Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy

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1 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy Responsible Officer Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Approved by Vice-Chancellor Approved and commenced January, 2015 Review by January, 2016 Relevant Legislation, Ordinance, Rule and/or Governance Level Principle Responsible Organisational Unit Australian Autonomous Sanctions Legislation: Charter of the United Nations (UN Sanction Enforcement Law) Declaration 2008; the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Act (Cth) 2011; and the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations (Cth) 2011 The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011 Australian Qualifications Framework Rule 4 - Rules of Graduate Research University of Tasmania Act GLP 12 Academic Standards GLP 13 Quality Management Framework Division of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) CONTENTS 1 Objective Scope Policy Provisions Principles of selection Autonomous Sanctions Entry Pathways into a Higher Degree by Research Standard entry pathways Alternative entry pathways Transferring from a Masters to a PhD Recognition of Prior Learning and Transfer of Candidature English Language Requirements Options for Applicants who do not meet English Language Requirements Conjoint Doctoral Degrees Joint Doctoral programs with government and/or industry Application for Admission to Candidature Offers of admission to HDR candidature Enrolment in a relevant program of coursework: Commencement date of enrolment Delaying the date of enrolment Withdrawing an offer External candidature Responsibilities The Dean of Graduate Research is responsible for: The Faculty Deans and Institute Directors are responsible for: The Head of School is responsible to Faculty Deans/Institute Directors for: Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

2 4.1.4 Graduate Research Coordinators are responsible for: Applicants are responsible for ensuring that: Definitions and Acronyms Supporting Documentation Acknowledgements Versioning Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

3 1 Objective The objective of this Policy is to set out admission and enrolment requirements to Higher Degree by Research courses at the University of Tasmania (the University). 2 Scope This policy applies to: All domestic and international students applying for admission to Higher Degree Research (HDR) courses (including Masters Degrees (Research), Doctoral Degrees and Professional Doctorates) at the University; and All staff of the University involved in the assessment of applicants to HDR Candidature at the University. Admission requirements for HDR candidature at the University are consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework and the Higher Education Standards Framework. 3 Policy Provisions In its admissions, the University seeks to engage with and serve the social, cultural and economic welfare of the community, including the residents of the region in which the University is located as per Section 6(g) of the University of Tasmania Act The University may also seek to achieve strategic objectives, as defined in University strategic plans, through its admissions. 3.1 Principles of selection Candidates undertaking a Higher Degree by Research carry out a program of supervised research, that makes a contribution to knowledge and understanding in the relevant field of study (as defined in clause 7 of the Rules of Graduate Research), typically publish the results of their research, and progress towards becoming independent researchers. For these reasons, HDR Candidates are viewed as junior researchers and colleagues. As a consequence, entry into HDR candidature involves selection on the basis of several criteria that are different to gaining entry to an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework program. Selection of students for admission to HDR Candidature will be based on: an applicant demonstrating they have an appropriate academic background and adequate research preparation to meet the requirements of the award as specified in clause 8 of Rule 4; an applicant having a preliminary research project that is academically appropriate for their proposed HDR program; and the University s assessment of its capacity to provide: a. suitable, qualified supervision appropriate to the discipline and background of the applicant; and b. the necessary facilities and resources required to successfully complete the research program within the degree period as specified in clause 11 of Rule 4. Offers of admission to HDR candidature are made on merit and based on demonstrated achievement, especially academic achievement, but may also take 3 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

