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Higher Degree by Research Candidature Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Policy describes the framework for the management of higher degree by research (HDR) candidature. The Policy should be read in conjunction with the Higher Degree by Research Candidature Procedure.

(2) This Policy applies to all HDR candidates enrolled at The University of Queensland (UQ or the University).

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Section 2 - Principles and Key Requirements

(3) Subject to the terms of this Policy and associated procedure, HDR candidates are entitled to apply for changes to their candidature. This Policy and associated procedure detail the following candidature options available to HDR candidates:

  1. change of attendance load
  2. change of attendance mode
  3. concurrent enrolment
  4. change of project
  5. change of thesis title
  6. change of advisory team
  7. change of enrolling Academic Organisational Unit (AOU)
  8. interruption from candidature.

(4) Changes to candidature for international candidates may be subject to the conditions of the student visa, the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act), and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) sanctions legislation.

(5) Candidates enrolled in a HDR program are expected to maintain satisfactory progress throughout their program, comply with conditions of candidature, and complete their program within expected timeframe. In cases where HDR candidates do not meet these expectations, the enrolling AOU may be required to submit a review of candidature.

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Section 3 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Dean, Graduate School

(6) The Dean, Graduate School (or their delegate) approves specifications for changes to candidature.

Director of Higher Degree Research 

(7) The Director of HDR is appointed by the Head of the Academic Organisational Unit and the Dean, Graduate School to provide academic oversight of HDR candidates within the Unit. 

Principal Advisors

(8) Principal Advisors are approved UQ staff members that take primary academic responsibility for the candidate during their candidature.

(9) The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for principal advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.


(10) Advisors are suitably qualified persons who provide expertise related to the candidate's research and are available to provide advice throughout candidature.

(11) The detailed academic role, accountabilities and eligibility for advisors are specified in the Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy.

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Section 4 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(12) Review of, and compliance with, this Policy is overseen by the Dean, Graduate School, and the Academic Board's Higher Degree by Research Committee.

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Section 5 - Recording and Reporting

(13) All candidature transactions and activities are recorded within UQ's student system.

(14) All student records including final outcome, applications and University decisions are filed in the candidate's personal record in UQ's digital student record system.

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Section 6 - Appendix

Definitions, Terms, and Acronyms

Term Definition
AQF Australian Qualifications Framework
Dean Dean of the UQ Graduate School or delegate
Director of HDR Director of Higher Degree Research
AOU An Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates
FTE Full-time equivalent enrolment
Head of AOU Means the Head of School, Institute Director, or Executive Dean at a UQ School, Institute or Faculty
HDR Higher Degree by Research
MPhil Master of Philosophy
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Professional Doctorate (Research) (PDRes) A professional doctorate administered by the UQ Graduate School where at least two thirds of the program is research at AQF level 10