HDR Candidate Selection

Document Currently Under Review

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

Selection and Awarding of HDR Place Procedure

Policy Code: RS1932

Purpose

This Procedure describes the procedure involved in applying for a Higher Degree by Research place, as well as the procedure to be followed in selection of a prospective candidate for entry into a Higher Degree by Research program. This procedure should be read in conjunction with the Higher Degree by Research Candidate Selection Policy.

Scope

 

This Procedure applies to all parties involved in the application for selection of, and awarding of Higher Degree by Research places, including:

  • Higher Degree by Research applicants;
  • Persons with supervisory responsibilities for Higher Degree by Research students;
  • Persons with administrative responsibilities for Higher Degree by Research students;
  • Research Services;
  • Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

Legislative Context

Definitions

Term Definition
Higher Degree by Research One of the following programs: Doctoral Degree (Research), Doctoral degree (Professional) or Master Degree (Research).
Higher degree by research candidate A Federation University Australia candidate enrolled in a Doctoral Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Professional) or Master Degree (Research).
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.
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 Doctoral Degree (Research), Doctoral degree (Professional) or Master Degree (Research).A program may contain subsidiary elements variously referred to as courses, competency units or modules.
Offer When an applicant to the University is informed in writing that they have a place in a course of study.
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.
Principal Supervisor A person who is an employee of the University and has prime responsibility for guiding the progress of a designated higher degree by research student.
Associate Supervisor A person who is an employee of the University and provides support to the student and to the Principal Supervisor.
Co Supervisor A person who provides support to the student and to the Principal Supervisor but is external to the University and is not an employee of the University.
RTS (Research Training Scheme) Provides fee exemption places for selected domestic higher degree by research candidates for a defined period.
Advanced standing Exemption from certain components of a program on the basis of studies completed elsewhere or in another University program.
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
RHDSC Research Higher Degrees Sub Committee – A subcommittee of Research Committee with some delegated authority regarding Higher Degree by Research candidature
Probationary Candidature   The period of candidature prior to completion of the Confirmation of Candidature process.  Normally up to 12 months for candidates enrolled full-time in the Doctoral Degree (Research) and (Professional) or equivalent part-time, and normally up to 6 months for candidates enrolled full-time in the Master Degree (Research) or equivalent part-time.

Actions

Actions

Meeting Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for admission to HDR candidature at Federation University Australia are detailed in Higher Degree by Research Candidate Selection Policy.  If an applicant does not meet these requirements they will need to establish a case for honours equivalence. 

Establishing a Case for Honours Equivalence for Entry Requirements

Applicants who are applying for entry without Honours or Masters by Research qualifications will be required to provide supplementary information to support their application. This is referred to as Honours equivalence.

To build a case for honours equivalence, the applicant will need to demonstrate that they have previously undertaken research and generated outputs at an honours level standard in terms of both quantity and quality.  This will require the 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
  • undertaken research as part of a coursework masters.

The research produced must be at a level equivalent to a first or second class honours (upper division) for entry to a Doctoral Degree, or second class honours (lower division) for entry to a Masters Degree, with publications or a minor thesis of at least 15,000 words and other supporting activity.

A case for honours equivalence based on Masters by Coursework

If the research has been undertaken during a Masters by Coursework then the following guidelines can be used to determine whether the quantity of research training (combined research project plus research-related coursework) is sufficient to meet entry requirements in terms of honours equivalence; in the following examples, a semester is considered to be six months of full-time study.  The percentage values below relate to the proportion of research-related work carried out during the degree and do NOT relate to the grades received.

Research project   Research-related coursework (e.g. research methods study)
100% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full-time study Plus 25% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full time study
75% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full-time study Plus 50% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full time study
50% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full-time study Plus 75% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full time study
25% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full-time study Plus 100% of credit points for at least 1 semester of full time study

The applicant should provide information on all postgraduate study undertaken, together with transcripts, including detail on 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, for example Australian Education International (through the National Office of Overseas Skills recognition) should be included, where possible.

Applicants can support their case by the submission of evidence of awards or prizes based on research outcomes, and evidence of involvement in the production of refereed publications or other appropriate outputs.  The latter should include copies of papers, an assessment of the applicant's contribution to the paper(s), and detail of the type of publication and any evidence of independent assessment.

