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Higher Doctorates procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 18 March 2019.

(2) This Procedure is made under Regulation 5.2(5) - Higher Doctorates.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure outlines the processes for the University in admitting, assessing and examining candidates for the award of Higher Doctorate. It does not apply to degrees by coursework or higher degrees by research.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to applicants and candidates for Higher Doctorates, their supervisors, faculties and University administrators.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to Regulation 5.2(5) - Higher Doctorates.

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Section 5 - Procedure


(6) A prospective candidate to a higher doctorate must submit an application to the Executive Officer, Higher Degrees by Research (HDR).

(7) An application must be in writing and contain:

  1. a detailed curriculum vitae and statement about the applicant's connection to Deakin University;
  2. a complete list of the body of published works which is to be assessed as the basis of the application for the award;
  3. an assessment and detailed explanation of the significance of the body of published works, its impact and contribution to the field;
  4. a detailed statement addressing the extent of the contributions by the applicant where any of the published works have been prepared or written in collaboration with another person or persons;
  5. a supporting statement from a senior Deakin University academic who is knowledgeable in the relevant field addressing why, in their view, the applicant would be worthy of a higher doctorate. The statement must cover the applicant's background, their standing in the field, their connection to the University, and the strategic value to the University of awarding this degree.

(8) The Executive Officer, HDR will refer the application to the relevant Faculty Executive Dean or Institute Director to consider and decide whether a case for candidature exists or not. Further information may be requested.

(9) The Faculty Executive Dean or Institute Director will recommend to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research whether or not candidature should be offered. If the Faculty Executive Dean or Institute Director recommends offering candidature, the recommendation will be accompanied by:

  1. evidence of external advice from a senior academic at an Australian university that awards higher doctorates that the applicant would be likely to be successful in an examination;
  2. the names of three possible examiners who are eminent in the discipline;
  3. the name of at least two staff members who can assist the candidate through the submission for examination process.

(10) Additional information may be sought from the applicant at any stage of the admission process, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research may ask the Executive Officer, HDR, to seek any other advice as they consider necessary prior to deciding whether to offer candidature.

(11) If candidature is offered, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research will approve:

  1. any applicable conditions of candidature;
  2. the due date for submission of the portfolio for examination, which will normally be no later than one year from the letter of offer;
  3. the appointment of three examiners who can assess whether the submission makes an internationally recognised original contribution to knowledge so as to give the candidate authoritative standing in that field;
  4. the appointment of at least two staff members to assist the candidate during candidature.

(12) The Executive Officer, HDR will notify all applicants of the outcome for higher doctorate candidature in writing, giving the reasons.


(13) Higher doctorate candidature and the examination process will be administered by the Graduate Research Academy.

(14) The candidate must in accordance with the conditions of candidature and any other requirements specified by the University present for examination an electronic copy of their submission for assessment for a Higher Doctorate award by the University consisting of:

  1. a copy of the published works that are to be assessed as the basis for seeking the award;
  2. an exposition on the significance, impact and standing of the published works that have been included;
  3. a signed detailed statement describing the contribution of the candidate to works with more than one author.

(15) Each examiner provides an independent assessment report addressing whether they support the award of the Higher Doctorate.

Award of the degree

(16) Where the Graduate Research Academy has received unanimous reports from three examiners certifying that the submitted portfolio meets the requirements of the award, then the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research will recommend to Academic Board that the award of a Higher Doctorate be conferred on the candidate.

(17) On recommendation from Academic Board that the candidate has met all requirements of the award, University Council may confer a Higher Doctorate as listed in Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General.

Appeals and reapplication

(18) Unsuccessful applicants have no right of review or appeal about admission. Unsuccessful applicants for candidature and candidates unsuccessful in the examination may not reapply for candidature or subsequent examination for three years from the date of their unsuccessful application or examination outcome.

(19) A candidate may appeal the decision of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research to the University Appeals Committee on the following grounds:

  1. procedural irregularities in the examination process;
  2. evidence of prejudice or bias in the examination process.

(20) Grounds for appeal do not include the academic assessment of the merit of the work.

(21) The appeal must be lodged in writing within 20 working days of being notified of the outcome as required by the Student Appeals procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(22) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Applicant: a person who has submitted an application for higher doctorate candidature.
  2. Candidate: a person whose application to enrol in a higher doctorate has been accepted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research.