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Higher Doctorates Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Procedure covers the criteria and requirements for admission and examination for all higher doctorate programs offered at The University of Queensland.

(2) This Procedure applies to all prospective and currently enrolled candidates for a higher doctorate, as well as to staff of the University and external persons involved in relevant decision-making processes, such as external examiners.

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Section 2 - Process and Key Controls

(3) An applicant is admitted and assessed based on the information submitted by the applicant.

(4) Candidates admitted to a higher doctorate program who meet the requirements set out in this Procedure to the satisfaction of the Dean, Graduate School, will be recommended for conferral of the higher doctorate.

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Section 3 - Key Requirements


(5) To be eligible to apply to be admitted to a higher doctorate program, an applicant must satisfy the minimum admission requirements set out in the schedule for the relevant higher doctorate (refer to the Higher Doctorate Admission Requirements Schedule).

(6) Applicants must have a significant body of work demonstrating sustained contribution to and leadership in their field over an extended period.

(7) Applicants should normally hold a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or equivalent qualification.

(8) Work previously submitted for a qualification, including a higher doctorate at any institution, will not be eligible for submission.

Application for Admission

(9) A written application for enrolment as a candidate for a higher doctorate must be submitted to the Graduate School and must include:

  1. the applicant’s curriculum vitae, including details of research history and full publication record,
  2. copies of the applicant’s academic record and relevant documents;
  3. an overview of the material to be submitted, presented in sufficient detail to indicate its scope, substance and significance; and
  4. a clear and concise statement of how the material to be submitted covers a coherent theme and contributes to advancing knowledge in a relevant field.

(10) At the request of the Dean, Graduate School, the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee will convene a Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC) to determine whether the applicant is eligible for admission and whether the scholarly or creative work is in a field appropriate to the nominated degree.

(11) The HDC will comprise:

  1. the Associate Dean (Research) or nominee (chair)
  2. at least two other senior academics with research experience
  3. an academic staff member most closely associated with the relevant field of work

(12) An applicant may be admitted as a candidate if, in the opinion of the Dean, upon consultation with the relevant Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC), the applicant is suitably qualified in accordance with clause 5 and the material submitted is of sufficient merit (refer to Section 2 of the Higher Doctorates Policy).

Enrolment Requirements

(13) The applicant will be enrolled for the higher doctorate program immediately upon receipt of confirmation of acceptance.

(14) The Dean will set the conditions of enrolment for the candidate in consultation with the Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC).

(15) Any additional material required by HDC will be identified in writing at the point of enrolment to the higher doctorate program.

(16) The minimum enrolment period for all higher doctorates is one (1) research quarter, after which material may be submitted for examination.

(17) The maximum enrolment period for all higher doctorates is four (4) research quarters, after which the candidate may be withdrawn for failing to submit documents for examination.

Mentoring and Support

(18) The candidate may request that an academic mentor be appointed to guide the preparation of material for submission. A mentor will normally be a senior continuing or fixed-term academic staff member of UQ and may be a member of the HDC.

Submission of Material for Examination

(19) The material submitted for examination must constitute an original, distinguished and sustained contribution to the relevant field that comprises:

  1. scholarly or creative work; and
  2. the theoretical basis and the synthesis of the work; and
  3. additional material as directed by the Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC) (refer to clause 15).

(20) The candidate must lodge examinable material as a single submission that must include, in the following order:

  1. a title defining the field;
  2. an abstract of up to 700 words;
  3. an indexed list of contents;
  4. a statement of the candidate’s broadly recognised contribution and impact to the field and the candidate’s achievements as reflected in the material to be submitted for the degree;
  5. an introduction summarising the theoretical basis and synthesis of the previously published work and the significance and impact of the examinable materials;
  6. the previous scholarly or creative work;
  7. a signed statement indicating:
    1. any part of the material that is not original work and confirming the originality of the remaining submitted work;
    2. any part of the material that was submitted for another award at this University or elsewhere;
    3. that the candidate is the sole author of a substantial part of the material;
    4. in the case of joint authorship, the extent of the candidate’s contribution, supported by a statement signed by the other author and
  8. acknowledgements, as applicable.

Preliminary Evaluation

(21) Submissions will undergo a preliminary evaluation by the HDC to ascertain the suitability of the materials for examination.

