The University of Newcastle depends upon partnerships with eminent thesis examiners to maintain its standards of research excellence. In return, we commit to provide you with clarity on the requirements and process of thesis examination, and to protect your rights at all times.
The Thesis Examination Guidelines includes information on the thesis format and examination process at the University of Newcastle. Please refer to the Research Thesis with a Creative Component Procedures for the expected standards of a research thesis with a creative component and the process for presentation and examination.
The Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research stipulates the conditions attached to the types of thesis that candidates may submit.
The University will normally appoint two examiners per thesis. Each will be an internationally recognised expert in the candidate’s area of research.
If you are currently a temporary resident of Australia, you will be asked to advise us at the time of your appointment. This will help us ensure you are not in breach of your visa conditions, as well as ensuring that the University is compliant with current immigration legislation.
The University requires examiners to provide their examination report within two months of receipt of the thesis. Each examiner is sent an Examiner’s report form to complete, upon which they may recommend one outcome:
- AWARD (including typographical amendments): The thesis meets the required standards in terms of the nature and quality of work undertaken, and the degree can be awarded without any further work by the candidate, other than the correction of a small number of typographical, or similar, minor errors in the final copy.
- CORRECTIONS REQUIRED: The thesis meets the required standards in terms of the nature and quality of work undertaken, and the degree can be awarded without further examination once the candidate has made a number of corrections and clarifications in the thesis, as specified in the examiner’s reports. The required corrections are more substantive than typographical and other minor errors and may include additional revisions to literature, method, analysis and discussion, revisions to creative works, additional experiments and/or data analysis, which improve but do not change the outcomes of the research. The corrections are to be done to the satisfaction of the university’s Higher Degree Research Committee, and would be normally completed within a period of less than six months.
- REVISE AND RESUBMIT FOR FURTHER EXAMINATION BY THE ORIGINAL EXAMINERS: The thesis does not currently meet the standard required for the award of the degree, but with further work it is believed that the required standard may be achieved. The required amendments, as specified in the attached report, are substantive and may include new experiments or data collection, additional analyses, revision of the scientific method or any essential work that may alter the conclusions drawn in the thesis. The candidate is required to re-enrol for up to 12 months and carry out this further work. The thesis will then be resubmitted for re-examination. “Revise and Resubmit” can only be recommended once for a given thesis.
- FAIL: The thesis be classified as failed, without right to resubmit the thesis, on the basis that a significant amount of additional research work and/or major, substantive revision will not raise the thesis to an acceptable standard.
In addition to a completed Examiner report form, you are asked to return a detailed examiner’s report as a separate typed document. This will provide an independent critical appraisal of the thesis and to identify, as appropriate, its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the stated thesis objectives.
Examiners undertake to maintain confidentiality with regard to the content of the thesis and of their report until such time as the University has made a determination on the award. Examiners also agree to not contact the supervisors or the candidate during the examination period.
In accepting an invitation to examine a thesis, an examiner undertakes to maintain confidentiality with regard to the content of the thesis and of their report.
The approximate honorarium paid to external examiners for a Masters thesis is $A278.00; for a PhD thesis it is $A495.00. The honorarium amount is recommended by Universities Australia and varies periodically.
Australian examiners: Your payment will be processed upon receipt of the thesis examination report and a completed Australian Examiners' Honorarium Payment Form.
You may wish to also complete the Tax File Number declaration, to avoid being taxed at the higher bracket. Alternatively, examiners with ABNs can invoice the University for the full amount. Note that only ABNs registered with GST may include GST in the tax invoice.
International examiners: Payment action will be initiated once your examination report has been received. You may be contacted by the University’s Treasury Operations if they require specific details from you.
It is crucial that all examiners act with integrity and in the academic interests of the institution. Conflicts of interest (COI) must be avoided so that a thesis may be assessed independently and free from any perception of bias or preferential treatment.
It is important to note the following:
- a COI may be with the institution, the supervisor or the candidate.
- the existence of a COI does not automatically preclude a nominee being approved by the Dean of Graduate Research as a thesis examiner. When considering a nominee, the Dean looks at the nature and severity of any COI (or perceived COI).
All examiners and potential examiners are asked to refer to the Examiners Conflict of Interest Guidelines for examples of COI. The aim of the Guidelines is to protect the candidate, examiner and the university against potential negative perceptions during the thesis examination process.