Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination

SUMMARY

The Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy and Schedules  establish Macquarie University's requirements for the preparation, submission and examination of higher degree research (HDR) theses.

The HDR Procedure specifies the actions required by for the preparation, submission and examination of HDR theses. 

The MRes Procedure specifies the required actions for the preparation, submission and examination of a Master of Research (MRes) Thesis.

POLICY

1     PURPOSE

To establish the requirements for the preparation, submission and examination of higher degree research (HDR) theses at Macquarie University.

2     BACKGROUND

This policy covers the thesis component of the following degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and all other doctorates by research,
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil), and
  • Master of Research (MRes).

Research Doctorates enable candidates to undertake extensive, independent research which forms a distinct contribution to the knowledge of a chosen subject, and which affords evidence of coherence and originality shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power.

The Master of Philosophy is awarded for research that demonstrates that a contribution has been made to knowledge in a particular field of study by presenting new facts or by demonstrating an independent critical ability to evaluate existing material in a new light.

The Master of Research is partly awarded for a research project that critically responds to or reflects on current research in the relevant field by producing clearly justified empirical outcomes or analytical evaluations.

Macquarie University requires HDR candidates to prepare a thesis in fulfillment of higher degree by research requirements and for the thesis to undergo a process of external examination. Reports of the examination process are submitted in writing and reviewed by the Thesis Examination Sub-Committee (TESC) of the Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC).

When all work on the thesis has been satisfactorily completed (including any compulsory coursework units) and all thesis preparation, submission and examination requirements have been met to the satisfaction of TESC, a recommendation is made to RRTC as to the award of the relevant degree.

3     SCOPE

This policy applies to all:

  • higher degree research candidates enrolled at Macquarie University;
  • supervisors as defined in the HDR Supervision Policy;
  • other Macquarie University academic and professional staff acting on behalf of these HDR candidates; and
  • examiners of Macquarie University HDR theses.

4     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

Academic Senate means the Academic Senate of Macquarie University

TESC means Thesis Examination Sub-Committee

RRTC means Research and Research Training Committee

Procedure means the Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure

5     POLICY STATEMENT

THESIS PREPARATION

As an HDR thesis embodies the results of research and investigation by a candidate enrolled in a higher degree by research, Macquarie University requires that:

  • a research degree make a contribution to knowledge and in the case of doctoral degrees, this contribution must be ‘distinct’;
  • at least half of the work done towards the thesis must be undertaken while formally enrolled as an HDR candidate at Macquarie University; and
  • unless agreed under a formal Joint or Cotutelle enrolment contract, a candidate may not submit as the main content of the thesis any work or material which has been previously submitted for any degree successfully completed at Macquarie University or elsewhere, but may incorporate that work or material in the thesis, if the candidate specifies the work or material which has been so incorporated.

The University recognises that theses or parts of theses may be presented in a variety of formats and media. In such cases, theses must incorporate a written component situated in an academic discourse appropriate to the discipline area. In the case of theses that include creative work, at least half of the thesis must take the form of an academic dissertation.

Theses may include relevant papers (including conference presentations) published, accepted, submitted or prepared for publication.  These papers must:

  • form a coherent and integrated body of work;
  • include a comprehensive and critical introduction and an integrative conclusion; and
  • focus on a single project or set of related questions or propositions.

In addition to the above requirements, the thesis must:

  • be the candidate’s own work and any contribution by other people, including co-authors of papers, must be clearly stated in the thesis;
  • be prepared and presented in conformity with all the requirements of the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and
  • be written in English and reach a satisfactory level of literary presentation.

Any requests from HDR candidates to submit a thesis or part thereof in a language other than English will require the approval of TESC as early in candidature as possible.

If the thesis does not meet these requirements, TESC may decide not to submit it for examination.

THESIS BY PUBLICATION

Where appropriate, Macquarie University encourages candidates to prepare a thesis by publication as this format provides an opportunity to add further value to the research student experience. A thesis by publication also provides an incentive for timely completion, enhances employment prospects, improves publication outputs and strengthens the University’s research rankings.

The requirements for a thesis by publication are further set out in Schedule 1 to this Policy.

THESIS SUBMISSION

The Principal Supervisor must certify in writing that the thesis meets all of Macquarie University’s preparation requirements before the thesis can be recommended for examination.

If the Principal Supervisor declines to certify in writing that the thesis meets all the preparation requirements, a candidate may submit a thesis for examination against the advice of the Principal Supervisor, to TESC. TESC will receive and review the submission and make an appropriate recommendation to RRTC for decision.

