- Current rules
- Graduate Research School
- Master's Degree by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School
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.
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 master's degree by research;
higher degree by research means postgraduate degree course for which at least two thirds of the student load is required as research;
by thesis means by submission of a thesis or, in the case of the creative arts and building sciences, may mean by submission of a thesis and/or other work as required in the rules for specific degrees;
a student and/or students means a student and/or students enrolled for the degree of master by research by thesis;
master's degree by research means the master's degree by research by thesis;
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;
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.
Thesis means final research findings submitted as a typescript, a combination of published works and typescript, or a combination of creative outputs and a scholarly exegesis.
Applicability of the Student Rules, policies and procedures
1. The Student Rules, policies and procedures apply except as otherwise indicated in the rules that follow.
Academic Conduct and Research Integrity Unit
1.A(1) 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 and Research Integrity unit (the ACRI module) and complete within the first six months from the date of commencement in the course.
(2) A student who has not achieved a result of Ungraded Pass (UP) for the ACRI 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.
(3) A student who does not make satisfactory progress in terms of (2) is assigned the progress status of 'On Probation'.
Admission and entry requirements
2.(1) Except as set out in the Master's Degrees by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School with special admission or course requirements in this handbook, the Board, on the recommendation of the appropriate head of school, may accept into the course for the degree of master by research (by thesis) an applicant who has demonstrated 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) is a graduate of this University or has been admitted to equivalent status;
(b)(i) has the degree of bachelor of this University or a qualification recognised by the Board as equivalent and has 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;
(c) has previously undertaken work at a high enough standard towards a higher degree by research in this or another approved institution but has not submitted it for any degree.
(2) A student who wishes to undertake a Masters Degree by Research in a field of creative practice must, in addition to satisfying the requirements of (1)(a), (b) or (c), submit evidence of creative works, for example by production of a portfolio of creative writing, moving image, performance, other arts or design work , or a combination of creative outputs (published or unpublished).
Recognition of qualifications completed at an institution 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 in a master's degree by research 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 a master's degree by research if it considers the specified coursework units to be necessary for successful completion of the master's degree by research 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 for a master's degree by research or through Continuing Education before enrolment in the higher degree by research.
Concurrent enrolment in coursework units
10.(1) A student may, with the approval of the Board and the appropriate faculty, enrol concurrently in a micro-credential, certificate, diploma or other coursework program at this University provided that—
(a) following a written application from the student, the name of the concurrent program is submitted through the supervisor and the head of school to the Board for approval;
(b) the concurrent program is not one for which the University receives Commonwealth Government funding; and
(c) tuition fees for the concurrent program are in addition to any tuition fees for the Doctor of Philosophy and are not covered by tuition fee scholarships awarded by the University for the Doctor of Philosophy.
(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 a master's degree by research at this institution on the basis of an equivalent course in another institution, or for a student who upgrades 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 amount to no less than 10 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 master's thesis must be a substantial work generally based on independent research which shows a sound knowledge of the subject of the research, evidence of the exercise of some independence of thought and the ability of expression in clear and concise language.
(2) The course of supervised research and advanced study may include—
(a) such courses, lectures, seminars and other work as the supervisor or head of school concerned directs; and
(b) studies and investigations culminating in such reports as the supervisor(s) direct(s); and
(c) additional requirements as set out in the rules for the relevant degrees in the Master's by Research Degrees Administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School with Special Admission or Course Requirements.
(3) On the recommendation of the appropriate head of school and supervisor, the Board may prescribe study additional to the requirements of (2).
18.(1) A student must provide a research proposal to the Board for approval, through the head of school and supervisor(s), within four months from the date of first enrolment for the course if the 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 research proposal must include the research question, the methodological approach with rationale, and the nature of the research output. For a thesis including creative work the Research Proposal will explain the relationship between the creative work and the exegesis.
(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.
(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.
22. 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
24. The Board, on written application, may grant a period of approved leave, called a suspension of candidature, in a master's degree by research course which, unless the Board in recognition of exceptional circumstances permits otherwise, will not exceed one year throughout the duration of candidature.
25. In addition to the one-year maximum period of suspension of candidature provided for in Rule 24, 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.
26. The Board, in recognition of exceptional circumstances, may approve an extension not exceeding one year to the maximum period of candidature for masters' degrees by research as set out in these Rules.
Minimum and maximum time limits
(2) Unless the Board, in recognition of exceptional circumstances, grants an extension of time, a full-time student must submit the thesis within two years from the date of first enrolment, 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
29.(1) The Board, on the recommendation of the head of school concerned, may permit a student in the course for a master's degree by research at this University to upgrade candidature to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
(2) A student who wishes to upgrade to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must, at the time of application for upgrade, provide a research proposal through the head of school for the Board's approval.
30.(1) Subject to (2), a student enrolled for a master's degree by research may upgrade to a joint/double-badged PhD with full credit for work completed during the course for the master's degree by research (by thesis) 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.
Termination of candidature
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 Rule 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).
38. A person authorised to examine or consult a thesis or other work or an appendix to a thesis or other work in terms of Rule 36 or Rule 37 is required to sign a prior undertaking of confidentiality.
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) If a student has been approved on admission and in the Research Proposal, to submit a thesis by creative practice, the submission may include major creative work in the form of written work, including literary forms and scripts, music composition, performance, sound installation, prototype or software, exhibition of visual art or design, or other visual work. The creative work must be presented in a form that could be transmitted electronically and reasonably accessed by examiners. The creative work will be accompanied by a scholarly exegesis.
