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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy outlines the qualities, knowledge, capabilities and skills that should be developed by candidates graduating from HDR programs.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

HDR - Higher Degree by Research

MPhil - Master of Philosophy

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all HDR students in the MPhil and PhD program.

4. Policy Statement

Higher Degrees by Research are of central importance to leading international research universities. Evolving from research doctorates in Germany and the United States, the emphasis has traditionally been on research and scholarship by a candidate that generates new knowledge. While excellence in research activity and outputs continues to be a core element of the HDR, contemporary expectations emphasise the qualities of the graduate. This broadening of scope reflects the view that HDR graduates should be equipped to pursue a wide range of careers. The attributes described below reflect the changing expectations of the HDR. These attributes can be developed while performing discipline-specific research and also via specific research training activities. Through the development of these attributes the University aims to produce graduate researchers who are creative knowledge leaders able to contribute to significantly to their discipline and to the wider community. The process of embedding graduate attributes involves advisory teams, enrolling units and the Graduate School.

5. HDR Attributes

5.1 Disciplinary knowledge and capability

  • In-depth, advanced knowledge and understanding of one or more disciplinary area
  • Ability to apply theoretical frameworks and research methods in a field or discipline to develop new concepts, formulate research hypotheses or identify new problems and produce original outputs
  • Well-developed technical capability that enables collection, synthesis and analysis of data
  • Ability to communicate results of research in terms of impact and application of new knowledge
  • Ability to make a substantive and independent contribution to knowledge in the discipline and/or formulate and solve problems

5.2 Transferable skills

  • Ability to apply original and creative ideas, and analytical and critical thinking skills to generate new knowledge, investigate problems and develop inventive solutions
  • Capacity to communicate ideas effectively to a range of audiences inside and outside the field of study or discipline and to the wider community
  • Ability to work collaboratively and effectively with others, within a range of teams and contexts, respecting individual roles and responsibilities
  • Ability to lead, manage and execute projects within or across disciplines
  • Ability to write coherently and convincingly

5.3 Professional Skills

  • Developed or developing professional competencies in areas that may include commercialisation and technology transfer, management of intellectual assets, cultural knowledge and cross-cultural communication, entrepreneurship, policy development, research supervision, grant writing and management, and teaching & learning
  • Capacity to communicate knowledge for the education of others, which may include teaching and supervision

5.4 Integrity and Ethics

  • Clear understanding and practice of the requirements of the responsible conduct of research
  • Ability to analyse and describe data and information objectively
  • Ability to contribute to open discussion on topics that intersect with disciplinary expertise

6.Comparative Attributes of MPhil and PhD Graduates

Compared with MPhil graduates, PhD graduates should demonstrate a higher level of attainment of the same knowledge, skills, qualities and abilities.

7. Indicators of Successful Attainment of Graduate Attributes

Indicators of attainment of Graduate Attributes will reflect achievement of skills described in section 5. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Successful completion of candidature milestones and HDR
  • Publication of peer-reviewed research papers, reports or scholarly works
  • Presentation of research at national and international conferences
  • Substantive contribution to research and other activities that apply transferable skills
  • Quality of analytical and critical thinking skills, writing and oral presentation skills as measured in the assessment of the thesis
  • Successful completion and application of competencies that are linked to professional skill development.
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan