Doctor of Philosophy Rules
In the rules that follow—
the Board means the Board of the Graduate Research School and includes any position to which the Board has delegated authority for a particular function;
a Graduate Research Program is a formal research training curriculum that has been approved by the Academic Council on the recommendation of the BOARD of the Graduate Research School. The curriculum includes the execution of a research project and preparation of a thesis, plus coursework, industry placement and/or other elements as may be appropriate.
head of school means a person appointed or acting in that capacity or the Graduate Research Coordinator of the school, Graduate Research Coordinators being designated academics who have been approved by the head of school and the Board to act on behalf of the head of school on matters pertaining to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD);
higher degree by research means a postgraduate degree course for which at least two thirds of the student load is required as research;
a student and/or students means a student and/or students enrolled for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy;
upgrade refers to a change in course from a master's degree by research to a PhD with no break in enrolment except as permitted by an approved period of suspension and where the research undertaken by the student while enrolled for the master's degree will be continued in the PhD or modified to meet the requirements of a PhD;
downgrade refers to a change in course from a PhD to a master's degree by research with no break in enrolment except as permitted by an approved period of suspension and where the research undertaken by the student will be modified to meet the requirements of the master's degree by research;
internal student means a person undertaking study towards a higher degree by research who, except for approved periods, will conduct research and study towards the higher degree on a campus of the University for most or all of their period of candidature; and
external student means a person undertaking study towards a higher degree by research who, as a result of their location, cannot conduct research and study towards the higher degree on a campus of the University for most or all of their period of candidature.
Applicability of the Student Rules, policies and procedures
1. The Student Rules, policies and procedures apply except as otherwise indicated in the rules for this course.
Academic Conduct Essentials module
1.A(1) Except as stated in (2), a student who enrols in this course for the first time irrespective of whether they have previously been enrolled in another course of the University, must undertake the Academic Conduct Essentials module (the ACE module).
(2) A student who has previously achieved a result of Ungraded Pass (UP) for the ACE module is not required to repeat the module.
(3) A student who has not achieved a result of Ungraded Pass (UP) for the ACE module when their progress status is assessed will not have made satisfactory progress even if they have met the other requirements for satisfactory progress in the rules for this course.
(4) A student who does not make satisfactory progress in terms of (3) is assigned the progress status of 'On Probation'.
2.(1) Subject to (2), to be provisionally accepted by the Board into the course for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must demonstrate that they have fulfilled the requirements of the University Policy on: Adequate Research Preparation and any other requirements for admission of the University, and—
(a) have a bachelor's degree of this University or a qualification recognised by the Board as equivalent;
(b)(i) have previously undertaken work, which in the Board's opinion is of a sufficiently high standard, towards a higher degree by research in this or another approved institution but not have submitted it for any degree; and
(ii) have completed and had approved by the Board, on the recommendation of the supervisor and the head of school, a PhD research proposal;
(c) have the degree of bachelor of this University or have a qualification recognised by the Board as equivalent, and have since graduation completed at a satisfactory level a Higher Degree by Research Preliminary Program, or equivalent as determined by the board, in the subject area in which research is to be undertaken.
(2) A student who wishes to undertake a PhD in the field of creative writing must, in addition to satisfying the requirements of (1)(a), (b) or (c), submit a substantial folio of published creative work, normally in the form of one or more books.
Recognition of qualifications completed at institutions other than this University
(2) A person who wishes to have a qualification that they have completed at another tertiary institution recognised as equivalent to one completed at this University must provide satisfactory evidence of the work completed for the qualification.
General requirements for application and eligibility
4. Unless the Board permits otherwise in exceptional circumstances, a person whose work for a higher degree at this or another institution is under examination at the time of application for admission is not permitted to enrol for the Doctor of Philosophy or any associated preliminary program of study until that examination has been completed and the final results have been provided to the Board.
English language competency requirements
(2) The Board, having considered the recommendation of the relevant head of school referred to in Rule 19(2), may refuse approval for enrolment.
(a) in a course leading to a formal qualification at another institution; or
(b) in an undergraduate or honours program at this University.
8.(1) The Board, on written application, may permit a student to enrol in specified coursework units up to a maximum value of 24 points concurrently with the Doctor of Philosophy if it considers the specified coursework units to be necessary for successful completion of the degree program.
(2) A student for whom enrolment in coursework units to a value greater than 24 points is recommended at the time of application is required to complete these units either as part of an approved preliminary course or through Continuing Education before enrolment in the Doctor of Philosophy.
Concurrent enrolment in coursework units
(a) following a written submission from the student, the name of the concurrent program is submitted through the supervisor and the head of school to the Board for approval; and
(b) with the exception of the Commercialisation Training Scheme, the concurrent program is not one for which the University receives Commonwealth Government funding.
(2) A student enrolled in a concurrent program who wishes to continue with the Doctor of Philosophy may be required to withdraw or suspend enrolment in the concurrent program if they do not make satisfactory progress in the course for the Doctor of Philosophy annually.
(3) Unless the Board, in recognition of exceptional circumstances, approves otherwise, a student must not be enrolled in a concurrent program during the year in which they indicate they will be submitting a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
(4) Unless the Board, in recognition of exceptional circumstances, approves otherwise, suspensions and extension of candidature are not granted for reasons connected with concurrent enrolment.
(5) The Board does not grant a reduction of the time limit for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy on the basis of work completed during a concurrent enrolment.
Prior candidature and time limits
11. Except as otherwise provided by the Board, for a student who commences a course for the Doctor of Philosophy at this institution on the basis of an equivalent course in another institution, or for a student who upgrades, downgrades or changes to another course at the same level—
(a) the minimum period of enrolment is that prescribed for the course into which the student has changed; and
(b) the maximum time limit for completion of the course is reduced by the period of enrolment in the course from which the student has changed.
12. Students working, on average, 30 hours per week or more on their postgraduate research work are classified full-time and those working, on average, less than 30 hours per week on their postgraduate research work are classified part-time.
Internal and external candidature
(2) The Board, on the recommendation of the appropriate head of school, may accept as an external student a student who, in its opinion, is substantially free to pursue a course of supervised research and advanced study provided that—
(a) the student fulfils the requirement to work within the appropriate University school for a period or periods to be determined by the Board which, during the total period of enrolment, must normally amount to no less than 13 weeks; and
(b) suitable internal and external supervision and arrangements for access to facilities and resources, if required, have been arranged and approved by the Board.
(3) If appropriate electronic or other methods of remote supervision have been arranged and approved by the Board, the requirement for appropriate external supervision may be waived.
Changes to terms of candidature
15. A PhD thesis must be a substantial and original contribution to scholarship, for example through the discovery of knowledge, the formulation of theories or the innovative re-interpretation of known data and established ideas.
(2) The course of supervised research and advanced study may include—
(a) courses, lectures, seminars and other work as the supervisor and head of school concerned directs; and
(b) studies and investigations culminating in such reports as the supervisor(s) direct(s).
(3) On the recommendation of the appropriate head of school and supervisor, the Board may prescribe study additional to the requirements of (2).
18. A student, other than one upgrading from a master's degree by research (by thesis) course, must provide a research proposal to the Board for approval, through the appropriate head of school and supervisor(s), within six months from the date of first enrolment for the course if enrolment is full-time or the equivalent as determined by the Board if the enrolment is part-time or a mixture of full- and part-time.
(2) The report provided by a student must be forwarded by the head of school to the Board with a recommendation on whether the student should be permitted to re-enrol.
Confirmation of candidature
(2) The tasks to be completed by the student and the timeline within which they must be completed must be agreed in writing by the student, their supervisors and the relevant head(s) of school(s) and require the approval of the Board.
(3) Except as set out in (4), a student must include an outline of the agreed tasks with the research proposal submitted in accordance with Rule 18.
(4) For students transferring or upgrading from another course, or transferring from another university, or transferring enrolment between schools, an agreed list of tasks and a timeline for completing them is determined at the time of transfer.
(5) Students who have been enrolled full-time with no periods of approved leave (suspension of candidature) are normally required to complete all agreed tasks by the date for submission of the first annual progress report.
