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Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 8 June 2018.

(2) This Procedure includes the following schedules:

  1. Schedule A: Minimum Entry Requirements for Higher Degrees by Research
  2. Schedule B: Higher Degrees by Research English Language Requirements
  3. Schedule C: Minimum Resources for Higher Degrees by Research Students.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure outlines the processes for admission, selection and enrolment to higher degrees by research (HDR).

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to students for HDR, their supervisors, faculties, institutes and University administrators. It does not apply to degrees by coursework or higher doctoral degrees.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) This Procedure is pursuant to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) Prospective students will follow the application processes for HDR courses stipulated by Deakin Research.

Entry requirements

(7) Applicants who meet the minimum entry requirements set out in clause 8 may be offered a place in an HDR course. Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee selection into a course. Selection is based on the criteria listed in clause 15.

(8) To be considered for selection into an HDR course, the applicant must:

  1. meet the following minimum entry requirements listed in Schedule A: Minimum entry requirements for higher degrees by research and
  2. attain the University's English language standards set out in Schedule B: Higher degrees by research English language requirements.

(9) A current ongoing Deakin staff member will be admitted to an HDR course at Deakin where the Head of Academic Unit has assessed the application in accordance with guidelines, endorsed by Research and Research Training Committee, and is satisfied that:

  1. the risk of conflict of interest associated with supervision is not significant and a risk mitigation strategy has been developed
  2. the staff member has considered the relative merits of undertaking their study at another institution
  3. it is in the staff member's best interests to study at Deakin.

Thesis by prior publications

(10) Applicants may apply to complete a thesis based substantially on prior publications. The applicant must demonstrate that:

  1. the prior publications could form a coherent body of original work by the applicant that demonstrates an original contribution to knowledge. For a doctoral applicant, this contribution must be significant.
  2. the prior publications have been produced within the last ten years, but this may be varied as appropriate for particular disciplines.
  3. the research leading to the publications was conducted in a way consistent with University research integrity requirements.

(11) Applications for thesis by prior publication must be approved by the Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity or their nominee in consultation with a senior academic in the discipline.

Autonomous sanctions

(12) In the case of applicants from a country listed under the autonomous sanctions requirements, a risk assessment must be carried out by the University's Autonomous Sanctions Risk Assessment Panel using the approved form to determine whether enrolment of the student would be in breach of the requirements.

Transfers from other HDR courses

(13) An applicant who is enrolled in an HDR at another institution may apply to transfer to Deakin. The period of elapsed candidature at the previous institution may be taken into account in setting their maximum completion date.

Credit for coursework

(14) Applicants may request credit for coursework by including a written request and supporting evidence in their application. Such requests will be assessed according to the Credit for Prior Learning policy and:

  1. be granted only for coursework components of the degree course
  2. not be granted in respect of qualifications or work that are prerequisites for admission.


(15) The Head of Academic Unit or nominee, will consider applications for HDR courses and may make a recommendation to the Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity or their nominee for the student to be admitted taking into account all of the following:

  1. the qualifications of the applicant
  2. the suitability of the applicant, which may be assessed through an interview
  3. the alignment of the proposed field of study with faculty/institute and University research priorities
  4. the feasibility of the applicant's completing the proposed research project within the normal period of candidature
  5. the availability for the duration of the course of at least two appropriate supervisors who have undertaken in writing to supervise the applicant
  6. the availability of adequate resources and facilities according to Schedule C: Minimum resources for higher degree by research students
  7. opportunity and support to apply for available scholarships and grant funding
  8. the applicant's intended place or places of study
  9. whether the enrolment is to be full-time or part-time
  10. the availability of suitable examiners
  11. the applicant and their project has been assessed by Deakin under the autonomous sanctions requirements and have been determined as low risk or been approved by the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Outcome of application

(16) The Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity or their nominee will make decisions on the admission of HDR applicants on the recommendation of the Head of Academic Unit or nominee. They will advise Deakin Research (or Deakin International in the case of international applicants) who will then notify the applicant of the decision in writing.

(17) Where an offer of candidature is made it will include the following terms and conditions of candidature:

  1. any credit granted
  2. the nominated supervision team and supervision arrangements
  3. the place or places of study
  4. whether the enrolment is full-time or part-time
  5. the date of commencement of candidature
  6. the maximum completion date
  7. compulsory requirements such as coursework (including required grades), research integrity training and occupational health and safety
  8. terms and conditions of any scholarship or offer the applicant is asked to consider.

(18) The University may withdraw the offer at any time prior to acceptance.

(19) International students who are studying on campus will be enrolled full-time.


(20) Students must participate in an induction to research provided by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research that includes codes of conduct, ethics, occupational health and safety, intellectual property and any additional matters that are required for the research to be undertaken.

Candidature engagement

(21) Supervisors, in collaboration with their students, will complete a Candidature Engagement Form within the first three months of candidature and submit it to the Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity or their nominee for approval. Failure to complete the Candidature Engagement Form may result in the student's enrolment being terminated.

Annual leave

(22) The student is entitled to take up to 20 working days' leave from candidature on approval by their principal or executive supervisor. Leave is included in the candidature duration. Leave cannot be accrued over multiple years.

