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Curtin University
Office of Research & Development

Guidelines for Heads of Enrolling Areas

Admission / Enrolment

While Higher Degree by Research students may enrol at any time during the year, you should be aware that any DEEWR-funded student enrolled after the Semester 1 census date each year will not be counted in calculations of re-enrolling estimates for the following year.

Preliminary Assessment

You must ensure that the following conditions are met prior to the student making formal application to the University. This will ensure that your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee considers only qualified students.

Formal Application for Admission

If you consider all of the above criteria are met satisfactorily, you should recommend that the student applies formally to the University for admission. To apply for admission to a Higher Degree by Research form the applicant will need to submit an online application.

Scholarship Applicants

If the student wishes to apply for a scholarship, they may do so using the same online system as when applying for admission. Relevant Scholarship information can be obtained from the Scholarships Webpage.

You should then evaluate the application formally and either accept or reject it. An applicant must be informed of rejection as soon as possible. Please return assessed applications to your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer as soon as possible for this purpose, or so an Offer for Admission can be issued.

If you accept the application, you should complete the relevant section of the Application for Admission and submit it to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, via your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer, for approval.

If the application is rejected by your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, the Faculty Graduate Studies Officer will then notify the applicant of the outcome. If approved, your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer will issue a formal Letter of Offer which confirms:

For Australian, Permanent Resident, and New Zealand applicants, your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer will then mail the Letter of Offer to the applicant, together with:

For international applicants, your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer will send the offer, and associated information and the Rules, to the Curtin International, who will send them to the student together with other relevant information.

In order to accept the Offer, Australian, Permanent Resident, or New Zealand applicants must complete the Enrolment form and then lodge them with your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer. International applicants must follow the steps specified in the Letter of Offer issued by Curtin International.

On receipt of the necessary enrolment paperwork, your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer will enrol the student into their degree. All documentation is retained in the Faculty Graduate Studies office.

Enrolled Students

Once the student has accepted the Offer and been enrolled, your Enrolling Area is obliged to provide the supervision and support required to enable the student to complete their research program and thesis in a timely manner. This obligation, made by accepting the student's application to enrol, is re-confirmed at candidacy. The best measure of the University's postgraduate performance is given by the results achieved by higher degree students and the quality and reputation of its graduates. To this end, your Enrolling Area should provide a positive intellectual and physical environment for each enrolled student within the acknowledged limitations of resources and accommodation.

In particular, the student should be encouraged to participate in informal and formal research seminars and research activities, both within your Enrolling Area and in other areas where appropriate. Each student should also be kept well informed about any additional facilities or equipment (e.g. computing facilities, space or furniture) that they may be able to access.

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Interim Thesis Committee

At the time the student applies for admission, and after consultation with the student, you must nominate an Interim Thesis Committee comprising at least a Chairperson and a Supervisor. One or more Associate Supervisors and/or Co-Supervisor may also be nominated. The Interim Thesis Committee will be approved by the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee at the time enrolment is confirmed (see Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 5(c)).

If the Chair or Supervisor of the Interim Thesis Committee is unable to continue their duties in this role, a replacement must be nominated in consultation with the student, and the change approved by the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.

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Application for Candidacy

Before recommending a student for admission for candidacy, you should re-confirm, preferably as a result of an interview, that the student has the ability to pursue the projected research program to the required standard and that the Enrolling Area can provide and maintain the necessary supervision and facilities to meet the student's essential needs.

The student will complete Part A of the Application for Candidacy form, attach the summary of proposed research program and submit the documentation to the Supervisor, who will discuss the composition of the Thesis Committee with you. Part B of the form should be completed and signed by you and submitted to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. Before signing the form you are advised to:

The Thesis Committee should meet with the student after candidacy has been approved, with the aim of determining the format of progress reports upon which thesis progress will be determined as below, and assess the student's plan of study.

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Variation to Candidacy Details

Once candidacy has been approved, any changes to the thesis title or the thesis committee must be approved by your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee using an Variation to Candidacy Details form. Where it is obvious that the proposed change of title reflects a change in focus or direction of the student's research, the student must provide a fresh proposal highlighting the changes, and this must be attached to the form.

