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Doctoral Degree (Research) Awards and Programs Schedule

Section 1 - Introduction

(1) As a higher education provider authorised to self-accredit, the University of Newcastle is responsible under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth) for ensuring that programs comply with the Provider Course [Program] Accreditation Standards. This Schedule provides the detailed principles and criteria that underpin the self-accreditation process for each Doctoral Degree (Research) award that may be delivered and conferred by the University of Newcastle.

(2) This Schedule supports the implementation of the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research. The Rules describe each type of higher degree by research qualification offered by the University and provide descriptions of authorisations for program management.

(3) Within the Schedule the general program principles and structures have been tabulated and the approved programs that are offered under it will be listed in the Appendices - Table A - Approved Programs covered by this Schedule. 

(4) In the event of an inconsistency between subordinate policy documents and any Rule(s) or Schedule to the Rule(s), the Rule(s) made by Council prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

(5) In the event of an inconsistency between an Academic Senate policy document and a College policy, procedure or guideline, the policy document of Academic Senate prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

(6) Extracts from Australian Qualifications Framework (Second Edition) have been included in this document with permission of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Council (27 February 2012).

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Section 2 - Transition Arrangements for Implementation of this Schedule

(7) This schedule supports the Academic Senate strategy of offering AQF-compliant programs as soon as possible. During the transition to the new schedule, the pre-2013 Awards and Programs Schedules will remain in the Policy Library with an annotation to indicate that their AQF-compliant status has not been confirmed. Between 2013 – 2015 current program offerings will be reviewed and, following the approval from the Program and Course Approval Committee, transferred to Table A of this Schedule.

(8) The introduction of the new schedules is expected to result in recommendations from College Boards for new programs, major revisions and the transition arrangements and discontinuations of existing programs. These recommendations will be considered for approval by the Program and Course Approval Committee in accordance with the delegations held by that Committee.

(9) Through this transition process the Assistant Dean (Teaching and Learning) will be responsible to the Program and Course Approval Committee for ensuring that continuing higher degree by research candidates will not be disadvantaged by a program revision or discontinuation and:

  1. appropriate teach-out or alternative arrangements have been made for current candidates; and
  2. consideration is given to international applicants in accordance with the Education Services for Overseas s (ESOS) legislation.

(10) The Director, Student Experience and Administration and Academic Registrar together with the Assistant Dean (Teaching and Learning) and the relevant Program Convenors will be responsible for ensuring that candidates and staff are notified of any relevant program changes. This notification may include recent graduates who may seek to upgrade their programs for AQF compliance.

(11) Programs offering admission to candidates in 2015 will need to operate under an AQF compliant schedule no later than June 2014 to ensure AQF compliance from 2015. 

(12) Non-AQF compliant programs will be automatically discontinued by last meeting of Academic Senate in 2014 unless they have been approved for continuation.

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Section 3 - Principles and Program Structures

Model: Doctoral Degree (Research)

(13) This table describes an AQF level 10 program leading to the award of Doctoral Degree (Research) under the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research clause 18.