APPOINTMENT OF EXAMINERS

The appointment of examiners and the criteria for appointment of examiners of HDR Theses are set out in Schedule 2 to this Policy.

THESIS EXAMINATION

Examiners are required to report in writing to TESC in an approved format indicating their assessment of the thesis.

The criteria for HDR examination are set out in Schedule 3 to this Policy.

Thesis content will remain confidential during the examination period and Macquarie University reserves the right to request examiners to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement if required.

In the case of Doctoral degrees or the Master of Philosophy, examiners may recommend to TESC that a candidate undertake such oral, written or practical examination as they may specify. TESC may determine that such an examination be used to resolve concerns about the thesis.  The candidate is required to attend any such examination.

THESIS RE-EXAMINATION

The requirements that must be met for an HDR Thesis re-examination are set out in Schedule 4 to this policy.

DEGREE AWARD RECOMMENDATION

TESC will determine the examination result to be recommended to RRTC.  TESC will:

  • review individual examination reports and the comments submitted about the examination reports by the Principal Supervisor; and
  • consider the reports of all examiners in the light of the criteria for the award of the degree.

After considering all reports TESC may:

          (a)     recommend to RRTC the award of the degree;

          (b)     require that corrections to the thesis to the satisfaction of TESC be carried out by the candidate before the award of the degree;

          (c)     require that the candidate undertakes further study and research, and resubmits the thesis for re-examination by one or more examiners;

          (d)     in the event of substantial disagreement amongst examiners, appoint a further examiner, moderator or adjudicator or request that an oral examination be held;

          (e)     determine that an oral, written or practical examination be used to resolve concerns about the thesis;

          (f)      recommend that the degree be not awarded; or

          (g)     take such action as it deems appropriate before making a recommendation to RRTC on the examination outcome.

TESC will make a recommendation to RRTC for the award of a Vice–Chancellor’s Commendation for PhD and MPhil theses which are nominated by all examiners as being in the top 5% (or equivalent) of research at the level of the degree.

TESC will make a recommendation to RRTC for the award of Master of Research with Distinction to the top 5% of candidates in the annual Master of Research cohort as determined by the final thesis grade.

Candidates may appeal decisions relating to thesis examination. Appeals will be considered by the Higher Degree Research Appeals Committee (HDRAC).

THESIS FINALISATION

A copy of a candidate’s thesis approved by TESC must be lodged with the Macquarie University Library.

 UNFORESEEN EVENTS

Any dispute or unforeseen event in relation to the preparation, submission or examination of a candidate’s thesis must be referred to TESC for consideration.  TESC will make appropriate recommendations to RRTC for determination. 

Unforeseen events include, but are not limited to: 

  1. failure or inability of candidate to complete thesis preparation, submission or examination requirements due to illness, incapacity, death or misconduct;
  2. the Principal Supervisor declining to certify that the candidate’s thesis meets Macquarie University’s preparation requirements in accordance with this Policy and associated Procedures, and the candidate submitting the thesis for examination against the decision of the Principal Supervisor; or
  3. failure by, or inability of, an examiner commencing or completing examination of a candidate’s thesis due to illness, incapacity, conflict of interest, unwillingness, or death.

6     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Macquarie University Act 1989

Higher Degree Research Rules

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure

Academic Honesty Policy

The Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Code of Research

Higher Degree Research Rules

8     NOTES

8.1

Contact Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

8.2

Implementation Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

8.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

8.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

8.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

8.6

Date for Review

September 2020

8.7

Documents Superseded by this Policy

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved 25 July 2014

8.8

Amendment History

Nil

PROCEDURE

THESIS PREPARATION, SUBMISSION AND EXAMINATION

1     PURPOSE

To establish the required actions for the preparation, submission and examination of a Higher Degree Research Thesis.  The Thesis Examination Subcommittee (TESC) of the Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC) reviews and recommends actions to RRTC in relation to the thesis preparation, submission and examination process.

2     SCOPE

This procedure applies to the preparation, submission and examination requirements for the thesis component of the following degrees:

  • The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and all other doctorates by research
  • The Master of Philosophy (MPhil).

It does not apply to the Master of Research (MRes) for which a separate Procedure is available.

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the accompanying Policy.

4     RESPONSIBILITIES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

Print Version of HDR Procedure Flowchart (PDF)

Please click on each item of the flowchart to see more information. 

