View Current

Master of Research Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy establishes the academic governance of the Master of Research, which is a research training degree that prepares candidates for future Doctoral studies as well as professions in research.

(2) The Research Studies Committee (RSC) will approve a Schedule of Master of Research (MRes) Delegations specifying the tasks that may be undertaken by the Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director; the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development and the School/Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee.

(3) This policy should be read in conjunction with the Conflict of Interest Policy, Enrolment Policy, Student Fees Policy, Student International Mobility Policy, Credit for Prior Learning Policy, Dual Award and Joint Research Higher Degrees Policy, Student Misconduct Rule, Research Higher Degree and Research Training Program Scholarship Policy, Research Higher Degree Candidature Essential Resources Policy, Student Code of Conduct, Supervision of Research Candidates Policy, Research Code of Practice and the Schedule of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Delegations.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Definitions

(4) Definitions for the purpose of this policy are:

  1. Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director is the relevant Associate Dean or Director (e.g. HDR Director or Director, Research and HDR) as determined by the Dean or Director, Research Institute.
  2. Candidate means a student enrolled in a higher degree by research program.
  3. Dean means the Dean of a University School.
  4. Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development means the Dean of the Graduate Research School.
  5. Director, Research Institute means the Director of a University Research Institute.
  6. Domestic Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidate means a student who is:
    1. an Australian Citizen;
    2. a New Zealand Citizen;
    3. the holder of an Australian Permanent Resident Visa; or
    4. the holder of a Humanitarian Visa (Refugee).
  7. Examinable work means work that comprises one or more of the following, as specified for the particular stages of the degree: coursework assessments; thesis.
  8. GRS means the Graduate Research School.
  9. International HDR candidate means a student who is not a domestic HDR Candidate.
  10. Master of Research Degree is a Master Degree (Research) at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 9 comprising Stage One and Stage Two studies. See Clauses (6) and (7).
  11. Research Training Program (RTP) provides block grants annually to support the research training and skills of both domestic and international candidates undertaking Higher Degree Research (HDR).
  12. School or Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee is the relevant School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, or the equivalent committee for a University Institute or partner provider as determined by the Director in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Research, Enterprise and International.
Top of Page

Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) This policy establishes the requirements and procedures for undertaking Stage One and Stage Two, submission and thesis examination of the MRes degree.

(6) The Bachelor of Research Studies or Stage One will provide candidates with coherent and advanced knowledge of the underlying principles and concepts in one or more disciplines and knowledge of research principles, an understanding of the research industry, and methods necessary to undertake Higher Degree Research. It involves intensive coursework (1 year AQF 7) in an interdisciplinary environment with a range of flexible subjects within the discipline of choice to develop deep knowledge of both theory and research methods. The Bachelor of Research Studies is the program that domestic candidates must be enrolled in for Stage One. For international students, the Bachelor of Research Studies is referred to as a Master of Research Stage One.

(7) The MRes or Stage Two is awarded for demonstrating advanced knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to a field of research as demonstrated by a thesis that critically responds to or reflects on current knowledge in that field. It involves completing a Higher Degree Research project under the supervision of an academic expert in the chosen area of research. This is a 25,000-word thesis or equivalent that will be externally examined.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Admission

(8) To be admitted to the MRes, an applicant must apply via the University online portal in the approved method and by the advertised closing date.

(9) An applicant will be required to submit the following documentation for assessment:

  1. certified copies of all tertiary graduation certificates;
  2. academic transcripts for degrees completed outside Western Sydney University;
  3. certified proof of citizenship status (passport, birth certificate, citizenship papers, etc.) or certified proof of residency status (Australian permanent residents only);
  4. evidence of English language proficiency, which meets the University's criteria;
  5. a statement of intent that clearly identifies the area of research interest and a potential academic supervisor;
  6. evidence of any employment directly related to research training (if applicable); and
  7. A Statement of Supervision Support (via their University email account) from a suitably qualified University academic demonstrating availability of supervision.

