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HDR - Higher Degree Research Candidature Rule

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) The Higher Degree Research (HDR) Candidature Rule provides generic rules for HDR candidature for matters not covered in specific course rules, or in other academic rules or policies.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) These Rules apply to:

  1. All UNE Representatives and HDR candidates enrolled in the University of New England.
  2. All higher degree courses administered by Research Services.
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Section 3 - Rule

Access to Theses

(3) These Rules apply to all HDR theses, dissertations and/or portfolios submitted as part of the requirements for higher degree by research.

(4) Section 51 (2) of the Copyright Act 1968 gives the Director Library Services and University Librarian the right to copy theses under the stated conditions. However, the University has the right to restrict access to theses held by the Library Services and is prepared to allow the author of a thesis to restrict access to the thesis for certain purposes. The options open to HDR candidates who submit a thesis are set out in the 'Right of Access to Thesis' Form, which the HDR candidate is required to complete on submission of the thesis.

(5) HDR candidates who submit a thesis shall complete the HDR Forms stating the restrictions, if any, that the HDR candidate wishes placed on access to the thesis. A copy of these forms, will be held by the University, in the institutional repository.

(6) As a condition of submitting a thesis for examination in the absence of a restriction, the HDR candidate shall grant to the University a non-exclusive licence to publish the thesis in whole or in part in the institutional repository.

(7) In consultation with the Head of School and where it is decided that it is in the University's best interests, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may direct the Director Library Services and University Librarian to withhold a thesis from unauthorised inspection for a specified period. The specified period shall not be less than the period that may have been requested by the student under Paragraph 5.

(8) In cases where a restriction is placed on a thesis, all copies of the thesis held by the University, regardless of format, shall be deposited in the Library Services, which shall be responsible for ensuring that the conditions of the restriction are complied with.


(9) Admission to higher degree research programs shall be in accordance with the admissions criteria set out in the relevant HDR course rules published in the Postgraduate Research section of the UNE Course and Unit Catalogue as they apply to the following HDR courses in the year of commencement.

Enrolment and Commencement

(10) HDR Candidates must formally enrol in their HDR program in order to commence. Only research and other study undertaken from the date of enrolment will be considered for assessment.

(11) HDR Candidates may apply for Advanced Standing for coursework already completed as part of other awards. The relevant Head of School, or nominee, will assess and approve requests for Advanced Standing:

  1. Advanced Standing decisions are made in relation to HDR Course Rules; and
  2. Appeals of decisions made about Advanced Standing may be made to the Deputy Director Graduate Studies in the first instance.

Course requirements

(12) HDR Candidates must complete all course requirements according to their course rules in the UNE Course and Unit Catalogue for their year of commencement. Exceptions to any of the course rules must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at the request of the relevant Head of School. Such requests should be put to the Deputy Director Graduate Studies.

(13) HDR candidates shall pursue an approved program of research, amounting to no less than two-thirds of their course requirements by supervised study either within the University or outside of the University at an approved site.

(14) HDR candidates undertaking coursework units are bound by the rules and policies governing coursework, including the discretionary powers of Pro-Vice Chancellors, Head of School, Unit and Course Coordinators, coursework progression requirements, attendance and assessment requirements, as specified in the University's General Rules.

Supervision and review of progress

(15) HDR candidates must be supervised by approved research supervisors while they remain enrolled in an HDR program at UNE. The School the candidate is enrolled in is responsible for ensuring supervision is available.

(16) Individuals selected as research supervisors must meet the appropriate requirements as detailed in the HDR - Registration of Research Higher Degree Supervisors Procedures and the HDR - Research Activity and Publication for Higher Degree Research Supervisors Guidelines.

(17) HDR Candidates, their Principal Supervisor and the Head of School must report on progress twice yearly through the HDR Progress Reporting system, and in accordance with their course rules and the HDR - Unsatisfactory HDR Progress Report Procedures.

Candidature, leave and completion

(18) Research Master candidates have a maximum period of candidature of two years, or four years part-time.

(19) HDR doctoral candidates are expected to complete doctoral programs in three years, with an absolute maximum candidature of four years, or six years part-time with a maximum of eight years part-time.

(20) Candidature in an HDR program is distinct from the entitlement, requirements or period of any scholarship.

(21) A HDR candidate may enrol in any other Course with the permission of their Principal Supervisor and the relevant Head of School, or delegate.

(22) Where specified in HDR program rules, candidates will be asked to complete confirmation of candidature, usually at six months after commencing their candidature, or twelve months part-time.

(23) The minimum period of candidature for HDR programs will be as specified in the HDR course rules advertised in the UNE Course Rules (Course Catalogue) for the year of commencement.

(24) HDR candidates will be eligible for a leave of absence (intermission) from their candidature with the permission of their Principal Supervisor and the approval of the Head of School. A period of leave of absence from candidature might be sought, for example, in the case of illness, professional opportunity, acquiring additional qualifications, maternity or paternity leave. Any leave of absence will extend the candidate's submission date.

(25) HDR candidates may seek an extension of their candidature with the approval of their Principal Supervisor and Head of School.

(26) The University has the right to refuse a request for a leave of absence, suspension or extension.

(27) The University has the right to request additional medical or other documentation to support a request for a leave of absence, suspension or extension.

Withdrawal and unsatisfactory progress

(28) If an HDR candidate withdraws from their candidature, they may apply for resumption of their candidature within three years of the date of withdrawal. The relevant School HDR Coordinator will determine whether candidates may resume their studies, and whether the School has the necessary resources and supervisory capacity.

