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Dual Award and Joint Higher Degrees Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Dual awards and joint higher degrees have been established to develop partnerships between research institutions, including the facilitation of movement between institutions of doctoral or research masters candidates under joint supervision and enrolment arrangements.

(2) The outcome of a dual award doctoral or research master thesis submission is that the candidate, following an agreed single examining process, receives an award from each institution, qualified by the statement that the degree was obtained under a dual award degree agreement. A dual award degree provides for the conferring of two degrees, one each from the primary and partner institutions.

(3) The outcome of a joint doctorate or joint research master is a single award and testamur that includes the logos of the participating institutions. The primary place of enrolment confers the degree which includes the logo of the partner institutions.

(4) The doctoral or research masters candidate benefits under both dual award and joint degree arrangements in that the candidate has the opportunity to work and access the latest research equipment, facilities and expertise in more than one institution, and obtains awards that facilitate professional mobility. The advantages of such agreements extend beyond the benefit to the individual candidate, and should be seen in the context of enhanced research cooperation between the institutions and the principal supervisors concerned.

(5) A dual award degree or joint degree agreement would normally be initiated in cases where there had been a history of research collaboration between the University and the nominated partner institution(s). This policy does not intend to meet the needs of an individual candidature in the absence of an external research collaboration with the University Research Institute (Institute), School, or Research Centre.

(6) To apply this policy there must be an agreement establishing the dual award degree agreement or the joint degree agreement signed by the University, according to the Delegations of Authority Policy, and the partner universities. The University is responsible for ensuring compliance of the course of study with the standards in the Higher Education Standards Framework that relate to the specific agreement.

(7) There must be an agreement for each individual candidature that addresses the specific candidature details outlined in Section 3 below. The individual candidature agreement must be signed by the University and the partner institutions.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(8) Definitions for the purpose of this policy:

  1. Dual award degree - a double awarded research higher degree between the University and a partner institution.
  2. Joint degree - a higher degree where the student receives a jointly badged testamur from the primary institution.
  3. Partner University - the institution of collaboration which will share the candidature under either a dual award degree or joint degree arrangement.
  4. Primary institution - the institution at which the student is first enrolled.
  5. The Dean - the Dean of the University School.
  6. The Director, Research Institute - the Director of the University Research Institute.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(9) Unless expressly varied by agreement, the following the University policies and procedures will apply:

  1. Doctorate Policy or Research Masters (Honours) Policy, which prescribe the arrangements for research higher degrees, except for specific additional requirements relating to examinations, as specified in the candidature agreement.
  2. Research Code of Practice.
  3. Intellectual Property Policy.
  4. Research Higher Degree Appeals Procedures.
  5. Student Misconduct Rule.

(10) Current University candidates and prospective candidates are eligible to be considered for enrolment in the dual award degree or joint degree. Provision will be made for a candidature that commences as a dual award degree or joint degree to transfer from that program into the University doctoral or Master of Philosophy program.

English Language Requirements

(11) Applicants from overseas partner institutions wishing to enrol under a dual award or joint degree arrangement who are not Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia must also demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving a prescribed level in an approved English examination. The approved English Language tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Combined Universities Language Test (CULT).

(12) The standards required are:

  1. IELTS - 6.5 overall score with a minimum 6.0 in each subtest
  2. TOEFL - 575 (minimum 4.5 in Test of Written English (TWE))
  3. TOEFL computer based test - 232 (minimum 4.5 in Essay Writing)
  4. TOEFL Internet-based test - 89
  5. Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) - A grade of B or above
  6. Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English - A grade of B or above.

Dual Award Degree and Joint Degree Agreement

(13) An individual dual award degree or joint degree candidature agreement sets out the arrangements described in clause 25 below.

(14) Candidates are responsible for meeting costs such as travel and living expenses. Candidates in receipt of a scholarship granted by the University will continue to receive their stipend under the usual conditions of their award. There are no special University funds for travel of supervisors or examiners appointed under dual award degree or joint degree agreements.

(15) The candidate's research costs, including but not limited to, laboratory/fieldwork funding, are normally met by the primary institution. Candidates will be responsible for their transportation to and from the primary institution, for their accommodation expenses, medical insurance, passport and visa costs, textbooks, clothing and personal expenses. A candidate from a partner institution will be otherwise subject to the normal requirements and arrangements for international candidates.

(16) The candidature is to be divided between the institutions with alternate stays in each of the institutions and where the arrangement is between the University and one other partner a minimum of 30% (two semesters) will be spent at one institution during the period of candidature. Candidates in joint degree programs are normally enrolled at each institution concurrently for the duration of candidature and take leave from one institution while working at the collaborating institution.

(17) The candidate will have a principal supervisor at the University and a principal supervisor at each of the partner institutions.

(18) A system of assessment of the candidate's progress, on at least an annual basis, must be agreed upon by all the partner institutions.


(19) The doctoral or Master of Philosophy thesis is to be written in a language approved by the examining institution. The primary institution is the examining institution. If the thesis is written in a language other than English a comprehensive abstract in English must be provided.

If the doctoral examination is carried out by the partner institution details of the examination process and the roles of both institutions must be described in the Candidature Agreement and approved by the Research Studies Committee before the arrangement is enacted. If the partner institution requires a defence of the thesis in person it will be conducted according to the Rules and Policies of the partner institution.

(20) If the examination is to be carried out under the University Policies, each institution(s) will appoint one examiner. Both institutions will agree to the appointment of a reserve examiner.

(21) On successful completion of the examination and award of a dual award degree the University testamur and the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement will state that the award was made as a consequence of a dual award degree agreement and it will name the partner university. The primary institution and the partner institution each confer the degree and issue a testamur.

(22) On successful completion of the examination and award of a joint degree the University testamur and the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement will state that the award was made as a consequence of a joint degree agreement and it will name the partner university(s).

(23) A single award is made for a joint degree, with the logos of the partner university(s) and the University on the testamur. The degree is conferred and the testamur issued by the primary institution of enrolment.

(24) When the Research Studies Committee is satisfied that all requirements have been met, it shall agree that the degree be awarded.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(25) There will be an institutional level agreement for the dual award degree or joint degree. The agreement will be endorsed by the Office of University Secretary and General Counsel and Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International before being approved by the Vice-Chancellor and President. The institution-level agreement will include collaboration details including:

  1. evidence of strategic value to the University
  2. the rationale for a dual award or joint degree rather than other means of collaboration
  3. evidence of existing or ongoing collaboration including existing agreements.

(26) There will be an individual dual award degree or joint degree Candidature Agreement for each student that is endorsed by the Dean or Director, Research Institute, and the partner university(s) before being approved by the Research Studies Committee. The Candidature Agreement describes:

  1. Nominee details; including name, student id, degree enrolled or applied for, consumed EFTSL, names of primary and partner institutions, visa and health requirements and date of commencement.
  2. Contact details; including the names and email addresses of proposed supervisors at each institution, the administrative contacts at the partner institution(s) and their email and postal addresses.
  3. Candidature details; including, the thesis title, research topic description, consumed enrolment load, proposed period of residency at the primary and partner institutions, arrangements for research ethics approval, details of supervision and arrangements for reporting on progress between institutions, where the examination is carried out by the partner institution details of the examination process and the roles of both institutions must be described, intellectual property and copyright arrangements. Funding arrangements; including tuition fees, overseas health cover, examination costs, oral defence costs, scholarship/stipend and travel support, travel support for supervisors and other project costs. The candidate will pay fees at the primary institution only.
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Section 5 - Guidelines

(27) Nil