Policies for research students including Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

See also:
Essential information for postgraduate students, including Annual progress report information.


The Induction checklist (.pdf) will be sent to all research students early in their first semester of candidature. The checklist covers a range of actions and topics that the student and the supervisor should ensure have been undertaken or discussed at the beginning of the candidature.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property is a term which refers to a collection of specific rights which attach to the results of intellectual activity, including those in the industrial, commercial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. The University’s Intellectual Property Policy is expressed as the University of Sydney (Intellectual Property) Rule 2002. The rights and responsibilities of students differ from those of members of the University’s general and academic staff. The University specifically acknowledges that students own any intellectual property that they create pursuant to their studies unless they agree to some other arrangement. Students who are also members of staff should ensure that they are aware of the different provisions for staff and students. They can then act in accordance with the provisions relevant to their circumstances.

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All research students commence candidature on a period of probation. During probation students must demonstrate satisfactory progress, develop a timeline for the completion of their research degree, give a formal presentation of their research proposal, demonstrate satisfactory written English expression and undertake a progress interview. After nine months of candidature the supervisor and Postgraduate Coordinator complete a Probation Report. The student’s candidature may be confirmed, confirmed with conditions or terminated. The final decision will be made by the Dean of the Faculty.

Academic support

All academic matters should be referred to your Postgraduate Coordinator. These people are designated specifically to support postgraduate students within a Discipline. If you are not able to speak with your Postgraduate Coordinator for any reason, you may then contact the Head of your Discipline or School. If you are dissatisfied 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 of appeal which are detailed below.

Administrative support

In most cases, administrative problems can either be addressed with the Postgraduate Student Administration Unit. The Postgraduate Student Administration Unit staff 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.

Show cause

If your discipline or school believes you have not made satisfactory progress in your candidature the Board of Postgraduate Studies may ask you to show cause why your candidature should not be terminated. In such cases Student Services will write to you with information about what is required to show good cause, including links to the relevant policies.

If you receive a letter asking you to show cause then, within four weeks of the date on the original letter, you will need to write a letter to the Board of Postgraduate Studies 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 normally include demands of employment.

Your postgraduate 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 this recommendation.

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

Student Services will advise you of the decision.

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

It is worth noting that all research students are required to complete an Annual Progress Report and if this is not submitted each year, students will automatically be asked to show cause. In such cases, submission of a completed Annual Progress Report showing satisfactory progress will be considered as good cause not to terminate the candidature.

Appealing academic decisions

If you are dissatisfied with an academic decision that affects your progress or academic assessment you may appeal the decision University of Sydney (Student Appeals Against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006

The first stage is to discuss the issue informally with your supervisor; this should be done within 15 working days of your being advised of the decision. If your concerns are not resolved by that discussion, you should then approach your postgraduate coordinator, and then if necessary the head of your discipline or school; at each stage the academic staff member will discuss the reasons for the decision and try to resolve your concerns. At any stage where your concerns are not resolved, you should proceed to the next stage within 15 working days of the previous discussion.

If your concerns are not resolved by your head of discipline or school then you may make a written appeal to the Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies (who acts on behalf of the Dean). An appeal at this stage must be received within 15 working days of the previous communications from your head 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 are not satisfied with the information given to you by the Chair of the Board of Postgraduate Studies, you may then appeal to the Student Appeals Body. Please note: an appeal can only be made on the grounds that due academic process has not been observed by the Faculty in relation to the decision.

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. 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.