4 account of other factors such as demonstrated commitment and specific achievements related to particular fields of research. Offers of admission to HDR candidature may be withdrawn if: it is determined that an offer of candidature was made on the basis of incomplete or inaccurate information supplied by the applicant or a certifying authority; or an applicant is excluded from any tertiary institution or tertiary program, and has not so advised the University, at any time up to the commencement of, or during, the HDR program; or the applicant does not meet the pre-enrolment conditions in the Offer within the maximum expiry date specified. 3.2 Autonomous Sanctions Where an applicant is a citizen of one of the sanctioned countries 1 listed under the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Regime, the University is required to assess whether the applicant and/or the applicant s proposed research project are at risk of breaching the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Legislation. The purpose of this assessment is to ensure the University s compliance with the Charter of the United Nations (UN Sanction Enforcement Law) Declaration 2008; the Australian Autonomous Sanctions Act (Cth) 2011; and the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations (Cth) All proposed or nominated supervisors must be involved in the required assessment if they wish to support an offer of admission to a citizen of a sanctioned country. The assessment must be conducted in accordance with the University Export Controls and Sanctions Compliance Policy and Procedure. 3.3 Entry Pathways into a Higher Degree by Research Minimum entry requirements apply to all HDR programs and are specified in clause 8 of Rule 4. Entry to HDR programs is based on a demonstrated capacity to undertake significant research in the proposed field. Applicants must be able to demonstrate their level of competency against four skills areas: 1. Conceptual and theoretical understanding/knowledge of the field; 2. Research design, data collection and data management skills/ ability to undertake research; 3. Analytical and interpretative skills (e.g. data analysis, critical analysis, problem solving); and 4. Communication skills Research ability and preparedness may be demonstrated in a variety of ways as detailed below. The final decision about the standard of an applicant's research ability is made by the Dean of Graduate Research, not by the Faculty or School. Additional factors in the decision to make an offer of admission to HDR candidature include the University s strategic goals and the availability of supervision, funding and infrastructure. 1 Countries currently on the Sanctions list and details on the country specific sanctions can be found at: 4 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

5 3.3.1 Standard entry pathways The standard basis of admission to a Higher Degree by Research is the University s Bachelor's degree with second class Honours or higher as per Clause 8 of Rule 4. The University accepts the following as equivalent to the standard basis of admission, subject to the approval of the Dean of Graduate Research: A Bachelor's degree with second class Honours or better from a recognised tertiary institution; A research Masters' degree with at least two-thirds of the degree comprising a thesis; A coursework Masters' degree or graduate diploma which includes a research project or thesis of 10,000 to 20,000 words (must equate to a minimum 25% research component of the entire degree); or a qualification at a level from another tertiary institution considered equivalent by the Dean of Graduate Research. Professional experience will be considered and may be given extra weight in the final assessment for applications for entry to a Professional Doctorate. Qualifications must have been awarded within a 10 year period prior to the date of application for admission to HDR candidature. Where any of the above standard admission requirements are not met, an application will be considered as part of an application via an alternative pathway Alternative entry pathways The University recognises that people returning to university to undertake a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree or Professional Doctorate after a number of years in the workforce may possess significant sector-based research or equivalent experience and/or professional qualifications, but often either lack suitable formal academic credentials, or a substantial length of time has passed since they obtained such qualifications (see Section above). Where attainment of research skills and ability (as listed under Section 3.3 of this Policy) has been achieved through a non-standard pathway, applicants are encouraged to make contact with their School of interest and collate material which demonstrates their level of competency against the four skills areas identified in section 3.3 for consideration by the Graduate Research Coordinator. Additional post-enrolment conditions may be imposed on applicants entering a HDR program via an alternative pathway. These conditions must be met as part of the confirmation of candidature requirements assessed at 12 months equivalent full-time enrolment (EFT) Transferring from a Masters to a PhD Subject to approval by the relevant Faculty/Institute, candidates enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research) at the University of Tasmania may apply to the Dean of Graduate Research to upgrade their candidature to a Doctoral Degree provided they meet the following conditions: they have completed no more than 75% of a HDR program in the form of a Masters Degree (Research); 5 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

6 the Dean of Graduate Research is satisfied that the candidate, since commencing the Masters Degree (Research), has produced a substantial piece of work and a revised research plan that has been assessed, in accordance with disciplinary norms, to be of doctoral standard. The basis for this assessment is: an independent evaluation by an external reviewer; or the publication (or acceptance for publication) of a piece of peer reviewed work; the research topic is suitable for doctoral study; appropriate resources are available for doctoral study and the supervisors are eligible to supervise the candidate at the proposed degree level; and the research project can be completed within the remaining maximum degree period for the Doctoral degree. 3.4 Recognition of Prior Learning and Transfer of Candidature Prior learning undertaken at the University or another recognised institution may be credited towards the HDR candidature provided that the body of work the applicant is seeking to count towards their candidature has not been submitted and/or accepted for an award at another institution. Recognition will not normally result in a reduction in the minimum submission date except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research. Applicants wishing to transfer their candidature to the University must obtain the support of the relevant Faculty Dean/Institute Director and are subject to the current admission requirements and procedures at the time of transfer. Transfer with recognised prior learning may be possible provided that: the research and supervision to date have been of an appropriate standard; and the nature of the research that the candidate intends to pursue is sufficiently related to previous research, and that both previous and proposed research could be submitted as parts of a single thesis. Applicants should refer to section 3.2 and 3.3 of the Admissions Procedure for instructions about how to apply. 3.5 English Language Requirements English is the language of instruction at the University. All applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to provide evidence that they are able to read, write, speak and understand English to a sufficient standard before commencing their higher degree by research as per the University English Language Proficiency Policy. Proof of English language ability may be currently demonstrated in one of the following ways: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - academic version: an overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0; OR Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - paper-based: a minimum total score of 600 together with a Test of Written English (TWE) score of 4.5 or more; OR 6 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

