal Advisor is not employed by the University, the matter will be referred to the Head of the enrolling AOU for a recommendation.

(4) Requests for renewal of the Embargo will be considered by the Dean. In the absence of an approved request for an Embargo extension, a thesis will transfer to Open Access.

(5) The University's responsibilities, together with any relevant academic, cultural, ethical, legal or commercial factors should be considered when determining whether a request for an Embargo extension will be approved.

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1 Provost

The Provost approves the conferral of the degree, upon recommendation from the Dean of the UQ Graduate School.

4.2 Dean of the UQ Graduate School

The Dean of the UQ Graduate School (or their delegate) decides on the examination outcome of the HDR candidate and provides recommendation for the conferral of the degree to the Provost.

4.3 Chair of Examiners

The Chair of Examiners is a UQ staff member that provides academic oversight of the HDR examination process, including the oral examination, as described in the HDR Examinations Guidelines.

The Chair of Examiners provides outcome recommendations to the Dean of the UQ Graduate School and oversees the oral examination component, where applicable.

4.4 Principal Advisors

Principal Advisors are approved UQ staff members that take primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for principal advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

4.5 Advisors

Advisors are suitably qualified persons who provide expertise related to the candidate’s research and are available to provide advice throughout candidature.

The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Review of, and compliance with, this procedure is overseen by the Dean, UQ Graduate School and the Academic Board's Higher Degree by Research Committee.

6.0 Recording and Reporting

(1) All thesis examination transactions, activities and approvals are recorded within UQ’s student system.

(2) All student records, including final outcome, applications and University decisions are filed in the student’s electronic record.

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Definitions, terms and acronyms

Advisor – suitably qualified person who provides expertise related to the candidate’s research and is available to provide advice throughout candidature.

Chair of Examiners – UQ staff member who provides academic oversight of the examination process as described in the HDR Examinations Guidelines.

COI – Conflict of Interest declared so that a thesis may be assessed free from bias or preferential treatment (see HDR Examinations Guidelines).

Dean – Dean of the UQ Graduate School or delegate.

Enrolling AOU – an Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates.

Examiner – an experienced researcher with expertise in the relevant discipline who is not a UQ staff member and has been approved in accordance with HDR Examinations guidelines relating to COI.

FTE – Full-Time Equivalent.

HDR – Higher Degree by Research comprising MPhil, PhD and PDR.

MPhil – Master of Philosophy.

Open Access Thesis – thesis publicly searchable and available via the internet.

PDR – Professional Doctorate by Research.

PGC – Postgraduate Coordinator.

PhD – Doctor of Philosophy.

Principal Advisor – approved UQ staff member who takes primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature with their role and eligibility outlined in PPL 4.60.01 Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors.

Thesis – the material outcomes of a sustained program of supervised research undertaken by a candidate whilst enrolled in an HDR program.

Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan

Guidelines

Higher Degree by Research Examination - Guidelines

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1. Submission for Examination

The following requirements must be met for thesis submission:

  • an indication if embargo is required;
  • the thesis has been submitted to iThenticate and the Principal Advisor has sighted this and verified that the thesis is ready to be examined;
  • the thesis and abstract must be in PDF format, supplementary audio files are to be in MP 3 format;
  • supplementary video files are to be in WMV or AVI format;
  • all documents uploaded to the UQ eSpace must not be password protected, all fields in the UQ eSpace must be completed when uploading documents, all documents must be attached to a singular UQ eSpace record;
  • PDF files must be saved using the following naming structure <student number> <degree type><stage examination>. Stages of examination are: submission, or correctedthesis, or finalthesis.

2. Conflict of Interest

The Graduate School ensures that all thesis examiners act with integrity. All Conflicts of Interest (COI) are declared so that a thesis may be assessed free from any perception of bias or preferential treatment. UQ's COI guidelines are informed by those of the Australian Council of Graduate Research.

2.1 Relationships that would normally exclude a potential examiner include:

Working

  • Examiner is in negotiation to directly employ or be employed by the candidate or advisor;
  • Examiner was a candidate of the advisor within the past 5 years;
  • Examiner has directly employed or been employed by the advisor or candidate within the past 5 years.

Personal/Legal

  • Examiner is legally family or known relative to the advisor or candidate is a legal guardian or has power of attorney for the advisor or candidate.

Other

  • Examiner has a formal grievance with UQ;
  • Examiner is a current academic staff member at UQ or has a current Honorary, Adjunct or Emeritus position or is an academic title holder (Medicine) with UQ.