(10) International applicants from some countries are required to apply via an authorised agent, as detailed on the University International website.

Approval of Admission

(11) An applicant for admission to the MRes must meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in Clauses (15) to (22) of this policy.

(12) The GRS will undertake a review of eligibility and forward to the relevant School Dean or Director, Research Institute who will confirm suitable supervision availability and research related resources. If eligibility is not met the applicant and Associate Dean, Research and HDR or HDR Director are informed.

(13) Once eligibility, availability of resources and supervisory capacity are confirmed the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development will approve or decline the application for admission.

(14) Endorsed recommendations based on professional experience are considered by the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development who has authority to approve the applicant for admission.

Eligible Academic Qualifications

(15) Applicants for admission to the MRes must hold:

  1. A Bachelor degree (AQF 7), or a Coursework Master’s degree (AQF 9), where completion of that degree occurs within five years of commencement in the MRes degree; and
  2. Achievement of a threshold Average Admission Mark (AAM) equal to or above the minimum of 65, to ensure satisfactory academic performance and determine eligibility. The method of calculation for an AAM can be found on the Master of Research FAQ's webpage.

(16) Applicants whose most recent discipline knowledge qualification is five or more years old will be required to provide additional evidence of relevant work experience or professional training, or evidence of seniority and standing in the discipline area and provide written support from the potential supervisor. Examples of evidence may include work as a research assistant or laboratory technician, the writing of policy, consultancy involving the writing of reports, software development, production of creative output, or publication of peer reviewed journal articles.

(17) Where candidates apply with different forms of professional experience, equivalence will be assessed by the applicant’s response to their level of attainment in the following domains:

Prior knowledge Prior skills Dispositions
Bachelor degree level knowledge of the discipline; Knowledge of research principles and problem solving; Understanding of research methods used in the discipline; demonstrated by relevant employment history and/or publication outputs. Writing and analytical skills demonstrated by development of the statement of intent; English language skills demonstrated by previous professional reports/papers; Verbal communications skills demonstrated through interviews with the potential supervisor; Cognitive skills appropriate to Bachelors level outcomes; Technical skills appropriate to the discipline discussed with the potential supervisor. Motivation and enthusiasm for the program; Capacity for independent thought; Capacity for working collaboratively; and may be demonstrated by communication with CV, references or by interview with the potential supervisor.

English Language Requirements

(18) Where an applicant’s academic qualifications were completed in a language other than English, the University requires the applicant to demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving a prescribed level in an approved English examination or by providing evidence of English proficiency through a medium of instruction.

(19) The approved English language proficiency tests and required standards are detailed on the English Language Entry Requirements webpage.

Offer of Admission

(20) For an MRes international applicant from a country with a United Nations Sanction and/or an Australian Autonomous Sanction (UNAS) regime in place, an Autonomous Sanctions HDR Assessment must be conducted. The RSC must review this assessment and provide approval for admission prior to an offer being made.

(21) Following approval of an application for admission, a Letter of Offer will be issued to the applicant.

(22) Requests to defer the commencement of study for one semester will only be granted in circumstances by the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development related to visa delays, maternity, paternity or adoption, family and caring responsibilities, or financial circumstances.

Approval of Resources and Supervisory Panel

(23) Prior to approving an application for admission, the Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director must certify that there is adequate and appropriate supervision and resources for the applicant to complete their candidature as outlined in the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy and the Research Higher Degree Candidature Essential Resources Policy.

(24) Supervision panels for Stage Two will be appointed and approved in accordance with the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy.

(25) Schools/Research Institutes must ensure that appropriate supervision arrangements are in place (in accordance with the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy) and have been agreed to by the proposed supervisor and the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director.

Part B - Progression

(26) In Stage One, candidates must complete 80 credit points at AQF level 7 or above. Refer to the Curriculum Structure Procedures for information on the program structure.

(27) In Stage Two, candidates must complete 80 credit points of supervised Higher Degree Research and produce a 20,000-25,000 word research thesis or equivalent.