7 TOEFL internet-based: a minimum total score of 92 together with a minimum score of 20 in each individual section; OR Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic): 58 with no score lower than 50: OR Successful completion of UTASAccess Level 7 English Language Training with an overall score of 65 with no test score less than 60; OR Completion of a course of study, of at least two years duration, from an accredited University in a country where English is an official language or where the official language of instruction is in English. The study must have o o been instructed and examined in English; and been completed within the last two years immediately prior to the date of application for HDR candidature. Evidence in the form of a letter or certificate issued by the University Registrar s office will need to be provided Options for Applicants who do not meet English Language Requirements A Head of School, though the Faculty Dean/Institute Director may present a case to the Dean of Graduate Research that anapplicant who does not meet the English Language Requirements (as identified in 3.5 above), has other qualifications or experiences that demonstrate their English language proficiency. An application which does not have proof of English language proficiency may still be assessed. If the application is successful, the offer of admission to HDR candidature may include a condition that the applicant must meet the English language requirements before beginning their HDR. The University provides courses in English language proficiency through the English Language Centre. Applicants are liable for any tuition fees that apply to these courses, unless otherwise stated on the letter of offer. 3.6 Conjoint Doctoral Degrees Applicants who wish to apply for a Conjoint Doctoral Degree should refer to the Conjoint Doctoral Degrees Policy and Procedures. A Conjoint Doctoral Degree is a planned partnership between the Candidate, the University and one or more external institutions chosen specifically for their expertise in the Candidate s field of research. This arrangement provides an avenue to develop long-term research relationships and strategic global collaborations, and to enhance the HDR experience. A Conjoint Doctoral Degree requires the agreement of the University and a Partner Institution for the joint administration and award of a Doctoral Degree. The candidate is enrolled, supervised and examined by both institutions as defined in the relevant agreement. Candidates must meet the requirements of both institutions. The University will consider entering into Conjoint Doctoral Degree candidature where: there is an existing, ongoing or developing research collaboration between the University and the Partner Institution; 7 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

8 the arrangement provides enhanced opportunities for research cooperation between the institutions and the academic supervisors involved; and there are strong academic reasons for completing a doctoral degree at both institutions and the arrangement will provide a significantly improved research training environment for the candidate. Candidates who undertake research training programs that involve an external partner may be asked to assign or otherwise transfer Intellectual Property to either the University or the partner institution Joint Doctoral programs with government and/or industry The University of Tasmania actively supports research training partnerships with government and industry. The University will consider entering into such partnerships for Doctoral candidature where: there is an existing, ongoing or developing research collaboration between the University and the government/industry partner; it provides enhanced opportunities for research cooperation between the partner(s) and the academic supervisors involved; and there are strong academic reasons for completing a doctoral degree in partnership with government/industry and the arrangement will provide a significantly improved research training environment for candidates. Candidates who undertake research training programs that involve a government or industry partner may be asked to assign or otherwise transfer Intellectual Property to either the University or the government/industry partner. 3.7 Application for Admission to Candidature An application for admission to Candidature must be made in the form prescribed in the Higher Degree by Research Admission Procedures and must include a summary of the Research Project prepared in consultation with the proposed Primary Supervisor. The Graduate Research Coordinator, in consultation with the proposed supervisory team, is responsible for assessing applications for admission to candidature and making recommendations to the Head of School(s) and Faculty Dean(s)/Institute Director(s). In making a determination on applications for admission to HDR Candidature, the Dean of Graduate Research, on the advice of the Head of School(s) through the Faculty Dean(s)/Institute Director(s), shall take into consideration: the program of research and other studies required of the candidate; the supervisory arrangements in accordance with the Higher Degree by Research Supervision Policy; the date of commencement of candidature; and any other conditions recommended by the School of enrolment. 8 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

