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Higher Degree by Research Confirmation of Candidature Schedule

Schedule overview

1 Purpose

To establish the process and responsibilities for the Confirmation of Candidature for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Students at the University.

2 Scope

This schedule must be read in conjunction with the Higher Degree by Research Student Progress Procedure and is subordinate to it.

3 Schedule

3.1 Provisional candidature

A Student or Applicant is admitted to an HDR program as a provisional candidate until successful completion of the Confirmation of Candidature process.

Students or Applicants transferring from another higher education institution will be admitted as a provisional candidate unless they provide evidence at the time of Admission of having successfully completed a Confirmation of Candidature process at the same program level at their previous institution. The Graduate Research School (GRS) will assess such evidence on a case-by-case basis and a determination will be made by the Associate Dean (GRS) as to whether a transferring Student will need to undergo the Confirmation of Candidature process at the University.

Cotutelle Students who are choosing to commence their study with a partner institution first will need to provide evidence of Confirmation at the time of their commencement with the University.

Students who are approved to transfer Credit from an incomplete doctoral level program to another doctoral level program are expected to complete the Confirmation of Candidature requirement in the new doctoral program within six months (full time equivalence) of Admission to the new Academic Program. This applies to any Student changing doctoral level programs, whether they are currently enrolled at the University or transferring from another institution.

3.2 Timing

Due dates for Confirmation of Candidature are calculated from the date of commencement in the Academic Program.

Doctoral Students are normally expected to complete the confirmation process within:

  • one year of Full-Time Enrolment (8 units); or
  • two (2) years of Part-Time Enrolment (8 units).

All masters degree by research Students are normally expected to complete the confirmation process within:

  • six months of Full-Time Enrolment (4 units); or
  • one year of Part-Time Enrolment (4 units).

Students should refer to the Confirmation of Candidature web page for Program-specific dates.

If a Student has not completed the confirmation process within the allocated timeframe they may be placed on Conditional Academic Standing and given an extension of up to three months to complete the confirmation process.

A Student who has not completed the Confirmation of Candidature after this extension period may be sent a Show Cause Notice asking why they should not be Excluded from the Academic Program.

An exception to this process is in cases where the confirmation panel recommends candidature be reviewed. In these cases, a Student may be sent a Show Cause Notice without first being placed on Conditional Academic Standing. Please refer to the Higher Degree by Research Student Progress Procedure for further details.

3.3 Student Notice

Once the Student commences their program, the GRS will confirm the Confirmation of Candidature due dates. The GRS will then provide Notice to the Student about the specific procedures to be followed, using the University issued email account. The Notice would normally include the timing, format, expectations, scope, quality and length of work to be presented for Confirmation of Candidature. Students will be given an additional reminder of their due date three (3) months prior. Students will also have access to their due date on their Student dashboard.

3.4 Confirmation of Candidature

The Confirmation of Candidature process has three components:

  1. a Confirmation Planner outlining the proposed confirmation panel, required resources and relevant training requirements.
  2. a written Confirmation Proposal, normally no longer than 20 A4 pages in a format consistent with the Confirmation Proposal guidelines.
  3. an oral proposal presentation, normally of 30 to 40 minutes duration, to a review panel leading to a recommendation on Confirmation of Candidature from the GRS.

3.4.1 Requirements for Confirmation Planner

12 weeks prior to the Confirmation due date, it is expected that Students will have completed the Confirmation Planner and the following additional relevant components:

  • completion of the online ethics training module;
  • determination of ownership and disbursement of Intellectual Property, in accordance with the University's policies on Intellectual Property;
  • completion of a Resource Requirement Plan;
  • Research Integrity module;
  • completion of the HDR Library and Information Tutorial; and
  • any other requirements that are specified by the University or the GRS.

