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Higher Doctorates Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Policy identifies the requirements for the development, structure, and administration of higher doctorate programs, and to consistency between disciplines across The University of Queensland.

(2) This Policy reflects, and gives effect to, the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). It also demonstrates the University’s compliance with relevant legislation including the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) and the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the ESOS Act).

(3) All higher doctorate programs are bound by this Policy and the Higher Doctorates Procedure and will not follow separate program rules.

(4) This Policy applies to:

  1. all higher doctorate programs offered at The University of Queensland,
  2. all prospective and currently enrolled candidates for a higher doctorate program, and
  3. staff of the University and external persons involved in relevant decision-making processes, such as external examiners.

(5) Each higher doctorate program is administered by the UQ Graduate School in accordance with this Policy and the Higher Doctorates Procedure.

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Section 2 - Principles and Key Requirements

(6) A higher doctorate is the highest academic award granted by the University. It is delivered as a level 10 doctoral degree qualification, in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

(7) Higher doctorates recognise excellence and give formal public recognition to scholars who have made a substantial, original, distinguished and internationally recognised contribution to a particular field of knowledge over an extended period.

(8) Candidates for a higher doctorate are assessed on the basis of already completed research, rather than through the process of supervised independent study. Applicants have typically reached a peak in their professional careers and enrol in a higher doctorate program to explore a theoretical framework in order to present a synthesis of previously published scholarly or creative work.

(9) Proposals to approve, amend or discontinue higher doctorate programs must follow the University’s academic program approval process, as outlined in the Program Approval Procedure.

(10) The criteria and requirements for admission and examination of all higher doctorate programs offered at the University are outlined in the Higher Doctorates Procedure. The administration and management of higher doctorate programs is the responsibility of the Graduate School.

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Section 3 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities


(11) The Provost approves the conferral of the degree, upon recommendation from the Dean, Graduate School.

Dean, Graduate School

(12) The Dean, Graduate School approves admission to and enrolment in all Higher Doctorate Programs at UQ. The Dean decides on the examination outcome and is responsible for recommending conferral to the Provost.

Associate Dean (Research)

(13) The Associate Dean (Research) is responsible for establishing the Faculty Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC), its terms of reference and membership for their relevant Faculty.

Higher Doctorate Committee

(14) The Associate Dean (Research) or their nominee is responsible for appointing a Faculty Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC) of distinguished researchers to provide guidance in the following areas:

  1. evaluating if applications for the higher doctorate program demonstrate sufficient merit and meet all eligibility criteria;
  2. determining whether the material submitted by the candidate for examination is of a suitable standard and in an appropriate format;
  3. nominating suitable examiners for the submitted work;
  4. considering the feedback from examiners; and
  5. providing recommendations to the Dean, Graduate School on the above points.

(15) The HDC will consult appropriate individuals with relevant expertise on matters as they arise.

Higher Degree Research Committee

(16) Submissions for the introduction of new higher doctorate programs, or changes to existing higher doctorate programs, must receive approval from the Higher Degree Research Committee (HDRC) in addition to the process outlined in the Program Approval Procedure.

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Section 4 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(17) Compliance with this Policy will be monitored through the following academic policies and processes:

  1. Program Approval Procedure
  2. Programs, Plans and Courses Quality Assurance Policy
  3. Academic Program Review Procedure.

(18) This Policy is monitored by the Dean and reviewed by the Academic Board and its committees.

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Section 5 - Recording and Reporting


(19) The Graduate School is responsible for the management of records generated from the administration and management of higher doctorate programs. Student records are maintained in SI-net.


(20) When required, the Dean will provide relevant information and reports to the Academic Board and Vice-Chancellor to demonstrate and provide assurance that the objectives and outcomes of this Policy are being achieved.

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Section 6 - Appendix

Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Term Definition
Applicant a prospective candidate wishing to apply for admission into the program.
Candidate an applicant admitted for examination.
Dean Dean, Graduate School.
Degree an award at the bachelor, master or doctoral level.
Enrolment enrolment in courses or programs approved by an authorized officer and after fees and charges have been paid.
Examiner an experienced researcher with expertise in the relevant discipline who is not a UQ staff member.
Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC) a committee that provides guidance and advice to the Dean on the admission, submission, and examination of higher doctorates.
Work includes a book, article or other printed material; composition or recording of music; a video recording, film or other work of visual or sonic art; and exhibition, performance or folio of work; and/or computer software, digital material or other non-written material approved by the Dean.