It is important that you provide all the details requested on the form, particularly those regarding the title and thesis committee, to allow the details to be confirmed in the University's records. The completed and signed form, together with the revised research proposal if appropriate, should be forwarded to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee for approval.

If the Chair, Supervisor or Co-Supervisor is unable to carry out their roles and responsibilities for a period exceeding three months, you must nominate a replacement for the relevant period for approval by the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.

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Conversion(s)

Rule 10: Degree of Doctor by Research allows for a student to Convert a Master's (by Research) Candidacy to Doctoral Candidacy (Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 7). This is dealt with by following the same procedure and using the Application for Candidacy/Conversion of Candidacy form as previously described in the Application for Candidacy section above.

In this case, particular emphasis is on the sections of the form relating to Conversion and Ethics. It is important to ensure that both the student and the Supervisor have included a statement showing how the research has changed and how it will make a substantial and original contribution to the area with which it deals. With regard to Ethics, it is important to ensure that the change in research, since approval of Master's (by Research) Candidacy, is reviewed in the light of ethical implications.

Following discussion with the student's Supervisor and Thesis Committee, and when the student has completed Part A of the Application for Candidacy form, you should complete Part B and submit the form for approval to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.

Although as yet no formal the Rules exists for the reverse situation, the procedure to be followed is exactly the same as above where there is a need for a student to convert from Doctoral Candidacy to Master's (by Research) Candidacy.

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Annual Progress Reporting

The Annual Progress Report is the mechanism by which you, as Head of the student's Enrolling Area, your Faculty and the University as a whole can monitor the progress of a student's research program, the quality of the supervision provided to the student and the adequate provision of resources and other facilities. It is most important, because it is also the official notification to the University that the student is actively pursuing their research.

The online Annual Progress Report is completed by research students and supervisors in August each year (see further APR information).

If a student's Annual Progress Report is unsatisfactory and/or the student has indicated a number of problems occurring in relation to the conduct of the research, as Head of the student's Enrolling Area, should discuss the report with the Supervisor and/or Thesis Committee as a whole. The student is also provided with the opportunity to report, in confidence, on any concerns that they have regarding their candidacy. These comments are not be presented to the Higher Degree Review Board along with their report but need to be considered separately.

Once satisfied that the sections applicable to the student and supervisor have been completed, you should choose one of the following status recommendations pertaining to enrolment:

The Annual Progress Reports of both the Student and Supervisor shall be presented for discussion at the Higher Degree by Research Review Board meeting held in your area in November. At the HDR Review Board meeting, recommendations regarding the academic status of each student will be made for forwarding to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee for approval.

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Continuing Enrolment

A research student's continuing enrolment is conditional upon a satisfactory Annual Progress Report. After the meeting of your Higher Degree Review Board the Annual Progress Report forms and status recommendations should be forwarded to your Faculty Graduate Studies Officer for appropriate action.

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Leave of Absence

The procedure for requesting a Leave of Absence is given on the Application for Leave of Absence form. Complete the form to signify your support or denial of the request, and submit it to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. If approved, and withdrawal is necessary, the Faculty Graduate Studies Officer will deal with that section of the form accordingly.

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Extension of Time

The duration of a Higher Degree by Research is detailed in Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 4. It is important that students try to complete their thesis within the relevant time constraints. However, a student may apply, in writing, for an extension in which to submit the thesis for examination. If this is supported by the Supervisor and yourself, you should submit the request to the Graduate Studies Committee, through your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee (Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 4(c)(ii)).

Please note that as there are time constraints relating to degree completion, students who move into Thesis Overtime may be charged fees.

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Termination of Enrolment

If the student's progress is unsatisfactory and/or the student has indicated a number of problems occurring in relation to the conduct of the research, you, as Head of the Enrolling Area, should discuss the Report with the Supervisor and/or Thesis Committee.

Performance

If a student is not making satisfactory progress despite the best attempts of the Supervisor, a report should be made by the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee to you, as the Head of the Enrolling Area, (when the Supervisor and Chair are two different individuals). In an extreme case based on the individual circumstances, you may recommend to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee that the student's enrolment be terminated. The procedures for this are stated in Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 16 (see also the Guidelines for the Process of Termination of Enrolment of Higher Degree by Research Students). Details of the student's appeal process are given in Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 17.

