View Current

Higher Degree Research (HDR) Award Rules

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Introduction

(1) These Rules govern admission, enrolment, progression through, and qualification for a HDR degree offered by the University. They should be read in conjunction with other relevant rules, codes of practice and policies that apply to HDR candidature.

(2) These Rules apply to all University of Wollongong students enrolled in and proceeding toward a HDR award of the University.

(3) Higher Degree Research (HDR) students enrolled in coursework subjects are bound by the Coursework Rules and other rules and policies that apply to coursework students.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Admission

Admission Principles

(4) The University admits applicants based on merit and makes offers of a place to applicants assessed as having a reasonable prospect of succeeding in their chosen course.

(5) The University’s admission processes and admission requirements are transparent, applied fairly and consistently and are clearly communicated to prospective applicants.

(6) Course level admission requirements for international students will be equivalent to the minimum requirements for domestic students.

General Provisions

(7) To be eligible for admission, an applicant must satisfy:

  1. the minimum admission requirements for the selected course including any course pre-requisites;
  2. the minimum English language proficiency requirements for the selected course;
  3. the minimum age requirements.

(8) To be admitted to a course, an applicant must:

  1. lodge an application for admission by the closing date, with specified supporting documentation; and
  2. pay the required application fee, where relevant.

(9) An application for admission that would result in enrolment in more than one course concurrently must be approved by the Delegated Authority.

Higher Doctoral Degrees

(10) An applicant for the degree of Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters or Doctor of Science shall:

  1. hold a Doctoral level qualification with standing of not less than twenty years after admission
  2. be a graduate of this University, hold a UOW academic or honorary appointment, or is deemed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Sustainable Futures) to have a significant and sustained research connection with the University
  3. have made at most one previous application for the degree. Any previous application will be at least three years prior to the current application.

Course-level Admission Requirements

(11) The Quality Assurance Review Group (QARG) endorses and Academic Senate approves HDR admission requirements for a maximum period of five years. Course level requirements include minimum academic requirements and minimum English language requirements.

(12) Some courses may have additional admission requirements, including but not limited to Inherent Requirements, prerequisite study or assessment of suitability via portfolio or interview. 

(13) Students seeking credit for prior learning towards a HDR course of study at UOW shall be bound by the requirements of the Credit for Prior Learning Policy. Applicants for credit for prior learning must provide evidence of their learning, and have achieved any other requirements for entry into the desired program of study. Note that credit for prior learning only applies to coursework components of a HDR degree, not the thesis component.

(14) Admission requirements for each course are published in Course Finder.

(15) Admission requirements for each course are reviewed at least every five years as part of the comprehensive course review cycle. Any variations to admission standards between review cycles, must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) and reported annually to Academic Senate.

English Language Requirement

(16) All applicants, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission. Further information about the minimum English language requirements for Admission, including evidence requirements, is provided in Course Finder and the HDR Admission Procedure. The English Language Policy provides details on assuring English language development in HDR studies and roles and responsibilities.

Overseas Qualifications

(17) The University has absolute discretion to determine whether a qualification submitted for admission is equivalent to that specified in the entry requirements.

Application for Admission

(18) The application procedure for admission to HDR degrees is outlined in the HDR Admissions Procedures.

(19) Applicants are responsible for providing accurate information to the University in support of their application.

Minimum Age Requirement

(20) Applicants under 18 years of age by the date of commencement of their course are not normally eligible to be considered for admission to HDR degrees of the University.

Making Offers

(21) Only officers of the University with delegated authority may make offers of admissions as specified in the Delegations of Authority Policy.

(22) All applicants will receive a formal notification of outcome, which might be:

  1. an unconditional offer; or
  2. a conditional offer; or
  3. packaged offer of two or more three courses of study. In particular domestic students applying for the Master of Research degree will receive a packaged BRes-MRes offer; or
  4. no offer.

(23) Where the University attaches conditions to an offer of admission, the conditions will be detailed in the letter of offer. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to, providing certified documentation or other evidence of meeting admission requirements and/or meeting visa or other legal obligations. 

(24) The University may make a packaged offer to an applicant, which is an offer of admission to two or more courses. Conditions attached to packaged offers are set out in the HDR Admissions Procedures.

(25) If an applicant wishes to accept an offer of admission they will do so in accordance with the process specified in the letter of offer. Failure to do so may result in the offer of admission being withdrawn.

(26) The University reserves the right to set expiry dates on offers.

Deferment of Offer

(27) An applicant, who has received an offer of a place, may request to defer their offer for up to one (1) calendar year.

(28) Deferred entry is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the Delegated Authority.

(29) The University may, at its discretion, withdraw a deferred offer if the applicant fails to enrol in the deferred course by the enrolment date or fails to comply with any requirements prescribed by the University in relation to the deferment. 

(30) An applicant taking up their deferred offer will be admitted under the current set of course rules and curricula, provided that the course has not been discontinued, in which case the applicant will be offered admission to a comparable course.