(c) 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.
(d) 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;
(b) the co-authors must certify that they agree to the inclusion in the thesis of work of which they are joint authors; and
(c) A student can only include a co-authored work (a published paper, a manuscript or other published work) in their thesis in its entirety if they have made a substantial and significant contribution to the work.
(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 general discussion 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 includes creative work and scholarly exegesis, the two parts must be strongly connected, and the exegesis must demonstrate mastery of the conceptual, critical and scholarly skills associated with Masters research and establish the creative work as a substantial contribution to knowledge.
44.(1) Except as provided in the rules for individual master's degrees, a thesis or exegesis, including footnotes but excluding words in tables, maps, endnotes, bibliographies, appendices and other illustrative matter, normally must not exceed 50,000 words.
(2) An exegesis submitted as part of a thesis for the degree of Masters by Research with a Creative Practice component must be no less than 15000 words, including footnotes but excluding words in tables, maps, endnotes, bibliographies, appendices and any other illustrative matter
(3) 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 Co-ordinator/head of school must submit a written case for approval of a thesis exceeding the standard limit for the consideration of the Board.
Submission of a thesis for examination
45.(1) A student submitting a thesis for examination must submit relevant information as directed by the Graduate Research School 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. A student must submit for examination an electronic copy of the thesis in a form directed by the Graduate Research School and must comply with any guidelines set down by the Board at the time of submission of the thesis.
48. Except in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the Board, a student will not be permitted to withdraw, alter or add to a thesis or work after it has been submitted for examination.
49. Except as set out in the Master's Degrees by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School with special admission or course requirements in this handbook, the submission of a thesis will be regarded as the end of the formal period of enrolment.
Lodgement of final version following classification
50.(1) When a thesis has been classified as Passed, the student must, after completing any corrections required, submit to the Graduate Research School an electronic copy of the updated thesis and any related artefacts.
(2) The format of the version 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 Master 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
(2) In exceptional circumstances the Board may approve arrangements other than those prescribed in (1).
55.(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).
(2) For a thesis submitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 45(4), the appointment of examiners is undertaken by the Board which will seek 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.
57.(1) Except as set out in (2) and in the rules for specific master's degrees, 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.
(a) sit a written examination in subjects related to the thesis; and/or
(b) undertake an oral examination by video-conferencing, teleconferencing or any other mode of communication approved by the Board in subjects related to the thesis.
(c) Present part of their research by means of an exhibition, performance, literary work or visual artefacts.
59. 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
60.(1) The Board, after considering all reports on a thesis submitted for examination, classifies the thesis as Passed with no requirement for revision, Passed subject to revision, Resubmit or Failed.
(2) A thesis classified as Passed subject to revision must, once the required revisions have been carried out to the satisfaction of the Board, be classified as Passed.
(3) The Board may classify a thesis which has been Passed with no requirement for revision as Passed.
61.A student whose thesis or workis classified as Passed with no requirement for revision is expected to submit the final version of their thesis and associated paperwork within one month, and must do so within three months, of the date of notification of classification.
62. A student whose thesis or work is classified as Passed subject to revision must complete the revisions within three months of the date of notification of classification. Requests for extension of this time must be submitted to the Graduate Research School through the supervisors and Graduate Research Coordinator.
63. 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.
64.(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) two of the original examiners of the thesis; or
(b) one of the original examiners of the thesis and a new examiner; or
(c) at least two new examiners.
(5) In the event that one of the examiners fails to submit their report within a reasonable time the
Board may, at its discretion, either classify the thesis on the basis of the single report received or
appoint an additional examiner.
(6) Examiners of a resubmitted master's 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.
Examination of a master's degree by research thesis as a PhD thesis
66.(1) After having regard to the recommendation of the appropriate head of school, the Board may permit a student who has completed a thesis for a master's degree by research to submit that thesis for examination for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, although the student has at no time been enrolled for that degree.
(2) If, after considering the examiners' reports on a thesis submitted for the award of a master's degree by research, the Board considers that the thesis may be suitable for submission for examination for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, it may with the agreement of the student permit the student to submit the thesis for examination for the award of that degree.
(3) If, after due consideration, the Board determines that a thesis produced as part of the course for a master's degree by research but recommended for submission for examination for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is not suitable for that examination, it must so advise the student immediately.
(4) If the Board is satisfied that the thesis is suitable for submission for examination for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, it must arrange the examination immediately.
67. If, following examination, the Board classifies a thesis submitted for examination in terms of Rule 65(4) as Passed—
(a) the student is qualified for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, although he or she has at no time been enrolled for that degree; and
(b) the Board arranges for details of the student's qualification for the degree to be entered on the academic record as a course result of 'PhD Awarded'.
68. If, after considering the examiners' reports on the thesis submitted for examination in terms of Rule 65(4), the Board determines that the thesis is not suitable for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy the Board must—
(a) so advise the student; and
(b) arrange for the academic record to be annotated to indicate that the thesis was examined, but found unsuitable, for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy; and
(c) proceed to examine or classify the thesis, as appropriate, in terms of the rules for the master's degree by research (by thesis) for which it was originally submitted.
- Master's Degree by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School
- Graduate Research School