A case for honours equivalence based on professional research experience

If the 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 your employment or activity
  • Evidence of exhibitions or publications of creative work with peer review
  • Evidence of awards or prizes received

Applicants can support their case by the submission of evidence of awards or prizes based on research outcomes, and evidence of involvement in the production of refereed publications or other appropriate outputs.  The latter should include copies of papers, an assessment of the applicant's contribution to the paper(s), and detail of the type of publication and any evidence of independent assessment.

 

English Language Proficiency Requirements

In accordance with the Higher Degree by Research Candidate Selection Policy, 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 a HDR by:

1.       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 FedUni English Language Requirements web page.

2.       Under exceptional circumstances, applying for an exemption from being required to provide an IELTS score based on an exemption request with supporting evidence.

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.  In this circumstance applicants should refer to the Higher Degree by Research Candidate Selection Policy

The Application and Selection Process

  STEPS WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? COMMENTS
1. Discuss potential candidature with Research Services. HDR Applicant Applicants are encouraged to check their eligibility on the website in the first instance
2. Complete an application  HDR Applicant Complete application as available from the Federation University Australia website.
3. Submission  HDR Applicant Application and accompanying documentation as outlined in the application form is submitted to University. Applications for admission to candidature can be received at any time of the year. Applicants interested in applying for a scholarship should consult the Awarding and Conditions of HDR Scholarship Procedure for details of the application process and relevant closing dates.
4. Eligibility Assessment

Research Services

Chair RHDSC

Applicants are assessed for eligibility and suitability to undertake the program, and the likelihood they will complete by the Chair of RHDSC or nominee, assisted by Research Services. RHDSC is responsible for quality assurance for selection of applicants for Higher Degree by Research programs.
5. Faculty Assessment

Executive Dean

ADR

Faculty assesses the candidate for suitability of the proposed project area, availability of appropriate supervision, acceptance of candidate by supervisor and resources to support the research. The Executive Dean or nominee of the Faculty in which the applicant will be enrolled must endorse the selection of the applicant before an offer of probationary candidature is made.

The Executive Dean or nominee 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.

Faculties are encouraged to communicate with the applicant at this stage of the application process.

6. Approval of offer of probationary candidature Chair, RHDSC Chair, RHDSC provisionally approves offer of probationary candidature and forwards RHDSC for noting and Research Services.
6. Offer of Probationary Candidature

Research Services,  

Authorising Officer

Formal offer of candidature, outlining the terms and conditions of candidature, is made which must be accepted within a fixed time interval. Enrolment is probationary and subject to confirmation.
7. Acceptance of Probationary Candidature

Applicant

Research Services

The Applicant returns a signed acceptance of the letter of offer of probationary candidature. If an applicant wishes to change the terms of an offer of probationary candidature, including but not limited to a change in research project or supervisory arrangements, the University will consider the request in good faith but cannot guarantee that such a request can be accommodated.

Designated Cohorts

Federation University Australia is committed to offering higher degrees by research to designated cohorts of applicants who meet special eligibility provisions and/or advanced standing.  The processes for making a case for special entry or advanced standing selection requires designated HDR cohorts to be tightly managed, with key responsibilities to be maintained as outlined below.

Establishing a Special Cohort

Actions

  STEPS WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? COMMENTS
1. Make a case for special entry or advanced standing.  Executive Dean

Special eligibility and/or advanced standing requests can be submitted by Faculties or Research Centres. 

In some circumstances a special cohort may be proposed by an external organisation; such a proposal will require designation of a Faculty to champion the proposal and provide a “home” for students.

To ensure that an effective case is made, the following evidence should be provided as a minimum on the appropriate form:

  • The name of the FedUni program for which special arrangements are sought.
  • Estimated size of the cohort intake.
  • The exact nature of the special arrangements sought.
  • The nature of the designated cohort.
  • The contact person (by position) within the Faculty, Centre or other institution.
  • The rationale for the request for advanced standing or special eligibility consideration, including the benefits to be gained for the University, for the external institution if appropriate, and for the students.
  • The risks associated with the special arrangements and proposed risk management procedures.
  • Specifically for advanced standing: The case for ability of the cohort to complete the program successfully in the reduced time that remains.
2. Respond to request for special entry or advanced standing provision. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (R&I) or approved nominee

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (R&I) or approved nominee will examine the case, request further information if necessary, and prepare the application for forwarding to RHDSC.

