UWA Handbook 2017

Graduate Research School policies and guidelines

Graduate Research School policies and guidelines

  1. General requirements for higher degrees by research
  2. Application procedures
  3. Terms of candidature
  4. Maximum periods of candidature (or time limit)
  5. Research proposals
  6. Confirmation of candidature
  7. Change of research direction
  8. Annual progress report
  9. Academic conduct

General requirements for higher degrees by research

This section should be read in conjunction with the Master's Degrees by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School, Master's Degrees by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School with special admission or course requirements and the Doctor of Philosophy Rules and the policies and procedures.

Entry requirements

An applicant will be deemed to have fulfilled the requirements for admission to the PhD or MPhil when they can demonstrate they have undertaken (supervised) individual research in which they have designed and conducted a scholarly investigation in the context of an existing body of knowledge, critically analysed and evaluated the outcome in that context and communicated the process effectively in writing.

The applicant will be able to provide evidence of scholarly work in at least one of the following forms:

  • a supervised dissertation project completed as a program undertaken after a three-year or during a four-year bachelor's degree, carrying the equivalent credit of at least 25 per cent of an annual full-time load and awarded an assessed result at or above distinction level;
  • the Board of the Graduate Research School may deem a three-year bachelor's degree including a supervised dissertation of at least 25 per cent of an annual full-time load awarded with first class honours from a highly ranked university as meeting this criterion;
  • scholarly papers as sole or primary author, appearing in recognised academic journals or in volumes published by recognised academic publishers;
  • published research 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 sole or primary author;
  • a portfolio of published creative work together with published critical discussion of some or all of that work, or of a comparable body of work by others, and which demonstrates the applicant's development of a scholarly approach to creative work as research investigation.

Refer to the University Policy on: Adequate Research Preparation for information.

English language competency

Applicants for a higher degree by research must satisfy the requirements for English language competency set down by the Board of the Graduate Research School from time to time. At the discretion of the Board, applicants may be required to demonstrate satisfactory performance, as prescribed by the Academic Board, in an approved test of English before being admitted to the University.

Application procedures

Applicants for candidature in a PhD or master's degree by research may apply at any time of the year as these programs are not run on a term or semester basis. However, applicants for the following combined courses should be aware that they may only commence these programs at the beginning of a specified teaching period, at the discretion of the relevant faculty:

  • Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Clinical Audiology
  • Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Infectious Diseases
  • Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Clinical Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Industrial and Organisational Psychology

Australian and New Zealand applicants

Prospective PhD or master's degree by research students should forward the Application for Postgraduate Study Form and the Supplementary Form for the Graduate Research through the Graduate Research Coordinator in the appropriate school to the Graduate Research School. These forms are available on the UWA website.

Refer to scholarships for general information and closing dates for scholarship rounds.

International applicants

International applicants should complete the Higher Degree by Research International Student Application Form which is available on the UWA website. International applications may be emailed to hdrapplications-ic@uwa.edu.au. Refer to scholarships for international students for more information and closing dates for international scholarship rounds.

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Terms of candidature

Applicants who accept an offer of candidature in a higher degree by research are accepting the conditions of higher degree by research candidature set down by the Master's Degrees by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School, Master's Degrees by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School with special admission or course requirements and the Doctor of Philosophy Rules. The phrase 'terms of candidature' is used to refer to these conditions. An explanation of terms of candidature applicable to higher degree by research programs at this University, along with information regarding possible variations of these terms, follows. If applicable, reference is made to the relevant rules from which the particular terms of candidature have been drawn.

Any application to vary candidature must be approved by the Graduate Research School. Applications for variations must be made using the appropriate form, available from the Graduate Research School. Refer to variation in terms of candidature for more information.

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Maximum periods of candidature (or time limit)

Master's Degrees by Research Rules 9 and 22 and Doctor of Philosophy Rules 9 and 59

Ideally, a PhD is completed in three to four years and a master's degree by research in not more than two years (full-time equivalent). However, it is understood that completion times will vary. Maximum times allowed are listed below.

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The maximum period of full-time candidature is normally four years from the date of first enrolment, up to eight years for part-time students, or equivalent if the enrolment is a mixture of full- and part-time.

