HDR Candidate Selection

Selection and Awarding of HDR Place Procedure

Policy Code: RS1932

Purpose

This procedure describes requirements for admission to FedUni higher degree by research programs and principles for the selection of HDR places.

Scope

This Procedure applies to all Higher Degree by Research candidature applicants, enrolled candidates, persons with supervisory or administrative responsibilities for HDR candidates and candidature applications

Legislative Context

  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) – establishes TEQSA as an agency which regulates using the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards)
  • Regulation 5.1 – Higher Doctorates, Doctoral Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Professional) and Masters Degree (Research)

Definitions

Term Definition
Candidate/ Student enrolled in a higher degree by research program.
Candidiate/Supervisor agreement Formal written agreement between the supervisor and candidate outlining meeting frequency and methods, expertise provision and other candidature matters.
Confirmation of Candidature Milestone by which a candidate confirms that their research project is viable and is approved to continue.
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 An approved group of potential applicants identified as having common characteristics (such as completion of a particular qualification) for the purposes of gaining special entry.
EDGS Executive Dean of Graduate Studies – academic staff member responsible for overseeing HDR programs, HDR candidates and supervisors.
EFTSL Estimated full time study load.
Employee Any staff member employed by FedUni 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, registers their program and course of study with FedUni by submitting a form of enrolment signed by both the applicant and the course coordinator or person of equivalent authority.
ESOS Act Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, as amended from time to time.
External Candidate Where a candidate conducts their research from an approved external location, such as a laboratory, and an agreement exists between the location and FedUni
Faculty Academic units at Federation University
FPRS FedUni Postgraduate Research Stipend
Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Program One of the following courses of study: Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral Degree (Professional).
Higher Degree by Research candidate A FedUni student enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral degree (Professional).
IELTS International English Language Testing System
Leave from studies Period of either six or 12 months, covering a normal teaching period(s), where an enrolled student is excused from formal study.
Offer Offer of Admission to Candidature – The written offer provided to an applicant for admission to a HDR program.
Off-campus candidate Where a candidate studies at a location other than an on campus or an approved external facility.
Probationary candidate A FedUni student enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral degree (Professional) who has not yet completed the confirmation of candidature process.
RHDC Research Higher Degrees Committee – A standing committee of Academic Board that deals with Higher Degree by Research matters
RPA Research Priority Area
RTP Reseacrch Training Program: Federal Government funding scheme that enables the provision of HDR fee offset and stipend scholarships.
SOSS Special Overseas Student Scholarship – fee scholarship to cover the cost of tuition fees for international students
Stipend A fortnightly scholarship paid to a candidate to cover living expenses
Supervisor - Associate A staff member of FedUni who meets the requirements of and has been approved for inclusion on the Register of Supervisors as a supervisor and provides support to a candidate and to the Principal Supervisor.
Supervisor – Co-supervisor An individual who is external to FedUni who meets the requirements of and has been approved for inclusion on the Register of Supervisors as a supervisor and provides support to a candidate and to the Principal Supervisor.
Supervisor - Principal A staff member of FedUni who meets the requirements of and has been approved for inclusion on the Register of Supervisors as a principal supervisor and has primary oversight of a HDR candidate’s research.
Supervisor - Provisional Principal A staff member who does not meet the requirements to be listed as a principal supervisor on the Register of Supervisors but has the support of their Faculty to act as a principal supervisor under the guidance of a mentor who is registered as a Principal Supervisor.
TEQSA Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency

Actions

Applying

Applications to FedUni HDR programs must be made in accordance to the method outlined on the FedUni website and include the evidence identified on the HDR Application Form or they will not be considered. Applicants should discuss the following with a potential supervisor aligned to their intended research::

i)                 The process of applying to FedUni, and

ii)                An appropriate research topic.

Applications for admission to candidature will be accepted at any time of the year.

Meeting Entry Requirements

Academic and English language entry requirements for admission to HDR candidature at FedUni are detailed in Higher Degree by Research Candidate Selection Policy.  Where an applicant does not meet standard academic entry requirements, the applicant will be required to establish a case for honours equivalence. 