(6) Students who have been enrolled part-time or who have had a period of approved leave (suspension of candidature) are normally required to complete all agreed tasks at least by the date for submission of the second annual progress report.
(7) A report detailing the agreed tasks that have been completed satisfactorily, signed by the student, the supervisor(s) and the relevant head(s) of school(s), must be included with the relevant annual progress report.
(8) If the student completes all agreed tasks satisfactorily by the agreed time, candidature is confirmed by the Board.
(9) If the student does not complete all agreed tasks satisfactorily by the agreed time, candidature is terminated by the Board unless—
(a) the student is granted an extension of time in accordance with (10); or
(b) the student has been permitted to downgrade candidature to the master's degree by research by thesis in accordance with Rule 30.
(10) The Board, in consultation with the relevant head(s) of school(s), may grant the student an extension of three months full-time equivalent in which to complete the agreed tasks.
(11) A student who has been granted an extension of time in accordance with (10) is required to submit an interim report certifying that the agreed tasks have been completed.
(12) If a student who has been granted an extension of time in accordance with (10) completes the agreed tasks satisfactorily by the end of the period of extension, candidature is confirmed.
(13) If a student who has been granted an extension of time in accordance with (10) does not complete the agreed tasks by the end of the period of extension and, in the opinion of the Board, there are no exceptional circumstances, the Board, in consultation with the relevant head(s) of school(s), terminates the candidature.
(a) submitted a satisfactory Research Proposal within the agreed time;
(b) continued to complete sufficient work, at a satisfactory standard, within agreed times; and
(c) continued to submit reports and other requirements, at a satisfactory standard, within agreed times.
23. When a student's supervisors and Graduate Research Coordinator assess that a student is not making satisfactory progress they will inform the Graduate Research School. The Graduate Research School will—
(a) inform the student in writing that they are deemed as being at risk of not meeting the course requirements for continuation; and
(b) request that in three months the student submits an Interim Report addressing the specific concerns raised by the supervisors and Graduate Research Coordinator.
Approved leave (suspension of candidature) and extension
25. The Board, on written application, may grant a period of approved leave, called a suspension of candidature, in the Doctor of Philosophy course which, unless the Board in recognition of exceptional circumstances permits otherwise, will not exceed one year throughout the duration of candidature.
26. In addition to the one-year maximum period of suspension of candidature provided for in Rule 25, the Board may, on written application, permit during the course of candidature either—
(a) up to 12 months' leave for pregnancy and childbirth, for each pregnancy; or
(b) up to 12 months' parental leave for the primary carer of a child or children.
27. The Board, in recognition of exceptional circumstances, may approve an extension not exceeding one year to the maximum period of candidature for the Doctor of Philosophy as set out in these Rules.
Minimum and maximum time limits
29.(1) Subject to Rule 11, unless otherwise approved by the Board the minimum period of enrolment is three years.
(2) Unless the Board, in recognition of exceptional circumstances, grants an extension of time, a full-time student must submit the thesis within four years from the date of first enrolment for the degree, or the equivalent as determined by the Board if the enrolment is part-time or a mixture of full- and part-time.
Transfer of candidature
30. The Board, on the recommendation of the head of school concerned, may permit a student in the course for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at this institution to downgrade candidature to the master's degree by research by thesis.
Termination of candidature
(2) The Board, on written application, may permit a student whose candidature is due to be terminated in accordance with (1), but who wishes to complete and submit the thesis for examination, to re-enrol and submit the thesis within a period of time and on conditions specified by the Board on the recommendation of the head of school and supervisor.
Intellectual property, confidentiality
32. If a student's thesis or other work contains material of the kind described in Rule 35, or if the student has obligations to a third party as outlined in that rule, a student must notify the Board in writing, allowing sufficient time for the Board to comply with Rule 33.
33. Upon written application by a student or by an interested party prior to the lodgement of a thesis or other work, the Board, after consultation with the student, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and others where appropriate, may restrict access to the thesis or other work for a period of time not normally exceeding two years from the date that it is classified as Passed.
