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To outline the procedure for academic progress for higher degree by research (HDR) candidates.

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

First approved by:
Academic Board on 14 May 2013

Amendments approved by:
Academic Board on 15 April 2014
(amend para 1);

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

Academic Board on 11 November 2014
(new updated version + Schedule C)

Amendments approved by RO (DVC (R))
Removal of referance to RRTC and student appeal



Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Academic Progress Procedure


This procedure was approved by Academic Board on 14 May 2013 and incorporates all amendments to 26 June 2015.
This document is pursuant to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy and includes the following legislation and schedules:
Regulation 05.2(1) – Academic Awards

Schedule A: Confirmation of Candidature Guidelines
Schedule B: Transferring from Masters to Doctoral Candidature
Schedule C: Progress Management of ‘At Risk’ HDR Candidates
PURPOSE

To outline the procedure for academic progress for higher degree by research (HDR) candidates.

SCOPE

This procedure applies to current HDR candidates, their supervisors, Faculties, Institutes and Academic Units.

DEFINITIONS

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 the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment Procedure: (Schedule C: List of available Bridging Masters Degrees).

Confirmation of candidature: confirmation of candidature involves an evaluation of and feedback on an HDR candidate’s progress, research question and project plan, as described in this procedure.

Head of Academic Unit: Heads of academic units listed in Schedule A of the HDR Supervision Policy.

Head of Academic Unit nominee: a senior member of academic staff who is qualified as a principal supervisor and who has been nominated by the Head of Academic Unit.

Higher Degrees by Research (HDR): academic awards of the University, as specified in clause 6, Regulation 05.2(1) – Academic Awards.

Progress Management Panel: a panel established by a Faculty or Institute to support candidates who have been identified as not making satisfactory progress in their research studies and who are at risk of not completing their degree within the prescribed time limit.

Provisional candidature: a period of enrolment in a program of advanced study and research subject to set requirements, prior to admission to full candidature.