Withdrawal of Offer

(31) The University may withdraw an offer of admission where the offer is made on the basis of incomplete, inaccurate, fraudulent or misleading information supplied by the applicant or by a certifying authority.

(32) The University reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission made in error.

Refusal of Admission

(33) The University may refuse admission to an applicant, who otherwise meets the admission requirements for the selected course, on the following grounds:

  1. the applicant has previously been suspended or excluded from the University or any other tertiary institution for academic reasons, including but not limited to academic misconduct or unsatisfactory academic progress;
  2. the applicant has outstanding fees owing to the University;
  3. the applicant fails to meet the genuine temporary entrant requirements specified for international students;
  4. the applicant fails to meet the inherent requirements specified for their selected course;
  5. where evidence from the applicant’s history as determined by the Dean of Graduate Research on recommendation from the relevant Associate Dean Research, makes them unsuitable to study the course for which they have applied on academic or non-academic grounds provided that the applicant is supplied with written notification of the reasons for refusal;
  6. there are not appropriate and sufficient personnel, resources or number of applicants to enable the course to be offered.

Conflict of Interest

(34) University staff responsible for making admission decisions and offers of admission are to disclose any personal relationships with an applicant in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Right of Appeal - Admissions

(35) Applicants may appeal the following decisions on the sole ground that there has been non-compliance with these rules:

  1. assessment on whether an applicant satisfies the admission requirements of a course;
  2. withdrawal of an offer of admission pursuant to clause 30 and 31; or
  3. refusal of admission pursuant to clause 32.

(36) Further information on the lodgement of an appeal and how it will be reviewed and determined is set out in the HDR Admissions Procedures.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Enrolment and Variations

General Enrolment Rules

(37) Students who have accepted an offer will be deemed to be registered in a course, and shall be required to enrol in subjects for their registration to be completed. Once enrolled, students will be then subject to all relevant rules, policies and other requirements.

(38) Some courses may only be available on a full-time or part-time basis, as specified in the Course Handbook.

(39) Continuation of enrolment is contingent upon compliance with any approved conditions imposed at initial registration or thereafter.

(40) Except with approval by the delegated authority in exceptional circumstances, a student is subject to the course time limits set out in clauses 61 to 63 inclusive.

(41) Except with approval by the delegated authority, a student shall not be enrolled concurrently in more than one course of study.

(42) During prescribed periods in each year, a student shall enrol in a program in accordance with requirements of these Rules and pay any required charges.

Cancellation of Enrolment  

(43) A student may be refused registration by reason of suspension, exclusion from the University as a consequence of failing to comply with University rules.

(44) Students may be excluded from the University for either academic or non-academic misconduct as specified in Section 5 – Progress during Candidature or in the Student Conduct Rules.

(45) A student may be suspended, excluded or expelled from the University where, following a risk assessment taking into consideration the student’s history and/or other circumstances, it is determined that the student’s continued registration in the course may cause a substantial risk to the health or safety of members of the University community.

Period of Cancellation of Enrolment

(46) The period of suspension will comprise one or more sessions and the remainder of the session in which the suspension is applied. At the end of the period of suspension, the student may be re-admitted to the course.

(47) The period of exclusion will comprise one or more years, and the remainder of the session in which the exclusion is applied. Students who are excluded must re-apply for admission directly to the University at the end of the exclusion period, and are required to declare this period of exclusion at the time of applying.

Joint PHD Studies

(48) Students enrolled under a joint PhD between the University of Wollongong and another institution, or in any form of cross-institutional study, must follow the rules and policies with regard to their enrolment in that subject at the University of Wollongong or the other institution of study at which they are enrolled.

International Student Enrolment Requirements

(49) International students on student visas are required to complete their course within the duration as registered for that course on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for International Students (CRICOS). The registered duration is determined on the basis of a minimum time to complete the course under a standard full-time study load.

(50) International students shall only exceed this duration as a result of:

  1. compassionate or compelling circumstances as evidenced by the student and approved by the delegated authority; or
  2. participation in a period of probation as outlined in Section 5.
  3. The duration of course completion for individual international students may be shortened as a result of credit transfer granted for prior study.

(51) It is the obligation of the International Student to ensure that they are enrolled in the equivalent of a full-time study load at all times, and where they become aware that they are under-enrolled, to seek academic advice.

(52) Where the University becomes aware that an International Student on a student visa has failed to enrol in a full time study load without academic approval to do so, either as a result of enrolling in fewer subjects than constitute a full time load, or as a result of withdrawing from a subject or subjects, the following shall apply:

  1. The international student will be required to contact the Head of Postgraduate Studies for the course-owning Faculty, and show cause as to why they have not enrolled in a full time load.
  2. Where the student can demonstrate the existence of appropriate reasons for their under-enrolment, the University may assist the student in processing an extension to their ECOE, and supporting applications for an extended visa.
  3. In the absence of a valid reason for the under-enrolment, as outlined in clause 51 (b), the student will either:
    1. be required to demonstrate how they intend to undertake additional study in order to complete their course of study within the expected duration; or
    2. should the student not have enough time left on their student visa to undertake additional study, the student may be informed that they are unable to complete their course.

