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To outline the procedure for assessment for higher degrees by research (HDR).

Responsible Officer: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Implementation Officer: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training)

First approved by:
Academic Board on 2 July 2013

Amendments approved by:
Policy Manager on 18 November 2013
(remove the Schedule C and reorder.
Add the track changed text and included
hyperlinks & para 14);

Policy Manager on 11 February 2014
(add new Schedule B: Advice to Examiners of HD by R,
also amend current Schedule B to C & add
'Audiences at HDR Examinations at which a Candidate Gives a Performance' &
'Restricted Access to Thesis' to the 'Assoc Info' section of this document)
(14/02/2014 - PM restore:
Schedule D: Audiences at HDR Examinations at which a Candidate Gives a Performance &
Schedule E: Restricted Access to Thesis' to the top of the document);

Academic Board on 15 April 2014
(amend paras 5 & 24);

Academic Board on 22 July 2014
(amendments - minute 12.3);

Academic Board on 9 June 2015
(amended version);

Amended on 12 August 2015
(Legislation document link change to Unisol website)

Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Assessment Procedure

This procedure was approved by Academic Board on 2 July 2013 and incorporates all amendments to 9 June 2015.
This is pursuant to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Supervision Policy and includes the following legislation and schedules:

Regulation 5.2(1)Academic Awards
Schedule AOrder and Format of Thesis Contents
Schedule BAdvice to Examiners of Higher Degrees by Research
Schedule CProcedures for the Thesis Examination Subcommittee on Determining the Outcomes of the HDR Examinations
Schedule DAudiences at HDR Examinations at which a Candidate Gives a Performance
Schedule ERestricted Access to Thesis

To outline the procedure for assessment for higher degrees by research (HDR).


This applies to higher degree by research candidates. It does not apply to masters or doctoral degrees by coursework or higher doctoral degrees.