PROCEDURE
1In the first instance, all candidates for a HDR other than a Bridging Masters Degree will be admitted to provisional candidature, except those admitted on the basis of prior publications who will be admitted to full candidature. Doctoral candidates will be admitted for 12 months full-time or 18 months part-time and masters candidates will be admitted to provisional candidature for six months full-time or 12 months part-time. Requirements for progression to full candidature must be satisfied through a process called confirmation of candidature.
2Supervisors, in collaboration with their candidates, will develop a Candidature Agreement within the first three months of candidature and submit it to the Dean, Research Training for approval. This requirement does not apply to candidates enrolled in a Bridging Masters Degree.
3The Faculty/Institute in which the candidate is enrolled will undertake reviews of progress at least annually with each candidate, and will report progress and make recommendations arising from reviews to Deakin Research. The confirmation of candidature process as described in Schedule A: Confirmation of Candidature guidelines will constitute one review.
Other reviews must include:
a)review of academic progress, including review of the candidature agreement
b)review of the facilities and support available to the candidate
c)any additional reviews required by the University.
4Where there is unsatisfactory progress or any indication that a candidate may be at risk of not completing their degree, the Faculty/Institute will convene a progress management panel to assist to resolve problems with academic progress or take other actions as appropriate, as described in Schedule C: Progress Management of ‘At Risk’ HDR Candidates. The Faculty will inform Deakin Research that a panel has been convened, the actions to be taken and the subsequent outcome.
5Candidates, with the approval of the Head of Academic Unit/Institute Director or nominee, and prior to expiry of their current period of candidature, may request approval for:
a)changes to the terms and conditions of candidature
b)intermission of candidature (see clauses 13 and 14 below)
c)transfer to another HDR course
d)extension to the period of candidature (see clause 15 below)
e)changes to the thesis topic
Final approval must be given by the Dean, Research Training.
6Candidates must inform the University of any changes to contact details and other personal details or circumstances, particularly where these may affect the progress of their HDR program. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that the University has their correct contact details and for checking their mail and email for University correspondence. International students are required to notify the University within seven days of a change of address.
7Candidates must notify the HDR Candidature Manager in writing if they withdraw from candidature.
Confirmation of candidature
8To progress from provisional to full candidature, candidates must satisfactorily complete confirmation of candidature. The requirements of this process will be set out by the Faculty/Institute based on the core requirements set by the RRTC (see Schedule A: Confirmation of Candidature guidelines). Faculties/Institutes will inform candidates of their specific requirements at the commencement of provisional candidature and will assess whether the requirements have been satisfied in the confirmation process.
9Faculties/Institutes will report completion of confirmation of candidature to Deakin Research.
10Failure by a candidate to complete confirmation of candidature by the due date may constitute grounds for convening a progress management panel (see Schedule C: Progress Management of ‘At Risk’ HDR Candidates).
Overdue confirmation of candidature
11For cases of overdue confirmation, the following process will apply:
a)Candidates more than one month overdue – Deakin Research notifies the Faculty/Institute that confirmation is to be completed within a further one month.
b)Candidates more than three months overdue – the Faculty/Institute will be required to either provide evidence to Deakin Research that confirmation has been completed, or that a progress management panel has been convened, or that the candidate should be excluded (see Schedule A: Confirmation of Candidature guidelines and Schedule C: Progress Management of ‘At Risk’ HDR Candidates).
12This process does not apply to cases where:
a)a masters candidate has been given approval by their Faculty/Institute to defer confirmation because they intend applying to transfer to doctoral candidature.
b)a candidate has made an unsuccessful attempt at confirmation and has been given a further three months to meet the requirements.
Intermission
13Intermission should be requested where a candidate is not able to work on their research. Requests for intermission shall be made according to the Deakin Research processes. For international students, this includes seeking the approval of an International Student Adviser. The period of intermission shall normally not exceed 12 months in total over the period of candidature.
14The candidate provides an undertaking not to work on the degree program during the period of intermission.
Extension
15Requests for extension shall be made according to the Deakin Research processes. An extension will be approved only when the candidate, supported by their supervisor and Head of Academic Unit/Institute Director or nominee, demonstrates that they have already made substantial progress toward completion, and have set out an achievable plan for completion within the requested extension period.
Management of candidates who are not making satisfactory progress
16The Faculty/Institute must identify and assist candidates who are not making satisfactory progress in their research studies against the agreed research plan, or who do not comply with the formal requirements of candidature, and who are at risk of not completing their degree within the prescribed time limit. Such candidates could include those who:
a)do not satisfactorily complete the confirmation of candidature at their first attempt
b)are identified as making unsatisfactory progress in the annual review
c)are identified at any time by a supervisor or other academic staff member involved in HDR management, as making unsatisfactory progress and being ‘at risk’
d)identify themselves as experiencing significant difficulties which have the capacity to adversely affect their progress
e)do not comply with or satisfactorily complete any of the following formal requirements of candidature, including:
i) enrolment or re-enrolment processes
ii) completion of the candidature agreement and fulfillment of its requirements
iii) requirements for confirmation of candidature within the allowed time limit
iv) required review processes
v) reporting requirements