(28) Students must achieve a mark of at least 65 in the final assessment of the core subject, Researcher Development 2: Practices of Research, in order to be offered admission to Stage Two of the MRes degree. In exceptional circumstances (that is, serious medical, family or personal or employment related reasons, where the reason could not be anticipated) and where the Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director of the relevant School/Institute support the reason, the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development may approve admission to Stage Two if a student does not achieve this standard.

(29) Candidates may exit with the Bachelor of Research Studies after Stage One and the successful completion of 80 credit points with credit for prior learning of 160 credit points from their previous undergraduate qualification being granted.

(30) Candidates are required to make themselves available for regular consultation with members of their supervisory panel, as outlined and agreed within the MRes Candidate & Supervisor Collaboration Agreement.

(31) Candidates must complete all mandatory training in order to comply with the University's risk mitigation strategies, including but not limited to modules in relation to Safety and Harassment, Worker, Health Safety, Cyber Security, training related to risk of foreign interference.

Master of Research Project Research Ethics and Safety Approvals

(32) Research topics involving human participants or animal subjects or the use of micro-organisms of Risk Group two or higher, whole micro-organisms, in vivo use of imported biological products, specimens of human origin (including blood products), recombinant DNA and ionising radiation sources require approval by the relevant University Ethics or Safety Committee.

(33) Human or Animal Research Ethics applications for MRes thesis research will only be considered by the relevant Ethics Committee after the successful completion of the core subject, Researcher Development 2: Practices of Research: Proposing and Justifying Research as outlined in Clause (28). In exceptional circumstances, ethics approval can be applied for earlier if the research relates to animal research or is part of a larger ongoing project with existing research ethics approval to which the student and their project will be added.

Milestones

(34) Candidates must successfully complete the research milestones specified by the GRS during Stage Two which ensure progress and readiness for submission of the thesis and must participate in candidate activities required by the GRS.

(35) Failure to successfully complete specified research milestones or participate in required candidate activities may lead to termination of candidature. Refer to Parts H and I of this policy for details on the process for termination of candidature and the appeals process.

(36) Candidates in Stage Two of the MRes Degree are governed by the Research Higher Degree and Research Training Program Scholarship Policy, Research Higher Degree Candidature Essential Resources Policy, Student Code of Conduct, Supervision of Research Candidates Policy and Research Code of Practice.

Full or Part-time Mode and Time Commitment

(37) International candidates must be enrolled as full-time.

(38) A domestic candidate may change their mode of candidature from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time on approval of the Director, Academic Program (DAP), Master of Research.

(39) Part-time candidates must complete Stage One within three years (see Progression Policy).

Credit for Prior Learning

(40) Domestic and international candidates may apply for credit for prior learning during Stage One of the MRes.

(41) Principals and limits of credit for prior learning awarded to the MRes are detailed in the Credit for Prior Learning Policy.

Approval of Credit for Prior Learning

(42) Decisions on applications are made by the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development on the recommendation of the relevant Academic Course Advisor (ACA) or DAP for the MRes and the Associate Dean, Research and HDR or HDR Director of the relevant School or Institute.

(43) Candidates must have approval from the DAP for the MRes for cross-institutional study before undertaking subjects at other institutions and meet all conditions as outlined in the Enrolment Policy. The DAP for the MRes will liaise with the Associate Dean, Research and HDR or HDR Director from the relevant School or Institute to ensure the nominated cross-institutional subjects contribute to the learning outcomes of the MRes prior to providing approval.

(44) Candidates who undertake subjects relevant to their research with an overseas University or at other Australian universities must apply for credit for prior learning on completion of the subject. Refer to the Enrolment Policy and Credit for Prior Learning Policy (as required).

Part C - Period of Candidature

(45) The period of candidature for Stage One is one year full-time, or the part-time equivalent.

(46) The period of candidature for Stage Two is one year full-time, or the part-time equivalent.