1The examination process applied to higher degrees by research (HDR) candidates is undertaken by the Thesis Examination Subcommittee, acting on behalf of Research and Research Training Committee. For Bridging Masters Degrees, the examination will be managed in accordance with requirements approved by Academic Board which include the examination by two examiners external to the research group one of whom is external to the University.
2Candidates will be assessed on a thesis and any advanced study component of the program.
3As part of the confirmation of candidature, candidates will notify Deakin Research of their planned thesis format in accordance with Schedule A: Order and Format of Thesis Contents.
4Where a candidate wishes to change the nature of assessment arrangements, an application may be made to Thesis Examination Subcommittee. The Thesis Examination Subcommittee will advise candidates whether their request has been approved and any conditions associated with approval.
5The thesis refers to the entire body of work presented for examination. This may include materials and formats such as performances, creative works, or folios. Written components of the thesis must be in English. The Principal (or Executive) Supervisor must inform the HDR Examinations Officer at least three months before the examination if the examination includes an exhibition or performance. Candidates may include work they have published in their thesis. Where these publications include authors in addition to the candidate, the candidate must be explicit about their own contribution to the work. Any part of the work submitted for another degree must be identified, and should not be considered as part of the contribution to knowledge.
6Candidates must provide notice of their intent to submit their thesis for examination using the online HDR Examination system.
7Candidates must prepare their thesis for examination in accordance with the format, content, word limits and examination requirements for their degree program prescribed in Schedule A: Order and Format of Thesis Contents.
8Candidates are wholly responsible for the submission and content of the thesis for examination. Candidates may present their thesis for examination despite any advice from their supervisors that it is not yet ready for submission.
9After receipt of a notification of intent to submit the thesis, the Principal (or Executive) Supervisor will nominate in advance at least four examiners in accordance with the criteria set out in the Deakin Research Processes.
10Candidates may submit a statement to the HDR Examinations Officer giving reasons why a specified person ought not to be appointed as an examiner of their thesis.
11The Thesis Examination Subcommittee will appoint at least three independent and appropriately qualified external examiners, selected from the four nominated by the Head of the Academic Unit.
12Deakin Research will undertake all communication with appointed examiners.
13The names of examiners are not released to the candidate until after a decision on the examination outcome has been determined, and subject to agreement of the examiners.
14As part of the examination, examiners will make one of the recommendations specified in Schedule B: Advice to Examiners of Higher Degrees by Research.
15The Head of the relevant Academic Unit will consider examiners’ reports and in consultation with the Principal (or Executive) Supervisor, make a recommendation on the outcome of the examination to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee.
16The thesis must have the support of at least two examiners before a recommendation that the award of the degree that was sought is made to the Thesis Examination Subcommittee.
17The examination process will be conducted in accordance with the operating procedures of Schedule C: Procedures for the Thesis Examination Subcommittee on Determining the Outcomes of HDR Examinations.
18The Thesis Examination Subcommittee will determine the outcome of the examination and Deakin Research will advise the candidate in writing, including provision of copies of the examiners’ reports.
19If the Thesis Examination Subcommittee determines that a thesis is to be re-examined, the candidate will be limited to one re-examination.
Admission to the Degree
20Following advice from the Thesis Examination Subcommittee, the Research and Research Training Committee will recommend candidates who have passed their examination to Academic Board for admission to the relevant degree
Lodgement of Final Thesis
21The final thesis must:
a)be accompanied by a signed declaration by the candidate certifying all research integrity requirements have been complied with; and
b)conform to the University’s requirements as prescribed by Deakin Research.
22Candidates are required to lodge an electronic copy of the final thesis with Deakin Research through the online HDR examination system, for lodgement with the University Library.
23Candidates may elect to allow access to their entire thesis via Deakin Research Online, or limit access to the thesis citation, abstract and metadata only. Where access via Deakin Research Online is limited to the citation, abstract and metadata, the Library will make individual digital copies available for consultation, loan and limited copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
Restriction of Access
24The candidate may apply to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or nominee to defer publication or restrict access to a thesis for a limited period of time to facilitate the commercial exploitation of material or for other compelling reasons, as per Schedule E: Restricted Access to Thesis.
25A candidate may appeal the decision of the Thesis Examination Subcommittee to the University Appeals Committee by lodging a notice of appeal with the Secretary to the Academic Board within 20 working days of being notified of the decision. The grounds of appeal will be confined to one or more of the following:
a)procedural irregularities in the examination process
b)documented evidence of prejudice or bias in the examination process.
Appeals by candidates rejecting the academic assessment of the merit of their work are not permitted.
26The University Appeals Committee will convene as soon as practicable following receipt of the notice of appeal.
27For HDR appeals, the University Appeals Committee will include suitably qualified members who have experience of HDR supervision and/or management.
28Decisions of the University Appeals Committee are final and binding and there is no further avenue for appeal within the University.

Bridging Masters Degree: A Masters Degree with sufficient research components to meet the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) definition of a Masters Degree (Research), which is designed to provide a pathway from an ordinary bachelors degree (AQF level 7) to entry to a doctoral degree. Bridging Masters Degrees are listed in Schedule C to the HDR Admission, Selection and Enrolment Procedure: List of available Bridging Masters Degrees.

Deakin Research: the central administrative body responsible for the management of higher degree by research candidature.

Head of Academic Unit: Heads of academic units listed in Schedule A of the Higher Degrees by Research Supervision Policy.

Head of Academic Unit nominee: a senior member of academic staff who is qualified as a principal supervisor.

Higher Degrees by Research (HDR): academic awards of the University, as specified in clause 6, Regulation 5.2(1) – Academic Awards.

Thesis: such materials and activities as are presented for examination by a candidate to demonstrate their contribution to knowledge. The thesis normally includes an extended piece of argumentative writing.


Copyright Act 1968(Cth)
Deakin Research Online
HDR Examination system (online)
Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) website
Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Academic Progress Procedure

Printed copies of this document may not be current. Please refer to The Guide for the most recent version.
Deakin University 2015