3.4.2 Requirements for Confirmation Proposal

The following areas will normally be addressed in the Confirmation Proposal:

  • aims and objectives of the research;
  • review of the relevant literature;
  • proposed contribution to the field of research;
  • details of the proposed research methods, including analysis of data;
  • research ethics application, if appropriate;
  • milestones and timelines;
  • resources required to complete the research; and
  • type of Thesis the Student intends to submit (e.g., standard Thesis, Thesis by Publication, Thesis with Creative Works component).

Students should refer to the Confirmation of Candidature web page and guidelines when preparing their proposal.

The Student must seek feedback on, and the endorsement of, their written confirmation proposal from their HDR Supervisory team prior to submitting to the GRS.

The HDR Supervisory Team is expected to have provided appropriate advice on the confirmation document and engaged in discussions about resources and other requirements with the Student.

The Student must provide their confirmation proposal to the GRS at least 10 University Business Days prior to the scheduled presentation, unless Special Circumstances apply or the Confirmation of Candidature is embedded within the Coursework structure of an Academic Program. Where the Confirmation of Candidature is embedded within the Coursework structure of an Academic Program, the timelines stipulated by the particular Academic Program should be followed.

Following feedback from the panel, the Student must return their revised written proposal to the GRS within the timeframe stipulated by the panel, unless Special Circumstances apply. The GRS will consider the Students' Enrolment status and additional time may be given to those Enrolled Part-Time. If a student does not return their revised written proposal within the timeframe stipulated by the panel, they will be put on Conditional Academic Standing as per the Higher Degree by Research Student Progress Procedure.

Where major revisions are requested, the chair of the panel may reconvene the panel to review the resubmission and to confirm that the requested revisions have been addressed satisfactorily by the Student. Minor revisions will be approved by the principal supervisor and will not be sent for review to the panel.

For major revisions, the confirmation panel will review the revised submission within 10 University Business Days and provide a recommendation to the Associate Dean (GRS) regarding whether the proposal is of an acceptable standard for the Student's candidature to be confirmed.

If a Student has not attended to the required revisions to the satisfaction of the panel, the panel may recommend that the Student not be confirmed. The Student may also be asked to Show Cause to explain why they should be allowed to continue in the program.

3.4.3 Requirements for the oral component

The oral component of the confirmation process provides Students with an opportunity to present their proposed research for peer review. This would normally include the confirmation panel, peers from the relevant discipline and members of the wider University community.

The oral presentation will be followed by question time from attendees to provide the Student with an opportunity to experience academic discussion of research work.

Any expert and constructive advice from those in attendance at the oral presentation will be noted by the panel and may be provided for inclusion in the feedback to the Student.

3.5 Confirmation of Candidature review panel

The confirmation review panel will consist of the chairperson, normally a senior academic Employee, and at least one other member with appropriate expertise. One of the panel members may be external to the University.

Panel members must not currently be, or previously been, a member of the Student's HDR Supervisory Team or closely involved with the Student's research project. A proposed panel member must assess any actual or perceived Conflicts of Interest with regard to the Student, their research project or the Confirmation of Candidature process, in accordance with the University's Conflict of Interest Policy and the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) Good Practice Guidelines for Disclosing and Managing Interests in Graduate Research. Where an actual or perceived Conflict of Interest is declared, an alternative panel member or the Associate Dean (GRS) may be appointed to the review panel.

3.5.1 Provision of written feedback

The confirmation review panel will provide written feedback, normally in the form of a report, summarising the strengths, achievements, developmental needs and further revisions (if required), to the Associate Dean (GRS) for endorsement. The Associate Dean (GRS), through the GRS, will forward a copy of the report along with any additional requirements to the Student and Supervisory Team.

Students are required to submit a response to the report to the GRS by the due date, unless Special Circumstances apply. In the case of major revisions or resubmission, the GRS will forward the Student's response to the confirmation review panel for assessment.

The confirmation review panel will assess the revised submission and determine one of the following overall outcomes which will be communicated to the GRS by the Chairperson of the review panel:

  • pass - editorial corrections only
  • pass - minor revisions (submit within four (4) weeks)
  • major revisions (submit within six (6) weeks)
  • resubmission (submit within nine (9) weeks)
  • candidature to be reviewed (fail)
3.5.1.1 Pass - editorial corrections only

A revised proposal addressing the feedback provided by the review panel must be provided to the GRS within two (2) weeks, unless Special Circumstances apply. The revised proposal must be approved by the Student's principal supervisor prior to submission to the GRS.