If you have difficulty accessing this document please contact the Policy Unit policy@mq.edu.au or 9850 4791.

This procedure requires actions by the following:

  • Candidate
  • Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC)
  • Higher Degree Research Office (HDRO) Officer
  • Principal Supervisor
  • Thesis Examination Subcommittee (TESC)
  • Dean of Higher Degree Research
  • Executive Director, Research Training and International Research Training Partnerships (Executive Director, RT & IRTP)

Candidate

Prepare the thesis in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Rules and the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.

HDRO Officer

Advise the candidate and Principal Supervisor of the need to nominate examiners for approval by TESC at least three (3) months prior to the expected thesis submission date.

Candidate

At least three (3) months in advance of the thesis submission date, discuss possible examiners with the Principal Supervisor and other supervisors and electronically confirm selection of the nominated examiners.

Principal Supervisor

Discuss the nomination of examiners with the candidate at least three (3) months before the expected thesis submission date.

Contact possible examiners to ascertain their availability to examine the thesis.

Submit an electronic examiner nomination to TESC for review and approval. This normally includes a list of six (6) examiners for a doctoral degree and four (4) for a MPhil degree.

Certify in writing that the thesis has been prepared in accordance with the Higher Degree Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy, and includes an abstract of approximately 200 words.

If the Principal Supervisor declines to certify in writing that the thesis meets all the University preparation requirements, a candidate may submit a thesis for examination against the advice of the Principal Supervisor, to TESC. TESC will receive and review the submission and make an appropriate recommendation to RRTC for determination.

HDRO Officer

Review the electronic nomination of examiners and escalate the nominated examiners for consideration and approval by TESC.

TESC

Review the list of examiner nominations proposed by the Principal Supervisor and candidate.

For doctoral degrees, approve the appointment of three (3) examiners and one (1) reserve examiner in accordance with Schedule B of the Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.  For master of philosophy degrees, approve the appointment of two (2) examiners and one (1) reserve examiner in accordance with Schedule B of the Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy. TESC may approve a panel without a reserve examiner.

Report approved examiner nominations to RRTC.

Executive Director, RT & IRTP

Review and endorse the list of examiner nominations.

HDRO Officer

Inform the Principal Supervisor and Faculty HDR Office when the examiner nominations have been approved by TESC.

Candidate

Prepare the thesis in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation,  Submission and Examination Policy.

Submit the thesis and required forms electronically in PDF format.

In the case of a thesis re-submitted for examination, the candidate must also submit a detailed report outlining the exact changes made to the thesis during the period of re- enrolment (Corrections Report) for consideration by TESC.

TESC

In the case of a re-submission, review the documentation and determine if the thesis is approved for re-examination.

HDRO Officer

Forward the thesis (and any relevant examination information) to approved examiners electronically.

Administer the thesis examination process electronically including reporting on progress to the Principal Supervisor and the candidate.

Contact the Principal Supervisor when all examiner reports have been received and request comments from the Principal Supervisor on the reports received from the examiners.

Principal Supervisor

Prepare a commentary of the examiner reports reviewing the critical points of relevance as indicated by the examiners. Submit the report for consideration and approval from the Head of Department and Faculty Associate Dean Higher Degree Research, and forward to HDRO.

HDRO Officer

Review the supervisor’s commentary and forward to the Dean of Higher Degree Research

Or

In the case of an examiner recommending Revise and Resubmit, or Not Award, prepare the documents for consideration by TESC.

TESC

Review examiner reports and Principal Supervisor’s commentary.  If Principal Supervisor commentary is insufficient, request HDRO Officer obtain further information.

Determine the recommendation to RRTC in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy:

          (a)     recommend to RRTC the award of the degree;

          (b)     require that corrections to the thesis to the satisfaction of TESC be carried out by the candidate before the award of the degree;

          (c)     require that the candidate undertakes further study and research, and resubmits the thesis for re-examination by one or more examiners;

          (d)     in the event of substantial disagreement amongst examiners, appoint a further examiner, moderator or adjudicator or request that an oral examination be held;

          (e)     determine that an oral, written or practical examination be used to resolve concerns about the thesis;

          (f)      recommend that the degree be not awarded; or

          (g)     take such action as it deems appropriate before making a recommendation to RRTC on the examination outcome.

