Thesis Examination


Preparing for HDR Examination

Nomination of Examiners

Selecting the right examiners is critical, particularly where the work crosses discipline boundaries. Examiners should always be academic experts and their expertise must also be aligned with the paradigm of the candidate's work.

For more information see Nomination of Examiners.

Advice Given to Examiners

Quality is at the forefront of all aspects of research at the University of Western Sydney and examiners are expected to make a contribution to that quality through a rigorous and frank review of all higher degree research students' work. Examiners are provided with guidelines is to assist them in considering theses for master's degrees by research, and for PhD degrees.

For more information see Advice Given to Examiners.

Thesis Presentation Guidelines

There is ;detailed advice on presentation guidelines, both compulsory and optional, and the examination process in the Research Higher Degree Exam Booklet. The guidelines include aspects that are compulsory at UWS.

Candidates should always discuss presentation standards with their supervisor to ensure that they are complying with discipline expectations.

Chronology of Examination Process

  1. Candidate informs the supervisory panel of the date on which they will submit, up to six months beforehand.
  2. Supervisors have an informal discussion with potential examiners.
  3. At least three months prior to submission, supervisory panel submits Nomination of Examiners form to School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent).
  4. School or Institute Higher Degree Committee considers nominations and endorses or revises.
  5. Academic Registrar's Office (ARO) is asked to contact examiners to confirm availability.
  6. At submission one copy of the thesis, with a Examination Submission form signed by the Principal Supervisor, is sent to the School or Research Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) for quality checking and endorsement. The thesis copy and the form are forwarded to ARO by the School or Research Institute HDR Director (or equivalent).
  7. Other copies of the thesis sent directly to ARO, where they will wait until the Examination Submission form is received.
  8. Candidate is sent acknowledgement of receipt of thesis and an explanation of the examiantion process.
  9. Thesis is delivered to examiners.
  10. Examiners are contacted after six weeks, if their report has not been received.
  11. All reports, when received, are sent to the School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent).
  12. School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) forwards reports to the Supervisory Panel and requests a written report addressing the examiners' comments.
  13. ARO advises the supervisor, candidate and examiners of the final outcome.
  14. If any changes are required, the candidate contacts the supervisor to discuss.
  15. The Research Studies Committee approves the award of the degree as delegated by Academic Senate. ARO advises the candidate, graduation unit and supervisor.

From Thesis Lodgement to Graduation

Thesis Lodgement

A Examination Submission form (PDF, 82.87 KB) (opens in a new window) must be included when submitting ;your thesis.

The first section, completed by the candidate, is a statement that the candidate has presented their work for examination. You should take your examination copies of the thesis and the lodgement form to your supervisor.

In the second section of the form the supervisory panel members sign to attest that the thesis or other work is of a standard suitable for examination.

There is provision for any members of the panel to declare that they do not support the examination, usually because they are not satisfied with the standard or readiness of the thesis. Under UWS rules a candidate may request that their thesis be examined without the support of the supervisory panel. The matter will be referred to the UWS Research Studies Committee for a decision.

The third section is an acknowledgment of the above by the School or Research Institute HDR Director (or equivalent).

Theses will not be sent to examiners without the thesis lodgement form.

Library Lodgement of Final Copy

All postgraduate research theses must be submitted in digital format to the Academic Registrar's Office. When submitting a thesis, a Right of Access to Thesis form (PDF, 115.33 KB) (opens in a new window) must be completed and sent with the final document.

Theses can either be sent electronically as a PDF file by email to HDRexams@uws.edu.au, or saved on CD-ROM and posted to the Postgraduate Research Officer, Academic Registrar's Office, Building I, Room I.1.2, Kingswood, NSW 2751.

Graduation

The UWS Research Studies Committee approves graduations on the delegated authority of Academic Senate. The committee holds a special meeting before the graduation cut off date to consider any eligible applications.

When the committee has approved a candidate's graduation, the ARO will advise the graduations unit, the candidate and the principal supervisor.

The Graduation Unit will advise the candidate of the details of the next graduation ceremony.

Research Higher Degree candidates do not have to apply to graduate.

Summary of Examination Process

  1. Candidate informs the supervisor of their intention to complete, up to six months beforehand.
  2. Supervisor has an informal discussion with potential examiners.
  3. Supervisor submits Nomination of Examiners form to School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) three months prior to submission, where possible.
  4. School or Institute Higher Degree Committee endorses nominations.
  5. Academic Registrar's Office (ARO) contacts examiners to confirm availability.
  6. One copy of the thesis, with a Examination Submission form signed by the Principal Supervisor, is sent to the School or Research Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) for quality checking and endorsement. The thesis copy and the form are forwarded to ARO by the School or Research Institute HDR Director (or equivalent)'s office.
  7. In the meantime, other copies of the thesis may have been sent directly to ARO, where they will wait until the Examination Submission form is received.
  8. Candidate is sent acknowledgement of receipt of thesis and an explanation of the exam process.
  9. Thesis is posted to examiners with examination guidelines, a report summary proforma and payment of honorarium details.
  10. Examiners are contacted after six weeks, if their report has not been received.
  11. All reports, when received, are sent to the School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent).
  12. School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) forwards reports to the Supervisory Panel and requests a written report addressing the examiners comments.
  13. The Supervisory Panel forwards a recommendation to the School or Research Institute HDR Director (or equivalent).
  14. The School or Institute Higher Degree Committee approves an outcome, if all of the examiners have recommended an A or M.
  15. If one or more of the examiners has recommended an R, X or F the Research Studies Committee makes a decision, taking into account the recommendation of the School or Institute Higher Degree Committee and Supervisory Panel.
  16. ARO advises the supervisor, candidate and examiners of the outcome.
  17. If required, the candidate contacts the supervisor to discuss any changes that may be required. The candidate should document all changes for reporting purposes.
  18. The supervisor and candidate report that changes have been made, as instructed, and send a copy to the School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) for endorsement.
  19. The School or Institute Higher Degree Committee forwards a recommendation for the award of the degree to ARO.
  20. The Research Studies Committee approves the award of the degree as delegated by Academic Senate. ARO advises the candidate, graduation unit and supervisor.