Variation of Course

(53) A HDR student may apply to change candidature from full-time to part-time or vice-versa prior to the census date for the current session of enrolment.

(54) Students wishing to change their thesis title or topic must first seek permission from their supervisor(s). Written notification, counter-signed by the student supervisor(s) should be forwarded via the delegated authority, to the Graduate Research School.

(55) If for any reason a HDR student needs to be transferred from one Academic Unit to another Academic Unit, approval for the transfer must be given by the Heads of both Academic Units. It is expected that there would be consultation with both the HDR student and both the current and new supervisor, prior to the initiation of such a transfer. The Graduate Research School should to be notified in writing of any change to a student enrolment.

Leave of Absence

(56) A student enrolled in a HDR course becomes eligible for leave of absence at the beginning of the second session of enrolment. HDR students may be granted leave of absence for one year or, in exceptional circumstances, up to two years by the delegated authority provided that the student has the written consent of his/her supervisor.

(57) A written application must be made by the student to the Director, Research Services Office before the census date of the first session for which leave is sought. Students should note that leave can only be taken as entire sessions. It is not possible for students to take leave for only a part of a session.

(58) Students who take leave of absence from their course should note that the course rules and conditions under which they originally enrolled may change during their period on leave and that they may be subject to the rules and conditions as they apply at the time that they return to their course.

(59) In addition to clauses 48 to 51 inclusive overseas students on student visas shall only be granted leave of absence under the following specific circumstances:

  1. compassionate or compelling grounds as evidenced by the student and approved by the delegated authority; or
  2. administrative grounds for example where the University is unable to offer a pre-requisite unit; or
  3. where a student is participating in an approved intervention strategy.

(60) Where an overseas student on a student visa is granted leave of absence and this leads to an extension to the duration of the student's course of study a new Confirmation of Enrolment must be provided to reflect the extended period.

EFTSL Limits for Course Completion

(61) A standard full-time study load is 1 EFTSL or 48cp per year. The minimum and maximum EFTSL limits for completion of HDR courses are listed below. Periods of approved leave of absence are not included as part of the total course duration for the purpose of Rules 31-38 inclusive. International students on student visas have specific study requirements as detailed in Rules 49-52.

(62) A student for a Master of Research Degree will be enrolled a minimum of 1.0 EFTSL and a maximum of 2 EFTSL. The MRes thesis is a fixed duration of 1.0 EFTSL.

(63) A student for a Master of Philosophy Degree will be enrolled for that degree for a minimum 1.0 EFTSL, and a maximum of 2.0 EFTSL.

(64) A student for a Doctoral Degree will be enrolled for that degree for a minimum of 1.5 EFTSL, and a maximum of 4.0 EFTSL.

(65) The minimum and maximum enrolment periods for HDR courses may be waived, by the delegated authority, in exceptional circumstances.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Amendment of Academic Record

Circumstances where Academic Record may be Amended

(66) There are four circumstances where a student’s academic record may be amended once results for a Thesis subject have been released, as follows:

  1. there has been an enrolment error (as determined under clause 66)
  2. a student has successfully applied under the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy to have a mark or grade altered; or
  3. a student has been granted a late withdrawal without academic penalty by the delegated authority.

Amendment of Academic Record due to Enrolment Error

(67) A student may apply to have their academic record amended where the student has either:

  1. not attempted a subject for which they were formally enrolled as a result of an enrolment error; or
  2. attempted a subject for which they were not formally enrolled as a result of an enrolment error and need to be enrolled to have a grade declared.

(68) Applications must be made on the appropriate form, which must:

  1. be completed by the student,
  2. include appropriate details to support the application, and
  3. be lodged with the Graduate Research School no later than four weeks after the release of results.

Conferral of Awards

(69) A HDR award may be conferred upon a student who has complied with relevant parts of these Rules, is not indebted to the University, and has met the requirements for the HDR award as specified in the Course Handbook.

(70) Applications to have an award conferred must be made on the appropriate form and by the due date for each session. It is the responsibility of the student to lodge an application to graduate in order to have their award formally conferred.

(71) In the event of the death or permanent incapacity of a student:

  1. if the student has completed the requirements of their HDR course, but has not yet had the award conferred, the Council may confer the award on the student;
  2. if the student has not completed the course requirements, but has completed a substantial proportion of the course requirements, Council may confer a posthumous award at its discretion; or
  3. if the student has not completed the course requirements, but has completed all or a substantial part of the requirements of an award at a lower level, the student can be deemed to have completed the requirements of the lower level award and Council may confer that award at its discretion.