Extension of Candidature Thesis (Stage Two)

(47) It is the responsibility of the candidate and supervisor to ensure timely completion and submission of an MRes thesis. Thesis extensions beyond the submission date nominated by the GRS will be considered only in exceptional circumstances and will be no longer than six months in duration.

(48) Applications for thesis extension beyond the nominal period of candidature must be approved by the Associate Dean, Research and HDR or HDR Director and approved by the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development. Evidence must be provided of research delays or disruptions beyond the control of the candidate that could not have reasonably been foreseen, for example;

  1. Delays in progress due to unforeseen problems with the MRes and/or working environment (e.g. moving of offices/buildings, change of supervisor etc.) which are outside the student’s control.
  2. Unavoidable research delays caused by external events (including but not limited to bushfires, pandemics, etc.) that impact access to University campus facilities, infrastructure, fieldwork sites, or state or national institutions.
  3. Unavailability or breakdown of essential equipment for an extended period of time, where a candidate is unable to continue research and the use of alternative equipment or methodologies is not possible.

(49) All research disruptions and related problems must have been reported to the candidate’s School/Institute at the time that they occurred or as soon as reasonably possible (i.e. within one month) to enable appropriate remedies to be sought before an extension becomes necessary.

Leave of Absence

(50) Leave of Absences in Stage One will be applied in line with the Enrolment Policy.

(51) In special cases, the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development may grant a Leave of Absence from candidature during Stage Two only.

(52) As a general guide, valid reasons for Leave of Absence include serious medical reasons, family/personal reasons or employment-related reasons that are causing significant disruption to the candidate's capacity to study effectively.

(53) The period of such leave shall not be counted as part of the period of candidature for the degree.

(54) A total cumulative period of 12 months may be approved for a Leave of Absence for Stage Two candidature.

(55) A minimum period of three months can be approved for a single Leave of Absence request.

Part D - Master of Research Scholarships

(56) Full-time domestic candidates residing in Australia for the duration of their studies who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Research Studies meeting minimum academic standards may be eligible for a Master of Research Scholarship. Refer to the Master of Research FAQ's webpage for more information.

(57) High performing international full-time candidates may be eligible for a Master of Research Scholarship in Stage Two only.

(58) Stage Two international and domestic candidates who have registered in a minimum of two consecutive full-time semesters and meet minimum academic standards maybe eligible for the MRes Stage Two scholarship.

(59) Criteria for Master of Research Scholarships are outlined on the Master of Research FAQs webpage

Part E - Thesis Examination

(60) Theses submitted by MRes candidates will be assessed by two examiners who are not employees of the University. In exceptional cases, as approved by the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development, where the discipline is highly specialised and the pool of external examiners small, an internal examiner from another School may be appointed.

(61) Three examiners, one of whom will be a reserve examiner, will be nominated by the Principal Supervisor following discussion with the supervisory panel and the views of the candidate will be sought. Examiners must be endorsed by the relevant School/Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee. Candidates are not to be advised of the identities of the examiners until the examination and results process is completed, and only with the relevant examiner’s approval.

(62) Examiners must be asked to provide a numerical score (refer to Section 5 of this policy) and a written report.

(63) If the average marks from the two examiner outcomes differ by less than 15%, the examiner reports and recommendation are sent to the School/Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee for approval.

(64) If the marks from the two examiner outcomes differ by more than 15%, the examiner report and recommendations are sent to the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director for an internal review, as detailed in Section 5 of this policy.

(65) The final result is determined by averaging the numerical score of the examiners. Protocols to determine the final result are listed in Section 5 of this policy.

(66) A numerical score of at least 50% is required to qualify for award of the degree.

(67) If candidates receive a final result that is less than 50%, they may be given the opportunity to revise and re-submit in order to improve their result, but can only receive a maximum score of 50%.

(68) Candidates who wish to lodge their thesis with the University's library (Library) may do so after making any revisions or corrections recommended by examiners and after having the changes approved by the Supervisory Panel and GRS School Academic Committee (SAC).