9 3.8 Offers of admission to HDR candidature Offers of admission to HDR candidature shall be made only by the Dean of Graduate Research. A verbal communication, informal or other informal indication regarding eligibility for an offer is not a formal offer and is not binding. Offers are typically valid for 2 weeks (domestic) or 6 months (international), unless otherwise advised. Applicants must commence before the date specified in the Letter of Offer, unless granted approval by the Dean of Graduate Research to delay the commencement date as per Section of this Policy. Ongoing enrolment is subject to successfully passing Confirmation within the first 12 months of candidature. Offers of admission to HDR candidature may contain conditions that must be met before and/or during enrolment as a Candidate Enrolment in a relevant program of coursework: Doctoral Degree and Masters Degree (Research) Candidates will be automatically enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Research when enrolled in the relevant Degree Program, unless otherwise specified in the Letter of Offer. Doctoral Degree (Professional) Candidates must enrol in the coursework units in accordance with course specifications approved by Academic Senate and set out in the applicable university course and unit handbook. The Dean of Graduate Research may determine that an applicant is wholly or partially exempt from coursework requirements as a result of the applicant s previous qualifications, experience or the specific requirements of the Degree for which they are enrolled. The applicant/candidate will be advised in writing of any exemptions approved by the Dean of Graduate Research. Candidates should refer to the Higher Degree by Research Candidature Policy for more information about coursework requirements Commencement date of enrolment The commencement date must occur on or before the start date stipulated in the Letter of Offer otherwise the Applicant must submit a request to delay the start date of candidature, in accordance with Section 3.10 of the Higher Degree by Research Admissions Procedure and prior to the original commencement date contained in the Offer Delaying the date of enrolment In exceptional circumstances and where a delay of commencing candidature can be accommodated by the Faculty/Institute, the School of enrolment and the project, the Dean of Graduate Research may approve an application to delay the start date of candidature. Where delayed commencement is approved, the School of enrolment may require the applicant to revise the research project/plan when the applicant commences their degree. 9 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

10 A delay in commencement of candidature will not normally be approved for longer than 3 months. Applications to delay commencement of candidature may affect an applicant s eligibility for any scholarship they have been offered. Applicants who have been offered a scholarship with their offer of candidature should check the conditions of that scholarship prior to making an application to delay commencement of candidature. Applicants who have been offered a Tasmanian Graduate Research Scholarship, International Postgraduate Research Scholarship or Australian Postgraduate Award must commence their candidature in the year stated in the offer of scholarship Withdrawing an offer The University reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission to HDR candidature or cancel the enrolment of an applicant where an offer is made on the basis of incomplete, inaccurate, fraudulent or misleading information supplied by the applicant or certifying authority. Fees paid may be forfeited. 3.9 External candidature If admission to a HDR program is recommended, and a candidate wishes to undertake part of their candidature externally, the Graduate Research Coordinator shall provide details of the proposed external study. International HDR candidates who have been approved for external candidature, and who intend to spend time on one of the University s campuses during their candidature, must seek advice from the Australian Department of Immigration prior to entering Australia. External candidature may not be an option for Professional Doctorates. Applicants and Candidates should discuss options for external candidature with the relevant Degree Coordinator. The candidate is normally required to undertake their program at the University for at least 12 months (equivalent full-time) for a Doctoral degree and at least 8 months (equivalent full-time) for a Masters Degree (Research). Shorter periods may be approved provided the following conditions are met: where practical and appropriate for the research project, the candidate spends some period of time on campus, especially during the early phase of candidature. This is to allow face-to-face contact with the supervisor(s) to discuss the planning and execution of the research project and to familiarise the candidate with the research environment at the University of Tasmania. Face-to-face contact may also be facilitated by the supervisor(s) meeting the candidate in the candidate s usual place of residency; there is provision for frequent and high-quality contact between the candidate and the supervisor(s) (e.g. by , telephone, video-link, skype, etc); the candidate has adequate access to the relevant literature for the research project; a plan is provided for the completion of the requirements of confirmation of candidature including core units of the Graduate Certificate in Research, where required; and the candidate is situated in an environment that has a research culture and provides the opportunity for an exchange of ideas and critical engagement with others regarding the testing-out of research conclusions and methods, e.g. the opportunity for oral presentation of work. 10 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