The application form and evidence should be retained in Research Services for future reference.

3. Recommend approval of cohort provisions. RHDSC RHDSC will consider and recommend for approval applications for special eligibility provisions and advanced standing for designated cohorts.
4. Approve cohort provisions Academic Board Academic Board will approve RHDSC recommendations for approval of the application for special eligibility provisions or advanced standing.
5. Notify decision and place approval on special/eligibility register RHDSC

The originating Faculty/Centre or external institution will be informed of the decision, and a register of approvals for designated cohorts will be kept in the Research Services.

Letter of offer to students admitted under the approved provision will refer to the approval and outline the conditions of offer.

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

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

To ensure that an effective case is made, the following evidence should be provided as a minimum on the appropriate form:

  • The name of the FedUni program for which honours equivalence is sought.
  • A case for honours equivalence of the program addressing the requirements as described above.  
2. Respond to request for honours equivalence. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or approved nominee

The DVC (RI) or approved nominee will examine the case, request further information if necessary, and prepare an application for the RHDSC.

Application form and evidence should be retained in the Research Services office according to document retention guidelines.

3. Recommend approval of honours equivalence. RHDSC RHDSC will consider and recommend for approval applications for honours equivalence of Fed Uni programs.
4. Approve honours equivalence Academic Board Academic Board will approve RHDSC recommendations for approval of honours equivalence.
5. Notify Faculty of decision RHDSC The Faculty will be informed of the decision. The program will be to the Recognised Programs with Honours Equivalency Guidelines.

Responsibility

HDR Applicants

Applications

  • Assess current qualifications and experience against eligibility requirements, seeking clarification where required
  • Complete application and collect accompanying documentation
  • Submit application and all accompanying documents to the University
  • Provide any further requested documentation to Research Services, where required
  • Discuss application with Faculty, where requested
  • Return signed acceptance, where applicable.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (R&I)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or approved nominee will have overall responsibility for effectively implementing the Selection and Awarding of a Higher Degree by Research Place Procedure.

Establishing a special cohort

  • Responsible for examining and responding to special cohort eligibility applications
  • Prepare a formal application for submission to the RHDSC.

Honours Equivalence for designated programs

  • Responsible for examining and responding to designated program applications
  • Prepare a formal application for submission to the RHDSC.

Executive Deans (or Nominee)

Applications

  • Assess candidates for suitability of proposed project area, availability of appropriate supervision and resources to support the research.
  • Endorse applications

Establishing a special cohort

  • Provide a written case for honours equivalence for a higher degree by research designated cohort

Honors Equivalence for designated programs

  • Provide a written case for honours equivalence for a specific program
  • Complete and submit the appropriate application form. 

Research Higher Degrees Sub Committee (RHDSC)

Applications

  • Approving / rejecting new applications

Establishing a special cohort andHonors Equivalence for designated programs

In collaboration with the DVC (RI), RHDSC is responsible for:

  • Considering and recommending for approval or rejection, all applications for special eligibility or honours equivalence;
  • Notification of final decision and placement of approval decision on the special eligibility or honours equivalence register
  • The implementation of notification across the University, upon approval of the application.

Chair Research Committee

Applications

  • Assessing applications against eligibility requirements
  • Approving offer of probationary candidature

Establishing a special cohort andHonors Equivalence for designated programs

  • Presenting the RHDSC-approved applications for special eligibility or honours equivalence to the Research Committee and to Academic Board, for consideration and subsequent approval or rejection;
  • Notifying the outcome of applications for special eligibility or honours equivalence to the RHDSC, Academic Board and the DVC (R&I).

Research Services

Research Services is responsible for the administration of all applications for entry to a probationary Higher Degree by Research program.

Applications

  • Administer the HDR application process
  • Sending applicants offers of candidature or advising that they are ineligible
  • Processing acceptance of offers

Promulgation

The Selection and Awarding of HDR Place Procedure 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 Selection and Awarding of HDR Place Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. Information Sessions; and/or
  2. Training Sessions; and/or
  3. Other - please describe

Forms/Record Keeping

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