PhD Award Sub-Committee
Frequently asked questions
Below are some questions that you may have about administrative processes associated with the PhD Award Sub-Committee.
Appointment of Examiners
- Where can I find the Appointment of Examiners form?
- What are important close-off dates for Appointment of Examiners forms?
- How do I fill in the forms in restricted Word and interactive PDF formats?
- When does additional information need to be attached to the Appointment of Examiners form and what should this information include?
- Do I need to nominate a fourth/alternative examiner?
- Can an internal alternative examiner be nominated if one of the primary examiners is also internal?
- Where can I find further information regarding the appointment of examiners for PhD candidates?
Faculty Reports and Recommendations
- To where should Faculty Reports be sent?
- What are important close-off dates for Faculty Reports?
- What documentation should be included in Faculty Reports?
- Which cases can the Faculty award the degree without referring to the PhD Award Sub-Committee for decision?
- Which cases should the Faculty refer to the PhD Award Sub-Committee for decision?
Quarterly Statistical Reports
- Where can I find the Quarterly Report proforma and Confirmation form?
- When are Quarterly Reports due?
- What data should be included in the Quarterly Reports?
- How do I calculate the time period of examination for each candidate?
- What should I do if the Faculty has no decisions to report?
- Can the Quarterly Report statistical information be accessed by Faculties?
Candidates and External Agreements
- A candidate wants to or has signed an external agreement with their employer or an external commercial party. What should the Faculty do?
- How can the University assist candidates with intellectual property agreements?
For enquiries concerning the PhD Award Sub-Committee’s procedures, rules and resolutions, general enquiries and correspondence concerning the appointment of examiners, quarterly reports and faculty reports and recommendations, please contact:
PhDASC Committee Secretary
Graduate Studies Office A14
T +61 2 9114 1302
F +61 2 9351 3572
The form is available here.
To be noted by the PhD Award Sub-Committee at their next meeting, Appointment of Examiners forms should be sent to the Secretariat two weeks prior to the Sub-Committee's next meeting date. This allows for the forms to be processed and included in the Sub-Committee agenda. The Sub-Committee's meeting dates and close-off dates for submission are available online.
To fill out the interactive forms either select the hand tool or select tool on the PDF tool bar, click on the interactive field and type in the appropriate information. To see the interactive fields more clearly, click on "highlight fields" in the PDF and on the "form field shading" icon in Word.
For staff using Adobe Reader, you only have the choice of either printing the form or saving it as a Word text. If you have access to Adobe Professional (and it is freely available to staff via the ICT website) you can save the information into the fields.
When does additional information need to be attached to the Appointment of Examiners form and what should this information include?
There are a few circumstances when further information should be included:
Examiner qualification: If a nominated examiner does not hold a higher degree, is not active in research or is not experienced in supervising and/or examining research theses, a brief justification of the choice of examiner should be attached to the form or may later be requested by the Secretariat or the PhD Award Sub-Committee.
Delay in appointment of examiners: If the Appointment of Examiners form, under "Date of Thesis Submission", indicates that the thesis was submitted more than four weeks before the form was completed and signed, a brief explanation of the cause of the delay should be attached.
Replacement examiner: If a replacement examiner is being appointed after the original list of examiners has been noted by the PhD Award Sub-Committee, the original list of examiners should be included, indicating which examiner is the replacement examiner and which examiner is being replaced. A brief justification should also be included indicating why the replacement examiner is being activated.
Yes, this will expedite the examination process. Should one of the original examiners withdraw or not complete their report within eight weeks as requested, the thesis can be sent to the fourth/alternative examiner without delay; otherwise, you will need to complete a new appointment form for the additional examiner and commence the process again.
Yes, however, the internal alternative examiner could only replace the internal primary examiner, as no more than one internal examiner is allowed to examine a thesis. If one of the two external primary examiners was unable to participate, a new external examiner would need to be nominated and approved as the replacement examiner.
Further information is available in the:
Guidelines on reverse of the Appointment of Examiners form (available here);
Thesis and Examination of Higher Degree by Research Procedures 2015 – Part 2- Thesis examination process and outcome);
PhD: Guidelines for Examiners of Doctor of Philosophy Theses
Faculty reports should be addressed to:
PhDASC Committee Secretary
Graduate Studies Office
To be considered by the PhD Award Sub-Committee at its next meeting, faculty reports should be sent to the Secretariat two weeks prior to the Sub-Committee's next meeting date. This allows for the reports to be considered by the Chair of the Sub-Committee and included in the Sub-Committee agenda. The Sub-Committee’s meeting dates and close off dates for submission are available online.