(72) Recommendations to Council under clause 70 would normally be made within two (2) years of the student’s last enrolment and must be supported by relevant documentation.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Progress During Candidature

(73) The Research Proposal Review and Annual Progress Report sections apply to Doctoral and Master of Philosophy students. They do not apply to Master of Research students.

Research Proposal Review

(74) The Research Proposal Review (RPR) shall be completed early in the candidature, between 0 and 1.5 EFTSL for doctoral students and between 0.5 and 1 EFTSL for MPhil students.

(75) The RPR shall be assessed by the student’s written research proposal (according to the discipline conventions of the degree undertaken) and an oral presentation by the student. The presentation must be made before a Research Proposal Review Committee (RPRC)  which, at a minimum, consists of: the thesis supervisor(s); two appropriate members of academic staff; and a HDR  student representative. Where relevant (e.g. in a cross-unit project), a person external to the academic or research unit may be nominated.

(76) The RPRC recommendations must be approved by the HPS (for proposals deemed satisfactory) and also by the AD-HDR (for proposals deemed unsatisfactory). The Committee report  must be lodged with Graduate Research.

(77) If the RPRC determines that the proposal is unsatisfactory, the student must re-present a research proposal within three months.

(78) If, after the second presentation of the research proposal, the RPRC determines that the proposal is unsatisfactory, they must make at least one of the following recommendations to the Associate Dean - Higher Degree Research of the Faculty:

  1. place the student on probation;
  2. terminate the student’s HDR candidature;
  3. change the student’s candidature to a  Masters by Research degree;
  4. change the student’s supervisor; or
  5. appoint a panel of supervisors, including members from outside the academic unit.

(79) If the AD-HDR finds that a recommendation for probation or termination is most appropriate, the matter will be forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Research for a final decision. The Dean of Graduate Research will make a final decision after reviewing all documentation and will advise the student and the Faculty of the final decision. The Dean of Graduate Research may take action that may include:

  1. continuing the student’s enrolment;
  2. terminating the student’s HDR candidature;
  3. placing the student on probation;
  4. change the student’s candidature to a Research by Masters degree
  5. changing the student’s supervisor;
  6. appointing a panel supervisors including members from outside the academic unit;
  7. any other action deemed appropriate.

(80) All recipients of information presented at the RPRC will be required to maintain confidentiality.

(81) Prior to acting on a recommendation to terminate the student’s candidature, the Dean of Graduate Research will advise the student of the impending termination, and allow the student 20 working days to provide the Dean of Graduate Research with any additional relevant information concerning the student’s candidature, supervision and progress.

(82) The student and their supervisors shall be informed of the Dean of Graduate Research’s recommendation. If the student disagrees with any of the outcomes, then they may appeal the decision to the HDR Appeals Committee in accordance with the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy.

Annual Progress Reports

(83) A student shall submit an annual report on progress of work to the delegated authority.

(84) If either the HPS, supervisor or a student notes unsatisfactory progress in an annual report then the AD-HDR, as appropriate, should consult with both parties independently no later than one month after lodgement of the unfavourable report. After such consultation, the AD-HDR may decide that the matter has been resolved.  If the matter is not resolved, the AD-HDR may recommend to the Dean of Graduate Research that the student be placed on probation.

(85) Continuation of candidature is conditional on maintenance of satisfactory progress. A supervisor may at any time bring problems with the student’s progress to the attention of the HPS.  A supervisor is required to report any failure by a student to make satisfactory progress or to abide by other requirements in the regulations governing the degree to the HPS immediately. When a student is not making satisfactory progress or not maintaining adequate and regular contact, the student must be advised in writing of the requirements. Satisfactory academic progress is also a visa requirement for overseas students.

(86) Initial attempts to rectify unsatisfactory progress should take place within the Academic Unit. HPS should be consulted if matters are not able to be resolved at Academic Unit level. If initial meetings between the supervisor(s) and the student fail to rectify problems, a meeting between the student, the supervisor(s), the HPS and the AD-HDR should be convened (either independently or as a group), with the aim of developing specific strategies and recommendations for improving progress towards completion. If the student’s progress fails to improve the AD-HDR may make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Research to place the student on probation.

(87) The failure to complete an Annual Progress Report when required will result in the student’s candidature being discontinued.

Probation

(88) The student shall be notified of the probation recommendation and will be given 20 working days after notification to submit a response to the Dean of Graduate Research. After this period, the Dean of Graduate Research shall make a final decision.

(89) If probation is to be imposed, the Dean of Graduate Research will appoint a senior academic to oversee the supervision process and research progress for a period of not less than three months and not more than one year. At the end of the probation period, or sooner if progress does not improve during the probation period, the senior academic will review the student’s progress and make written recommendations in a report to the Dean of Graduate Research.