(29) Where a candidate's progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory, the candidate may be asked to show cause as to why their enrolment should be continued, in line with the HDR - Higher Degree Research Show Cause Policy.

Thesis submission and examination

(30) Thesis submission and examination requirements are in accordance with the candidate's HDR course rules as published in the UNE Course Rules (Course Catalogue) in the year of commencement.

(31) HDR candidates may elect to submit their theses by publication. In this case, HDR candidates must refer to the HDR - Higher Degree Research Thesis by Publication guideline.

(32) In exceptional circumstances, where a thesis is submitted outside of the UNE Course Rules (Course Catalogue), or without the approval of the candidate's School, the Graduate Research Examinations Board will determine whether the thesis is in an appropriate form for submission.

(33) In exceptional circumstances, where a candidate has withdrawn from candidature, or extinguished all entitlement to candidature, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research may authorise a period of enrolment suitable for the thesis to be submitted, within two years of withdrawal, and at the request of the relevant Head of School.

(34) Principal Supervisors and School HDR Coordinators will ensure that appropriate examiners are identified and available at the time a candidate submits the thesis.


(35) HDR candidates must satisfy the requirements of their HDR candidature as published in the UNE Course Rules (Course Catalogue) in the year of commencement in order to qualify for graduation.

(36) The Graduation List is submitted to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research for approval and only candidates who have been certified as having completed their course requirements will be permitted to graduate.

(37) HDR candidates are not deemed graduates until the University has conferred their degree.

(38) HDR candidates who are unable to attend the graduation ceremony following their eligibility for conferment may apply to attend the next ceremony for presentation of their previously issued Testamur.

(39) HDR candidates who are unable to attend the graduation ceremony following their eligibility for conferment may apply to graduate In Absentia.

(40) For the purpose of assisting verification of the entitlement of a graduate to professional accreditation, the University may release to an agency or authority, approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, information concerning an HDR candidate's academic and graduate status. Any information released before conferment, shall be accompanied by a statement that graduate status remains subject to conferment.

(41) On the recommendation of the Executive Principal Brand Partnerships & Business Development, in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, the Council may approve the incorporation of a UNE partner's logo and/or name into an official Testamur of the University of New England. Approval shall not be granted by Council unless the partner's governing body or Chief Executive Officer has officially approved in writing the use of its logo, achievement and/or name and that this approval is provided to the Council at the time of the application to it for its incorporation. The award represented by the Testamur remains an award of the University of New England.

Relaxation of a Rule

(42) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research may relax an HDR - Higher Degree Research Candidature Rule by application from the Head of School.

Rescission of an Award

(43) The Council may rescind conferment of an award for reasons which include, but are not limited to:

  1. a graduate wishes to have the award rescinded;
  2. an administrative error has resulted in the conferral of an award for which the HDR candidate was not eligible; or
  3. an HDR candidate or former candidate is in breach of a rule or policy of the University where rescission of an award is a valid penalty for such a breach.

(44) The decision to rescind the conferral of an award is made by Council on the recommendation of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research. The Council's decision is final.

Student Visa Holders

(45) UNE Representatives and Student Visa Holder’s must consult with UNE International before actioning any HDR Candidature Rule that affects a Student Visa Holder's enrolment status, including: study load, compulsory withdrawal from a unit, intermission, transfer and course or institutional transfer.

Transition to New HDR Courses

(46) Where the University discontinues or changes the rules of a course, provision will be made to either allow transfer of affected HDR candidates to another course without unreasonable disadvantage to the HDR candidates concerned or to enable HDR candidates to continue under the previous rules for a designated period to allow completion.

(47) Where an HDR candidate elects to continue under the existing course rules, School HDR Coordinators will be permitted to exercise discretion in the application of course rules to avoid undue disadvantage to the HDR candidate concerned.


(48) The University uses email to communicate officially to HDR candidates. The University issues HDR candidates with a University email address. HDR candidates are responsible for checking their University email address at least once a week. A notice emailed by the University to an HDR candidate's University email address shall be deemed to have been received by the candidate.

(49) An HDR candidate is required to provide a reliable mailing address for correspondence with the University. HDR candidates must ensure that the mailing address held in the University's Student Management System is the correct and current mailing address for them. Where hard copy materials need to be sent to HDR candidates these will be sent by mail to the candidates current address as registered with the University.

Records Management

(50) Records relating to any action or decision made under these rules must be recorded in accordance with the University Records Management Rule.

Authority and Compliance

(51) The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, pursuant to Section 29 of the University of New England Act 1993 (NSW), makes this University Rule.

(52) University Representatives and Students must observe it in relation to University matters.

(53) The Rule Administrator, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, is authorised to make policies and associated information for the operation of this University Rule. The policies and associated information must be compatible with the provisions of this Rule.

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

(55) Previous HDR Candidature Rules and related documents are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Rule.

(56) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this University 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.

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Section 4 - Definitions

For the purposes of this document the following definitions apply.

(57) Admitted HDR candidate means a candidate who has been admitted to an HDR course at UNE and who is entitled to enrol in candidature or has completed candidature in an HDR program, and is under examination.

(58) Enrolled HDR candidate means an HDR candidate who is Enrolled in an HDR program at UNE.

(59) HDR candidate means an Admitted HDR candidate or an enrolled HDR candidate, at the relevant time.