Master's degree by research

The maximum period of full-time candidature for most master's degrees by research is normally two years from the date of first enrolment, up to four years for part-time students, or equivalent if the enrolment is a mixture of full- and part-time. However, some master's degrees by research have shorter maximum periods. Refer to courses for the relevant course.

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Research proposals

Master's Degrees by Research Rule 13 and Doctor of Philosophy Rule 13

PhD students are required to submit a research proposal within six months (for full-time students) or nine months (for part-time students) of the commencement of their candidature. Students for master's degrees by research are required to submit a research proposal within four months (for full-time students) or eight months (for part-time students). Continuation of candidature is subject to approval of the proposal by the Board of the Graduate Research School. Individual arrangements can be made for students transferring from other universities part-way through their candidature. Refer to research proposals for more information. Students should check the due date of their research proposal on studentConnect.

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Confirmation of candidature

Doctor of Philosophy Rule 58

The University applies a formal Confirmation of Candidature process for PhD students. Students are enrolled as conditional students for the first year. Confirmation of Candidature, and thus continued enrolment after a year (full-time equivalent), is conditional on their having completed designated tasks within an agreed time frame. These tasks are to be agreed between the student, supervisor and school, and submitted with the Research Proposal for approval by the Graduate Research School. Students must show in their Confirmation of Candidature document that these tasks have been accomplished. Individual arrangements can be made for students transferring from other universities part-way though their candidature. Students should check the due date of their Confirmation of Candidature on studentConnect.

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Change of research direction

In some cases a student may change research direction after commencement of or part-way through candidature. A change in research direction does not usually result in an extension of the maximum period of candidature. Students significantly changing research direction are required to provide a new Research Proposal highlighting the changes. Any intention to change research direction must first be discussed with the supervisors and the Graduate Research Coordinator of the school. A request to change research direction must be submitted, with the support of the supervisors and the Graduate Research Coordinator, to the Board for approval using the Application for Variation of Terms of Candidature(2) form.

Special conditions may apply to students who hold scholarship(s) or award(s). Scholarship holders should refer to the conditions of their award, consult the scholarships page or contact the Graduate Research School (telephone 6488 2807 or email researchschols@uwa.edu.au or internationalscholarships@uwa.edu.au) for more information.

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Annual progress report

Master's Degrees by Research Rule 14 and Doctor of Philosophy Rule 14

Higher degree by research students are required to submit a detailed Annual Progress Report each year which outlines the progress of their work to date and the work that is planned for the next year. Progress reports are a major method of monitoring each student's progress. They provide an opportunity for the student, supervisors and school to review and evaluate progress on the project. They also provide the Head of School and the Graduate Research School with indications of difficulties in candidature.

The Annual Progress Report is due on the anniversary of the student's commencement in the degree at UWA. Download the Annual Progress Report form or obtain a copy of the form from the Graduate Research School.

The form must be completed and returned to the Graduate Research School by the due date. A satisfactory report leading to a determination of satisfactory progress is a condition of automatic re-enrolment by the Graduate Research School unless there are any outstanding debts to the University for charges or fines. Accordingly, students who do not submit a satisfactory report by the due date, or who have outstanding debts to the University, will not have their re-enrolment for the next academic year approved, and continuation of their candidature will be reviewed.

For full-time PhD students the first Annual Progress Report must be accompanied by a Confirmation of Candidature form, which includes a report of achievements against the list of designated tasks outlined for Confirmation of Candidature. Satisfactory completion of these tasks is a condition of ongoing candidature. Part-time students will normally submit the Confirmation of Candidature form with their second Annual Progress Report. Students who have been enrolled in a mixture of full- and part-time should check the due date of their Confirmation of Candidature on studentConnect.

Students enrolled in combined PhD programs such as the PhD and Master of Clinical Psychology, the PhD and Master of Clinical Audiology, the PhD and Master of Clinical Neuropsychology, the PhD and Master of Forensic Science, the PhD and Master of Infectious Diseases and the PhD and Master of Industrial and Organisational Psychology must consult their relevant faculty for re-enrolment in their coursework component.

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Academic conduct

It is important for all students to read the University Policy on: Academic Conduct.

All students commencing new courses are required to complete the online module, AACE4000 Academic Conduct Essentials (ACE).

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