(90) The Dean of Graduate Research will review the probationary report and all other documentation concerning that student’s candidature held by the Graduate Research School and/or Faculty before taking action. Final decision(s) may include:

  1. continuation of enrolment;
  2. termination of candidature;
  3. transfer of award;
  4. change of supervisor;
  5. appointment of a panel of supervisors including members from outside the academic unit;
  6. any other action deemed appropriate.

(91) If the student refuses to abide by any of the recommendations, then the Dean of Graduate Research can terminate the student’s candidature.

(92) Prior to acting on a recommendation of termination of candidature, the Dean of Graduate Research will advise the student of the impending termination, and allow the student 20 working days to provide the Dean of Graduate Research with any additional relevant information concerning their candidature, supervision and progress.

(93) Students and supervisors shall be informed of the Dean of Graduate Research's recommendation.  If the student disagrees with the outcomes, then they may appeal the decision to the Student Ombudsman in accordance with the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy.

Required Level of Performance in Coursework Subjects

(94) Where a HDR student does NOT meet the required level of performance for coursework subjects taken as part of their HDR studies, their enrolment will be discontinued. The minimum level of performance is specified in the relevant Course Handbook page.

Top of Page

Section 6 - Research Degree Transfers

Note that all transfers must occur before Census date for that Session.

Between Masters by Research and Doctoral Degrees

(95) To transfer from a Master of Philosophy or a Professional Doctorate to a Doctor of Philosophy in the same field of study, the student must:

  1. have completed sufficient study in the Master of Philosophy or Professional Doctorate  program at this University to allow an assessment of the capacity of the student to undertake independent research at a Doctoral Level. This would normally mean that students have completed required coursework components of the degree and have also completed at least 0.5 EFTSL of their thesis component prior to application to transfer to a Doctor of Philosophy;
  2. prove their capacity to undertake independent research by presenting a seminar to report on their research topic to a group which must include:
    1. the primary supervisor, and/or co-supervisors
    2. the HPS or a member of the Faculty Research Committee (FRC); and
    3. an independent academic staff member with appropriate disciplinary expertise to appraise the research and requested transfer.

(96) The primary supervisor will prepare a report on the student’s seminar which should be signed by the delegated authority. Once signed the final report will then be forwarded to the Graduate Research School for action.

(97) To transfer from a Doctoral degree to a Master of Philosophy degree, the delegated authority should approve the transfer and send written advice to the Graduate Research School who will adjust the student’s enrolment accordingly.

(98) To transfer from a Doctoral or a Master of Philosophy degree to a Master of Research degree, the delegated authority should approve the transfer and send written advice to the Graduate Research School who will adjust the student’s enrolment accordingly. Note that this only possible if the EFTSL on the thesis component of the Doctoral/Master of Philosophy degree is less than or equal to 1.0 as the MRes thesis is of fixed 1.0 EFTSL duration.

Between a HDR Degree and a Coursework Degree

(99) If a Master of Research or PhD (Integrated) student ceases their enrolment then they may be eligible to be awarded a Bachelor of Research, or other coursework degree, as an exit qualification, provided that the course requirements and learning outcomes are satisfied.

(100) Students enrolled in HDR degrees may cease enrolment and apply for admission to a coursework program as a new course. Prior coursework study, in a HDR degree, may be granted as credit, as per the Credit for Prior Learning Policy. Credit may be awarded up to a maximum of 100% of course requirements, provided that the course learning outcomes are satisfied.

(101) Students enrolled in a coursework degree may cease enrolment and apply for admission to a HDR degree as a new course. Prior study may be granted as credit, as per the Credit for Prior Learning Policy. Credit cannot be given for the thesis portion of a HDR degree.

Top of Page

Section 7 - HDR Degree Assessment and Examination

Doctoral and Research Masters Degree

(102) HDR students undertaking coursework as part of their HDR degree must submit the prescribed assessment work in accordance with the requirements set out or referred to in the relevant Subject Outline, which must be developed and distributed to students in accordance with the Teaching and Assessment: Subject Delivery Policy. Failure to meet the requirements for an assessment task as set out in the Subject Outline may result in a reduction in marks or a fail grade for that assessment task.

(103) All aspects of Doctoral and Research Masters thesis preparation, submission and examination shall be undertaken in accordance with the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure and the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Thesis by Compilation Guidelines.

Grades of Performance for Higher Degree Research Subjects

(104) The approved grades of performance for Higher Degree Research, Thesis (THES) subjects are as follows:

  1. CO (Complete): Thesis has been examined and satisfactorily completed
  2. NC (Not Complete):
    1. Declared where a student has voluntarily withdrawn or transferred
    2. HDR candidature terminated prior to thesis examination for disciplinary reasons (e.g. lack of progress, misconduct, plagiarism)
    3. Doctoral thesis has been examined and, based on the Examiners’ reports, the Thesis Examination Committee (TEC) has determined that the degree for which the student is enrolled will not be awarded, but that the work was of a sufficient standard for the award of a Master of Philosophy. In such cases a NC will be recorded for the Doctoral degree and the student’s enrolment will be transferred to a Master of Philosophy, where a CO will be recorded.
  3. F (Fail): Thesis has been examined and based on the Examiners’ reports the TEC has determined that the degree for which student is enrolled will not be awarded.