Establishing a Case for Honours Equivalence for Entry Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate that they have previously undertaken research and generated outputs equivalent to an Australian-honours level program in terms of both quantity and quality.  This will require an applicant to have:

  • Undertaken research or research-related activity for approximately 6 to 9 months full-time or part-time equivalent as evidenced by exhibitions of creative work or peer reviewed publications or reports, or
  • Have completed a coursework masters degree with research components.

The research produced must include publications or a minor thesis of at least 12,000 - 15,000 words, be equivalent to a first-class or second-class honours (upper division) for entry to a PhD, or second class honours (lower division) for entry to a Master's Degree.

Applicants can support their case by providing evidence of awards or prizes based on research outcomes and evidence of involvement in the production of refereed publications or other appropriate research outputs.  The application should include copies of papers, a statement of the applicant's contribution to the paper(s), and detail of the type of publication and evidence of peer review.

Honours equivalence based on Masters by Coursework

The following guideline can be used to determine whether the quantity of research training is sufficient to meet entry requirements in terms of honours equivalence.

Where a course-work degree is two years (240 credit points) or 18 months (180 credit points) or equivalent, applicants need to demonstrate that at least 75 credit points were for courses related to research, including a minor thesis of at least 12,000 words that has been examined by internal or external examiners.

The applicant should provide information on all undergraduate and postgraduate study undertaken, together with transcripts, including detail of the weight (credit points) of any research or research-related components of the course(s).  Where an overseas qualification is listed, an assessment of the comparability of the qualification with Australian qualifications by an independent source will be undertaken.

A case for honours equivalence based on professional research experience

Where research has been undertaken in the course of employment, or other research-related activity, the following evidence can be used to make the case that the quantity and quality of research is sufficient to meet entry requirements:

  • Type and length of employment in a research related position,
  • Duties and activities undertaken in the course of employment,
  • Evidence of peer-reviewed publications or reports produced in relation to employment or activity,
  • Evidence of exhibitions or publications of creative work with peer review,
  • Evidence of awards or prizes received.

The Application and Selection Process

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1. Complete and submit HDR application for Candidature. HDR Applicant Complete and submit application and provide documents as outlined on the FedUni website.
2. Application processing HDR admissions officer HDR admissions officer compiles application and checks for completeness, undertakes initial eligibility assessment and forwards to Faculty of potential enrolment.
3. Faculty Assessment

Executive Dean of Faculty

ADR

Faculty of potential enrolment assesses the candidate for suitability of the proposed project area, eligibility against academic entry requirements, availability of appropriate supervision, acceptance of candidate by supervisor and availability of resources to support the research. 

Additional candidature requirements and conditions of candidature to be included in the Letter of Offer of Admission to Candidature can be stipulated by the Faculty during this process.

The Executive Dean of the Faculty in which the applicant will be enrolled is responsible for ensuring that appropriate supervision, facilities and resources are available for the applicant and must endorse the selection of the applicant.

Where the proposed supervision team is cross-faculty, the Executive Dean of each faculty must endorse the supervision arrangement relevant to their faculty.

Where an application is unsuitable, the Faculty returns the application to the HDR admissions officer to advise the applicant.

4. Approval of offer of probationary candidature Chair, RHDC Chair, RHDC approves offer of probationary candidature.
5. Offer of Probationary Candidature HDR admissions officer, Executive Dean Graduate Studies An Offer of Admission to Candidature, outlining the terms and conditions of candidature is generated and sent to applicant.
6. Acceptance of Probationary Candidature Applicant The applicant returns a signed acceptance of the letter of offer of probationary candidature within the designated time frame.

Letter of Offer of Admission to Candidature

The Letter of Offer of Admission to Candidature must as a minimum include

  • Program and course of enrolment,
  • Principal and associate supervisors,
  • Period of candidature,
  • Information on student fees,
  • Conditions of candidature, and
  • Any special requirements.

Where a candidate does not return the acceptance within the required timeframe as indicated in the Letter of Offer to Admission to Candidature, their offer of candidature will lapse.

Conditions of Candidature

The Offer of Admission to Candidature will include requirements set by the Faculty or Chair, RHDC that a candidate must undertake to confirm their candidature. Faculties should include any additional requirements on the Faculty section of the HDR Application Form. Additional requirements are subject to the approval of the Executive Dean Graduate Studies.