34. The Board may recommend that a student be granted permission to include in an appendix to a thesis or other work material that is essential to the thesis or work but which may not be available for general inspection for a period not normally exceeding two years from the date that the thesis or work is classified as Passed.
35.(1) The restriction on access referred to in Rules 33 and 34 normally apply only if the thesis or other work contains confidential material, or if it was a condition imposed by the owner of private records and material used by the student, or if the student was in an employment or other contract relationship with a third party that made the restriction a condition of the contract.
(2) In exceptional circumstances and after consultation with the student, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and others where appropriate, the Board may, for reasons other than those outlined in (1), restrict access to the thesis or other work for a period not normally exceeding two years from the date that the thesis or work is passed.
36. Subject to Rule 37, during a period of restricted access approved by the Board, a person will be granted access to the thesis or other work or to the appendix only with the written consent of the student and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
Content and format of a thesis
(2) The sources from which a student's information is derived, the extent to which the work of others has been used and to which the assistance of individuals, associations or institutions has been obtained, must be acknowledged generally in a preface or introduction, specifically in notes, a bibliography or appendices, and must be, throughout the thesis, shown clearly and fully by appropriate references.
(3) The portion of material presented for examination claimed as original must be indicated in the thesis.
(b) A typescript may be structured in any of a range of ways, including, but not limited to: a monograph; a paper or series of papers suitable for publication in scholarly journals; or a combination of published and unpublished work.
(c) Work that has been published may be presented in the format in which it was published or with the formatting adjusted for consistency with the rest of the typescript.
(2) If any of the items submitted in terms of (1) have been jointly authored—
(a) the work done by the student must be clearly indicated and certified as such by the co-authors; and
(b) the co-authors must certify that they agree to the inclusion in the thesis of work of which they are joint authors.
(3) Work of which the student is sole or joint author may be submitted as an appendix in support of the thesis, but, in the case of joint authorship, the work done by the student must be clearly indicated.
(4) If a series of papers is presented, there must be a full explanatory introduction and a review article at the end to link the separate papers and to place them in the context of the established body of knowledge.
(5) If detailed data and descriptions of methods are not otherwise given, they must be included as appendices.
(6) If, with the approval of the Board, the thesis is presented as a typescript in two parts comprising respectively a piece of creative writing and exegesis, the two parts must be strongly connected and the connection must be demonstrated clearly in the exegesis.
(2) If a thesis is part in print and part in typescript, the Board, in consultation with the University Librarian, may grant permission for the pages to be of a size other than A4.
(3) No specific restrictions are placed on the size of drawings or maps accompanying a thesis.
44.(1) A thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, including footnotes but excluding words in tables, maps, endnotes, bibliographies, appendices and other illustrative matter, normally must not exceed 100,000 words.1
(2) If it appears that a thesis is likely to exceed the word limit specified and the Graduate Research Coordinator/head of school concerned judges that there are good reasons for this, the Graduate Research Coordinator/head of school must submit a written case for approval of a thesis exceeding the standard limit for the consideration of the Board.
1 Students preparing theses for the Doctor of Philosophy are encouraged to prepare theses of no more than 80,000 words, notwithstanding that they may submit theses of up to 100,000 words without the requirement to seek special approval.
Submission of a thesis for examination
45.(1) A student submitting a thesis for examination must submit relevant particulars on a form to be obtained at the Graduate Research and Scholarships Office and must observe any guidelines set down by the Board regarding the preparation and subsequent disposal of the thesis.
(2) A thesis submitted for examination must be accompanied by a declaration signed by the student that—
(a) all sources are acknowledged; and
(b) the thesis has not previously been accepted for any other degree in this or another institution; and
(c) the thesis has been substantially accomplished during enrolment in the degree; and
(d) except in the case of jointly authored work (see Rule 41), the thesis is wholly the student's own composition.
(3) Except as set out in (4), a thesis submitted for examination must be accompanied by certification from the supervisor(s) and head(s) of school and approved by the Board that the form and content of the thesis are suitable for examination.