3.5.1.2 Pass - minor revisions

A revised proposal addressing the feedback provided by the review panel must be provided to the GRS within four (4) weeks, unless Special Circumstances apply. The revised proposal must be approved by the Student's principal supervisor prior to submission to the GRS.

3.5.1.3 Major revisions

A revised proposal addressing the feedback provided by the review panel must be provided to the GRS within six (6) weeks, unless Special Circumstances apply. The revised proposal must be approved by the Student's principal supervisor prior to submission to the GRS. The GRS will facilitate approval of the revisions from the Chairperson of the review panel.

3.5.1.4 Resubmission

The Student will be placed on Conditional Academic Standing, effective from the date the review panel's feedback is sent to the Student by the GRS. The Student should resubmit the proposal to the GRS within nine (9) weeks, addressing the feedback provided by the review panel, and complete all Confirmation of Candidature requirements within three (3) months. If a Student does not complete their resubmission within the timeframe stipulated, their candidature will be discontinued.

Resubmitted proposals will be reviewed by the reconvened candidate review panel, which may determine that an additional oral presentation is required.

3.5.1.5 Candidature to be reviewed

The proposal, feedback and other documentation associated with the Student's candidature will be reviewed by the Associate Dean (GRS), in consultation with the Chairperson of the review panel.

A Student who has been recommended for review of candidature will receive a Show Cause Notice asking them to detail any extenuating circumstances that led to the outcome and proposed strategies to mitigate or eliminate these circumstances in future.

Students who fail to respond to a Show Cause Notice within the specified timeframe, unless Special Circumstances apply, or who do not provide reasonable grounds for the continuation of their program, will have their candidature discontinued and their Enrolment cancelled.

A candidate who is dissatisfied with a Decision to discontinue their candidature may have ground to Appeal the Decision in accordance with the Student Grievance Resolution Policy and its subordinate procedures.

Where the Dean (GRS) accepts the Student's response to a Show Cause Notice, the GRS will notify the Student that the they are allowed to continue as a provisional candidate for a further period of three (3) months, on the condition that the Student successfully completes all Confirmation of Candidature requirements within that timeframe.

Resubmitted proposals will be reviewed by the reconvened candidature review panel, which may determine that an additional opal presentation required.

If a Student fails to successfully complete the Confirmation of Candidature process within three (3) months, unless Special Circumstances apply, their candidature will be discontinued.

3.6 Panel recommendation

Following review by the confirmation review panel of a revised proposal resulting from an outcome of major revisions or resubmission, the panel will make one of the following recommendations to the Associate Dean (GRS):

  • candidature is confirmed; or
  • candidature is terminated (fail)

The confirmation review panel recommendation will be considered by the Associate Dean (GRS). The Associate Dean (GRS) will review the recommendation and provide a Notice to Students through the GRS regarding the outcome of the confirmation process.

3.6.1 Candidature be confirmed

Where a Student's candidature has been confirmed, the University commits to providing agreed appropriate and reasonable resources to allow the Student to complete the HDR Academic Program.

3.7 Student Grievances

A Student who is dissatisfied with a Decision in relation to their HDR candidature should refer to the Student Grievance Resolution Policy and its subordinate procedures.

4 References

Nil.