Volume of learning 320 units completed in 4 years or equivalent.
Purpose The degree of Doctoral Degree (Research) shall be an ungraded degree awarded for an original and significant contribution of merit achieved through a program of advanced study and research to any branch of learning of concern to the University.
Time requirements The program shall be completed and submitted for examination in:
a) not less than two years of full-time or equivalent part-time enrolment from admission to candidature, except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research.
b) not more than four full-time years of enrolment or equivalent part- time enrolment from admission to candidature, except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research.
Principles and Structure A candidate will be admitted to a program of advanced study and research approved and completed to the satisfaction of the Head of School. The research will primarily be embodied in a thesis; and other work as approved by the Head of School may be submitted and considered in conjunction with the thesis.
Admission and Selection Criteria An applicant for admission to candidature for the degree shall:
i) have satisfied all of the requirements for admission to thedegree of Bachelor with Honours Class 1 or Honours Class II, Division 1 or any other degree approved for this purpose by the Head of School; or
ii) have satisfied all of the requirements for admission to the degree of Bachelor in the University or any other degree approved for this purpose by the Head of School, and have achieved by subsequent work and study a standard recognised by the Head of School as equivalent to at least Honours Class II, Division 1; or
iii) in exceptional cases submit evidence of possessing such other academic or professional qualifications and/or experience as may be approved by the Head of School on the recommendation of the relevant School; or
iv) in the disciplines of education, medical physics, nursing, social work, social sciences and surgery have completed a minimum standard of professional experience as required by the Head of School on the recommendation of the School; and
v) the English language proficiency requirements as described in the English Language Policy.
An applicant shall not be admitted to candidature unless adequate supervision and resources are available. Whether these are available shall be determined by the Head of School after considering advice from the School.
Specialisation or major This section is intentionally blank.
Additional Requirements May be prescribed by a School.
Graduate Learning Outcomes Graduate  learning outcomes underpin the design of all academic programs offered by the University. Graduate learning outcomes will be developed for each program in accordance with Academic Senate policy and as prescribed by AQF including:
i) fundamental skills, such as literacy and numeracy appropriate to the Level 10 Doctoral Degree (Research), including English language proficiency;
ii) people skills, such as working with others and communication skills;
iii) thinking skills, such as learning to learn, decision making and problem solving; and
iv) personal skills such as self-direction and acting with integrity.
i Knowledge Graduates of a Doctoral Degree will have a discipline specific:
i) substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution
ii) substantial knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the field of work or learning
ii Skills Graduates of a Doctoral Degree will have discipline specific:
i) cognitive skills to demonstrate expert understanding of theoretical knowledge and to reflect critically on that theory and practice
ii) cognitive skills and use of intellectual independence to think critically, evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, undertake systematic investigation and reflect on theory and practice to generate original knowledge
iii) expert technical and creative skills applicable to the field of work or learning
iv) communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions
v) communication skills to present cogently a complex investigation of originality or original research for external examination against international standards and to communicate results to peers and the community
vi) expert skills to design, implement, analyse, theorise and communicate research that makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge and/or professional practice.
iii
Application of Knowledge and Skills
Graduates of a Doctoral Degree will demonstrate the discipline specific application of knowledge and skills:
i) with intellectual independence and skills
ii) with initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning
iii) with full responsibility and accountability for personaloutputs
iv) to plan and execute original research; and
v) with the ongoing capacity to generate new knowledge, including in the context of professional practice.
Qualification for the Award The candidate will be recommended for admission to the degree by the Dean of Graduate Research on the advice of the Research Training Sub-Committee.
Grading of the Award The award will be conferred as an ordinary award.
Qualification Title Doctor of Philosophy
Pathways - General Our pathways for candidates have been developed in accordance with the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy.

Approved entry pathways are described in Admission and Selection Criteria, above.
Pathways – Credit and advanced standing Credit is not consistent with the framework of a Higher Degree by Research and therefore cannot be granted.

A candidate for a Masters degree by research in the University may be permitted to transfer candidature to the degree subject to approval from the supervisor, School and Dean of Graduate Research.
i) A research Masters degree candidate seeking to transfer to the degree will need to satisfy the requirements of the confirmation process at the Doctoral Degree (Research) level.
ii) Except with the permission of Dean of Graduate Research, candidates who transfer from a Masters degree shallbe deemed to have commenced candidature from the time of admission to the Masters degree.
Pathways – Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) For Research degrees RPL is a process that assesses the individual’s formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes competency outcomes or standards for entry to a qualification.

For Research degrees candidates are assessed on research experience:
i.e. demonstrated research experience that is equivalent to the standard of Honours Class II, Division 1 such as professional work experience in a research environment, published papers in refereed journals, conference papers or equivalent creative material.

RPL will not be recognised for credit or advanced standing.
Pathways – combined degree A candidate for the degree shall not be concurrently enrolled as a candidate for any other degree or award whether of this or another tertiary institution, except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research. Candidates in a Jointly Awarded Doctoral Degree or Dual Award Doctoral Degree (DADD) program will be concurrently enrolled at the partner institution and the University of Newcastle.

Pathways – nested or integrated qualifications

Nested or integrated qualifications are not consistent with the framework of a Masters Degree (Research).
Pathways – Exit There is no exit award from a Doctor of Philosophy.
Pathways - Graduate The Doctor of Philosophy is the peak award granted by Academic Senate.
Professional Accreditation This section is intentionally blank.
Additional Information   Submission of Thesis for Examination
The candidate shall submit one copy of the thesis in accordance with the provisions of the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research and the Thesis Preparation and Submission Guidelines, and in the case of a Jointly Awarded Doctoral Degree Program, the Memorandum of Agreement.

Examination of Thesis
The Dean of Graduate Research shall appoint two examiners and at least one reserve, none of whom shall normally be a member of the staff of the University.
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Section 4 - Relaxing Provision

(14) To provide for exceptional circumstances arising in any particular case, the President of Academic Senate, on the recommendation of the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor or relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor may relax any provision of this Schedule.

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Section 5 - Reporting

(15) The President of the Academic Senate will report all applications of the relaxing provision of this Schedule to the Academic Senate.