(69) Final results will include a numerical score that can be used to rank graduates applying for scholarships and/or further research degree admission.

(70) The final result will be forwarded to the RSC for approval before the candidate is notified of the outcome.

Part F - Conflict of Interest

(71) Staff and candidates must abide by the Conflict of Interest Policy. All conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest must be declared, including the appointment of supervisors and external examiners.

Part G - Intellectual Property

(72) Candidates and supervisors must abide by the Intellectual Property Policy in regard to copyright of research developed under candidature.

Part H - Resolution of Disputes and Grievances

(73) Supervisors and candidates should seek to resolve any problems related to MRes candidature through informal dispute resolution pathways. Efforts to resolve disputes through informal resolution pathways must be documented, and copies retained by the relevant School or Institute. Where a resolution to the dispute is reached, the resolution must be set out in a document agreed to and retained by both parties. Supervisors and/or candidates may seek advice from the GRS where appropriate. This should be done before taking any formal steps outlined in University policies, such as steps to initiate a termination of candidature or those set out in the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy or, for Stage one MRes candidates, via the processes set out in the Complaint Management Policy. Other general complaints relating to University business and operations, e.g. enrolment or admissions procedures, are subject to the Complaint Management Policy.

(74) Unresolved matters can be escalated by any party to the School Dean or Director, Research Institute and the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development with such escalation being subject to the processes set out in the Complaint Management Policy and the Academic Appeals Procedures.

Part I - Progression, Show Cause and Termination of Candidature

(75) Any Stage One MRes student whose progression is ‘at risk’ or is unsatisfactory will be managed in accordance with the Progression Policy.

(76) MRes Stage Two candidature may be terminated for:

  1. failure to complete specified research milestones during the period of candidature;
  2. failure to participate in candidature activities deemed compulsory by GRS;
  3. academic or General misconduct as described under the Student Misconduct Rule or the Research Code of Practice; or
  4. major violations of the Student Code of Conduct and/or gross violations of research ethics, particularly the principles outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and related documents.

(77) Where any of the circumstances under Clause (76) apply, the School/Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee will prepare a recommendation to the RSC that the committee request the candidate to show cause why they should be permitted to continue their candidature. If the RSC decides to accept the recommendation, the candidate will be advised in writing as to why the request has been made and will be given 10 working days from the date of the advice to respond. The RSC will make a decision about the candidature based on the response and information from the GRS.

(78) The candidate has the right of appeal in respect of decisions to terminate candidature made by the RSC under this Part under the Academic Appeals Procedures.

Part J - Fees

(79) This program attracts Australian Government funding as a Bachelor of Research Studies/Master of Research. Domestic students undertaking Stage One of the program must be enrolled in the Bachelor of Research Studies as a Commonwealth supported student and candidates are liable for student contribution amounts calculated on a per subject basis. Refer to the Commonwealth Supported Students webpage for more information.

(80) In Stage Two of the program, enrolment into the MRes for domestic candidates is funded by the Commonwealth Government's Research Training Program (RTP). Domestic candidates are required to pay Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF).

(81) International candidates are required to pay full tuition fees. Refer to the International Fees and Costs webpage.

(82) International candidates are required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF).

Part K - Conditions of Enrolment

(83) A candidate must establish and maintain registration at the University during their enrolment and candidature.

(84) A candidate must ensure that all tuition and Student Service and Amenities fees are paid in full by the due date. Refer to the Student Fees Policy. Students (international and domestic) who have not finalised payment of their tuition fees by the relevant census date may have sanctions applied as per the Student Fees Policy.

(85) A candidate who is unable to meet full-payment of tuition fees by the census date may apply to have a payment plan approved by the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development. Payment plans will require that all tuition fees are paid in full by the end of the term in which the tuition fee was incurred.

(86) Discontinued students who are visa holders have the right to appeal against discontinuation and consequent reporting to the Commonwealth. Appeals must be lodged within 20 working days of discontinuation. If a student does not appeal, their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be cancelled, which may lead to the cancellation of their student visa.

