View current

Higher Degree by Research Candidate Charter Procedure

This is the current version of the approved document. You can provide feedback on this document to the Enquiries Contact - refer to the Status and Details tab from the menu bar above.

Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Procedure outlines best practice and mutual expectations in the relationship between the University of Queensland (UQ), Higher Degree by Research advisors and Higher Degree by Research candidates, as articulated by the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) Good Practice Guidelines.

(2) This Procedure applies to all Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates, advisors and Academic Organisational Units (AOUs), including interactions between HDR candidates, advisors and the University.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Process and Key Controls

(3) This Procedure operationalises the Higher Degree by Research Candidature Charter Policy by prescribing the responsibilities and accountabilities associated with HDR candidature, from admission to thesis examination.

(4) The Graduate School will inform candidates, advisors and Academic Organisational Units of the responsibilities set out in this Procedure at the beginning of the student’s candidature.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Key Requirements

(5) The following are responsibilities and accountabilities of HDR candidates and UQ that apply to the management of HDR candidature.

(6) Admission requirements and processes for entry to a graduate research program are transparent and clearly documented. The admission requirements and processes at UQ are clearly documented at Higher Degree by Research Admission Policy and Procedure.

(7) Support for HDR candidates focuses on facilitating a successful completion in accordance with program requirements.

  1. UQ responsibilities include:
    1. ensuring candidates are informed, at the commencement of candidature, of University and enrolling AOU-specific (Graduate School approved) requirements and resources relevant and available to them, including policies and procedures relating to research ethics, responsible conduct of research, and workplace health and safety;
    2. ensuring candidates are informed of the grievance resolution processes relating to candidature and examination of the thesis and any applicable appeal rights;
    3. monitoring candidate progress and advising candidates in a constructive manner if their progress rate and quality fall below the expected standard;
    4. providing candidates, at the beginning of candidature, with the processes and expectations on which a decision about confirmation of candidature will be made; and
    5. providing candidates with program requirements according to the Higher Degree by Research Candidature Progression Policy/Procedure and Higher Degree by Research Examination Policy and procedures. 
  2. Candidate responsibilities include:
    1. following UQ rules, policies, procedures and guidelines pertaining to any scholarships, grants or other financial assistance for their research candidature, including reporting any change in circumstance that affects their eligibility to receive further support;
    2. developing a research project of appropriate scope and working diligently to complete the thesis within the specified time;
    3. being aware of policies and procedures relating to candidature progression;
    4. maintaining satisfactory progress through their candidature as demonstrated by attaining progression milestones on time;
    5. refraining from embarking on any significant variation to the topic unless agreed to by the advisory team;
    6. ensuring that the thesis meets UQ's requirements for preparation, presentation and examination of theses and follows the protocols of scholarly presentation appropriate to the discipline;
    7. seeking support to resolve problems in the advisor-student relationship that cannot be resolved within the advisory team; and
    8. not engaging in conduct that disrupts the teaching, learning or research activities of other students and staff, or that interferes with others performing their duties.

(8) Graduate research candidates are supported to undertake original research and scholarly activities whilst developing key research and employability skills for academic and non-academic careers.

  1. UQ responsibilities include:
    1. ensuring that candidates have opportunities to develop their disciplinary knowledge base and their capabilities as a researcher;
    2. ensuring candidates have access to professional development and skills training opportunities, including the Career Development Framework;
    3. providing access to library and IT services and infrastructure; and
    4. providing access to counselling support and career planning advice.
  2. Candidate responsibilities include:
    1. presenting and attending such seminars as the enrolling AOU requires;
    2. developing appropriate oral and written competence in academic English for the production of a thesis and for the reporting of research results through different media;
    3. understanding and complying with the policies, procedures and guidelines for Managing Complaints about the Conduct of Research Procedure;
    4. acquiring, by completion of candidature, the overall qualities, skills, knowledge and abilities set out in the Higher Degree by Research Graduate Attributes Policy; and 
    5. attending courses specified by the enrolling AOU and approved by the Graduate School.

(9) Graduate research candidates have access to information on the resources available to help facilitate timely completion of a quality research project and have an opportunity to engage with scholarly communities both within the University and globally.

  1. UQ responsibilities, including the Graduate School and AOU, include:
    1. informing the candidate (prior to the commencement of candidature) of all financial arrangements that might affect them and the proposed project, which could include external grant funds that will support the research and factors that might impact on funding continuity or access to other resources, including supervision;
    2. informing the candidate through written agreement early in candidature of arrangements relating to intellectual property (IP) and confidentiality considerations, in accordance with the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure;
    3. informing the candidate of obligations under Research Data Management Policy and authorship under Authorship Procedure;
    4. providing the candidate with opportunities to contribute to the collegial, intellectual and social life of the AOU;
    5. encouraging the candidate to attend relevant seminars and conferences and assisting in the preparation of work for publication or other appropriate forms of dissemination; and
    6. advising and encouraging the candidate to participate in activities associated with professional and/or scholarly societies relevant to their discipline.
  2. Candidate responsibilities include:
    1. complying with all regulatory requirements that affect their research;
    2. complying with UQ policies and procedures regarding research data management under Research Data Management Policy and authorship under Authorship Procedure;
    3. fulfilling all reporting obligations to funding bodies as required;
    4. treating all members of the University with respect in both formal and informal contexts, according to the Student Code of Conduct Policy
    5. contributing to the intellectual and social life of the enrolling AOU by participation in activities such as meetings of postgraduate associations, and by attendance at research seminars and other academic functions;
    6. attending and presenting work at relevant conferences and disseminating work in appropriate scholarly outlets;
    7. keeping abreast of the latest developments in the research field in order to be aware of any new parameters affecting their research project and maintaining a broad knowledge of the field; and
    8. treating all UQ facilities and equipment used in research with due care and in an appropriate manner.

