HDR Candidate Selection

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Sent For Approval - with Sponsor 7 September 2017

HDR Candidate Selection Policy

Policy Code: RS1930

Purpose

This Policy is to ensure that appropriately qualified applicants are selected for offers of candidature in a Higher Degree by Research program at Federation University Australia, and to ensure that the University’s scholarships are awarded to deserving applicants.

Scope

This Procedure applies to all Higher Degree by Research candidature applicants, candidates, Faculties, persons with supervisory or administrative responsibilities for research higher degree students, Research Services and the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

Legislative Context

Policy Base

Regulation 5.1 – Higher Doctorates, Doctoral Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Professional) and Masters Degree (Research).

Definitions

Term Definition
Advanced standing Exemption from certain components of a program on the basis of studies completed elsewhere or in another FedUni program.
APA Australian Postgraduate Award
ATSI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Cotutelle award Award made in partnership with another institution, wherein the candidate is jointly enrolled in both institutions and receives a testamur from both institutions on completion of the program.
Deferment A period of up to 12 months, normally covering the academic year, before a student, who has been offered a place in a higher education course, enrols in that course.
Designated Cohort A group of not less than five candidates, identified as having common characteristics (such as completion of a particular qualification) for the purposes of gaining special entry or advanced standing.
Eligibility for admission The criteria by which students are assessed as suitable for admission to a higher degree by research.
Employee Any staff member employed by the University to undertake academic activity, including permanent, fixed term contract, casual, honorary and adjunct appointments.
Enrolment The process by which a person, having received a written offer of a place, shall enrol by lodging with the Vice-Chancellor a duly completed form of enrolment signed by both the applicant and the course coordinator or person of equivalent authority [University Statute 5.2].
ESOS Act Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, as amended from time to time.
Faculty One of the following academic units of Federation University: Faculty of Education and Arts, Faculty of Health, Faculty of Science and technology, The Business School
FPRS Federation University Postgraduate Research Scholarship
Higher Degree by Research One of the following programs: Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral Degree (Professional).
Higher Degree by Research candidate A Federation University Australia candidate enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral degree (Professional).
Indigenous Higher Degree by Research Scholarship A Federation University higher degree by research scholarship only available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.
Leave from studies Periods of either six or 12 months, covering the normal teaching period(s), when an enrolled student is excused from formal study.
Offer When an applicant to the University is informed in writing that they have a place in a course of study.
Principal Supervisor A person who is a employee of the University and has prime responsibility for guiding the progress of a designated higher degree by research candidate.
Associate Supervisor A person who is a employee of the University and provides support to the candidate and to the Principal Supervisor.
Co-Supervisor A person who provides support to the candidate and to the Principal Supervisor but is external to the University and is not a member of the University.
Probationary candidate A Federation University Australia candidate enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral degree (Professional). who has not yet completed the confirmation of candidature process.
Program A program of study/research leading to the granting of an official award or qualification of the University contained in University Schedule 5.1 or in Regulation 5.1 The Doctoral Degree (research), Masters Degree (Research) and Doctoral Degree (Professional). A program may contain subsidiary elements variously referred to as courses, competency units or modules.
Provisional Principal Supervisor A person who, under the direction of a Director of Provisional Principal Supervisors, has responsibility for guiding the progress of a designated research higher degree student.
RHDSC Research Higher Degrees Sub-Committee
RTS The Research Training Scheme, provides fee exemption places for candidates enrolled in higher degree by research programs
SOSS Special Overseas Student Scholarship
TEQSA Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency
UFP A University Funded Place; the University provides additional funded places each year for the enrolment of higher degree by research candidates

Policy Statement

Admission to Candidature

Principles of selection

The principles that the University adheres to in selecting applicants for HDR candidature are:

  • A commitment to maintaining high international academic standards in an HDR program;
  • Selecting applicants most likely to succeed in an HDR program;
  • Meeting the University’s charter and the objectives of its research mission;
  • Selecting applicants into research environments where appropriate supervisory expertise and resources are available;
  • To promote diversity and equity in selection

An offer of entry to HDR candidature is based upon:

  • Meeting minimum entry requirements.  Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an offer of candidature.
  • Availability of RTS places;
  • Availability of discipline-appropriate and experienced supervision;
  • Availability of adequate and appropriate resources to support the research project;
  • Applicant or project not being subject to sanctions;
  • Other factors such as adequate supervision capacity, workloads, and strategic research directions.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Applicants

The University is committed to improving post-graduate research opportunities for ATSI applicants.  The University addresses this objective in two ways:

Special consideration in selection and admission:

  • Flexibility and affirmative action in the assessment of eligibility and the meeting of entry requirements, in particular Honours equivalence, by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants for Higher Degree by Research candidature; this may involve a relaxation of normal entry requirements for applicants who can demonstrate alternative qualifications, experience or merit, on a case-by-case basis;
  • Offering Research Training Scheme places to eligible (see above) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants for candidature in Higher Degree by Research programs;
  • Offering Research Training Scheme places to suitably qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to undertake part-time Higher Degree by Research studies;
  • Offering Indigenous Higher Degree by Research scholarship/s for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to undertake full-time or part-time Higher Degree by Research studies;

