Introduction by the Dean, Graduate Studies
The successful conclusion of a research higher degree (Masters or Doctoral degrees) is the result of sustained intellectual activity on the part of the candidate, under the supervision of a member of the academic staff and within a Faculty which provides appropriate resources and support to the candidate. The overall administration of the candidature is guided by policies developed by the Research Committee and the Academic Senate. There is obviously a very complex interaction involving many people and positions in the University.
This Guide is intended as a reference source, providing information and guidelines on the responsibilities of those involved. It is intended to provide a description appropriate to the most usual situations encountered during a research higher degree program. It is recognised that there may be individual circumstances relating to single programs which require departure from or adaptation of the guidelines. It must be recognised that the following sections are guidelines and as such do not have the force of the Degree Rules.
Professor Scott Holmes
Dean, Graduate Studies
What constitutes a research higher degree?
What is a research higher degree?
The University of Newcastle offers Master and Doctoral degrees by way of a program, the major component of which is a research project carried through to conclusion. The University also awards several Higher Doctoral Degrees whose award is based on the research output of the applicant over a substantial number of years.
The research masters and doctoral degrees have two intents. One is to prepare a substantial piece of work which represents a significant contribution to the particular field of study, while the other is to train candidates in the general area of research methodology, equipping them with skills which will serve them in any field of research. The difference between a Master degree and a Doctoral degree is explained in the definitions below:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The Doctor of Philosophy is an ungraded degree awarded for research that demonstrates that the candidate has the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality. The research should uncover new knowledge either by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative re-interpretation of known data and established ideas.
Master by Research (M Phil)
The degree of Master of Philosophy is an ungraded degree awarded for research that demonstrates that the candidate has a thorough understanding of the relevant techniques in the field demonstrated both by their application and a thorough review of the literature; has managed to demonstrate competence in the chosen field through judicious selection and application of methods to yield fruitful results; has the capacity to evaluate these results critically; and has the capacity to present well written work.
A research degree program is a demanding undertaking that will take a number of years to complete. It is likely to involve extended hours to absorb and digest vast amounts of existing information, to develop new data or ideas and, with the assistance of your supervisor, to distil these into a well-structured and clearly written research thesis. There are also likely to be new opportunities for interaction with other researchers and people who are established in their professions.
You will receive careful direction from your supervisor but you must be able to juggle the constant need to push forward your research program with the competing and valid demands of family, friends, hobbies and relaxation. Time management skills become very important.
Why should you embark on such a program?
It is a unique opportunity to learn new skills, develop problem-solving abilities and make a demonstrable contribution to new knowledge. It is the recognised qualification for a career in academia and will also open doors to new career paths in the public and private sectors. As a successful Master or Doctoral graduate, you will have overcome the obstacles, persevered with the research, mastered new skills and convinced a group of your peers that the contribution to knowledge submitted as your thesis is worthy of the award of a higher degree. The end result is an overwhelming feeling of great accomplishment.
The Office of Graduate Studies
The overall administration of research higher degree candidature and research scholarships is the responsibility of the Office of Graduate Studies located in the Eastern Wing of The Chancellery. This Office implements the University's Rules and guidelines and acts on advice from the Research Committee, Heads of School and supervisors in individual cases.
The Office of Graduate Studies looks after candidature, rules and regulations, enrolment, induction, reenrolment, academic progress, leave of absence, transfer of program/ topic/ supervisor, submission and examination of thesis, and the Research Training Scheme.
In addition the Office of Graduate Studies administers research scholarships including scholarship applications, conditions, payment of stipend, thesis allowance and other benefits, suspension of scholarship, sick/maternity leave, transfer of scholarship, termination of scholarship.
The Pro Vice Chancellor is the administrative and academic head of the Faculty.
Faculties are divided into Schools with Heads of Schools having the responsibility for academic staff and courses for that discipline area.
Reference is also made to the Assistant Dean Research Training. This academic staff member is vested with the overall co-ordination of matters concerning research higher degrees and is a primary Faculty contact for research candidates.
|Faculty||Assistant Dean Research Training|
|Business and Law||Associate Professor Suzanne Ryan|
|Education and Arts||Professor Pam Nilan|
|Engineering and Built Environment||Associate Professor Michael Stockenhuber|
|Health||Professor John Rostas|
|Science and Information Technology||Associate Professor Jenny Cameron|
Related Rules and Policy
RHD candidates have a responsibilty to read, understand and respect the University Policies that relate to their candidature. Key policies and rules can be found here.