11 Where external candidature is supported by the Faculty/Institute and approved by the Dean of Graduate Research, the Faculty/Institute of Enrolment is expected to provide: 1. the Graduate Research Office with a project to charge up to $3000 to cover travel to the University for the purpose of meeting Graduate Certificate in Research coursework requirements, where required; and 2. assurance to the Dean of Graduate Research that all additional costs related to external candidature can be met by the Candidate, the research project or the School of Enrolment. 4 Responsibilities The Dean of Graduate Research is responsible for: a) ensuring that: information about programs, entry requirements and application procedures are accurate and communicated to applicants in a timely fashion; admission processes are explicit, fair, transparent, inclusive and consistent across the University; the quality of admission services are maintained at a high-level and that the University engages in activities which continually improve the delivery of those services; and records will be created, managed and retained in accordance with University Records Management Policy, Procedures and Guidelines. b) oversight of a central transparent and competitive process for the allocation of Commonwealth and University research scholarships The Faculty Deans and Institute Directors are responsible for: The strategic management of Faculty/Institute financial, supervision, and infrastructure resources as per the Academic Structures Policy and Delegations Policy and Schedules The Head of School is responsible to Faculty Deans/Institute Directors for: the administration of the School including planning, budget, strategy, human resources and performance as per the Academic Structures Policy and Delegations Policy and Schedules Graduate Research Coordinators are responsible for: Assessing applications for candidature and making recommendations to Heads of School and Faculty Deans/Institute Directors on HDR admissions to candidature as per the Higher Degree by Research Graduate Research Coordination Policy Applicants are responsible for ensuring that: the information provided in their application is accurate; and 11 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

12 they adhere to any conditions stipulated by the University. 5 Definitions and Acronyms Term/Acronym Candidate Candidature Confirmation of Candidature Conjoint Doctoral Degree Dean of Graduate Research Faculty Dean FTE EFT External Candidature Graduate Research Coordinator Head of School HDR IELTS Institute Director Primary Definition A person enrolled at the University as a candidate for a Degree. The status conferred on a person who is enrolled as a Candidate under Rule 4 Confirmation by the Dean of Graduate Research that Candidature may progress An arrangement whereby the University and a Partner Institution enter into an agreement for the joint administration and award of a Doctoral degree The Dean of Graduate Research is the person who has responsibility for: establishing the academic framework for research training at the University; and for working with Faculties and Institutes to ensure the University maintains appropriate standards for research training at the University (including admission, appropriate infrastructure, supervision and examination). The Dean of the relevant faculty (or their authorised delegate) Full-time enrolment Equivalent full-time enrolment An arrangement whereby a Candidate undertakes part of their candidature externally. An academic staff member who oversees Candidature supervision within a School in consultation with the Head of School The head of the School of Enrolment or the Director of the National Centre or Head of the Institute of Enrolment (or nominee). Higher Degree by Research International English Language Testing System For the purposes of this Policy, Institute Director refers to in the case of: the Australian Maritime College, the Principal of that college (or their authorised delegate). the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research, the Executive Director of that institute (or their authorised delegate). the Menzies Research Institute, the Director of that institute (or their authorised delegate). The Supervisor who is primarily responsible for ensuring that 12 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

13 Supervisory PTE PTE Academic Rule 4 School of Enrolment TOEFL TWE University all administrative and regulatory requirements prescribed for Candidates are met. Part-time enrolment Pearson Test of English Rules of Graduate Research The School, Centre or Institute in which a successful HDR applicant will be enrolled. Test of English as a Foreign Language Test of Written English Unless otherwise stated all references to the University mean the University of Tasmania 6 Supporting Documentation Rule 4 Rules of Graduate Research Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Procedure Higher Degrees by Research Candidature Policy University English Language Proficiency Policy Conjoint Doctoral Degrees Policy Conjoint Doctoral Degrees Procedures Export Controls and Sanctions Compliance Policy Records Management Policy Records Management Guidelines Academic Structures Policy Delegations Policy and Schedules 7 Acknowledgements Admissions policies and procedures from a range of Australian universities were reviewed and related policy documents from the following universities are gratefully acknowledged: University of New South Wales Macquarie University Griffith University Monash University Deakin University University of Queensland University of Canberra University of New South Wales 8 Versioning Former Version(s) Version 1 Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy. Approved January, Higher Degrees by Research Admissions Policy (January, 2015)

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