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Research Training Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Policy outlines the requirements for research training to meet educational standards for higher degrees by research as specified by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). This Policy applies to all candidates enrolled in a higher degree by research (HDR) program at The University of Queensland (UQ).

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Section 2 - Principles and Key Requirements

(2) A HDR program comprises systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning and specialised research skills.

(3) A candidate must complete a HDR program comprised of at least two thirds research and research training, where graduates demonstrate a systemic and critical understanding of a substantial and complex body of knowledge at the frontier of a discipline or area of professional practice.

(4) Volume of Learning:

  1. An MPhil is a minimum of one year and maximum of two years full-time equivalent (FTE) in duration.
  2. A PhD is typically a minimum of three years and a maximum of four years FTE in duration.
  3. A professional doctorate (research) is typically three to four years FTE in duration, the exact duration of which is specified in the program rules.
  4. The Dean of the UQ Graduate School may approve a shortened program following a request from the enrolling Academic Organisational Unit (AOU) that addresses the criteria listed in the Higher Degree by Research Admission Procedure.
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Section 3 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Dean, Graduate School

(5) The Dean of the Graduate School (or their delegate) is responsible for the governance and procedures for HDR programs at UQ and decides on the admission, enrolment conditions, examination outcome, and recommends conferral of the degree to the Provost.

Head of Academic Organisational Unit (AOU)

(6) The Head of the enrolling AOU (Head of School, Institute Director, or equivalent) who has responsibility for AOU resourcing, approves cohort level course requirements if required.

Principal Advisors

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

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


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

(10) 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

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

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Section 5 - Recording and Reporting

(12) All application and program enrolment transactions and activities are recorded within UQ’s student system.

(13) All student records including final outcome, applications and UQ decisions are filed in the student’s personal record in UQ’s digital student record system.

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Section 6 - Appendix

Definitions, Terms, and Acronyms

Term Definition
Enrolling AOU an Academic Organisational Unit of UQ that directly enrols HDR candidates
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