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A large number of Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates request extensions to their candidature and/or scholarship on the basis that work and/or coursework commitments have prevented timely progress of their research. In most cases it is apparent that candidates, supervisors and other signatories to such requests are unaware of the rules governing work or coursework for their HDR. To clarify the situation attention is drawn to the following points.
1. Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 - Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (05/09/2005), Section 3.25.25, Work it is stipulated that Students may undertake work outside the HDR subject to the approval of their provider. The providoer may not approve a student undertaking work unless it is satisfied that the work will not interfere with the student's study for their HDR.
It follows that a research higher degree is a demanding undertaking requiring performance to the full extent of the candidate's ability. It is generally expected, and accepted across the Sector, that a PhD or Masters by research are full-time commitments, unless enrolment is part-time. Accordingly, our conditions stipulate that no more than 8 hours per week (equivalent to ~20% of a full-time load) can be worked part-time for a full-time candidate.
2. Likewise, DEEWR (Dec 2007) - Grants made under part 2-3 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to support the Research Training Scheme (RTS) specify that up to to one third of the course for a HDR may be completed by coursework.
Current procedures allow candidates to undertake additional coursework that is either directly related to the area of research or more generic. Implicit in accepting coursework as part of a HDR is the expectation that the research component wil be adjusted to reflect the level and time commitment required for the coursework to ensure completion within the maximum permitted candidature time (ie Masters = 2 years EFT, PhD = 4 years EFT).
Professor Peter Frappell, Dean of Graduate Research
4 May 2009
Authorised by the Dean of Graduate Research
6 August, 2012