HDRO Officer

Advise candidate of outcome of the determination by TESC and RRTC referred to above as follows: 

  1. If (a) advise candidate of the need to provide a copy of the final digital thesis and digital thesis submission form to the HDRO within one month of the recommendation of RRTC.
  2. If (b) advise the candidate of the need to complete the corrections and submit the corrections report within one (1) month.
  3. If (c) advise the candidate they are to be enrolled for a period of twelve (12) months in order to complete the thesis revision.
  4. If a Joint Enrolment (Cotutelle) or an approved double-badged degree enrolment, advise RRTC of recommendation in accordance with contract requirements if any are specified. HDRO will advise the partner institution and the Graduation Unit of the examination outcome.
  5. If (d), (e) or (f) advise the candidate or the outcome and other options (if applicable).

Candidate

If advised that the degree is to be awarded, submit a copy of the final digital thesis and digital thesis submission form to the HDRO within one month of the recommendation of TESC, and submit any hard-bound final copies of thesis to the Faculty if required.

If advised that corrections are required, prepare and submit the corrections report electronically within one (1) month.

If advised of enrolment for a further period of twelve (12) months, nominate a date of re-enrolment that falls within three (3) months of the recommendation of TESC.

TESC

TESC may, in its discretion, approve a thesis moratorium on application from the candidate and recommendation from the Faculty Executive Dean.  If approved, the thesis will not be available for publication in the University online thesis repository until after the expiry of a period which shall not exceed three years in total.  Requests of up to twelve months per application will be considered.

Review corrections undertaken and make a recommendation to RRTC of the examination outcome.

RRTC

Determine that requirements for a Higher Degree Research award have been satisfied.

HDRO Officer

Forward the electronic copy of the thesis to the Library.

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

NA

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy

The Higher Degree Research Rules

7     NOTES

7.1

Contact Officer

Executive Director Research Training and International

Research Training Partnerships

7.2

Implementation Officer

Executive Director Research Training and International

Research Training Partnerships

7.3

Approval Authority

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

7.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

7.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

7.6

Date for Review

September 2020

7.7

Documents Superseded by this Procedure

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Procedure, approved 3 October 2008

7.8

Amendment History

Nil

MRes PROCEDURE

MASTER OF RESEARCH - THESIS PREPARATION, SUBMISSION AND EXAMINATION

1     PURPOSE

To establish the required actions for the preparation, submission and examination of a Master of Research (MRes) Thesis.  The Thesis Examination Subcommittee (TESC) of the Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC) reviews and recommends actions to RRTC in relation to the thesis preparation, submission and examination process.

2     SCOPE

This procedure applies to the preparation, submission and examination requirements for the thesis component of the MRes.

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the accompanying Policy.

4     RESPONSIBILITIES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

Print version of MRES Procedure Flowchart (PDF)

Please click on each item of the flowchart to see more information. 

If you have difficulty accessing this document please contact the Policy Unit policy@mq.edu.auor 9850 4791.

This procedure requires actions by the following:

  • Candidate
  • Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC)
  • Higher Degree Research Office (HDRO) Officer
  • MRes Supervisor
  • MRes Director/Advisor
  • Head of Department
  • Associate Dean (HDR) or Faculty MRes Advisor
  • Thesis Examination Subcommittee (TESC)
  • Dean of Higher Degree Research

Candidate

Prepare the thesis in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Rules and the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.

MRes Supervisor

Discuss the examination process with the candidate at least two (2) months before the expected thesis submission date and give the candidate an opportunity to discuss the names of any persons the candidate does not wish to examine the thesis and ensure they are not nominated as an examiner.

Contact possible examiners to ascertain their availability to examine the thesis.

Nominate three (3) examiners and forward the Nomination of Examiners Master of Research Thesis Form to the Head of Department.

Certify in writing that the thesis has been prepared in accordance with the Higher Degree Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy and includes an abstract of approximately 200 words.

If the MRes Supervisor declines to certify in writing that the thesis meets all the University preparation requirements, a candidate may submit a thesis for examination against the advice of the MRes Supervisor, to the Head of Department. The Head of Department will receive and review the submission and make an appropriate recommendation to Associate Dean (HDR) for decision.

Head of Department

Review and endorse the list of nominated examiners.

Associate Dean (HDR) or Faculty MRes Director

Certify that the examination panel conforms to all the requirements of the Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.

Approve the examination panel.

Faculty HDR Office

Forward the names and contact details of at least two (2) approved thesis examiners to the HDRO.

Candidate

Prepare the thesis in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation,  Submission and Examination Policy.

Discuss the names of anyone they do not wish to examine the thesis with the MRes Supervisor

Submit the thesis and required forms in PDF format.