vi) submission of the thesis for examination by the maximum completion
vii) where staff at the University have been unable to contact the student in writing within one month and an intermission has not been authorised.
17When a candidate is not making satisfactory progress in her or his research program or not complying with the policies and procedures governing Higher Degree by Research candidature, the Faculty/Institute will establish a Progress Management Panel in accordance with Schedule C: Progress Management of ‘At Risk’ HDR Candidates.
18The outcomes of the Progress Management Panel may include:
a)resumption of normal candidature in cases where satisfactory progress is established
b)an extended period of reporting by the candidate and supervisor in addition to the normal annual review cycle
c)recommending to the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) that a doctoral candidate be transferred to masters candidature
d)recommending to the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) that a masters or doctoral candidate be excluded.
Exclusion or transfer from doctoral to masters candidature
19The Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) may endorse the Progress Management Panel’s recommendation to exclude the candidate or to transfer a doctoral candidate to a masters by research degree. If the recommendation is not endorsed, the matter is referred back to the Progress Management Panel for further consideration.
20If the recommendation is endorsed, within 10 working days of receiving the Progress Management Panel report the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) must notify the candidate in writing of:
a)the Faculty/Institute’s proposed decision to either exclude the candidate or to transfer a doctoral candidate to a masters by research degree, and the reasons for the proposal
b)the candidate's right to show cause why the proposed decision should not be implemented
c)the requirement for the candidate to respond in writing to the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) to accept or not accept the proposed decision (in accordance with clause 21)
d)the process for showing cause why the proposed decision should not be implemented where the candidate does not accept it
e)appropriate support services available to the candidate
21Within 10 working days of the date of notification of the proposed decision, the candidate must respond in writing to the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) to either:
i) accept the proposed decision; or
ii) indicate that they do not accept the proposed decision and provide a submission to show cause why it should not be implemented (‘show cause submission’).
22From the date that the student receives the notification of the proposed decision until the decision is confirmed the candidate will not pursue their research or receive supervision. The candidate will maintain access to university facilities such as email and IT access.
23Where the candidate notifies the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) that they accept the proposed decision, the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) confirms the decision in writing to the student and Deakin Research, and it is implemented by Deakin Research as soon as practicable.
24Where the candidate does not respond within 20 working days, they will be deemed to have accepted the proposed decision. The Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) confirms the decision in writing to the student and Deakin Research and it is implemented by Deakin Research as soon as practicable.
Late show cause submissions
25An enrolled candidate may apply in writing to the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) to provide a late show cause submission on the grounds that exceptional circumstances prevented the student from responding within the timeframe. The student must provide written evidence supporting the exceptional circumstances. Failure to collect or check correspondence or advise the University of a change of address are not exceptional circumstances.
26If the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) considers a request to provide a late show cause submission and determines that there were no exceptional circumstances, the candidate and, where the candidate is an international student, Deakin International, is informed in writing within five working days of:
a)the decision and the reasons for the decision, and
b)the right of appeal to the University Appeals Committee (UAC) within 20 working days of the date on which the notice of the decision could reasonably have been received.
27If the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) determines that there were exceptional circumstances, the show cause proceedings continue in accordance with this procedure.
28If an appeal to the UAC regarding a decision by a Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) not to accept a late show cause submission on the grounds of exceptional circumstances is successful, the matter is referred back to the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) for hearing of the substantive academic progress matter, in accordance with this procedure.
Show cause proceedings
29Within 15 days of receiving a candidate’s written notification that they do not accept the proposed decision, an HDR Academic Progress Committee will be convened to consider the candidate’s show cause submission.
30All staff involved in a HDR Academic Progress Committee hearing shall comply with and are bound by the provisions of legislation including the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and must also comply with the University’s Code of Conduct, and policies and procedures including the Equity and Diversity Policy and Conflict of Interest Procedure.
31The following persons may not participate in the show cause proceedings: supervisors; members of the confirmation panel(s) or Progress Management Panels, or those previously involved in the panel processes; and any person the Chair determines may be affected by a reasonable apprehension of bias.
32The Secretary of the HDR Academic Progress Committee will notify the candidate and the relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) of the date, time and place of the hearing.
33At least three working days prior to the hearing date, the Secretary of the HDR Academic Progress Committee must provide the HDR Academic Progress Committee members with copies of all written submissions for consideration. At this time, the Secretary must also notify the Committee members, the candidate and the Faculty/Institute with written confirmation of the proposed time, date and location of the HDR Academic Progress Committee hearing and the final membership of the HDR Academic Progress Committee to hear the matter.