5 Schedule Information

Accountable Officer

Dean (Graduate Research School)

Responsible Officer

Associate Dean (Graduate Research School)

Policy Type

University Procedure

Policy Suite

Higher Degree by Research Student Policy

Approved Date

25/5/2022

Effective Date

25/5/2022

Review Date

25/5/2025

Relevant Legislation

Electronic Transactions Act 1999

Higher Education Support Act 2003

Related Policies

Academic Programs and Courses Quality Policy

Assessment Policy

Award Eligibility and Graduation Policy

Research Code of Conduct Policy

Student Grievance Resolution Policy

Related Procedures

Assessment of Special Circumstances Procedure

Assessment Procedure

Student Academic Progress Procedure

Student Grievance Resolution Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

HDR Forms

Working towards your Confirmation of Candidature

ACGR Disclosing and Managing Interests in Graduate Research

Confirmation Proposal Guidelines

Higher Degree by Research Confirmation of Candidature Planner

Higher Degree by Research Student Annual Progress Review Schedule

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Academic Program

An approved Higher Education Award of the University, consisting of a combination of Courses the successful completion of an offering of which, together with any credit transfers and Exemptions in accordance with the relevant requirements, will fulfil the prescribed requirements for that particular Award....moreAn approved Higher Education Award of the University, consisting of a combination of Courses the successful completion of an offering of which, together with any credit transfers and Exemptions in accordance with the relevant requirements, will fulfil the prescribed requirements for that particular Award.

Appeal

A formal, written request made by a Student or Employee to a higher authority to have a Decision overturned....moreA formal, written request made by a Student or Employee to a higher authority to have a Decision overturned.

Conflict of Interest

If a University Member has an interest that conflicts or may conflict with the discharge of the University Member's duties the University Member should Declare the nature of the interest and the conflict to the University Member's Supervisor as soon as practicable after the relevant facts come to the University Member's knowledge and must not take action or further action relating to a...moreIf a University Member has an interest that conflicts or may conflict with the discharge of the University Member's duties the University Member should Declare the nature of the interest and the conflict to the University Member's Supervisor as soon as practicable after the relevant facts come to the University Member's knowledge and must not take action or further action relating to a matter that is or may be affected by the conflict until authorised. An Executive Leader may direct a University Member to resolve a conflict or possible conflict between an interest of the University Member and the University Member's duties. A reference to an interest or to a Conflict of Interest is a reference to those matters within their ordinary meaning under the general law, and, in relation to an interest, the definition in the Acts Interpretation Act 1954, Schedule 1, does not apply. A Conflict of Interest will arise when a University Member's Private Interests conflict with their duty to the University or to serve the public interest as a University Member. The risk of having a conflict of interest increases where a University Member's responsibilities include the authority to make decisions. A conflict of interest may be potential, perceived or actual - when a University Member is in a role where future decision making may be influenced by their Private Interests if a certain condition is fulfilled, they have a potential conflict of interest; a perceived conflict of interest arises where it appears that decisions a University Member make in the course of their University employment may be influenced by their Private Interests, whether or not this is in fact the case; an actual conflict of interest exists where a University Member's actions could be unduly, improperly or excessively influenced by their Private Interests. Serious misconduct can occur when a conflict of interest is concealed, understated, mismanaged or abused.

Decision

A determination made by an Employee, contractor or other authorised delegate in the course of their duties on behalf of the University....moreA determination made by an Employee, contractor or other authorised delegate in the course of their duties on behalf of the University.

Enrolment

The process of admitting Students to one or more Courses for the current Academic Year....moreThe process of admitting Students to one or more Courses for the current Academic Year.

Full-Time Study

A Student will be deemed to be in Full-time Study where they are enrolled in at least 75% of the equivalent full-time load (8 Units) during an Academic Year. These Units can be taken in any Study Period during the year....moreA Student will be deemed to be in Full-time Study where they are enrolled in at least 75% of the equivalent full-time load (8 Units) during an Academic Year. These Units can be taken in any Study Period during the year.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR)

A Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work....moreA Research Doctorate or Research Masters program for which at least two-thirds of the Student load for the program is required as research work.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Student

A Student enrolled in an HDR program....moreA Student enrolled in an HDR program.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Supervisor

A member of a Student's HDR Supervisory Team. An HDR Supervisor may hold the position of Principal HDR Supervisor or Associate Supervisor....moreA member of a Student's HDR Supervisory Team. An HDR Supervisor may hold the position of Principal HDR Supervisor or Associate Supervisor.