(10) Advisors must provide supervision to graduate research candidates in the design, conduct and timely completion of the research project; support in publication and dissemination of research findings; and advice on the acquisition of a range of research and other skills as appropriate to the discipline and the background of the candidate.

  1. UQ responsibilities include:
    1. ensuring that advisors discuss with and provide guidance to the candidate in accordance with program requirements on the suitability of topics and the scope, quality and originality of the research that could be expected to lead to an examinable thesis within the expected time frame;
    2. ensuring that advisors provide guidance about the nature and scope of the research, relevant literature sources and methodology, and the expected standard of research, analysis, writing and presentation;
    3. ensuring that HDR advising can be provided by staff members (and where appropriate, outside mentors) who are engaged actively in research in the mutually-agreed field;
    4. providing access to reasonable levels of advice and support from associate advisors, in areas of particular expertise or during the absence of the Principal Advisor, while acknowledging that the primary responsibility for directing the research remains with the Principal Advisor;
    5. ensuring regular access to principal and associate advisors and a mutually-agreed level of contact as agreed at the commencement of candidature and at regular reviews; and
    6. ensuring that advisors discuss outlines, read and provide timely feedback on documents (including drafts), and inform HDR candidates of the acceptable standard of scholarly and technical presentation.
  2. Candidate responsibilities include:
    1. submitting regular drafts of work/reports as agreed with the advisory team, and negotiating with the advisory team a reasonable amount of time to read and comment in detail;
    2. informing the advisors of any personal or other difficulties (without necessarily specifying the details), which have slowed or may slow progress; and
    3. establishing and maintaining a mutually-agreed level of contact with the advisory team; attending meetings prepared to make clear statements about ideas, progress and problems; and continuing the agreed-upon schedule for contact and for submission of work when away from UQ on field work, research trips, or while enrolled as a remote candidate.

(11) Thesis examination is conducted by at least two experts of international standing in the discipline who are external to the enrolling institution, independent of the conduct of the research, and without any real or perceived conflict of interest in reaching their decision.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Graduate School

(12) HDR candidature is managed in accordance with UQ policies and procedures for HDR candidates and also with legislative requirements including the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, the Higher Education Support Act 2003, and Research Training Program (RTP) guidelines.

(13) The Dean, Graduate School is the custodian of these UQ policies and procedures for HDR candidates and the HDR programs.

(14) The Dean, Graduate School is accountable via the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and the Higher Degree by Research Committee of the Academic Board.

Enrolling Academic Organisational Units

(15) AOUs have a central role in supporting HDR candidate progression and ensuring a supportive research environment.

(16) AOUs have a responsibility to ensure that resourcing for a candidate is properly scoped before commencement of candidature.

(17) The AOU has the responsibility for the performance of HDR advisors.

(18) Accountability lies with the Heads of the AOUs and their nominees (Postgraduate Coordinators) who provide local academic leadership of the HDR programs.

HDR Advisors

(19) HDR advisors have a critical role in supporting the progression and development of candidates in line with the responsibilities of the role (see Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy and Procedure). 

HDR Candidates

(20) HDR candidates have a responsibility to operate within policy and guidelines set by the University, respond to requests by the University, and to engage positively in their program.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(21) The Graduate School will monitor candidate progression, including numbers of reported grievances, appeals and misconduct relating to HDR candidates. The Graduate School will also encourage HDR candidate participation in surveys and other feedback mechanisms.

(22) HDR candidates also have representation on relevant UQ committees which provides an opportunity for feedback.

Top of Page

Section 6 - Recording and Reporting

(23) Student progression is recorded in accordance with the Higher Degree by Research Candidature Progression Policy

(24) Grievances, appeals and misconduct are recorded in accordance with Student Grievance Resolution Policy, Student Integrity and Misconduct PolicyAcademic Administrative Appeals by Students Policy and Managing Complaints about the Conduct of Research - Higher Degree by Research Candidates - Procedure.

(25) Advisory performance and eligibility for registration on the UQ Principal Advisory Registry is monitored by the Graduate School in accordance with Eligibility and Role of Higher Degree by Research Advisors Policy

Top of Page

Section 7 - Appendix


Term Definition
Advisor Principal or Associate Advisor
Enrolling AOU  An Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates.
HDR  Higher Degree by Research
PGC Postgraduate Coordinator of an enrolling AOU
Principal Advisor Advisor with the primary responsibility for directing the research