(4) The Board may, in exceptional circumstances, accept for examination a thesis without the certification of the supervisor and/or the head of school and may, after an examination is complete, notify the examiner(s) that the thesis was submitted without school support.
46. After having regard to the recommendation of the head of school, the Board may permit a student who has completed a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, which is considered by the Board following consultation with the supervisor(s) and the head of school concerned to be unsuitable for submission for the award of that degree, to submit the thesis for examination for the award of the degree of master by research (by thesis), although the student has at no time been enrolled for that degree.
47. A student must submit a thesis for examination in temporary binding along with an electronic copy and must comply with any guidelines set down by the Board at the time of submission of the thesis.
49. Except in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the Board, a student is not permitted to withdraw, alter or add to a thesis or work after it has been submitted in a form suitable for examination.
Lodgement of final version following classification
(2) The format of the copies submitted under (1) must comply with detailed specifications laid down by the University Librarian.
(3) Unless otherwise approved by the Board, after a thesis submitted for the Doctor of Philosophy has been classified as Passed, the Graduate Research School submits the electronic copy of the thesis to the Library which must make reasonable efforts to convert the electronic copy into a digital format suitable for inclusion in the University's Digital Thesis Repository.
Nomination and appointment of examiners and examination
54.(1) Except as set out in (2), the Board, following submission of a thesis for examination, must appoint three examiners who must not be current employees of The University of Western Australia and of whom two must be external to the State of Western Australia.
(2) In exceptional circumstances the Board may approve arrangements other than those prescribed in (1).
56.(1) For a thesis submitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 45(3), the appropriate head of school, prior to submitting names of examiners to the Board for approval, is required to informally invite the nominated examiners for the thesis and ensure their willingness and availability to examine within the timeframe for examination determined by the Board, which may seek such other advice as it thinks desirable, including a detailed report from the student's supervisor(s). The nominated examiners must be advised that the thesis will be sent electronically for examination unless specifically requests for a temporary bound copy.
(2) For a thesis submitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 45(4), the appointment of examiners is undertaken by the Board which seeks advice as it thinks necessary and/or desirable.
(2) Students, supervisors and heads of school must not discuss any aspect of an examination with examiners during the examination process.
58.(1) Except as set out in (2), examiners must not, before submitting their independent reports, consult or otherwise communicate with each other or anyone connected with the preparation of the thesis.
(2) The Board may ask examiners to consult or otherwise communicate with each other before, or after, receipt of their individual reports.
59. Before a thesis is classified, the Board may require a student to—
(a) sit a written examination about aspects of the thesis; and/or
(b) undertake an oral examination by video-conferencing, teleconferencing or any other mode of communication approved by the Board about aspects of the thesis.
60. To classify a thesis, the Board may require a student and/or supervisor, after submission of a thesis and before or after receipt of examiners' reports, to provide it with further information, and/or comment and explanation concerning any aspect of the thesis.
Classification of theses
61.(1) Subject to (4), the Board, after considering all reports on a thesis submitted for examination, classifies the thesis as Passed with no requirement for correction or amendment, Passed subject to revision, Resubmit or Failed.
(2) A thesis classified as Passed subject to revision, once the required revisions have been carried out to the satisfaction of the Board, is classified as Passed.
(3) The Board may classify a thesis which has been Passed with no requirement for correction as Passed.
(4) The Board may, after considering all reports on a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy classify the thesis as Passed for the award of the degree of master with no requirement for correction.
(a) the student is qualified for the award of the appropriate degree of master, although they have at no time been enrolled for that degree; and
(b) the Board records a course result of 'Master's Degree Awarded' and arrange for details of the degree for which the student has qualified to be entered on the academic record.
64. In the case of degree courses which have examinable work in addition to a thesis, the final classification of the degree program is based on the outcome of the examination of all components of the program and is made by the Board having regard, if appropriate, to the recommendation of the relevant head of school.
65.(1) The Board must not classify a thesis as Resubmit unless, having considered the examiners' reports and any other relevant information, it agrees that the thesis shows some merit and may, by a specified amount of further work under approved supervision, be sufficiently improved for re-submission.
(2) If the Board classifies a thesis as Resubmit, it must inform the student of the further work which is required before it may be resubmitted.
