A17.0 Research Higher Degree Programs Policy

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1 A17.0 Research Higher Degree Programs Policy Policy Category Academic Document Owner Vice Chancellor and President Responsible Officer Academic Director Review Date 1 January 2015 File Number Staff Code of Conduct Related Documents Research Code of Conduct Research Higher Degree Handbook Version Endorsed by Authorised by Approved Effective Date 1.1 Academic Council Vice Chancellor & President 2 December January Context Torrens University Australia values its role as a research and teaching university providing training for the next generation of researchers in Australia and the world. The University s research environment will be characterised by collegiate relationships between students and their supervisors, recognising that the guidance and support of effective supervisors promotes a high quality research experience and empowers student researchers to start, progress and complete their research training. The research training environment will also be characterised by the high level of facilities and support provided to student researchers. The international focus of the University will be expressed in the encouragement of student researchers to spend time abroad at another Laureate University. 2. Scope This policy applies to: all students undertaking a Torrens University Australia research higher degree; and all supervisors of Torrens University Australia research higher degree students. 3. Research Programs The University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) program in areas of the University s research strengths. The candidature period for a PhD will normally be a maximum of four years and a minimum of two years or the equivalent in half time candidature. In the course of completing the degree, the candidate will develop the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality, and make a significant original contribution to knowledge in their chosen discipline. A PhD will be assessed by a thesis or by a design portfolio plus exegesis. The candidature period for a MPhil will normally be a maximum of two years and a minimum of one year or the equivalent in half time candidature. Up to one third of the MPhil may be coursework, depending on the qualifications of the candidate. MPhil graduates will have a demonstrated competence in their chosen field and a thorough understanding of relevant research techniques and methodologies. Assessment will be based on the coursework and thesis (or design portfolio plus exegesis) components of the degree. Research Higher Degree Policy Page 1 of 5

2 3.1 Entry requirements The admission requirements for the PhD and MPhil are set out in the Academic Program Rules. Admission to doctoral candidature is normally on the basis of an Honours degree or a relevant Masters degree that contains an appropriate research component, or equivalent. Admission to the MPhil is normally: a relevant Bachelor degree completed with a high level of achievement; a Masters by Coursework; or a relevant Honours degree. All research student applicants must meet the English language proficiency requirements specified in the Academic Program Rules. 3.2 Selection Applicants submit an expression of interest to the relevant Head of School in the first instance. It is the Head of School s responsibility to assess the qualifications of the applicant and reach agreement on a suitable research project and supervisor. The assessment of the applicant will include an interview. 4. Appointment of supervisors All research higher degree students must have at least one supervisor, designated the Principal Supervisor. The Principal Supervisor will normally be a staff member or affiliate of Torrens University Australia with a satisfactory record of research student supervision However, subject to the approval of the Academic Director, an external supervisor with relevant experience may be appointed as Principal Supervisor. Additional supervisors, with a secondary role in supervision of the student s research, may be appointed as Co supervisors. If the Principle Supervisor is not qualified at the PhD level or does not have a satisfactory record of research student supervision, the Co Supervisor must have these attributes. If the Principal Supervisor is unavailable for two or more consecutive months, an Interim Principal Supervisor must be appointed, in consultation with the student. The relevant Head of the School is responsible for appointing supervisors against the following criteria. Supervisors must: have theoretical and methodological expertise relevant to the student s research project; be classified at Academic Staff Level B or above, or hold equivalent status; be qualified or have a combination of academic qualifications and professional experience to at least the same research qualification level as the research degree they are supervising; have continuing active participation in original research as determined by the Head of School in which the research higher degree student is enrolled. Supervisors must not accept a supervisor role unless they expect, at the time the student s enrolment commences, to be able to supervise the student throughout their program. 5. Responsibilities of supervisors Principal Supervisors and Co supervisors must: Research Higher Degree Policy Page 2 of 5

