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9. Course of Study and Research

9.1 Duration of Candidature

9.1.1 Candidates enrolled in a higher degree program shall normally complete the degree requirements within the period indicated for the respective degrees listed in the Schedule.

9.1.2 The Associate Dean (Research) may, on the recommendation of the Dean, permit a candidate to submit a thesis before the time specified in the Schedule.

9.1.3 In no case shall the duration of candidature be less than one year or two semesters full-time (or equivalent).

9.1.4 The Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC may determine a maximum period of extension of candidature for candidates who fail to complete the degree requirements within the maximum period indicated in the Schedule. The RTSC, in consultation with the Associate Dean (Research ) and the Principal Supervisor, may determine conditions for the continuation of the candidature as it considers appropriate and make a final determination on the continued enrolment of the candidate in the degree of study. This decision will be guided by the principle that a candidate may receive as a maximum, an extension of one year (full time equivalent). After such time a candidate may be required to pay fees in order to complete their degree.

9.1.5 Any candidate who receives credit for a period of prior study from another University shall provide a statement of RTS consumption and shall not be permitted to submit a thesis before having completed twelve months of candidature at the University.

9.2 Confirmation of Doctoral Candidature

9.2.1 As the basis for confirmation of candidature, all Doctoral candidates shall attend postgraduate seminars in their respective School/Faculty/Campus, as appropriate, and present a formal thesis proposal at a research seminar within the first twelve (12) months of full-time thesis candidature, or part-time equivalent.

9.2.2 In the formal Doctoral thesis proposal, candidates must present:

  1. their intended area of research;
  2. clearly defined and described aims and purposes of the study and the identification and elaboration of the problems and/or hypotheses being investigated;
  3. the results of their literature review;
  4. the proposed research design and methodology and the rationale for their selection, including potential ethical issues;
  5. intended data sources; and
  6. timelines for completing the degree within the period of candidature.

9.2.3 The Principal Supervisor, via the Head of School and Associate Dean (Research) shall advise the RTSC on the result of the Doctoral proposal seminar and shall recommend to that RTSC Committee whether Doctoral candidature is to be confirmed or the candidate is to be required to re-present their Doctoral thesis proposal seminar within three months.

9.2.4 When the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC is satisfied that the candidate has met the requirements for the initial Doctoral seminar, the candidate will be permitted to proceed.

9.25 If after the confirmation of candidature has been completed and the RTSC on the advice of the Faculty deems that unsatisfactory progress has been made the RTSC may initiate show cause proceedings as outlined in section 15.5.4.

9.3 Confirmation of Master’s Candidature

9.3.1 As the basis for continuation of candidature, all Master’s level candidates shall attend postgraduate seminars in their respective School/Faculty/Campus, as appropriate, and present a formal thesis proposal at a research seminar by the end of the first semester of full-time enrolment (or second semester of part-time enrolment) in the thesis unit.

9.3.2 In the formal Master’s thesis proposal, candidates must present:

  1. their intended area of research;
  2. clearly defined and described aims and purposes of the study and the identification and elaboration of the problems and/or hypotheses being investigated;
  3. the result of their literature review;
  4. the proposed research design and methodology and the rationale for their selection, including potential ethical issues;
  5. intended data sources; and
  6. timelines for completing the degree within the period of candidature.

9.3.3 The Principal Supervisor and the Course/Postgraduate Coordinator shall advise the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC on the result of the Master’s proposal seminar and shall recommend to that RTSC Committee whether Master’s candidature is to be confirmed or the candidate is to be required to re-present their Master’s thesis proposal seminar within three months.

9.3.4 When the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC is satisfied that the candidate has met the requirements for the initial Master’s seminar, the candidate will be permitted to proceed.

9.3.5 If after the confirmation of candidature has been completed and the RTSC on the advice of the Faculty deems that unsatisfactory progress has been made the RTSC may initiate show cause proceedings as outlined in section 15.5.4.

9.4 Application to Upgrade from Master’s Level to Doctoral Level Candidature

9.4.1 Master’s candidates may after a period of twelve months full-time enrolment (or 24 months part-time enrolment) apply to upgrade their candidature to Doctoral degree level.

9.4.2 An application for upgrade will be based on academic merit as determined by the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC based on the candidates performance in the degree and their academic history. Applications to upgrade from a Masters’ degree to a PhD will not normally be accepted after 18 months full time enrolment or part time equivalent.

9.4.3 In the case that the request for an upgrade is approved, the commencement date of candidature may be backdated by a period of time equal to that part of the applicant's candidature for the Master’s degree which the RTSC accepts as counting towards the period of the Doctoral candidature.

9.5 Variations to the Conditions of Candidature

9.5.1 Application for Variation of Conditions of Candidature

A candidate may apply to the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC:

  1. for a course load change from full-time to part-time enrolment (or vice versa) of the whole or any part of the course;
  2. for Leave of Absence from candidature after the first twelve months from the date of candidature;
  3. for periods of extension of candidature;
  4. for periods of outside study, whether in Australia or overseas, after the first twelve months of candidature;
  5. for periods of sick leave greater than three weeks upon presentation of a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner; or
  6. for periods of maternity leave up to a maximum of twelve weeks during candidature (periods of maternity leave are in addition to the normal duration of candidature).
  7. for periods of suspension to a maximum of six months while:
    1. undertaking an approved concurrent degree or;
    2. where progress has been delayed due to the resignation of the Principal Supervisor.

Any such application must be made on the prescribed form and set out in full the reasons for the request as well as providing documentary evidence as appropriate and requested by the University. A candidate must be enrolled for a period of at least one academic year (full time equivalent) on campus during the course of their degree. A student who requests a Leave of Absence from the University may not receive supervision from their supervisors or collect data during the leave period. The precise nature of any contact between a candidate and supervisor will be at the discretion of the supervisor.

9.5.2 Approved Period of Leave of Absence

Under usual circumstances Leave of Absence requests will only be approved for a maximum of six months. In exceptional circumstances, the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC may approve a second six-month period of Leave of Absence for reasons outside the candidate’s control. The maximum cumulative period of approved Leave of Absence shall normally be not greater than twelve months. If a candidate does not return from leave within the prescribed period, the University, after writing to the candidate and establishing their intentions, may deem the candidature lapsed.

9.5.3 Approved Extension of Candidature

Normally extension of candidature will be approved for a maximum of up to twelve months, however an extension request shall usually only be for a period of three-six months, subsequent requests may require further assessment of the candidates progress. On receipt of the request for an extension the RTSC may request further information from the candidate to indicate a plan towards the successful completion of the thesis subject to the Approval of the Associate Dean (Research) and/or RTSC. If the candidate has exhausted the maximum extension period of 12 months full-time equivalent, the University may impose fees to cover expenses related to the completion of the degree and ask the student to show cause for the continuation of the candidature.

9.5.4 The decision on the application for variation to the conditions of candidature shall be made ordinarily by the Associate Dean (Research) after consultation with the Head of School and Principal Supervisor. Any approval may be subject to such conditions as the Associate Dean (Research) may determine.

9.5.5 All variations to the conditions of candidature which have been approved by the Associate Dean (Research) shall be subject to confirmation by the Chair of the RTSC and reported to that RTSC Committee at its next meeting.

9.5.6 Review of Decision

A candidate may ask the RTSC to review a decision by the Associate Dean (Research) relating to the candidate's request to vary conditions of candidature. Such review may be processed executively by the Chair of the RTSC.

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