Parental leave

(23) Students who have or will have responsibility for the care of a child either by birth (by themselves or their partner) or adoption are entitled to a single continuous period of up to 52 weeks of parental leave from the course. The student must provide a medical certificate to confirm their pregnancy and expected date of birth, or a birth or placement certificate as well as a statutory declaration that they will be the only primary care giver for the period of the leave (except for up to six weeks when there can be two primary carers of the child). International students must seek the approval of an International Student Adviser before making an application for parental leave.

(24) Students are entitled to two weeks partner leave when:

  1. their partner is pregnant or the parent of a newborn child, or when the student adopts a child under the age of five years, and
  2. the student will not be the primary carer.
The leave must be taken during the pregnancy or within three months after the date of the birth or placement of the child.

(25) Students may request an additional period of birth-related or primary carer leave of up to 52 weeks, to be primary carer for the same child at any time, up to when the child reaches five years of age.

Changes to candidature

(26) A student may apply for:

  1. changes to the terms and conditions of candidature
  2. intermission of candidature
  3. changes to the research topic.

(27) Changes to candidature will be made according to the processes stipulated by Deakin Research. Changes may be approved by the Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity or their nominee.

(28) Intermission must be requested where a student is not able to work on their research and annual leave is not appropriate. International students must seek the approval of an International Student Adviser before making an application for intermission. The following restrictions apply to intermission:

  1. The period of intermission will not exceed 12 calendar months in total over the period of candidature.
  2. Intermission will not be granted in the first 12 months of candidature unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  3. The student will undertake not to work on the degree program during the period of intermission.
Intermission excludes parental leave.

(29) Where a student applies to change their research topic and they are from a country listed under the autonomous sanctions requirements, the change must also be approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity and a new risk assessment must be carried out using the appropriate form.

Miscellaneous obligations

(30) A student may not be enrolled or enrol in another course, including at another institution, while enrolled in a Deakin HDR without the approval of the Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity.

(31) Students are responsible for ensuring that the University has their correct contact details and for regularly checking their mail and Deakin email for University correspondence. International students are required to notify the University within seven days of a change of address.

(32) Where an HDR student is to be offered ongoing employment at Deakin, the Head of Academic Unit will ensure that there is no conflict of interest or any risk of disadvantage to the student in relation to their course.

(33) An international student who receives Australian permanent resident status must inform Deakin Research and the Division of Student Administration immediately upon notification and provide evidence of the change.

Withdrawal from candidature

(34) Students may withdraw from their course at any time by notifying the HDR Candidature Manager in writing. Withdrawal may result in an academic and/or financial penalty as outlined on the Deakin Fees website.

Termination of candidature

(35) A student's enrolment may be terminated by the University in the following circumstances:

  1. the student has not met conditional enrolment requirements
  2. the student has provided false or misleading information in relation to an application for admission
  3. the student has been found guilty of misconduct and termination of candidature has been determined as part of the penalty
  4. the student has failed to comply with University policy, procedures and any other regulations and codes.
  5. The student has not met requirements of candidature including:
    1. enrolment or re-enrolment processes
    2. completion of the annual review of candidature by the required date
    3. submission of the thesis by the maximum completion date
    4. maintaining satisfactory academic progress according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Academic Progress procedure
  6. where staff at the University have tried to contact the student in writing and received no reply for one month, and an intermission or leave has not been authorised
  7. the student has failed to pay tuition fees or other fees by the specified deadline
  8. it is determined by the Academic Registrar and Executive Director Student Administration that termination should occur in the interests of the student or the University (for example, where a student is deceased)
  9. where the student or their project is no longer determined as low risk or approved by the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the autonomous sanctions requirements
  10. the Faculty Executive Dean or Pro Vice-Chancellor Researcher Development and Integrity determine that, within six months of candidature commencement, it is not possible to come to an agreement about changes to the project or supervision arrangements.

(36) Deakin Research will inform the student in writing that their enrolment has been terminated and the reasons for it. If the grounds are for non-payment of fees, the Division of Student Administration will inform the student and provide the student with a limited time to resolve the situation. A student whose enrolment has been terminated ceases to be a student of the University.


(37) A former student whose enrolment has been terminated for non-payment of fees may apply to the Division of Student Administration for reinstatement of their enrolment.

(38) A former student whose enrolment has been terminated for the reasons in clause 35 excluding the payment of fees, or termination for unsatisfactory progress without the right to be re-admitted, may apply to be re-admitted via the HDR application process outlined in this procedure. The Faculty/Institute will only approve re-admission of a student after termination of enrolment if there is evidence that the student is able to achieve satisfactory academic progress.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(39) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Academic Unit: as defined in the Research Conduct policy.
  2. advanced coursework: units of coursework which meet the standards set by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for the level of the degree.
  3. Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF): The AQF stipulates the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.
  4. candidature: the enrolment of the student in the HDR.
  5. credit: as defined in the Credit for Prior Learning policy.
  6. Head of Academic Unit nominee: a senior member of academic staff who is qualified as a principal supervisor.
  7. higher degree by research (HDR): as defined in Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General.
  8. international student: not an Australian citizen or permanent resident or New Zealand citizen.
  9. maximum completion date: the prescribed time limit for the degree, which is the date by which the thesis must be submitted, including any approved extensions.
  10. partner: a person who (regardless of sex or gender) lives in a relationship as a couple with another person on a genuine domestic basis. The definition also includes a former spouse or de facto partner of the student.
  11. provisional candidature: a period of enrolment in a program of advanced study and research subject to set requirements, prior to admission to full candidature.