3 abide by all relevant legislation and University policies, in particular the Research Code of Conduct and the Staff Code of Conduct; perform their role as supervisors in accordance with this policy. External Supervisors must: abide by all relevant legislation and University policies, in particular the Research Code of Conduct and the Staff Code of Conduct; agree to take direction in respect of supervision from the student s Head of School. 6. Role of Principal Supervisors At the student s commencement, the Principal Supervisor must: ensure the research project is appropriate, can be completed within the available timeframe, can be adequately resourced, and complies with all relevant legislation, policies and procedures, in particular the Research Code of Conduct; alert the student to commonly encountered tasks, processes and the standards expected of graduates in their field of research; assist the student to formulate a framework for the research and time estimates for its completion, including milestone performance indicators; ensure satisfactory arrangements are made and documented for the ethical conduct of the research, intellectual property, and authorship of any publications arising from the student s work. Throughout the student s enrolment, the Principal Supervisor must: agree to a schedule of regular meetings with the student; meet with the student as agreed to exchange ideas and check progress; mentor the student on research project matters; advise on the student s participation in appropriate courses, seminars and workshops, and on requisite research methods and techniques; hold milestone meetings to assess progress against performance indicators; assess the student s written work at the first milestone meeting, and implement remedial measures, if required; conduct a major review of the student s progress at each milestone meeting, record the outcomes, and take appropriate steps if the progress is not satisfactory; advise the student on the format and preparation of the thesis; within reason, read any written work thoroughly, in advance of meetings, and provide regular feedback on the student s work; include the student in the academic life of the School; encourage the student to publish their work; advise the Head of School of the names and credentials of possible assessors. 7. Role of Co supervisor The role of a Co supervisor may include any of the roles of a Principal Supervisor, outlined at 6 above, but must be specifically allocated to the Co supervisor by the student s Head of School or the Principal Supervisor. The Co supervisor may also provide advice on a specialised academic aspect of the student s research project. Research Higher Degree Policy Page 3 of 5

4 8. Assessment Every PhD and MPhil thesis will be assessed by two external thesis assessors from Australia or overseas. The assessors must: have research and/or professional expertise appropriate to the Student s research topic; be active in research and/or scholarship; hold or have recently held an academic appointment and be familiar with the standards of the degree; not be unduly narrow in geographical or institutional terms, with no more than one assessor being appointed from one university, research organisation or geographical region; cover the full disciplinary range of the thesis. Individual assessors must either: hold a research degree of a level equivalent to or greater than the one for which the thesis is being examined; or have a record of demonstrated research ability and performance plus previous experience as an assessor of theses at a level equivalent to or greater than the one for which the thesis is being examined. Students are advised of the assessors names and are given the opportunity to declare a conflict, or potential conflict of interest or other reason why the appointment of an assessor may be inappropriate. 9. Role of Assessors Assessors are responsible: to ensure the work of the thesis is of an acceptable quality; benchmark the work against standards that apply in other equivalent institutions; assure the University that the work complies with the appropriate research protocols in the field of study; to the best of their ability, certify that the work in the thesis is original; and provide an expert written report that is a response to the student s work and indicates not only its strengths and weaknesses, but also makes suggestions for necessary corrections and changes or further research, and for its publication. 10. Facilities and resources Doctoral candidates may be offered a pre doctoral academic position as a Junior Research Fellow Junior Research Fellowships will include an obligation to make a contribution to teaching in the University. All research students will have access to desk space full time in an open plan shared office and will have reasonable access to computing facilities, software and other resources required for the conduct of their research. Research Higher Degree Policy Page 4 of 5

5 11. Resolving problems between students and supervisors Any problem between a student and a supervisor should be resolved in accordance with the Student Grievance Management Policy. If, in the view of the student s Head of School, the supervisory arrangements become unsatisfactory at any time, the Head of School may assign new or additional supervisor(s) in consultation with the student. Research Higher Degree Policy Page 5 of 5

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