Special conditions for candidature may include but not be limited to:

  • Extending the normal period of candidature for the degree in which the candidate is enrolled;
  • Extending the normal period of scholarship payment for the degree in which the candidate is enrolled;
  • Providing a specially tailored research skills development program for each candidate which may run in parallel with the research project or at specific times in the period of candidature;
  • Providing flexibility in the type of thesis to be delivered, enabling candidates to move easily between conventional thesis, thesis incorporating published papers and exegesis as appropriate;
  • Providing close supervision with frequent feedback to ensure attentive and methodical supervision.

Minimum Entry Requirements

The academic entry and English proficiency requirements for Masters Degree (Research) and Doctoral Degree (Research) or Doctoral Degree (Professional) programs are specified in Regulation 5.1, Parts B, C, and D.  Entry requirements are summarised below:

Masters Degree (Research) entry requirements Doctoral Degree (Research), entry requirements

To be clearly eligible for admission as a Candidate for a Masters Degree (Research) a person must demonstrate:

  • Successful completion of an undergraduate degree and subsequent additional honours degree, graduating with at least second class honours, that included a dissertation demonstrating the ability to undertake research at Masters level.

To be clearly eligible for admission as a Candidate for a  Doctoral Degree (Research) or Doctoral Degree (Professional) a person must demonstrate:

  • Successful completion of a  Masters Degree  (Research)  that included a thesis/exegesis  demonstrating the ability to undertake research at PhD level; or,
  • Successful completion of an undergraduate degree and subsequent additional honours degree, graduating with  first class or second class(upper division) honours, that included a dissertation demonstrating the ability to undertake research at PhD level; or,
  • Enrolment in a Masters Degree (Research) and sufficient research capability to successfully undertake a Confirmation of Candidature demonstrating the capacity to undertake research at PhD level.

An applicant who does not meet clearly eligible entry requirements will be required to provide further qualifying information to support their application.  Such applicants must demonstrate:

  • Qualifications and/or  research skills, professional experience, or publications which are assessed by the Academic Board as being at least equivalent to or as a satisfactory substitute for any of the qualifications prescribed in the “clearly eligible” entry requirements.
  • Under exceptional circumstances, an applicant who does not meet the entry requirements stated above may, if accepted for an offer of candidature, be required to undertake an additional program of study, on the recommendation of the appropriate Faculty, to be, in combination with any relevant past research experience, at least equivalent to a fourth year of advanced undergraduate study and research in a relevant field.  The maximum period of candidature may be extended in such a case.

An applicant who does not meet clearly eligible entry requirements will be required to provide further qualifying information to support their application.  Such applicants must demonstrate:

  • Qualifications and/or  research skills, professional research experience, or publications which are assessed by the Academic Board as being at least equivalent to or as a satisfactory substitute for any of the qualifications prescribed in the “clearly eligible”  entry requirements; Or,
  • Successful completion of a Masters Degree by Coursework that included research training and a dissertation demonstrating the ability to undertake research at PhD level, with the combined training and dissertation being equivalent to an Honours degree, at least upper second division.
An applicant who does not hold a valid passport from, and who is not a citizen of, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland must, in applying for candidature, provide the required evidence of a satisfactory level of competence in oral and written English as specified by the Academic Board: IELTS (International Language Testing System) minimum score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0; or equivalent as presented on the Federation University English Language Requirements web page. An applicant who does not hold a valid passport from,  and who is not a citizen of, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland must, in applying for candidature, provide the required  evidence of a satisfactory level of competence in oral and written English as specified by the Academic Board: IELTS (International Language Testing System) minimum score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0; or equivalent as presented on the Federation University English Language Requirements web page.
No person who is simultaneously a candidate for any other award at this University or another university may be enrolled as a Masters Degree (Research) candidate at the University without approval. No person who is simultaneously a candidate for any other award at this University or another university may be enrolled as a Doctoral Degree (research) or Doctoral Degree (Professional) candidate at the University without approval.
No applicant who is a sanctioned individual, or proposing to undertake a project in a sanctioned field of study, under the terms of United Nations or Australian Autonomous Sanctions, will be made an offer of candidature.  An applicant from a sanctioned country may be offered candidature provided the proposed field of study is approved under the University’s Sanctions Procedure. No applicant who is a sanctioned individual, or proposing to undertake a project in a sanctioned field of study, under the terms of United Nations or Australian Autonomous Sanctions, will be made an offer of candidature.  An applicant from a sanctioned country may be offered candidature provided the proposed field of study is approved under the University’s Sanctions Procedure.