(105) The approved grades of performance for Higher Degree Research Research Training and Thesis (RESH) subjects are as follows:

  1. HD, High Distinction, 85% to 100%
  2. D, Distinction, 75% to 85%
  3. C, Credit, 65% to 75%
  4. P, Pass, 50% to 65%
  5. F, Fail, less than 50%

Interim Grades for Higher Degree Research Subjects

(106) Interim grades for Higher Degree Research, Thesis (THES) or Higher Degree Research Research Training and Thesis (RESH) subjects are as follows:

  1. IPR (In Progress Research): Where a THES or RESH subject is required to be undertaken over more than one session, an IPR grade shall be declared at the end of each session until a student completes, or their candidature is withdrawn or discontinued.

Higher Doctoral Degrees

(107) Before a Higher Doctoral degree thesis is sent to examiners, the Thesis Examination Committee should be satisfied that the submitted evidence is of sufficiently high quality to be prima facie worthy of examination for the degree. In making its determination the Thesis Examination Committee will seek advice from the relevant Faculty Research Committee (FRC).

(108) The relevant FRC will assess if the submitted thesis is prima facie worthy of examination and will advise the Thesis Examination Committee of its assessment. The Thesis Examination Committee may use other advice, in confidence, to support this assessment as it sees fit.

(109) If, after receiving the advice of the relevant FRC, the Thesis Examination Committee is satisfied that the thesis is worthy of examination for the degree then two examiners shall be appointed, both of whom must be external to the University. Examiners selected must be at least at Professorial level or equivalent, and pre-eminent in the field.

(110) A list of approximately five examiners will be compiled by the Thesis Examination Committee, on advice of the relevant FRC, and shown to the applicant. The applicant may raise an objection to a potential examiner based on fair reasons. The Thesis Examination Committee shall consider any objection in making their selection of final examiners.

(111) Each examiner shall make an independent report on the submitted evidence.

(112) Should the examiners not agree in their recommendations or should, for any other reason, further opinion on the merit of the submitted evidence be needed, the Thesis Examination Committee may appoint an additional examiner or examiners to make an independent report on the submitted evidence.

(113) At the conclusion of the examination, the examiners will submit to the Thesis Examination Committee a concise report on the merits of the submitted evidence and on the examination results and the Thesis Examination Committee shall determine whether or not the applicant may be admitted to the degree.

(114) Applicants wishing to lodge an appeal in relation to a Higher Doctoral degree examination outcome may do so in accordance with the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy.

Granting HDR Awards with an "Examiners’ Commendation for Outstanding Thesis"

(115) The following requirements must be met for a student to be eligible to receive a Higher Degree Research (HDR) award with an "Examiners’ Commendation for Outstanding Thesis":

  1. A student must be enrolled in one of the following courses:
    1. A Master of Philosophy, or
    2. A Doctorate by Research, and
  2. Both examiners must recommend a commendation because, in that specific discipline, the thesis meets all three (3) criteria listed below:
    1. the thesis is a contribution to the field of study that is exceptionally innovative and original, and
    2. the thesis is suitable for publication in an esteemed book or in a refereed journal of high repute, and
    3. the thesis is among the best thesis presentations examined by each examiner.
Top of Page

Section 8 - HDR Degrees of the University

Masters by Research Degrees

Requirements for the Award of a Master of Philosophy Degree

(116) To qualify for award of a Master of Philosophy listed in Appendix 1 below, a student shall accrue the required number of credit points by satisfactory completion of subjects specified in the postgraduate handbook and such examinations and other work as may be prescribed.

(117) A Master of Philosophy course program shall comprise subjects having a value of 96 credit points at 900 level including:

  1. a research thesis subject having a value of 72 credit points at 900 level and
  2. other coursework subjects  having a value of 24 credit points at 800/900 level.

Requirements for the Award of a Master of Research Degree

(118) To qualify for award of a Master of Research Degree listed in Appendix 1 below, a student shall accrue the required number of credit points by satisfactory completion of subjects specified in the undergraduate/postgraduate handbook and such examinations and other work as may be prescribed.

(119) The requirements for a Master of Research degree can be met by satisfying a) or b) below:

  1. A Master of Research Degree course program shall comprise subjects having a value of 96 credit points at 800/900 level including:
    1. a research thesis subject having a value of 48 credit points at 900 level and
    2. other coursework subjects (or credit) having a value of 48 credit points at 800/900 level.
  2. A Master of Research degree course programme shall comprise a research thesis subject having a value of 48 cp at the 900 level together with satisfactory completion of the Bachelor of Research.

Requirements for the Award of a Doctoral Degree

(120) To qualify for award of a Doctoral degree listed in Appendix 1 below, a student shall accrue the required number of credit points by satisfactory completion of subjects specified in the postgraduate handbook and such examinations and other work as may be prescribed.