Intellectual Property

Means all proprietary rights in copyright, patentable and non-patentable inventions including field and laboratory books relating to such inventions, plant varieties, registered and unregistered trademarks, registered and unregistered designs, Confidential Information, circuit layouts and all other rights of intellectual property resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, ...moreMeans all proprietary rights in copyright, patentable and non-patentable inventions including field and laboratory books relating to such inventions, plant varieties, registered and unregistered trademarks, registered and unregistered designs, Confidential Information, circuit layouts and all other rights of intellectual property resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.

Notice

A Notice from the University is a document, whether physical or electronic. A Notice may be: given by hand to the addressee or delivered to the address provided by the addressee to the University; or sent by registered or pre-paid mail to the address provided by the addressee to the University; or sent by electronic communication to the University-issued email account provided by the Unive...moreA Notice from the University is a document, whether physical or electronic. A Notice may be: given by hand to the addressee or delivered to the address provided by the addressee to the University; or sent by registered or pre-paid mail to the address provided by the addressee to the University; or sent by electronic communication to the University-issued email account provided by the University to a Student during the period of Enrolment until the completion of their program; or sent by electronic communication to the email address provided to the University by an addressee not enrolled at the University. A Notice is taken to be received if: given by hand to the addressee or delivered to the address provided to the University by the addressee; or sent by registered or pre-paid mail - three University Business Days after the date of posting; or sent by electronic communication - at the time that would be the time of receipt under the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 or its succeeding legislation. A Notice that would be deemed to have been received out of business hours or on a non-University Business Day will instead be deemed received on the next University Business Day.

Part-Time Study

Enrolment in less than .75 EFTSL in any year shall be deemed to be Part-Time Study....moreEnrolment in less than .75 EFTSL in any year shall be deemed to be Part-Time Study.

Student

A person who is enrolled in a UniSQ Upskill Course or who is admitted to an Award Program or Non-Award Program offered by the University and is: currently enrolled in one or more Courses or study units; or not currently enrolled but is on an approved Leave of Absence or whose admission has not been cancelled....moreA person who is enrolled in a UniSQ Upskill Course or who is admitted to an Award Program or Non-Award Program offered by the University and is: currently enrolled in one or more Courses or study units; or not currently enrolled but is on an approved Leave of Absence or whose admission has not been cancelled.

Thesis

Also known as a Standard Thesis, is the material outcomes of a program of research. It is also referred to as a 'dissertation'....moreAlso known as a Standard Thesis, is the material outcomes of a program of research. It is also referred to as a 'dissertation'.

Thesis by Publication

A Thesis where some chapters are in the form of research papers published in, or submitted to, peer-reviewed journals....moreA Thesis where some chapters are in the form of research papers published in, or submitted to, peer-reviewed journals.

Thesis with Creative Works

A Thesis with Creative Works includes original work such as multimedia, film, exhibition, performance, musical composition, novel, play or other Faculty approved production, in addition to an Exegesis....moreA Thesis with Creative Works includes original work such as multimedia, film, exhibition, performance, musical composition, novel, play or other Faculty approved production, in addition to an Exegesis.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

University Business Days

The days of Monday to Friday inclusive between 9am and 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), with the exclusion of gazetted Public Holidays for the relevant campus location, plus the closure of the University between 25 December and 1 January in the following year inclusive as specified in the USQ Enterprise Agreement, as well as any closure of the University either at one or se...moreThe days of Monday to Friday inclusive between 9am and 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), with the exclusion of gazetted Public Holidays for the relevant campus location, plus the closure of the University between 25 December and 1 January in the following year inclusive as specified in the USQ Enterprise Agreement, as well as any closure of the University either at one or several campuses in accordance with a direction of the Crisis Management Team.

Definitions that relate to this schedule only

Keywords

PhD, dissertation, thesis, doctoral

Record No

15/1744PL

Complying with the law and observing Policy and Procedure is a condition of working and/or studying at the University.

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