Establishing a case for Honours equivalence to meet entry requirements

To build a case for Honours equivalence to meet entry requirements the applicant will need to demonstrate that they have previously completed academic studies at the tertiary level, and undertaken research and generated appropriate outputs at an honours level standard in terms of the amount of work, the independent nature of the research, and the academic merit of the work taking into account appropriate discipline norms.  Such research may have been undertaken as part of a coursework masters or on behalf of an employer. 

To build a case for Honours equivalence the applicant will need to provide the information described in the Selection and Awarding of a HDR Place Procedure.  The Procedure describes guidelines that can be used to determine whether the quantity of research is sufficient to meet entry requirements.

English language proficiency requirements

An applicant who does not hold a valid passport from, and who is not a citizen of, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland must, in applying for candidature, provide the required evidence of a satisfactory level of competence in oral and written English as specified by the Academic Board.  Such applicants can meet English language requirements for entry into an HDR by achieving at least the minimum score in the following formal test of English language proficiency:

  • IELTS (International Language Testing System) minimum score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0; or equivalent as presented on the Federation University English Language Requirements web page.

Establishing a case for exemption from English language proficiency requirements

A request for exemption from English language proficiency requirements will only be considered under exceptional circumstances and only if an IELTS score cannot be provided.  To build a case for waiving the English proficiency requirement the applicant will need to provide as many of the following as possible:

  • A certified statement that the official language of the country of origin is English.
  • Evidence of successful completion of a course of tertiary studies of at least two years' duration conducted entirely in English and involving formal assessment of written work, in a country where English is the official language. Evidence in the form of a letter or certificate issued by the university Registrar's office will need to be provided 
  • A certified statement that the applicant currently engages in the teaching of tertiary studies for at least two years' duration entirely in English and involving formal assessment of written work, in a country where English is the official language. Evidence in the form of a letter or certificate issued by the university Registrar's office will need to be provided
  • Evidence of publications in English substantially written by the applicant.
  • In some instances, an interview with the Faculty may be required.

Eligibility for Selection

To be eligible for consideration for selection into a HDR program, an applicant must:

  • Meet the minimum entry requirements for the program;
  • Agree to commit to completing their designated program within the allowable period of candidature, being three years for a full time PhD student or 18 months for a full time Masters student or part time equivalent
  • If undertaking employment while enrolled, be free to pursue independent research consistent with the learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the program;
  • Agree to abide by all relevant legislation, policies, procedures and codes of practice as specified by the University.

Applications that contain falsified information or where the applicant misrepresents their academic or professional achievements will be rejected outright with no recourse for appeal.  If an application is found to contain false or misleading information subsequent to an offer of candidature but prior to the applicant’s enrolment, the University will withdraw its offer without consultation with no recourse for appeal within the University.  If an application is found to contain false or misleading information subsequent to the applicant being admitted to candidature (enrolling) the matter will be managed under the University’s academic misconduct policy.

Special circumstances for entry

Designated Cohorts

Federation University is committed to offering higher degrees by research to cohorts of applicants who meet special eligibility provisions and/or advanced standing.  Special eligibility provisions mean that applicants are exempt from a component of the normal admission criteria. The most common provision is that students may be granted exemption from meeting honours equivalence. Advanced standing means that students are not required to complete certain components of a program, in recognition of studies completed elsewhere or in another Federation University program. The most common provision is that students may be exempt from a certain proportion of advanced study units that might form part of a research higher degree.

This provision for eligibility and/or advanced standing for higher degree by research students applies only to designated cohorts. 

Designated cohorts are established by a Faculty after being granted approval by Academic Board. Entry to designated cohorts is available to identified applicants only.

The special conditions associated with designated cohorts are described below:

Minimum cohort Proposals to alter entry requirements for the purpose of a designated cohort intake must specify a minimum viable number of candidates for the cohort to be offered. This number will be not less than five candidates.
Cohort intake A designated cohort will normally consist of a single intake of candidates. Subsequent intakes of candidates into a designated cohort will require reapplication and approval.
Entry Requirements The University allows applicants with a coursework Masters degree, or Higher Education Graduate Diploma (the latter, provided they also have an undergraduate degree), to apply for entry to candidature.
Selection Process Entry is competitive (with limited places) and all applicants are interviewed. Selection is based on evidence of good academic achievement and timely completion in coursework studies, motivation and commitment, and prior involvement in research activities or research networks.
Application for entry Applicants are required to  (a) complete a University application form for admission to provisional candidature; (b) submit a short summary of their proposed research topic; (c) submit transcripts for each higher education qualification; (d) provide references from two people who can attest to academic ability and/or motivation, commitment and ability to complete tasks on time; and (e) provide a full CV.
Enrolment Study workload is discussed with potential HDR applicants at interview and an assurance sought that the applicant can allocate the required time to their studies.  Full- or part-time candidature is   discussed with applicants.
Program Coordinator Each designated cohort has a Faculty appointed coordinator with overall responsibility for oversight of the progress of the cohort.
Supervision A team approach to supervision is employed for each cohort.  Prior to confirmation of candidature, (the first 12 months of effective full time candidature for PhD candidates, or the first 6 months of effective full time candidature for Masters candidates) the supervisory team has joint overview of research skills development and research project development.  During   this period of candidature each student is allocated a principal supervisor and associate supervisor with appropriate expertise from within the supervisory team.
Supervisory Team The supervisory team is coordinated by the program coordinator; the team is expected to meet regularly and to articulate and establish expectations of students, expectations around supervision style, ensure students receive equitable treatment in terms of access, frequency of contact, and turnaround times for feedback. 
Support Program An integral component of a HDR special entry cohort program is the provision by the “home” Faculty of a research skills development support program over the period prior to confirmation of candidature.  This intensive support program is based upon an assessment of previous study and experience of the cohort members.  Participation in skills development modules is compulsory.   The Graduate Centre Program delivered by Research Services normally supplements the Faculty based skills development program.
Progress and Confirmation of Candidature Progress through candidature occurs in accord with normal University candidature procedures with the exception that satisfactory completion of the support program is required before candidates are permitted to attempt confirmation of candidature.