34Any candidate who uses the HDR show cause process to make a frivolous or vexatious submission or who lies or deliberately misleads in relation to a submission may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
35At the show cause hearing:
a)The HDR Academic Progress Committee will request a nominee(s) from the Faculty/Institute to address the Committee
b)The HDR Academic Progress Committee has the authority to take written submissions or hear from any persons it deems appropriate
c)The candidate may be accompanied by a person of their choice, who is not a practising lawyer. Faculty/Institute nominees will not be legally represented
d)If the candidate does not attend the hearing, the HDR Academic Progress Committee considers the candidate’s written submission, relevant Faculty/Institute documentation and any other information, and makes a decision whether to implement the proposed decision
e)If the candidate does attend the hearing, the HDR Academic Progress Committee firstly considers the candidate’s written submission and any other available evidence. The candidate and his or her accompanying person and, if requested, representatives from the Faculty/Institute are then invited into the hearing and the candidate is given the opportunity to explain (show cause) why the HDR Academic Progress Committee’s proposed decision should not be made
f)The members of the HDR Academic Progress Committee may question the candidate. The HDR Academic Progress Committee should permit the accompanying person to speak on behalf of the candidate if the need arises
g)The HDR Academic Progress Committee may adjourn a hearing at any time but, wherever possible, the same Committee must continue to hear and consider the case at a later time. If it is not possible for the Committee to reconvene in person, the matter will be determined by circulation
h)The HDR Academic Progress Committee is not bound to make a decision at the time of a hearing and may take any additional reasonable time it requires to consider its decision, but should take no longer than 14 days
i)All proceedings of the HDR Academic Progress Committee are confidential.
Show cause decision
36A decision of the HDR Academic Progress Committee is reached in private, by simple majority with the Chair having the casting vote. The HDR Academic Progress Committee may decide to:
a)confirm and implement the proposed decision, or
b)vary the proposed decision, and it may determine certain conditions which must be met by the candidate and/or Faculty/Institute
c)withdraw the proposed decision
37The Chair of the HDR Academic Progress Committee will prepare a written report, documenting the HDR Academic Progress Committee’s decision and the reasons for it. The HDR Academic Progress Committee must notify the candidate, Faculty/Institute and Deakin Research in writing within five working days of:
a)the decision and reasons for decision; and
b)the right of appeal to the UAC within 20 working days of the date on which the notice of the decision could reasonably have been received.
38If the HDR Academic Progress Committee has determined to withdraw the proposed decision, the candidate will be permitted to remain in candidature and resume their research. Time elapsed during the process of the review will be added to the length of candidature.
39Where candidature is to continue their research, the Faculty/Institute is expected to make suitable arrangements to support their research. The relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor/Institute Director (or nominee) will advise the Chair of the HDR Academic Progress Committee of the proposed arrangements to support the candidate, including:
a)supervision arrangements
b)processes established to improve the candidate’s academic progress or to assist the candidate to comply with the regulations relevant to the candidate's work for the degree
c)processes established to monitor the candidate’s ongoing progress.
40The HDR Academic Progress Committee’s final decision, together with the reasons for it, is reported in confidence to the RRTC.
41A written record of the Progress Management Panel report and recommendation, and the decision of the HDR Academic Progress Committee will be stored confidentially on relevant Faculty/Institute files and central files held by Deakin Research.
Appeals
42A candidate may appeal against a decision of the HDR Academic Progress Committee to the UAC by lodging a notice of appeal with the Secretary to the Academic Board within 20 working days of the decision. The grounds of appeal will be confined to one or more of the following:
a)there was a misapplication of procedures resulting in some disadvantage to the candidate
b)there is new mitigating evidence which the candidate was not reasonably able to present at the show cause stage, which, had it been available, may have affected the decision
c)having regard to the evidence before the HDR Academic Progress Committee, the decision made was too severe.
43The appeal will be conducted in the same manner as set out in relevant provisions in clauses 28 to 56 of the Academic Progress Procedure.
44For HDR appeals, the UAC will include suitably qualified members who have experience of HDR supervision and/or management.
45Decisions of the UAC are final and binding and there is no further avenue for appeal within the University.
Records and reporting
46As soon as practicable after the HDR Academic Progress Committee or UAC has reached its decision, the Secretary provides the Faculty/Institute and Deakin Research with a full copy of the proceedings and all material considered by the Committee, and provides a report on the outcome of a hearing. In the case of the UAC, a report is also provided to the Academic Board.
47All reporting must be anonymous and confidential.
48All documentation associated with proceedings, except the documentation provided to the above areas, shall be collected by the Secretary at the end of a hearing and disposed of securely.
ASSOCIATED INFORMATION

Academic Progress Procedure
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
Candidature Agreement
Code of Conduct
Conflict of Interest Procedure
Deakin Research Processes
Equity and Diversity Policy
Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment Procedure
Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Policy
Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Supervision Policy
Higher Degrees by Research website
Plagiarism and Collusion in Assessment Procedure
Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic)
Student Complaints Resolution Policy
Student Complaints Resolution Procedure

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is responsible for the development, compliance and monitoring of this procedure.

IMPLEMENTATION OFFICER

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development and Training) is responsible for the implementation and review of this procedure.



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