(3) A student whose thesis is classified as Resubmit must—
(a) resubmit the thesis for examination within one calendar year of the date of notification of classification; and
(b) submit with the thesis a detailed report, signed by the supervisor and head of school; and
(c) re-enrol and remain enrolled until the thesis is resubmitted for examination.
(4) At the discretion of the Board the resubmitted thesis and the report on the revisions are submitted to—
(a) one or more of the original examiners of the thesis who have indicated that they are willing to re-examine the thesis; or
(b) one of the original examiners of the thesis and a new examiner; or
(c) at least two new examiners.
(5) The Board may determine that the thesis and the report on the revisions be submitted to a single examiner provided that examiner is one of the original examiners of the thesis.
(6) Examiners of a resubmitted thesis are invited to recommend one of the following to the Board: Pass with no requirement for further correction; Pass after minor typographical errors have been corrected; or Fail.
Additional provisions for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (joint/double-badged)
68. Before an application is given final approval by the Board, a joint/double-badged PhD agreement must be drawn up between the two participating institutions giving particular details of the arrangements pertaining to candidature including terms of candidature, examination, annual reporting requirements (including definitions of satisfactory progress), research proposal submission, intellectual property, animal and human ethics approvals.
(a) the Doctor of Philosophy Rules apply to joint/double-badged PhD programs;
(b) the regulations and conditions governing scholarships and awards apply to joint/double-badged PhD programs;
(c) a student enrolled in a joint/double-badged PhD program is required to work within the appropriate school of this University for 30 per cent of the total maximum time limit for the PhD program as set out in the joint/double-badged PhD agreement.
70. Unless otherwise approved by the Board, a person for whom a joint/double-badged PhD agreement is being negotiated is not permitted to commence work towards the proposed joint/double-badged program until the agreement has been approved by the Board.
71.(1) Subject to (2), a student enrolled for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy may transfer into a joint/double-badged PhD with full credit for work completed during the course for the PhD of this University.
(2) Except in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Board, a student is not permitted to transfer into a joint/double-badged PhD if they have been enrolled in their current course for more than half of the maximum period of candidature.
(3) A student enrolled in a joint/double-badged PhD may transfer into a PhD at the University with full credit for work completed during the joint/double-badged PhD course.
Additional provisions for Approved Graduate Research Programs
75. A Graduate Research Program may be approved by the Academic Council on the advice of the Board of the Graduate Research School. Approval will require endorsement by the Board of the Graduate Research School and the Academic Council of -
(a) details of the curriculum particular to the Graduate Research program;and
(b) any variations to the Doctor of Philosophy Rules required by the program.
76. A school wishing to develop a Graduate Research Program should first discuss the matter with the Dean of the Graduate Research School and submit a formal proposal for consideration by the Board of the Graduate Research School.
(a) for admission, additional qualifications and experience pertinent to the field of research
(b) timing of the research proposal submission and confirmation of candidature
(c) mandating approved coursework units, and/or external placements, and/or professional development activities
(d) imposing restrictions on part time enrolment and period of suspension during candidature
78. Any and all variations from these rules must be clearly defined in the Program description available to prospective students.
Provisions for the Biozone PhD Program
79.(1) Unless otherwise set out below:
(a) the Doctor of Philosophy Rules apply to the Biozone PhD Program;
(b) the regulations and conditions governing scholarships and awards apply to the Biozone PhD Program;
(2) Approval for entry to the Biozone PhD Program is by the Graduate Research School on recommendation of the Biozone PhD Program Selection Panel.
(3) A student enrolled in the Biozone PhD Program must be enrolled full-time for the first year of study. Part time enrolment may be approved in subsequent years on recommendation of the supervisors and Graduate Research Coordinator, subject to any relevant scholarship conditions.
(4) A student enrolled in the Biozone PhD Program must provide a research proposal to the Board for approval, through the appropriate head of school and supervisor(s), within 12 months from the date of first enrolment for the course.
(5) A student enrolled in the Biozone PhD Program will undertake approved coursework units, external placement and professional development activities.