Honours Equivalence for Nominated Federation University Programs

Some Federation University postgraduate programs by coursework, which include a research component, have been approved for honours equivalence. Subject to satisfactory completion of required courses, graduates of these programs are deemed to meet honours equivalence and are therefore eligible for an offer of probationary candidature in a Higher Degree by Research program.  The content of these programs has been reviewed by assessing the research component of the prescribed courses making up the program.  In doing so, the credit point total of the research component of each program, the type of independent research undertaken, and the discipline-appropriate research methodology training have been compared to the composition and outcomes of the University’s honours programs.  Honours equivalency applies to all students who successfully complete the program, and who complete the specified courses at the required Grade Point Average (GPA). Further information regarding nominated Federation University programs is presented in the Selection and Awarding of Higher Degree by Research Places Procedure.

GPA requirements:

GPA (%) Honours equivalence HDR Program Eligibility
>80 First class honours Doctoral Degree (Research, Professional)
75 - 79 Second class honours, upper A division Doctoral Degree (Research, Professional)
70 - 74 Second class honours, lower A division Masters Degree (Research)
60 - 69 Second class honours, B division Masters Degree (Research)
<60 Third class honours Not eligible for entry

Requirements for honours equivalence (where a full year of study is taken as 120 credit points):

  • The program must include at least 60 credit points of research-related coursework including a research project.
  • One course must include a research project, assessment of which involves the production of a thesis of at least 12,000 – 15,000 words.
  • The thesis must be worth at least 30 credit points.
  • The thesis must be assessed in the same manner as an honours thesis, i.e. normally two internal examiners.

The programs approved, and the course of study requirements for obtaining honours equivalence, are listed in the Honours Equivalence for Nominated Federation University Programs Schedule. This approval for honours equivalence applies only to programs listed in the Schedule and does not automatically transfer to other similar programs even if some of the courses are in common.

Degree or institution transfer

HDR candidates from other institutions may wish to transfer their candidature to Federation University.  Federation University requires that evidence from the previous institute be provided relating to the enrolment period to determine the conditions of candidature at the time of application to Federation University.  The period of enrolment at the previous institution will be deducted from the period of candidature at Federation University.  This procedure is in line with Government Research Training Scheme Guidelines.   

Where a current HDR candidate requests to transfer to another HDR program, they will not be awarded a new Federation University funded place (including RTS). Their remaining funding will be adjusted by the period of elapsed candidature. This includes candidates transferring from Masters by Research programs to Doctoral programs, transfer between doctoral programs and transfer from a Doctoral program to a Masters by Research program.

Transfer to Federation University will not be allowed for candidates who are in the final year of their candidature or who have exhausted their RTS allocation.

Application by international students

Prospective applicants from overseas should contact Federation University International Offices for advice on application and admission procedures, scholarship opportunities, English language requirements, and fees.

Australian and United Nations sanctions

Eligibility for an offer of candidature for international students may be impacted by Australian and United Nations Sanctions, including the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011.  Sanctions are coercive or punitive measures imposed by governments as a means of influencing regimes to alter their behaviour. Australia imposes two main types of sanctions:

  • multilateral sanctions based on resolutions made by the United Nations Security Council; and,
  • autonomous Australian sanctions.

Sanctioned individuals will not be offered candidature.

The University undertakes a risk assessment process for all citizens from sanctioned countries applying for HDR candidature. This assessment determines whether:

1. The applicant is a sanctioned individual; and/or,

2. The proposed field of study is sanctioned

Selection

Selection of applicants for an offer of probationary candidature in a Higher Degree by Research program is governed by the Selection and Awarding of an HDR Place.

Deferment

Applicants who have received a written offer of probationary candidature in a higher degree by research program may be granted deferment on application. A written application must be made within two weeks of receiving the letter of offer. Deferment for a period of six months may be granted where appropriate. The maximum period of deferment will be 12 months. Deferment cannot be offered once a student has enrolled. If a student deferring a place has also received a scholarship offer, the scholarship will become void and they will be required to reapply for a scholarship in the next round.