Designated Cohorts

Faculties may apply to the Academic Board via RHDC to create special or reduced entry requirements for a cohort of students entering a Higher Degree by Research program. HDR candidates who enter FedUni via a Designated Cohort will be required to complete all milestones and progress requirements within the described timelines as stipulated in the Candidature Management Policy. Once approved, applications for entry to a designated cohort will be accepted for a period of 12 months.

Establishing a Designated Cohort

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1. Make a case for special entry Faculty, Executive Dean of Faculty

The following information should be provided on the Designated Cohort Approval form:

  • The program for which special arrangements are sought.
  • Estimated size of the cohort intake.
  • Background, type of training, qualifications and experience applicants will normally hold.
  • How the deficit in research training will be met.
  • The contact person (by position) within the Faculty.
  • The rationale for the request.
  • The supervision arrangements that will be put in place.
  • Details of any industry involvement.
  • The risks associated with the special arrangements and proposed risk management procedures.
  • Proposed semester of enrolment.

The Designated Cohort Approval form should be submitted to the Secretariat of RHDC for consideration.

2. Consider application for designated cohort RHDC RHDC will consider the application at the next available meeting. RHDC may forward the application to Academic Board with a recommendation to approve, request further information or reject the application.
3. Consider application for designated cohort Academic Board

Academic Board will consider RHDC's recommendation for approval of the application for a designated cohort.

Academic Board may approve the application, request further information or reject the application.

4. Notify decision and place approval on special/eligibility register Academic Board The Faculty will be informed of the outcome. Where the designated cohort has been approved, it will be added to the Register of Designated Cohorts.

Establishing a Case for Honours Equivalence for a Nominated Federation University Program

Federation University postgraduate programs by coursework which include a research component may meet the requirements 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.

Graduates of these programs must meet entry requirements for honours equivalence as follows:

Entry to PhD: Equivalence to H2A or above with an average score in research-related coursesof 70% or more (GPA 6, Distinction average).

Entry to Masters: Equivalence to H2B or above with an average score in research-related courses of 60% or more (GPA 5, Credit average)

To make a case for honours equivalence for a nominated program, the following process should be followed:

  Steps Who is responsible? Comments
1. Make a case for honours equivalence of a postgraduate program. Executive Dean of Faculty / Program coordinator

Provide the following evidence on the appropriate form:

  • Program name and details
  • List of identified courses with research component, course description link and credit points
  • Brief outline of how courses meet honours equivalence
2. Recommend program for honours equivalence. RHDC RHDC will consider the application at the next available meeting. RHDC may forward the application to Academic Board, request further information or deny the application
3. Approve honours equivalence Academic Board

Academic Board will consider RHDCs recommendation for approval of the application for a designated cohort.

Academic Board approves the application, requests further information or denies the application.

4. Notify Faculty of decision Academic Board The Faculty will be informed of the decision. If approved, the program will added to the list of recognised programs with Honours Equivalence.

Responsibility

  • Responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure/s –  Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Innovation
  • Responsible for maintaining the content of this policy as delegated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Innovation, Executive Dean Graduate Studies
  • Responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this policy as directed by the Executive Dean Graduate Studies , Research Integrity & Policy Coordinator

Promulgation

The Selection and Awarding of Scholarships Procedure RS1932 will be communicated in the form of:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University community of the approved Policy,
  2. Distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff, and/or
  3. Notification to Faculties.

Implementation

The Selection and Awarding of Scholarships Procedure RS1932 will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy,
  2. Training sessions.

Records Management

 

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
HDR Application Form – candidate, supervisor and Faculty sections The University’s approved records management system Executive Dean, Graduate Studies Temporary - retain on the student file for 7 years from date of program completion
Designated Cohort Application Form The University’s approved records management system Executive Dean, Graduate Studies Temporary - retain on file for 7 years from date of program completion
Honours Equivalence for a Nominated FedUni Program The University’s approved records management system Executive Dean, Graduate Studies Temporary - retain on file for 7 years from date of program completion