2.2 Working relationships with the examiner are to be declared on the Nomination of Thesis Examiners request and which may lead to exclusion as an examiner include:

  • Examiner has co-authored a paper with the candidate or advisor within the last 5 years;
  • Examiner has worked with the candidate on matters regarding the thesis, e.g. previous member of the advisory team;
  • Examiner has employed the candidate or advisor or been employed by the candidate or advisor within the last 5 years;
  • Examiner has acted as a referee for the candidate or advisor for employment;
  • Examiner has co-supervised with the advisor in the past 5 years;
  • Examiner holds a patent with the advisor granted no more than 8 years ago and which is still in force;
  • Examiner holds a current grant with the advisor.

The examples provided above are indicative and are not considered exhaustive.

3. Oral Examination

3.1 The main objectives of the oral examination are to:

  • establish that the candidate fully understands the work and its wider implications;
  • provide the candidate with an opportunity to reply to criticism or challenge;
  • enable the examiners to clarify issues in the thesis which may be unclear;
  • help the examiners to decide on the nature and extent of any corrections or revisions which may be required;
  • provide the examiners with an opportunity to clearly communicate required corrections or revisions to the candidate;
  • authenticate the contribution made by the candidate to the thesis and ensure that the candidate has a clear understanding of the contribution of collaborators to the thesis.

3.2 The oral examination will include assessment of the candidate's ability to:

  • demonstrate detailed knowledge of the thesis;
  • locate their research in the broader context of their discipline;
  • demonstrate the originality of the thesis and the contribution it makes to state of knowledge in the field;
  • defend the methodology and conclusions of the thesis;
  • display awareness of the limitations of the thesis.

3.3 Examiners are invited to examine the thesis in the knowledge that an oral examination will be held as part of the examination process. Examiners are requested to provide a full written report and a recommendation on the thesis outcome for consideration by the Dean within 6 weeks of thesis submission.

3.4 The oral examination should be scheduled approximately 8 weeks after the date of thesis submission.

3.5 Examiners' reports and summary recommendation are submitted directly to the Graduate School.

3.6 Once both reports have been received by the Graduate School they will be forwarded to the Chair of Examiners.

3.7 The Chair of Examiners will distribute the examiners' reports to the members of the oral examination panel and the principal advisor. The Chair of Examiners will consult with the candidate to discuss the examiners’ reports after which the reports will be provided to the candidate.

3.8 The candidate should receive the examiners' reports at least 1 week prior to the oral examination. If this is not possible then the oral examination may be postponed.

3.9 The candidate will provide a seminar on their thesis work to the examination panel, typically no more than 30 minutes in duration.

3.10 At the conclusion of the seminar, the candidate and the oral examination panel conduct a closed interview during which time the panel discusses the thesis with the candidate.

3.11 At the conclusion of the interview with the candidate, the panel will meet in the absence of the candidate to discuss the outcome and produce a written report that should be submitted to the Dean within two business days. This report will contain a recommendation on the outcome of the oral examination and will delineate any changes required to be made to the thesis before the conferral of the degree. If the comments are substantially different from the written reports of the examiners then a justification of these differences must be included in the report.

3.12 The panel may advise the candidate of their recommendation. However, the determination of outcome remains with the Dean, who will consider the examiners' written reports together with the report from the oral examination panel.

4. Chair of Examiners

4.1 The Chair of Examiners:

  • is nominated for each HDR candidate whose thesis is submitted for examination;
  • is identified at the thesis review milestone;
  • is an academic staff member of UQ;
  • is a member of UQ's Principal Advisor Registry;
  • must hold a degree of a level equivalent to or greater than the one the thesis is being examined for;
  • must be familiar with the research discipline represented in the candidate's thesis, or in the case of multi-disciplinary theses, be familiar with part of the research discipline represented by the thesis;
  • must not be a current or former member of the advisor team.

4.2 Duties of the Chair of Examiners include:

  • conduct the oral examination meeting;
  • coordinate the oral examination committee report;
  • review and determine the adequacy of the response of the candidate to the examiner(s) comments and recommendations;
  • provide specific academic advice to the Dean on an examiner(s)' recommendation when requested. This may occur when the examiners' recommendations are highly divergent or when there is a recommendation of revise and resubmit. The Chair of Examiners is expected to confer with the candidate's advisory team and must confine his/her comments to the matters raised in the examiner(s)' reports.
Custodians
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan

Forms

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Timetable for Completing Thesis Corrections for RHD Candidates - Form

Timetable for Completing Thesis Corrections for RHD Candidates - Form

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Body
Description: 

This form is used to advise the timetable for completing corrections or revisions to an RHD thesis.

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