Higher Degrees by Research in partnership

The University will offer Higher Degree by Research awards in partnership with suitable partner higher education institutions. These awards include:

  Cotutelle type award Joint award
Enrolment Simultaneous enrolment in a higher degree by research at Federation University and an approved higher educational institution overseas. Both institutions oversee the progress Simultaneous enrolment in a higher degree by research at Federation University and an approved higher educational institution within Australia or overseas. One institution is designated as lead.
Thesis submission The candidate will submit one thesis for assessment by both institutions. The candidate will submit one thesis to the lead institution.
Examination Subject to satisfactory completion of all agreed award requirements, the candidate will be examined at each institution, Subject to satisfactory completion of all agreed award requirements, the candidate will be examined at one institution.
Award of degree Subject to satisfactory examination, a degree will be awarded to the candidate by both institutions. Subject to satisfactory examination, the degree will be jointly awarded to the candidate by the two institutions.
Testamur The candidate will be awarded two testamurs, one from each institution. The candidate will be awarded a single testamur bearing the crests of both institutions.
Graduation Two graduation ceremonies One graduation ceremony

Where the partnering institution is a domestic one, TEQSA requirements are for the two providers offering a joint degree to confer a single qualification under the authority of both governing bodies, on a single testamur bearing the crests and authorising signatures of both providers.  It is not acceptable for each provider to confer its own qualification on its own testamur, and a joint course must lead to only a single qualification.  That is, a joint degree between Federation University and a domestic partner may not be a cotutelle type award.

Where the partnering institution is an international one, and where it is not permissible for a single testamur to be issued, TEQSA requirements allow for the two providers offering a joint degree to confer separate qualifications under the authority of each governing body, on separate testamurs each bearing the crest and authorising signature of the respective provider.  That is, a degree offered in partnership between Federation University and an international partner may be a cotutelle type award or a joint award.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) has overall responsibility for overseeing Higher Degrees by Research in partnership awards.  The research study program proposed at the partner institution must be approved by Academic Board on the recommendation of Research Committee.  If the partner is an international institution, the Higher Degree by Research program must comply with the Offshore Quality Assurance Policy if applicable.  The international partner institution must be approved by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and University Council.  In order to be a partner an international institution must:

  • Be of good standing.
  • Offer programs of comparable standard to those offered by Federation University Australia.
  • Have appropriately qualified staff.
  • Have facilities, equipment and physical resources of the appropriate standard for the carrying out of the Higher Degree by Research.

Normally, the higher education institution with whom Federation University Australia will jointly offer the program will be nominated by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation).  For international partnerships, approval must be obtained by the appropriate bodies within the partner institution and from their respective Government.  A Memorandum of Understanding between Federation University Australia and the partner institution should be prepared concerning the awarding of a joint or cotutelle Higher Degree by Research.

Conditions of Candidature

Status

Full-time candidature applies to a candidate who is enrolled as a full-time candidate and whose primary commitment of time is to higher degree scholarship and research.  Part-time candidature applies to a candidate who is enrolled as a part-time candidate and whose primary commitment of time is not to higher degree scholarship and research; such a candidate is normally able to commit sufficient time so as to make satisfactory progress in their candidature. In equivalence terms, part-time candidature is half of full-time candidature.

Research Training Scheme and University Funded Places

Federation University grants fee remission (Research Training Scheme places) to Higher Degree by Research candidates as follows:

 

  • All candidates who are holders of an Australian Postgraduate Award and are undertaking an approved higher degree by research program will automatically qualify for an RTS place;
  • Candidates who are not scholarship holders but are enrolled in the following programs may also be eligible for an RTS or Federation University-funded place: 1. Doctoral Degrees (Research) or (Professional) programs. 2. Masters Degree (Research) programs.
  • Only domestic students are offered RTS funded places at FedUni with the exception of IPRS recipients.

RTS places will be distributed annually on the basis of:

  • The number of RTS places available,
  • Academic merit and continuing satisfactory progress,
  • Preference will be given to students aligned with Federation University's strategic research directions.

An enrolled candidate who is awarded an RTS place is given fee remission for the normal period of candidature (3 years with a 6 month extension upon request and provision of a justified case for extension for doctoral candidates; 18 months with a 6 month extension upon request and provision of a justified case for extension for masters candidates).  An additional period of 6 months of candidature with fee remission may be applied for by doctoral candidates.  A candidate who remains enrolled beyond the end date of the maximum period of candidature covered by an RTS place (4 years for full-time Doctoral Degree candidates or equivalent part-time candidature; 2 years for fulltime Masters Degree candidates or equivalent part-time candidature) will become liable for paying the remaining tuition fees.