In the case of a thesis re-submitted for examination, the candidate must also submit a detailed report outlining the exact changes made to the thesis during the period of re- enrolment (Corrections Report) for consideration and approval by the Associate Dean HDR.

HDRO Officer

Forward the thesis (and any relevant examination information) to approved examiners electronically.

Administer the thesis examination process electronically including reporting on progress to the MRes Supervisor and the candidate.

Receive examiner reports and forward them to the Chair TESC.

OR

In the case of one of the examiners recommending Revise and Resubmit or Not Award send the thesis to a third examiner.

OR

In the case of both of the examiners recommending Revise and Resubmit or Not Award, forward to TESC.

Chair TESC

Review the examiner reports and forward to the Associate Dean (HDR).

Associate Dean (HDR)

Receive the examiner reports from the Chair of TESC.

Consult with the MRes Supervisor and Department MRes Director and, in giving equal weight to the two reports, recommend a thesis grade and examination outcome to the Chair TESC, in accordance with Schedule 3 of the HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy.

OR

Where the MRes Supervisor and MRes Director cannot determine an outcome on the basis of two reports recommend to the Chair of TESC that the thesis to be sent to a third examiner.

Chair of TESC

Review the examiner reports, recommended thesis grade and examination outcome, and forward to TESC for endorsement and to the Research and Research Training Committee for approval.

OR

Approve the thesis be sent to a third examiner.

Procedure for a third examiner of an MRes thesis

HDRO Officer (where a third examiner is appointed)

Forward the thesis (and any relevant examination information) to the third examiner electronically.

Receive the third examiner’s report and forward with the original two examiner reports to the Chair of TESC

Chair of TESC (where a third examiner is appointed)

Review the examiner reports and forward to the Associate Dean (HDR)

Associate Dean (HDR) (where a third examiner is appointed)

Receive the examiner reports from the Chair of TESC, and forward to the MRes Supervisor for a written response.

MRes Supervisor (where a third examiner is appointed)

Provides written response and recommendation of examination outcome to Associate Dean (HDR)

Associate Dean (HDR) (where a third examiner is appointed)

Receive the written response from the MRes Supervisor and convene a panel consisting of the Associate Dean (HDR), Departmental MRes Director/Advisor, a Departmental MRes Director/Advisor from another Faculty and a researcher in a cognate discipline outside the Department of the candidate’s enrolment to recommend a percentage outcome based on all three reports and recommended outcome for the thesis examination (see also the Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy, Schedule 3 HDR Thesis Examination Criteria).

Head of Department (where a third examiner is appointed)

Reviews, endorses and forwards to the Associate Dean (HDR) the written recommendation of the panel.

Associate Dean (HDR) (where a third examiner is appointed)

Reviews, endorses and forwards to TESC the written recommendation of the panel.

TESC (in all cases)

Determine the recommendation to RRTC in accordance with the Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy:  

          (a)     recommend to RRTC the award of the degree;

          (b)     require that corrections to the thesis to the satisfaction of TESC be carried out by the candidate before the award of the degree;

          (c)     require that the candidate undertakes further study and research, and resubmits the thesis for re-examination by one or more examiners;

          (d)     in the event of substantial disagreement amongst examiners, appoint a further examiner, moderator or adjudicator or request that an oral examination be held;

          (e)     determine that an oral, written or practical examination be used to resolve concerns about the thesis;

          (f)      recommend that the degree be not awarded; or

          (g)     take such action as it deems appropriate before making a recommendation to RRTC on the examination outcome.

HDRO Officer (in all cases)

Advise the candidate of the outcome of the determination by TESC and RRTC referred to above as follows:

  1. If (a) advise candidate of the need to provide a copy of the final digital thesis and digital thesis submission form to the HDRO.
  1. If (b) advise the candidate of the need to complete the corrections and submit the corrections report within two (2) weeks for approval by the Associate Dean (HDR).
  1. If (c) enrol the candidate, and advise they will be enrolled for a period of three (3) months to revise their thesis for resubmission and re-examination.
  1. If (d), (e) or (f) advise the candidate or the outcome and other options (if applicable).

Candidate

If advised that the degree is to be awarded, submit the final version of the thesis electronically.

If advised that corrections are required, prepare and submit the corrections report electronically within two (2) weeks of notification of the outcome.

Associate Dean (HDR) (where corrections required)

Review corrections undertaken and make a recommendation to TESC of the examination outcome.