(121)  A PhD course program shall comprise a research thesis subject having a value of 192 credit points at 900 level

(122) A PhD (Integrated) course program, Doctor of Education and Doctor of Public Health  Professional Doctorate course programs shall comprise subjects having a value of 192 credit points at 800/900 level including:

  1. a research thesis subject having a value of 144 credit points at 900 level and
  2. other coursework subjects (or credit) having a value of 48 credit points at 800/900 level.

(123) The PhD (Clinical Psychology)  course program shall comprise subjects having a value of 192 credit points at 800/900 level including:

  1. a research thesis subject having a value of 128 credit points at 900 level and
  2. other coursework subjects (or credit) having a value of 64 credit points at 800/900 level.

(124) The Doctor of Creative Arts professional doctorate shall comprise  a research thesis subject which includes creative work and written exegesis,  having a value of 192 credit points at 900 level

(125) The joint PhD course program shall comprise a research thesis subject having a value of 192 credit points at 900 level. Note that a minimum of 48cp of study shall be undertaken at UOW and a minimum of 48cp of study at the partner University.

Requirements for the Award of a Higher Doctoral Degree

(126) To qualify for award of a Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters or Doctor of Science, listed in Appendix 1 below, an applicant shall have a research thesis examined and satisfactorily completed. The thesis submitted for  examination shall consist of:

  1. a list of published and/or unpublished works on which the claim for admission to the degree is based. All works, apart from quotations, to be presented in, or translated into, English, unless otherwise approved; and
  2. a statement, which shall be an overview of normally not less than 5,000 words, setting out ways in which the collective works provide an original and significant contribution to knowledge. this statement should include:
    1. details of sources from which the works were derived;
    2. details of the extent to which work of others has been included or used;
    3. the level of contribution of the applicant to the body of published works;
    4. evidence that the criteria set out in 15) below are satisfied; and
    5. a declaration identifying  any of the works that have been submitted for any other qualification.

(127) The thesis submitted for examination must meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is an internationally recognised leader in their field.
  2. The applicant has made a significant and sustained contribution to the field usually over at least a 20 year period. As appropriate for the discipline, the student should have produced an outstanding body of published work in highly-esteemed journals. There must be evidence that the student’s publications have been highly influential (e.g. highly cited).
  3. The work is innovative and at the leading edge of a discipline, perhaps using leading-edge technology or methodology.
  4. As a leader, the applicant is able to show a significant contribution to mentoring of other researchers in their field, such as through collaborative grants, successful PhD completions, examinations of PhD theses or as a member of international and national committees of note.
Top of Page

Section 9 - Other

General Saving Clause

(128) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein contained, Council may dispense with or suspend any requirement of, or prescription by, these Rules.

Application for Amending Rules

(129) Should an amendment be made to either or both these Rules or the attachments following these Rules, the amendment shall apply from the date of implementation, but not retrospectively, to all students, unless determined otherwise by Council.

Appeal

(130) Where a student has a complaint regarding a decision made under these Rules which comes within the definition of ‘academic complaint’ in the Coursework Student Academic Complaints Policy or the Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy, the student may pursue the academic complaint in accordance with the procedures set out in that policy.

(131) Where a student has a complaint regarding a decision under these Rules that does not come within the definition of ‘academic complaint’ in the Coursework Student Academic Complaints Policy or Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Academic Complaints Policy, the student may appeal against that decision within 14 days of notification of the decision. The appeal must be in writing and provide sufficient detail to enable due consideration of the matter.

Top of Page

Section 10 - Appendix 1: Award Titles and Abbreviations

Masters by Research Degrees

Degree Abbreviation
Master of Philosophy MPhil
Master of Research MRes

Doctoral Degree by Thesis

Degree Abbreviation
Doctor of Philosophy PhD
Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) PhD(Int)
Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities  
Doctor of Creative Arts DCA
Doctor of Education
(Suspended in 2024)


Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology)
Ded


PhD(ClinPsyc)

Higher Doctoral Degree

Degree
Abbreviation
Doctor of Laws LLD
Doctor of Letters DLitt
Doctor of Science DSc
Top of Page