(22) The Dean may reject a submission without forwarding the materials to the examiners if the HDC recommends that the submission does not provide evidence of the candidate's qualifications for the award of the degree.

(23) The Graduate School will provide written notification to the candidate of the outcome of the preliminary evaluation. Possible outcomes include:

  1. Proceed to examination
  2. Further work required before examination
  3. Material not suitable for examination.

(24) Candidates whose submissions do not meet the required standards for examination will receive detailed feedback from the Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC). This feedback will outline the areas needing improvement and provide specific recommendations for enhancing the submission.

(25) Candidates may be eligible for re-submission if their work is initially deemed not suitable for examination or if they fail to meet the examination standards. Eligibility will be determined based on the HDC's assessment of the candidate's capacity to address the identified deficiencies within a specified timeframe.


(26) After consideration of nominations from the HDC, the Dean will appoint three examiners, at least two of whom must be external to the University. External examiners are defined as individuals who have not been affiliated with the University of Queensland or held an appointment with the university within the last five years.

(27) Examiners must be internationally recognised experts in the relevant field and hold a degree or possess professional experience equivalent to the degree they are examining.

(28) The examiners will independently examine the contribution of the work and will produce a written report advising the HDC whether the research is of sufficient quality for the award of the degree and satisfies one or more of the following criteria:

  1. represents a significant advance in knowledge in the relevant field;
  2. has caused substantial changes in the direction of research or practice in the relevant field; and
  3. has caused, or become part of, a significant debate in the relevant field.

(29) Examiners are requested to return their written reports and the examiner summary form within six (6) weeks of receiving the submitted materials.

(30) The examiners’ reports will be reviewed by the HDC, who make a recommendation about the outcome to the Dean.

(31) If the examiners’ independent reports differ, the chair of the HDC may invite the examiners to consult among themselves to resolve any differences. The Dean may appoint an adjudicator if there is disagreement between the examiners or if the Dean considers this to be warranted.

(32) Examiners will be reimbursed in accordance with PhD honorarium guidelines.


(33) After considering the examiners’ reports, the Dean will determine whether to recommend the conferral of the higher doctorate award.

(34) The Dean's recommendation must be submitted to the Provost to approve conferral of the degree.


(35) Candidates may withdraw voluntarily from the higher doctorate at any time.

(36) The Dean may withdraw a candidate if the candidate:

  1. has supplied incomplete or inaccurate information associated with their enrolment, including information provided in the application for admission;
  2. has not complied with University rules, policies and procedures; or
  3. is found guilty of misconduct under the Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy.

(37) If the Dean decides that the candidate is to be withdrawn for any reason listed in clause 36, the candidate will be issued with a notice of intention to withdraw and provided ten working days to appeal the notice to the Dean.

(38) In cases where the candidate appeals and the appeal is dismissed by the Dean, the candidate will be issued with a second notice of intention to withdraw and provided 20 working days to appeal to the Student Academic Administrative Appeals Committee (SAAAC). The candidate’s enrolment will be maintained during the SAAAC process. Candidates should refer to the Academic Administrative Appeals by Students Procedure before submitting an appeal to the SAAAC.

(39) If no appeal to the SAAAC has been received within 20 working days, or if the appeal is dismissed by SAAAC, a withdrawal of candidature will be processed, and the candidate will be withdrawn from their program with no further appeal options available through the University.

(40) In cases where the candidate appeals and the appeal is upheld, the Dean may set conditions on enrolment in consultation with the Faculty Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC).

(41) If a candidate is withdrawn from a higher doctorate program for any reason, they must re-apply for admission.

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Section 4 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(42) Compliance with this Procedure will be monitored through the following academic policies and procedures:

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

(43) This Procedure is monitored by the President of the Academic Board and reviewed by the Academic Board and its committees.

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Section 5 - Recording and Reporting


(44) 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.


(45) When required, the Graduate School 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 Procedure 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.
COI Conflict of Interest declared to ensure that a submission is assessed free from bias or preferential treatment.
Dean Dean, Graduate School.
Degree an award at the bachelor, master or doctoral level.
Enrolment enrolment in courses or programs approved by an authorised 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.
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.