TESC (where corrections required)

Note the recommendation of the Associate Dean (HDR) of the examination outcome, and recommend to RRTC that the requirements of the Degree have either been met or not met.

RRTC

Determine that requirements for the MRes award have been satisfied.

HDRO Officer

Forward the electronic copy of the thesis to the Library.

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

NA

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy

Higher Degree Research Rules

7     NOTES

7.1

Contact Officer

Executive Director Research Training and International Research Training Partnerships

7.2

Implementation Officer

Executive Director Research Training and International Research Training Partnerships

7.3

Approval Authority

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

7.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

7.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

7.6

Date for Review

September 2020

7.7

Documents Superseded by this Procedure

Higher Degree Research Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy, approved 25 July 2014

7.8

Amendment History

Nil

SCHEDULE 1

HDR THESIS BY PUBLICATION

1     PURPOSE

To assist Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates in the preparation of a thesis including published or co-published material prepared during candidature.

2     SCHEDULE

Eligible Material

A thesis by publication may include relevant papers, including conference presentations, which have been published, accepted, submitted or prepared for publication for which at least half of the research has been undertaken during enrolment.  The papers must form a coherent and integrated body of work, which focusses on a single thesis project or set of related questions or propositions.  These papers are one part of the thesis, rather than a separate component (or appendix).

Contribution by Co-Authors

These papers may be single author or co-authored.  The candidate must specify in a Statement of Authorship and in relevant footnotes/endnotes his/her specific contribution to the conception, data collection, analysis and writing of each paper. The contribution of others to the preparation of the thesis or to individual parts of the thesis should also be specified in the thesis.  Where a paper has multiple authors, the candidate should usually be the principal author and evidence of this must appear in the appropriate manner for the discipline.  Examiners can then assess if the quality and extent of the candidate’s contribution warrants the award of the degree based on the prescribed criteria.

Number and Presentation of Papers

Each discipline will have a different number of publications that are acceptable as the substantive foundation for a thesis by publication. As a general rule a candidate will need to have enough papers to support the important findings from the research, presented in a logical and coherent way.  Most theses by publication have between 2 and 8 papers in combinations of sole and co-authored papers.  These papers will normally form thesis chapters and the chronological publication order may be quite different from the way they are sequenced in the thesis.

The length of the papers will reflect discipline requirements and journal guidelines.

Integration of papers

Although it is not necessary to reformat published works in a thesis, it is not enough simply to bind these publications together. The candidate needs to include a critical introduction to the work, sections that link the papers together, and a concluding section that synthesises the material as a whole. Above all, candidates must consider the coherence of the thesis as a whole, and the way in which each paper contributes to the overall thesis. In examining a thesis by publication, examiners apply the same criteria in terms of unity of purpose and coherence of argument as for traditional theses.

Preparing for a Thesis by Publication

Candidates and supervisors should plan a thesis by publication in relation to the timetable of the individual project and the writing conventions and publishing schedules of their discipline in order to make sure that research, writing and journal submission can be undertaken within candidature time.

Although a thesis by publication may contain some repetition, it is expected that the repetition is minimal so as to facilitate the examination process.  Candidates must ensure that any referencing and stylistic inconsistencies between papers are minimised to assist the examiners.

3     NOTES

3.1

Contact Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.2

Implementation Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

3.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

3.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

3.6

Date for Review

September 2020

3.7

Documents Superseded by this Schedule

Higher Degree Research Thesis by Publication Guideline approved 28 November 2013

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved 25 July 2014

3.8

Amendment History

NA

3.9

Policy Authorisation

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved Academic Senate 5 September 2017, Res no 17/83

SCHEDULE 2

HDR APPOINTMENT OF EXAMINERS

1     PURPOSE

To specify the criteria for appointment of examiners of HDR theses.

2     SCHEDULE

The University requires that nomination and selection of HDR thesis examiners be based on the principle that candidates receive an impartial examination by high quality examiners in the relevant field of research.

Examiners for PhD and MPhil theses are appointed by TESC following advice and information provided by Faculties and in such a way as to preserve their right to anonymity.

Examiners for Master of Research theses are appointed by the Associate Dean (Higher Degree Research) following advice and information provided by Departments and in such a way as to preserve their right to anonymity.

Each Doctoral thesis will be examined by at least three examiners external to the University, and each Masters thesis will be examined by at least two examiners, external to the University. In exceptional circumstances, TESC may approve the examination of a doctoral thesis by two examiners.