(87) A student commencing Stage Two must submit to the GRS an authorised and completed Commencement of Research form prior to their enrolment in Stage Two.

(88) Domestic candidates from a coursework Master degree may commence the MRes Stage Two if they meet the specified and agreed Masters progression milestones, and with approval from the candidate’s potential Principal Supervisor, and the Associate Dean, Research and HDR, or the HDR Director from the relevant School or Institute, and the MRes DAP.

(89) International candidates who are part of a Western Sydney University Partnership Agreement (the Agreement) for Dual Award and HDR Candidature must meet the pre-specified Stage One equivalency criteria for 80 credit points of credit for prior learning applied against the specified Master degree at the partner university, and progression with their candidatures as outlined in the Agreement.

(90) Failure to re-register each semester will lead to the candidate being deemed to have abandoned the program, except when on a period of approved leave. If a candidature has lapsed and if candidates wish to resume their studies, they will need to re-apply for admission.

(91) Candidates are responsible for ensuring that their enrolment and registration are correct, they regularly check their University student email account, they carry their University student ID when on campus, that their personal and contact details are correct and up to date in the Student Management System during the their enrolment as detailed within the Enrolment Policy. For further details of the obligations and responsibilities of students, refer to the Student Code of Conduct.

Part L - Changes to Supervisory Panel or Topic

(92) Matters relating to the supervisory panel are covered in the Supervision of Research Candidates Policy.

(93) The Associate Dean, Research and HDR or HDR Director may endorse additions to the supervisory panel or changes to the thesis topic during the period of candidature. Changes to thesis topic may not be of a nature that would require substantial reworking or abandonment of work already accomplished in the candidature.

Part M - Overseas and Interstate Research by Candidates

(94) MRes Stage Two candidates may travel interstate and overseas to conduct research work that is relevant to their thesis topic, including but not limited to, conducting field work and or conference attendance, provided permission is granted by their Supervisor and the School or Institute Dean or Director.

(95) Candidates are considered to be University travellers if they are conducting work overseas or interstate that contributes towards their degree, whether funded by the University or not.

(96) Candidates must comply with the Travel Policy and the Student Code of Conduct.

(97) Candidates undertaking field research are subject to the University's Work Health Safety (WHS) obligations and must consider any travel advice issued by the relevant State Ministry of Health or Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). University travellers must adhere to and monitor DFAT travel advisories when organising and travelling overseas. Refer to the Travel Policy.

(98) Candidature Support Funds (CSF) are available for a range of items including, but not only, skill development, research materials or equipment, field work, transcription costs, participant reimbursement, travel for conference attendance, cost to support academic publishing, other travel consumables, registration fees, writing skill development, technical costs associated with exhibition, recording, filming, thesis binding, special software purchases, access to external facilities, access to specialised equipment, access to vehicles for field trips, specialist software, postage, acquisition of data sets, photocopying, office materials and, in some areas of research endeavour, editing services, software licenses, mandatory WHS awareness and training. Refer to the Research Higher Degree Candidature Essential Resources Policy.

Part N - Stage 2 Candidature Located Away From The University and International Offshore Candidature

(99) Domestic remote and international offshore candidature for Stage Two must be approved by the Principal Supervisor, Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director and the Dean, Graduate Studies and Research Development. Approval will be granted where the candidate:

  1. has a high likelihood of maintaining candidature progress and on time completion;
  2. has an agreement to participate in the research culture of the University;
  3. has adequate supervision; and
  4. engages via online or attendance at the University for agreed milestones, including orientation and confirmation of candidature.