The Thesis Documentation Checklist outlines the documents to be forwarded to the Sub-Committee, but includes as a minimum one copy of each of the examiners' reports, a copy of any documentation relating to the Faculty's discussion of the examination (including records of consultation with supervisor(s), postgraduate coordinator and associate dean) and, where appropriate, evidence of consultation with the student. This documentation, together with the completed Thesis Documentation Checklist, should be forwarded to the Committee Secretary with the student file.
The Thesis Documentation Checklist can be found online.
Which cases can the Faculty award the degree without referring to the PhD Award Sub-Committee for decision?
Faculties have delegated authority to award the degree of Doctor of Philosophy when:
1) all three examiners have recommend either to award or award subject to typographical corrections. In these cases, the Faculty can then recommend either award or award subject to typographical corrections; or
2) one or more of the examiners have recommended emendations and the remaining examiners have recommended either to award or award subject to typographical corrections and the Head of Department/School recommends award subject to all emendations.
Faculties should refer cases to the PhD Award Sub-Committee for decision when:
1) the examiners make any other combination of recommendations other than those outlined in answer to the previous question; or
2) the examiners make the same combination of recommendation as outlined in point (2) in the previous question but the Head of Department/School recommends award subject to the making of some, but not all, emendations.
These documents are available online.
The Quarterly Report proforma and Confirmation form are also circulated to the PhD Administrative Coordinators of each faculty in a reminder email, two weeks prior to the due date of each Quarterly Report.
Quarterly Reports are due at the end of March, June, September and December of each year. The specific due dates for this year are listed in the Quarterly Report proforma.
Data reported by faculties in the Quarterly Reports should consist of those PhDs which the faculty has awarded and that have not been referred to the PhD Award Sub-Committee. These should include those PhDs determined to be awarded, awarded subject to typographical corrections and awarded subject to the completion of all emendations. Cases which should not be reported in the Quarterly Reports are those that were referred to the Sub-Committee for decision including those recommended to be awarded subject to some emendations, revised and resubmitted and non-award. Faculties are not required to report these cases as they will be included in the Quarterly Report statistics from records held in the Secretariat.
The time period of examination is the length of time between the date of submission and date when the candidate is informed of the result. The time period of examination does not include the time granted to the candidate for correction or emendation of the thesis.
The Secretariat should be notified in writing that this is the case. The Quarterly Report proforma and the Confirmation form do not need to be completed.
Yes, after being noted by the PhD Award Sub-Committee, each Quarterly Report and the Annual Report are circulated by email to the PhD Administrative Coordinators of each faculty for their information.
A candidate wants to, or has, signed an external agreement with their employer or an external commercial party. What should the Faculty do?
The Faculty should:
- remind the candidate that PhD candidatures remain under the control of the University and, if appropriate, seek a statement from the candidate's employer acknowledging this.
(see clause 4.07of the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011)
- where a candidate is associated with a project in collaboration with industry, apply for deferment of public availability at the commencement of the candidature, if it is anticipated that such deferment may be necessary.
(see Chapter 8 ‘Procedure to Defer Public Availability of the Thesis’ of the Manual of Best Practice for the Administration of Research Higher Degree Candidatures 2009)
- explain to the candidate that it is their responsibility to inform of any external agreement they are planning to enter into and to understand that they may need to disclose a potential conflict of interest.
(see 7.1 and 7.2 of the Academic Board’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Research Practice and Guidelines for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct)
- Obtain and store a copy of any agreements in the candidate’s student file.
- Remind supervisors of their responsibility to ensure that any intellectual Property embodied in the research is protected appropriately according to the relevant University policies.
(see 5.8 of the Academic Board’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Research Practice and Guidelines for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct)
- Assure that the examination process remains confidential as per University policy, which includes not disclosing the examiners’ identities to the candidate or their employer.
(5(2)and 14.3 of the Thesis and Examination of Higher Degree by Research Procedures 2015)
Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships is able to work with Faculties and PhD candidates to create intellectual property protection agreements.