An appointed examiner will be a national and/or international expert in the HDR thesis field, with an academic or research appointment in the field of research, relevant high quality research publications, and whose assessment will be respected nationally and internationally. Examiners must be research active according to Macquarie University’s definition.

For Doctoral and Master of Philosophy degrees, examination panels are to include at least one international and one national examiner to maintain the international quality of Macquarie’s HDR awards and to ensure examination is consistent with national standards. There will be no more than one examiner from any single institution appointed.

At least two examiners of a Doctoral thesis and one examiner of a Masters thesis will have previous HDR thesis examination experience.

The examiners must not have had any involvement in the preparation of the thesis, as a member of the supervisory panel or as an academic advisor for the candidate. The University expects all supervisors, faculties and examiners to report all actual or potential conflicts of interest.

The University applies the Conflict of Interest Guidelines of the Australian Council of Graduate Research (http://www.ddogs.edu.au/).

Examiners are not permitted to:

*    be currently employed, nor within the last five years have been employed, by Macquarie University;

*    have graduated with a doctoral degree from Macquarie University within the last ten years;

*    have been an HDR candidate under the supervision of any member of the supervising panel, either at Macquarie University or elsewhere;

*    have been co-authors or co-editors of publications nor collaborated in research with the candidate; or

*    have been co-authors or co-editors of publications with any of the supervising panel within the last five years.

Exceptions to the examiner appointment requirements require a fully substantiated case to be submitted for consideration and approval by the TESC.

3     NOTES

3.1

Contact Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.2

Implementation Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

3.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

3.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

3.6

Date for Review

September 2020

3.7

Documents Superseded by this Schedule

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved 25 July 2014

3.8

Amendment History

NA

3.9

Policy Authorisation

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved Academic Senate 5 September 2017, Res no 17/83

SCHEDULE 3

HDR THESIS EXAMINATION CRITERIA

1     PURPOSE

To specify the criteria that examiners must use in the examination of HDR (PhD and other research doctorates, Master of Philosophy and Master of Research) thesis components, and the method for determining a final recommended grade for the Master of Research where a third examiner is required.

2     SCHEDULE

Examiners are required to address the following criteria in their assessment of a Doctoral thesis, that it:

  • forms a ‘distinct’ contribution to the knowledge of the subject area;
  • affords evidence of originality through the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical thought;
  • is satisfactory as regards its literary presentation; and
  • contains a substantial amount of material suitable for publication.

Examiners are required to address the following criteria in the assessment of a research Master of Philosophy thesis, that it:

  • makes a contribution to the knowledge of the subject area by the presentation of new facts;
  • demonstrates independent critical ability to evaluate existing material in a new light; and
  • is satisfactory as regards its literary presentation.

Examiners are required to address the following criteria in the assessment of a Master of Research thesis, that:

  • it has adequately delineated the topic of concern by critically reflecting on current research in the relevant field;
  • the research undertaken produces empirical outcomes or analytical evaluations that are clearly justified and that respond to or reflect on the relevant literature; and
  • it is satisfactory as regards its literary presentation.

Additionally Master of Research thesis examiners are asked to provide a percentage score for each thesis, using the following bands and criteria:

85–100%

A thesis at this level:

*      clearly and fully outlines its research topic and objectives, explaining and justifying the project in relation to key developments in the field and recent literature;

*      clearly and fully outlines and explains the research undertaken, in terms of the methodology chosen and why it was chosen in preference to alternatives;

*      draws clear and fully-supported conclusions from the research that allow for critical reflection on the research question, the current status of related research and possible future directions for research; and

*      is clearly and cogently structured and well-written, and conforms to disciplinary conventions in terms of its presentation;

A candidate producing work of this quality is capable of going on to original and innovative research and is strongly suited for enrolment in a PhD.

75–84%

A thesis at this level:

*      provides a good account of the research objectives in relation to developments in the field and recent literature;

*      explains the research undertaken and why a certain methodology was chosen as appropriate;

*      draws conclusions that are broadly supported by the research, and that respond clearly to the research question; and

*      is clearly structured and written, and conforms to disciplinary conventions in terms of its presentation.

A candidate producing work of this quality is capable of undertaking a PhD.

65–74%

A thesis at this level:

*      has a clear research objective informed by developments in the field and recent literature;

*      explains its methodology clearly;

*      relates its conclusions clearly to the research undertaken; and

*      is adequately written, structured and presented.