Candidates enrolled beyond the maximum period of candidature (4 years for full-time Doctoral Degree candidates or equivalent part-time candidature; 2 years for full-time Masters Degree candidates or equivalent part-time candidature) shall not normally be eligible for a continued tuition fee exemption, and may revert to a full fee-paying place unless the Executive Dean or nominee has provided a case for review to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or approved nominee as to why this should not occur.  These cases must be approved prior to the end of the maximum period of candidature.  If a candidate is overtime or has used all of their RTS place, and they are ready to submit their thesis, they must do so prior to the next census date set by the University to avoid course fees.

Provision of a HDR place, whether fee-paying or fee-exempt, is for the provision of research training and supervision. It does not include enrolment in any other course of study available at the University where a student would normally receive a grade or competency evaluation. HDR Candidates wishing to undertake courses of study at Federation University additional to their higher degree by research program may do so under audit (attend classes but not enrol in the course, undertake assessment, or receive a grade for the course) with approval of the course coordinator, unless they wish to pay private enrolment course fees.

Letters of offer

When applicants are made an offer of probationary candidature they are required to sign an acceptance of offer letter which sets out the terms and conditions of their candidature. Should any of their conditions of candidature substantially change, a new letter of offer may be required.

Conditional offers

An offer of probationary candidature may be conditional upon the applicant undertaking certain designated activities and meeting certain requirements.  Such conditions will be specified in the letter of offer and the applicant must sign a formal acceptance agreement to be admitted to candidature.

Probationary candidature

Initial admission to Higher Degree by Research candidature is on a provisional basis, and an application for confirmed candidature must be made as follows, unless otherwise approved by Academic Board:

  • Doctoral candidates: within 12 months of commencing full-time probationary candidature or within 24 months of commencing part-time probationary candidature.
  • Masters candidates: within 6 months of commencing full-time probationary candidature or within 12 months of commencing part-time probationary candidature

For candidature to be confirmed, the candidate must complete such processes as determined by the Academic Board to demonstrate that a viable research program has been developed, satisfactory progress has been made, and that the degree requirements can be completed within the period allowed.  Details of the Confirmation process are provided in Candidature Management Policy and Procedure.

Duration of candidature

The duration of candidature is prescribed by Regulation 5.1.  The minimum period of Doctoral Degree candidature is 1 year of full-time study and the maximum period is 4 years of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study.  The minimum period of Masters candidature is 1 year of full-time study and the maximum period is 2 years of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study.

Full-time and part-time candidature

Higher Degree by Research candidates may enrol on a full-time or a part-time basis. However, international students on Australian student visas are required to enrol on a full-time basis.

The University encourages HDR candidates to regularly attend the University and participate in the intellectual and research activities of their Faculty.  All students are required to:

  • Communicate regularly with the supervisory team to discuss progress. For full-time students this should occur at least once every two weeks and for part-time students at least once every calendar month. This contact may occur using various forms of interactive communication.
  • Where possible, attend courses, seminars, workshops and activities as agreed with the supervisors.

External/off-campus candidature

Admission

Candidates may elect to study on-campus where they shall pursue their studies wholly under the auspices of the University and normally shall carry out such work, other than field work, at the University.  Candidates may elect to study off-campus provided they have the approval of RHDSC and the Faculty to pursue their studies at another suitable location.  Communication between external candidates and their supervisors should meet the requirements stipulated above in “Full-time and part-time candidature”.

International candidates located within Australia and holding a student visa cannot be enrolled as external/off-campus HDR candidates.  International candidates requesting to transfer to this mode will have their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) cancelled.

Approval for external/off-campus enrolment is not automatic. The relevant Faculty must confirm that the prospective applicant has the research experience to pursue independent, sustained and structured research off-campus, and that appropriate research facilities are available.   Final approval of any case for external/off campus enrolment will be made by the RHDSC.

Primary location of the research

Where the research is principally being undertaken at another research site (e.g. archives repository, field site, laboratory, commercial or governmental research station, another university, etc.), the RHDSC must be assured by the relevant Faculty that the site provides a research environment which offers appropriate resources, facilities and research expertise for the duration of the enrolment.

Articulation between standard and external enrolment

Candidates may be permitted to transfer between standard and external/off-campus enrolment, as assessed by the Faculty and approved by Academic Board on a case-by-case basis.

Scholarships

An Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) may be awarded to an applicant proposing to undertake studies as an external/off-campus candidate. The support of the relevant Faculty will be required.

Additional requirements where the external/off campus student is pursuing research at another institution/research station

  • A joint agreement on the research program needs to be negotiated between the University and the external site.
  • Occupational Health and Safety training relevant to the research location must be undertaken by the student.
  • Agreement on ownership of intellectual property should be reached before enrolment begins.
  • Where applicable, every effort should be made to rationalise ethics approval processes between the University and the host institution.

Awarding of scholarships

HDR student scholarships

Scholarships for Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents

Federation University offers a range of scholarships for HDR candidates, including Australian Postgraduate Awards (APAs), and Federation Postgraduate Research Scholarships (FPRS). These are advertised each year with a closing date of 31 October, to be commenced by 31st March of the following year.  Currently enrolled candidates are eligible to apply for scholarships.