Editing

HDR students may consider employing an editor for checking their thesis before examination.

Editing should not be seen as an alternative to developing good writing skills but rather as a last step in polishing the work.

Please read the UWS Editing Guidelines (DOC, 171.5 KB) (opens in a new window) for a full explanation.

The Deans and Directors of Graduate Study (DDoGS) Australia negotiated guidelines for editing theses (opens in a new window) with the Society of Editors.

To find a professional editor visit IPED find an editor (opens in a new window).

Examination Process

Examination Results

Examiners are asked to recommend one of the following outcomes and to write a full report on their findings.

A - The degree be awarded;

M - The candidate be required to undertake minor rewriting of an editorial nature (as identified by the examiners to the satisfaction of the School or Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee before the degree is awarded;

R - The candidate be required to undertake rewriting that is of greater magnitude than minor editorial changes (as identified by the examiners) to the satisfaction of the Research Studies Committee before the degree is awarded;

X - The candidate be required to revise and resubmit for further examination within a specified time; or

F - The degree not be awarded.

Option X

Option X cannot be recommended a second time. However, on completion of a second examination, a candidate may be required to undertake further rewriting.

A re-examination under option X will be conducted on the basis of specific advice given to the candidate on what should be achieved by rewriting the thesis.

The specific instructions to the candidate for rewriting for re-examination will be approved by the Research Studies Committee.

The rewriting instructions will be written by the supervisory panel and endorsed by the School or Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee.

These instructions will be provided to the examiner for the re-examination as they will form the basis of the second examination.

No new criticisms may be introduced by the examiner in the second examination.

The examiner(s) who recommended that the thesis be re-examined shall be invited to undertake the re-examination. An examiner who recommended that the candidate fail will not be invited to re-examine the thesis. An examiner who recommended that the degree be awarded without change to the thesis will not be invited to re-examine the thesis.

The rewritten thesis will be presented for the second examination with a thesis submission form.

Under Option F the Research Studies Committee may recommend resubmission for a research masters award. The work may have to be rewritten before it is submitted for examination at research masters level.

Examiners' Recommendations

When all of the candidate's reports have been received they are sent by the Academic Register's Office (ARO) to the School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent). The supervisory panel is then invited to comment on the reports and prepare a recommendation on the overall outcome.

For more information see Examiners' Recommendations.

Amendments Completed

Candidates must write a report on the changes they have made that includes what they were asked to do and how they have responded. The supervisor must check that this has been done and that the final copy reflects those changes. This is particularly important where there will be a second examination, as it will be conducted on the basis of the candidate's response to directions following the first examination.

However, in all cases the School or Institute Higher Degree Committee and the Research Studies Committee will want to see evidence that the work has been satisfactorily completed. The principal supervisor should forward the advice of satisfactory completion of the amendments, to the School or Institute HDR Director (or equivalent) in all cases where there was an outcome of Options M, R or X.

Further information

References and links

Beyond graduation

Maximising the impact of your Doctorate from Australia and New Zealand, Author(s): Carey Denholm and Terry Evans Publisher: ACER Press 2009
This book contains information about publishing and a variety of career paths after graduation with an HDR qualification.
 
Beyond Doctorates Downunder is written for candidates in their final year of doctoral study and for doctoral graduates in their first five years after completion. The twenty-seven chapters are clustered around reflecting, learning from experience, result production, strategic planning, and setting the course for the first five years after graduation.
 
Thirty-three contributors from universities, enterprise, consultancy, government and the professions in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand have produced clear and engaging chapters on how pending and recent doctoral graduates can ensure that they and the community will benefit from their doctorates. The book is available in the UWS Library.
 
You have access to the on-line module in vUWS; Completion and Beyond. Module 6 discusses what lies beyond the research degree including information about grants and postdoctoral opportunities. There is an exercise writing an inventory of skills and competencies.
 
1. Go the Go to the UWS homepage
2. Click on "Blended Learning (vUWS)" at the top left of the page
3. Login with your MyUWS account
4. You will see "Completion and Beyond" on the left of the page

Conflict of Interest Guidelines

The Council of Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies in Australia (DDOGS) Conflict of Interest Guidelines.