(100) International Offshore students who fail to pay all required fees (tuition fees and SSAF) by the relevant census date may have sanctions applied. Refer to the Student Fees Policy.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Guidelines

Table A – Numerical Grading of Master of Research Theses

Grading Percentage

Description

85 – 100%
A thesis at this level:
 
  1. Clearly and fully outlines its research topic and objectives, explaining and justifying the project in relation to key developments in the field and recent literature;
  2. Clearly and fully outlines and explains the research undertaken, in terms of the methodology chosen and why it was chosen in preference to alternatives;
  3. Provides comprehensive and critical discussion of the results and links them to the relevant literature;
  4. Draws clear and fully supported conclusions from the research that allows for critical reflection on the research questions, the current status of related research and possible future directions for research; and
  5. Is clearly and cogently structured and well-written and conforms to disciplinary conventions in terms of its presentation.

A candidature producing work of this quality is capable of going on to original and innovative research and is strongly suited for enrolment in PhD.
75 – 84%
A thesis at this level:
 
  1. Provides a good account of the research objectives in relation to developments in the field and recent literature;
  2. Explains the research undertaken and why a certain methodology was chosen as appropriate;
  3. The discussion highlights key results and discusses these in relation to the relevant literature;
  4. Draws conclusions that are broadly supported by the research, and that respond clearly to the research question; and
  5. Is clearly structured and written and conforms to disciplinary conventions in terms of its presentation.

A candidate producing work of this quality is capable of undertaking a PhD.
65 – 74%
A thesis at this level:
 
  1. Has a clear research objective informed by developments in the field and recent literature;
  2. Explains its methodology clearly;
  3. Focuses discussion on study findings but with only limited critical engagement to the literature;
  4. Relates its conclusions clearly to the research undertaken; and
  5. Is adequately written, structured and presented.

A candidate working at this level is capable of Higher Degree Research, but not yet at a doctoral level.
50 – 64%
A thesis at this level:
 
  1. Identifies its research objective;
  2. Has a clear methodology;
  3. Focuses discussion on the study findings and lacks critique and linkage to the literature;
  4. Draws conclusions based on the research undertaken;
  5. Is written and presented adequately.

A candidate working at this level is not capable of further Higher Degree Research at this stage of their research career.
Below 50%
The thesis does not meet the standard for the award of the degree.

Table B – Master of Research Thesis Examination Protocols

Examinations Steps

Description

Reserve Examiner A reserve examiner/review panel will only be required if the difference between the two external examiners’ marks is greater than 15%.
Internal Review Panel
If two external examiners return reports with a thesis mark difference of greater than 15%, the thesis will be sent to the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director who will act as Chair of a review panel. The composition of the panel will be discussed with the Principal Supervisor; however, the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director will be the Chair of all review panels.

The review panel will comprise the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director (Chair), and two nominated academic experts in the field. The review panel will then make an independent recommendation based on the reports from the two external examiners, and feedback from internal examiner. The internal examiner can only award a mark between the two given by the external examiners.

The Principal Supervisor will be asked to return a report in response to the two external examiners’ reports. This response will be sent to the review panel for consideration.

The recommendation made by the panel cannot be higher or lower than what has been awarded by the external examiners.
Supervisor’s Response A response from the Principal Supervisor is only required if the marks awarded by the external examiners have a difference greater than 15%.
Approval of Outcomes

Marks within 15% range:


When two external examiners’ reports are returned and the marks awarded are within the 15% range of difference, the recommended outcome will be the average of the two marks awarded (i.e. examiner 1 awards 86%, examiner 2 awards 88%, with the recommended outcome being 87%).

Note: if the average between the two is a fraction, then the mark will be rounded up.

The recommended outcome will be sent directly to the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director, requesting endorsement of the outcome from the School/Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee. Once endorsed by the School/Institute, the outcome will be referred to the RSC Executive Committee for final approval.


Marks outside 15% range:


When two external examiner reports are returned and the marks awarded are outside the 15% range of difference, the matter will be referred to the Internal Review Panel (see Internal Review Panel above) who will then make a recommendation regarding the outcome. This recommendation will then be sent to the School/Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee for endorsement. The outcome is referred to the RSC for final approval.
Thesis Submission Approval Final approval for MRes thesis submission will remain with the relevant Associate Dean, Research and HDR or the HDR Director of the School / Institute.