APAs are governed by the terms and conditions set out by the Australian Government.

FPRSs are governed by the conditions outlined in the Awarding of Scholarships Procedure.

ATSI Scholarships

The University is committed to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander post-graduate research opportunities.  With respect to ATSI applicants for HDR scholarships the University addresses this objective by:

  • Flexibility and affirmative action in the assessment of the background and competitiveness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants scholarships;
  • Offering an Indigenous Higher Degree by Research scholarship for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researcher to undertake full-time Higher Degree by Research studies.
  • Extending the normal period of scholarship payment for the degree in which an ATSI HDR candidate is enrolled;

The awarding of scholarships to ATSI applicants is conducted under the processes as detailed in the Awarding and Conditions of Higher Degree by Research Scholarships Procedure.

Scholarships for International Students

Scholarships available for International students are the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and the Special Overseas Student Scholarship (SOSS). These scholarships are available to higher degree by research applicants from any country other than Australia or New Zealand. The scholarships cover tuition fees and may also include financial support in the form of a stipend.  Student visas, travel, healthcare and accommodation matters are not covered by the SOSS and should be discussed with the International Student Support Office.  

Externally funded Scholarships

Scholarships from funding sources external to the University, such as government or contracted industry partners, must be awarded on merit. Externally funded scholarships may be advertised or may be awarded on the basis of nomination/invitation by either partner.  Applicants would normally be expected to take up the scholarship on a full-time basis, unless there were exceptional circumstances.  Part-time candidature would need to be approved by the University and the external partner.  Probationary candidates / candidates taking up industry funded scholarships may have to sign an agreement with the industry partner. Domestic or International Students may be eligible to apply.

Scholarship Eligibility

To be considered eligible for the award of a scholarship, applicants must:

  • be an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen, Australian permanent resident, or the recipient of an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship;
  • meet the University’s entry requirements as specified above;
  • have applied for candidature in, or be currently enrolled in, a higher degree by research program at Federation University Australia;
  • not have already completed a research qualification at the same or higher level as the program for which a scholarship is being applied for;
  • not have previously held an APA, FPRS, IPRS or SOSS for six months or more;
  • if a current Federation University Australia higher degree by research candidate, have at least 12 months full-time equivalent candidature remaining;
  • be able to take up the scholarship on a full-time basis, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Specific criteria for eligibility for the various scholarships offered by Federation University are presented in the Awarding and Conditions of Higher Degree by Research Scholarships Procedure.

Scholarship Selection

General Principles

In the selection of applicants for awarding of scholarships across the various Faculties, the University strives to achieve a balance of gender, discipline and strategic considerations whilst ensuring that the criterion of academic merit of applicants is paramount.  In considering applications for scholarships, the University ensures that it operates in accord with the University’s Fair and Transparent Decision Making Guidelines.

Scholarships are normally awarded to candidates to be enrolled in a doctoral degree.  In some circumstances applicants seeking entry to a Masters degree candidature may be awarded a scholarship. 

Selection Process

The processing of applications for scholarships is described in detail in the Awarding and Conditions of Higher Degree by Research Scholarships Procedure. 

Terms and conditions of scholarships

The general terms and conditions of APAs and IPRSs can be found on the Department of Education and Training website and in the Higher Degree by Research Student Handbook. Terms and conditions for FPRSs are presented below.  Where appropriate, the terms and conditions for a FPRS match those for an APA as described in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines.  Specific terms and conditions are detailed in the Awarding and Conditions of Higher Degree by Research Scholarships Procedure. Terms and conditions for external and industry funded scholarships are set out in the funding contract. Where this is not the case, the terms and conditions below will be used.