Section 11 - Definitions

Word/Term Definition
800 and 900 level subjects Subjects at postgraduate level.
Academic transcript An official record of all subjects attempted at this University and the corresponding grades, credit awarded and prizes awarded.
Academic unit School, Faculty or research centre.
AD-HDR Associate Dean - Higher Degree Research
Approved or approval Approval by Council or under authority delegated by Council as stated in the Delegations of Authority Policy.
Assessment Work which a student is required to complete to provide a basis for an official record of achievement or certification of competence in a subject. This may include summative and/or formative forms of assessment. Examples of assessments include, but are not limited to: examination, test, take-home examination, quiz, assignment, essay, laboratory report, thesis, demonstration, performance, tutorial presentation, class participation, practicum, clinical placement, and work experience.
Candidature Period of enrolment in a higher degree research award.
Council The Council of the University of Wollongong.
Course A program of study consisting of a combination of subjects and other requirements, whether leading to a specific higher education award or not.
Course Handbook Documents containing information relating to all UOW courses.
Course requirements Outcomes required before a student can be deemed to have completed a course.
Course structure Refers to the specific program of subjects which a student undertakes to meet the requirements of a course as specified in the Course Handbook for the year the course was commenced.
Coursework A method of teaching and learning that leads to the acquisition of skills and knowledge that does not include a major research component. (AQF definition 2011).
Credit point (cp) The value attached to a subject that indicates study load.
Credit transfer The process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications.
Deferment The result of a request by an applicant who has met the conditions for entry to the University to postpone the commencement of study to a later session.
Delegated authority A person given authority to perform a function or task under the Delegations of Authority Policy.
Domestic applicant or student An Australian or New Zealand citizen,  Australian Permanent Resident, or holder of an Australian humanitarian visa. For students studying at offshore locations, a domestic student is a person who is a citizen or Permanent Resident of the country in which they are studying.
EFTSL Equivalent Full Time Study Load.
Examination A form of assessment which a student is required to complete to measure their knowledge, skills and/or application of knowledge and skills in a subject area. An examination may be administered orally, on paper, on a computer, or in a specified location that requires the student to physically perform a set of skills. Examples of examinations include but are not limited to standard written tests, multiple-choice tests, practical examinations, laboratory tests, quizzes, reviews, on-line examinations, oral examinations and take-home examinations. For the purpose of these Rules, an examination means both a University examination and a faculty examination. For the purposes of these Rules, the definition of examination does not apply to thesis examination.
Exclusion A course status where a student’s academic progress has been deemed unsatisfactory, or a determination has been made to terminate a student’s registration for a defined period, resulting in the student being required to formally re-apply for admission to the University after the defined period of exclusion.
Exemption The waiving of the requirement that a subject prescribed for a course be completed satisfactorily.
Expulsion A determination whereby a student’s registration is terminated permanently. An expelled student shall not be re-admitted except by permission of the University Council.
Full-time student A student enrolled in at least 75% of the standard load for a session.
Graduate Research Graduate Research School.
Head of Postgraduate Studies (HPS) Heads of Postgraduate Studies (HPS) oversee management of the HDR candidature of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students within UOW academic units.
Higher Degree 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.
Host institution an institution which is not  the student’s primary institution, but one where the student is completing studies that will contribute to a qualification awarded by the student’s primary institution.
IELTS International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency. It measures how well a person reads, listens, speaks and writes in English.
In writing Communication via letter or email.
International applicant or student A person who is not an Australian or New Zealand citizen or the holder of a permanent resident status, who is required to hold a visa to be eligible to study in Australia and is liable for international student fees.

For students studying at offshore locations, an international student is a person who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the country in which they are studying.
Intervention strategy A systematic plan of action, adapted to assist students on a course status of referral or probation in meeting course progress requirements.
Lapsed A course status where a student’s enrolment in a course has been discontinued due to the student failing to re-enrol and not obtaining an approved leave of absence.
Leave of absence A period of approved leave from the University.
Joint PhD degree A PhD degree awarded by UOW and another higher educational institution, as part of a formal agreement between the two institutions.
Part-time student A student who is enrolled in less than 75% of the standard load for a session.
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Postgraduate course A course leading to the award of a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master's degree or doctorate. A postgraduate award usually requires previous completion of a relevant undergraduate (bachelor's) degree or diploma.
Pre-requisite subject A subject which must be completed satisfactorily before a specified other subject or subjects may be attempted.
Program The combination of subjects in which a student is enrolled.
Session A period in which subjects may be offered. Standard sessions are defined as Autumn and Spring.
Standard load The number of credit points deemed to constitute one standard year of study, specified as 48 credit points (or pro rata as 24 Credit points per standard session). A standard load of 48 credit points is equivalent to an EFTSL of 1.
Student A person enrolled to study or registered for a course.
Subject A self-contained unit of study identified by a unique code.
Subject Outline Refers to a document that highlights all the important information of a subject provided to students at the commencement of the session.
Principal, Co- and Associate Supervisor The various Supervisor roles and classifications, as defined in the HDR Supervision and Resources Procedures.
Supplementary assessment An assessment taken by an eligible student as approved by the delegated authority, who has failed a subject and has been granted an opportunity to take an additional assessment to pass the subject in accordance with the Supplementary Assessment Procedure. Supplementary assessment includes in-session or end-of-session examinations and non-examination assessments, and may be administered by the faculty or centrally.
Suspension A penalty whereby a student is prevented from enrolling for a defined period. The student may apply to be re-admitted at the conclusion of the period of suspension.
TEC Thesis Examination Committee.