A candidate working at this level is capable of higher degree research, but not yet at doctoral level.

50-64%

A thesis at this level:

*      identifies its research objective;

*      has a clear methodology;

*      draws conclusions based on the research undertaken; and

*      is written and presented adequately.

A student working at this level is not capable of further higher degree research.

Below 50%

The thesis does not meet the standard for the award of the degree.

Use of Panel to determine final recommended grade for a Master of Research

In cases where a third thesis examiner is required to determine the final recommended outcome of a Master of Research Examination, there are three broad options for reconciling the grades and determining a single final recommended grade. They are:

  1. Averaging the three marks, if the panel believes that the examiner reports all represent a fair assessment of the thesis and there is a clear equivalence between the comments the examiner has given and the grade they have awarded according to this schedule.
  2. Re-weighting an outlier grade by giving two grades a value of 40% in the final outcome and the outlier 20%. A grade can be re-weighted if there is a demonstrable discrepancy between the comments made and the grade awarded or if one grade is widely inconsistent with the others. In such a case it is important to bear in mind that minority viewpoints can be totally legitimate, and de-valuing a report should be done cautiously and only when the panel believes the minority view is less persuasive than that of the majority; OR
  3. In exceptional cases, a grade can be discarded, and the result determined by the averaging of the other two grades. This option should only be taken when a report is demonstrably biased or there is a conflict of interest, or a demonstrable failure to critically engage with the thesis.

Note: Master of Research examiners are chosen for their expertise and must be approved by supervisors and Faculties. They must also receive documents briefing them about the degree, as well as a copy of the relevant section of this Schedule. Overriding the report of a duly appointed and briefed examiner is not a step to be taken lightly. The recommendation to TESC that the report of a qualified examiner should be discounted or set aside must be clearly and fully justified.

3     NOTES

3.1

Contact Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.2

Implementation Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

3.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

3.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

3.6

Date for Review

September 2020

3.7

Documents Superseded by this Schedule

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved 25 July 2014

3.8

Amendment History

NA

3.9

Policy Authorisation

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved Academic Senate 5 September 2017, Res no 17/83

SCHEDULE 4

HDR THESIS RE-EXAMINATION

1     PURPOSE

To assist higher degree research (HDR) candidates, supervisors, HDR administration staff and examiners in the preparation, submission and examination of a thesis that has been recommended by the Thesis Examination Sub-Committee (TESC) of the Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC) for re-examination.

2     SCHEDULE

Thesis Re-examination

Only one re-examination of an MRes or HDR thesis is permitted.

A candidate who does not re-submit a thesis for re-examination within the specified time will be deemed to have not satisfied requirements for the award of the degree.

Invitation to Examiners to Re-Examine

When a thesis is first examined, examiners are requested to indicate their interest in participating in a re-examination. Once the revised thesis is submitted, an invitation is sent to all initial examiners who have indicated their willingness to re-examine the thesis. 

Appointment of Examiners

A new examiner can be approached to conduct a thesis re-examination due to the unavailability of a previous examiner. 

Re-Examination Process

When a thesis is re-submitted for examination, a detailed report is compiled by the candidate outlining the exact changes made to the thesis during the period of re-enrolment. This report is submitted to the TESC.  The revised thesis, detailed report and recommendation form are sent to the examiners. 

Approval to submit a revised thesis for re-examination must first be sought from the Faculty Associate Dean HDR, and then from the TESC. 

Re-Examination

Examiners are asked to assess whether the revised thesis meets the criteria for award of HDR theses as set out in this policy. They do not simply check that the corrections recommended in the first examination have been made. It is not expected that examiners of the re-submitted thesis will recommend that new areas of research investigation should be undertaken by the candidate for the finalisation of the thesis.

Determination of thesis outcome

When making a determination on the thesis outcome, the University takes into account all examiner reports plus any other relevant information.

3     NOTES

3.1

Contact Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.2

Implementation Officer

Dean Higher Degree Research

3.3

Approval Authority / Authorities

Academic Senate (Res no 17/83)

3.4

Date Approved

5 September 2017

3.5

Date of Commencement

5 September 2017

3.6

Date for Review

September 2020

3.7

Documents Superseded by this Schedule

Higher Degree Research Thesis Re-Examination Guideline approved 3 August 2007

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved 25 July 2014

3.8

Amendment History

NA

3.9

Policy Authorisation

HDR Thesis Preparation, Submission and Examination Policy approved Academic Senate 5 September 2017, Res no 17/83.

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