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HDR - Higher Degree Research Program Approval Rule

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) The Higher Degree Research Program Approval Rule provides a framework for approval of all Higher Degree by Research programs offered by the University of New England. This Rule is designed to ensure quality academic programs that are aligned with the objectives of the University's Research Plan to deliver excellent research training. This Rule applies to the development of new HDR courses, amendments to existing HDR courses and withdrawal of HDR courses.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) The HDR Program Approval Rule applies to all higher degree by research programs at the University of New England.

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Section 3 - Rule


(3) UNE is committed to providing HDR programs that:

  1. are academically rigorous;
  2. reflect the important role of HDR training in a knowledge-based society;
  3. actively encourage candidates to develop the skills required to undertake their research and future careers;
  4. promote collaboration and connections with other University groups and offerings, where possible; and
  5. are an efficient and sustainable use of University resources and are aligned with the University Research Plan.

(4) Development, amendment and withdrawal of HDR academic programs must be informed by consultation with internal and external stakeholders.

HDR Course Development and Renewal

(5) When developing or renewing an HDR course, UNE:

  1. reflects on internal and external stakeholder feedback, benchmarks, standards and requirements;
  2. draws on appropriate content and established bodies of knowledge to ensure currency of curriculum;
  3. ensures the course enables candidates to be part of a scholarly intellectual community;
  4. provides for the development of relevant graduate attributes;
  5. ensures that the course design and requirements safeguard the integrity of student research and assessment; 
  6. aligns the learning objectives and assessment to the desired learning outcomes;
  7. considers entry and exit pathways;
  8. considers resource implications; and
  9. undertake on an annual basis regular monitoring and review to support continuous improvement, and formal internal and external course review at least every seven (7) years.


(6) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research administers the HDR program approval process and makes recommendations for course approvals. The Research Committee, through the Graduate Research Committee, provides advice on these programs.

Academic Governance

(7) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research will report new HDR courses and HDR course rescissions to Academic Board, as well as reporting to Academic Board on HDR course reviews and monitoring, as required.

Quality Assurance

(8) All HDR programs will undergo periodic review to ensure a framework for evaluating HDR programs as part of the University's quality assurance cycle, assessing the objectives, structure and program management to ensure that HDR programs are meeting the objectives of UNE's Strategic Plan.

(9) The HDR program approval process must comply with University policy and administrative requirements, and enable the University to comply with all legislative and reporting requirements.

Authority and Compliance

(10) The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, pursuant to Section 29 of the University of New England Act, makes this Rule.

(11) UNE Representatives must observe it in relation to University matters.

(12) The Rule Administrator, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, is authorised to make procedures and guidelines for the operation of this Rule. The procedures and guidelines must be compatible with the provisions of this Rule.

(13) This Rule operates as and from the Effective Date.

(14) Previous policy on Higher Degree Research Program Approval (and related documents) are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Rule.

(15) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Rule the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may approve an exception to this Rule, where the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer determines the application of the Rule would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome. Approvals by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer under this clause must be documented in writing and must state the reason for the exception.