General terms and Conditions

  • Scholarships awarded to full-time candidates are conditional on maintaining full-time enrolment in the HDR program as specified in the letter of offer.  If a candidate converts to part-time enrolment, the scholarship will be suspended unless there are compassionate or compelling personal circumstances that prevent the candidate from enrolling as a full-time student. Part-time enrolment and pro-rata payments may be approved for a scholarship holder under such circumstances.
  • The scholarship must commence within the dates specified in the letter of offer. While the offer of candidature may be deferred for up to 12 months, commencement of scholarships cannot be deferred
  • The living allowance will not be suspended for the period that a candidate takes recreation leave, sick leave, carer’s leave, compassionate leave, family or maternity/paternity leave as detailed below.  Request for paid leave must be supported by relevant documentation, e.g. medical certificates or verification of personal circumstances.  The living allowance will be extended for periods of paid sick leave or maternity leave following University staff leave provisions.
  • If a candidate is granted leave from studies from their HDR program, their living allowance will be suspended until they return from leave.  The duration of the scholarship will be extended by the duration of the leave from studies.
  • If a candidate transfers from a Masters degree to a Doctoral degree, the total duration of the scholarship will be up to 3 years from the date that the candidate commenced the Masters degree, with a possible extension of 6 months.  If a candidate transfers from a Doctoral degree to a Masters degree, the total duration of the scholarship will be up to 2 years from the date that the candidate commenced the Doctoral degree. In the latter circumstance, if the scholarship has already been held for more than 2 years, it will cease on the date of the transfer unless there are exceptional circumstances and continuation of the scholarships is approved by the DVC (R&I).
  • The scholarship will cease if the candidate submits their research thesis for examination, withdraws from the program, lapses, fails to re-enrol, or their enrolment is terminated by the University (e.g. due to unsatisfactory progress or misconduct).
  • A candidate who has completed a Masters degree by research may continue to receive the scholarship for a Doctoral degree, up to a maximum period of 3 years and 6 months from the beginning of Masters degree candidature, provided there is no interval between the completion of the Masters degree and commencement of the Doctoral degree, or the candidate applies for and is granted scholarship leave for the interval between completion of the Master degree and commencement of the Doctoral degree.
  • A candidate who receives a living allowance as part of their scholarship, is permitted to receive a concurrent award, scholarship or salary in relation to their course of study, provided the concurrent award, scholarship or salary is less than 75% of the annual value of the living allowance.
  • An enrolled candidate who is a scholarship holder is given fee remission for 100% of the tuition fees (RTS place) for the duration of the scholarship.  An additional period of 6 months of candidature with fee remission may be applied for.  A candidate who remains enrolled beyond the end date of the maximum period of candidature covered by an RTS place may become liable for paying the remaining tuition fees.

An international candidate who becomes an Australian permanent resident after having commenced their scholarship, must notify the University immediately. In this circumstance the candidate’s fee-remission scholarship will cease, however their tuition fees will be covered by the Research Training Scheme and they will continue to receive their living allowance.   

Codes of conduct for HDR candidates

Federation University is committed to the conduct of ethical and responsible research and research training.  HDR candidates are bound by the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and Procedure and the staff and student code of conduct. Students may be requested to complete training in these matters during the course of their candidature as a mandatory requirement prior to confirmation of candidature.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

Federation University Australia is committed to establishing best practice in providing a workplace and environment that are, as far as practicable, safe and without risk to health.  HDR candidates are bound and protected by the University’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Procedure.

Equal Opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation requirements

Federation University Australia is committed to providing a workplace and environment that is free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.  HDR candidates are bound by the University’s Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Policy and Procedure.

Complaints and Grievances

Students may submit a complaint or grievance in relation to the application of this procedure in accordance with the Student Complaints and Grievances Policy and the Student Complaints and Grievances Procedure.

Privacy

All personal information collected by the University is governed by the University's Privacy Policy. The following are examples of instances where the University will use and disclose your personal information for legitimate purposes:

  • providing information to Centrelink;
  • releasing statistical information to relevant government bodies such as the Department of Education, and the Office of Training and Tertiary Education;
  • releasing relevant information to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the Department of Education, and the Australian Taxation Office

Supporting Documents

  • Higher Degrees by Research Student Handbook
  • Autonomous Sanctions Act
  • Defence Trade Controls Act
  • Education Services for Overseas Students Act
  • Deferment and Leave From Studies Policy
  • Fair and Transparent Decision making Guidelines
  • Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research - Research Training Scheme (RTS).
  • Federation University Australia Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Federation University Australia Charter
  • Federation University Australia Responsibilities for the Provision of Research Higher Degrees (these details are included in the application form for Registration to the Register of Higher Degree Research Supervisors).
  • Federation University Australia - Joint NHMRC /AVCC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (these details are included in the application form for Registration to the Register of Higher Degree Research Supervisors).
  • Attributes Expected Of Research Degree Graduates of Federation University Australia.

Responsibility

Responsibilities

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) or approved nominee.

Promulgation

The HDR Candidate Selection Policy will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice under ‘FedNews’ website and through the University Policy - ‘Recently Approved Documents’ webpage to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. inclusion on the University Policy, Procedure and Forms website; and/or
  3. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and/or
  4. documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures.
  5. Other - please describe

Implementation

The HDR Candidate Selection Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. information Sessions; and/or
  2. training Sessions; and/or
  3. Other - please describe

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Application for Enrolment as a Probationary Candidate for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Masters by Research Research Services Director Temporary - retain on the student file for 7 years from date of program completion.

Higher Degree by Research Scholarship Application Form

- Successful applicants

- Unsuccessful applicants

Research Services Director

Temporary - retain 7 years after delivery of award

Temporary - retain 12 months after application decision

Application form for admission to the Register of Higher Degree Research Supervisors Research Services Director Temporary - retain 12 months after application decision

Application forms for appointment as:

Director of Provisional Principal Supervisors &

Provisional Principal Supervisor.

Research Services Director Temporary - retain 12 months after application decision
Register of Higher Degree Re- search Supervisors Research Services Director Temporary - retain 50 years after last supervision of student