Policies for postgraduate coursework students including Faculty of Dentistry

students on walkway

Students at risk of failure

Postgraduate coursework students who are considered to be at risk of failure will in the first instance be sent notification that they have been identified as a student at risk. Students considered to be at risk of failure include:

  1. students who fail to complete more than 50% of the credit points for which they enrolled
  2. students who achieve a Weighted Average Mark of less than 50%
  3. students who fail to complete a compulsory component of their course
  4. students who fail the same unit of study twice
  5. students with an unsatisfactory attendance record
  6. students who are unable to complete their course within the maximum permitted time while carrying a normal student load.

Students identified as at risk will be required to complete a staying on track survey, attend a staying on track information session and consult their course coordinator.

Show cause

If you are identified as a Stage 3 student at risk of failure according to the Academic Board's Student Academic Progression Policy the Board of Postgraduate Studies will ask you to show good cause why your candidature should not be terminated. This will happen if you are identified as a student at risk for a second time. If you are required to show cause, Student Services will write to you with information about what is required, including links to the relevant policies

If you receive a letter asking you to show cause then you must write to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, within three weeks of the date on the original letter, detailing reasons why you believe your candidature should not be terminated. For example, circumstances beyond your control which have negatively affected your studies would be considered good cause – these circumstances may include illness or accident, but would not include demands of employment.

Your course coordinator will provide a detailed report to the Board with their recommendation for a course of action. You will be sent a copy of this report and will have two weeks to submit written comments on the recommendation.

A sub-committee of the Board will consider the written submissions and may invite you and your course coordinator to answer questions at a meeting if required.

If the Board deems that you have not shown good cause for unsatisfactory progress, you may be excluded from a unit of study, from a course or from a faculty.

Student Services will advise you of the decision.

Please note that if you do not contact Sydney Medical School within the stipulated dates, it will be assumed that there is no good cause and your candidature will be terminated.

Appealing academic decisions

In cases where you are unsatisfied with an academic decision you may appeal the decision.

The first step in such instances is always to informally appeal to the person who made the decision, such as your unit of study or course coordinator; this must be done within 15 working days of your being advised of the academic decision.

In the case of academic decisions relating to a unit of study, you should raise your concerns within 15 working days of the unit of study result being posted by the University. The relevant unit of study or course coordinator must give you a prompt response detailing why the decision was made.

If you remain unsatisfied with the decision you can then make a formal or informal appeal to your head of discipline or school within 15 days from the outcome of the discussion with your unit of study or course coordinator. In such cases the head of discipline or school must review and explain the reasons for the decision made.

If your concerns are not resolved by your head of discipline or school then you are able to make a written appeal to the Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies (who acts on behalf of the Dean). Any appeal at this stage must be received within 15 working days of the previous communications with your gead of discipline or school. The Chair of the Board will review the decision in order to try and resolve the complaint and will advise you in writing of the Board’s decision.

If you feel that the Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies has not addressed your concerns then you may appeal to the Student Appeals Body. To do this you must lodge a written appeal to the Registrar within 20 working days of the written decision of the Chair of the Board. The Faculty will be asked to give a written submission to the Student Appeals Body on the matter in question.

A hearing will be held only if due academic process has not been observed by the faculty in relation to the decision. You and a representative from the faculty will be invited to attend the hearing to answer any questions the Student Appeals Body may have.

The Student Appeals Body will uphold or dismiss your appeal and may refer the issue back to the faculty for reconsideration, make a new or amended decision, or determine that no further action should be taken in relation to the matter. The decision made by the Student Appeals Body is final and you will be notified of the outcome.

Academic support

All academic matters should be referred to your unit of study coordinator or Course Coordinator. These people are designated specifically to support postgraduate students within a course. If you are not able to speak with either your unit of study coordinator or your Course Coordinator for any reason, you may want to then contact the Head of your Discipline or School. If you are unsatisfied with a response from your Head of Discipline or School, matters can be raised with the Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies and in certain circumstances may need to follow the lines appeal which are detailed below.

Administrative support

In most cases, administrative problems can either be addressed with Administrative staff in your Discipline or School or the Postgraduate Student Administration Unit. The Postgraduate Administration Unit are more than willing to help and for more serious matters the Postgraduate Manager may be the best person with whom to address your concerns.