Behaviour

Students are also required to behave according to the University's Disciplinary Statutes and meet their responsibilities as students (see Student Rights and Responsibilities). If their behaviour is unsatisfactory and they do not comply with the Statutes, their enrolment may be terminated.

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Appointment of Thesis Examining Panel

A Thesis Examining Panel is usually appointed by your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee approximately three months before the date agreed between the student and the Supervisor for submission of the completed thesis. Following discussion with the student's Supervisor, you will recommend:

This recommendation for examiners is made on the Nomination of Examiners form submitted through your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. No previous or current member of a student's Thesis Committee may be nominated and, for this reason, when you apply for approval of Examiners, the Thesis Committee is shown on the same form. At a later stage, if it is necessary to change or provide an additional examiner, you should make a recommendation in the same way.

In recommending examiners, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that examiners are free from bias, both positive and negative, in relation to the students or the supervisor.

Suitable examiners are likely to have substantial recent research or relevant professional experience. Consideration may also be given to ensuring that at least one examiner has experience in the examination and/or supervision of Australian research theses. It is recommended that Examiners have at least three years of research experience since graduation.

Please note that you are required to confirm that an initial, informal approach has been made to the proposed Examiners to ensure that they are willing to be appointed as Examiners and that they will be available at the expected time of submission of the thesis. This early approach to the Examiners may be made either by yourself, the Supervisor or the Chair of the Thesis Committee. An abstract of the thesis should be forwarded to the potential examiner to inform his/her decision to examine, and ensure there are no paradigm clashes. If, subsequent to the formal appointment of Examiners, you become aware of any circumstances which will delay submission, it is your responsibility to inform the Thesis Examinations Officer.

If anonymity has been requested, the names of the Examiners are not released. Only the Dean, Graduate Studies (or nominee), the Chairperson of your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee and the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee may communicate with the Examiners regarding the examination process while the thesis is under examination (Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 12(g)).

If the thesis is required to be classified Confidential, the Enrolling Area must apply for approval to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. This application must be accompanied by a formal letter from the sponsoring body. The Thesis Examinations Officer will then ensure that all Examiners sign a confidentiality agreement, as required by your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, prior to examination of the thesis.

Chairperson of Thesis Committee

Upon receipt of Examiners' Reports the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee is responsible for the following:

For further information pertaining to the Thesis Committee, please see the Guidelines for Thesis Committee Members.

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The Examination Process

The Thesis Examinations Officer is responsible for the administration of the examination process. Examiners submit Reports and Recommendations as required under the Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 13(b). As soon as the Reports are received they are sent to the Chairperson, who is responsible for notifying the student, in writing, of the classification and the required amendment. This is undertaken in consultation with the supervisory panel.

A summary of action for each assessment category is as follows.

Appointment of Replacement Examiner or Adjudicator

Where the Recommendations of the Examiners differ significantly, for example the award of a PASS and a FAIL, the Chairperson may recommend to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee that they recommend to the Dean, Graduate Studies that a Replacement Examiner be appointed (Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 12(f)). This request is made in the same way as for the original examiners. Where the recommendations of the original examiners do not allow determination of a result based on clear weight of opinion, the Chairperson may recommend to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee that an Adjudicator be appointed (Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 13(i)). The Adjudicator shall adjudicate between the Examiners' reports on the basis of the thesis presented (in original form or as resubmitted, whichever is appropriate).

Recommendation of the Chairperson of Thesis Committee

When the student has made the appropriate amendments as required by the Chairperson, a recommendation must be made that the thesis be Passed or Failed. This is achieved by submitting the Thesis Examination Report of Chairperson, signed by you and the Chairperson, to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. If amendment or resubmission has been requested, a statement from the student documenting the response to the examiners' reports must be attached to the Thesis Examination Report.

At this point, the student must present the thesis to the Thesis Examinations Officer in the Office of Research and Development for permanent binding.

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Conferral of Award and Graduation

The Graduate Studies Committee makes monthly recommendations to Council for Conferral of Award. The student is notified by the Graduate Studies Committee of the recommendation and does not have to apply to graduate as this is done by the Office of Research and Development on the student's behalf.

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