In these regulations:

  • PhD candidates includes candidates who are taking a PhD in conjunction with a course for another award.
  • research higher degree means PhD or master by thesis
  • the Board refers to the Board of the Graduate Research School
  • the Dean now refers to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training)
  • Manager, Graduate Research School and Scholarships Office now refers to the Associate Director, Graduate Research and Scholarships

Preamble

The Board, acting under delegated authority from the Academic Board, makes decisions on satisfactory progress and final results in research higher degrees at The University of Western Australia.

In making decisions on research higher degree final results the Board will have regard to the recommendations of examiners, and in all assessments of progress, to the recommendation of the supervisor/s and appropriate head of school. In some cases the Board may engage an external assessor or assessors to review examiners reports.

Decisions on sanctions (i.e. Exclusion from a course following a determination of unsatisfactory progress) are made by the Board on the recommendation of the supervisor/s and head of school concerned.

Decisions of the Board in any of these cases cannot be overturned on the authority of any other individual or Committee. However, the Dean of the Graduate Research School or the Research Higher Degree Appeals Committee may, respectively, request or require the Board to take appropriate steps to reconsider any decision if they have any reason to doubt that the decision was arrived at by a fair process.

The Procedure does not cover appeals against decisions on the award of scholarships by the Scholarships Committee. Details of the separate procedure for such appeals is available from the Graduate Research School and Scholarships Office.

Decisions on the continuation of scholarships controlled or administered by the University are made by the Scholarships Committee acting under authority delegated by the Board. In cases where the University administers scholarships funded by another body such as DETYA, it is bound to operate within any regulations laid down by that body.

Decisions on the continuation of ad hoc scholarships for which the donor body has established its own conditions for continuation cannot be handled under this Appeals Procedure. Advice relating to a decision to terminate such scholarships should be sought initially from the Senior Administrative Officer (Scholarships).

Decisions of the Scholarships Committee cannot be overturned on the authority of any other individual or Committee. However, the Dean, the Board or the Research Higher Degree Appeals Committee may, respectively, request or require the Committee to take appropriate steps to reconsider any decision if they have any reason to doubt that the decision was arrived at by a fair process.

Scope of the procedure

A Candidate who is enrolled for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or the degree of master by research (by thesis) may appeal against a decision of the Board of Graduate Research School in relation to

(a) a determination of unsatisfactory progress;
(b) classification of the thesis or other examinable work;
(c) exclusion from the course after a determination of unsatisfactory performance.

(2) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or master by research (by thesis) may appeal against a decision to terminate a scholarship following a determination of unsatisfactory progress by the Board.

(b) A candidate who holds a scholarship which is not controlled by the University may not use this Procedure to appeal against its termination.

Informal discussion with the Dean of the Graduate Research School

2. (1) Any Candidate who is considering appealing against a decision of the Board of Graduate Research School shall discuss the matter with the Dean before deciding whether to proceed with a formal appeal.

(2) The Dean may consult with other appropriate parties in considering the Candidates dissatisfaction with a decision of the Board.

(3) At the conclusion of any consultation process, the Dean shall advise the Candidate in writing of his/her conclusions and of whether or not he/she intends to pursue the matter in terms of Regulation 3(1).

Appeal to the Board of the Graduate Research School

3. (1) (a) The Dean may request that the Board reconsider any decision if he or she has any reason to doubt that the process by which the decision was arrived at was entirely fair.

(b) Any request from the Dean in terms of (1) (a) above shall be made in writing and shall provide full details of the grounds for reconsideration.

(2) (a) If after informal discussions with the Candidate, the Dean declines to take the matter further in terms of Regulation 3(1), but the Candidate still believes that he or she has reasonable grounds for appeal, he or she shall submit a written appeal to the Board

(b) The written statement shall provide details of the grounds for appeal.

(c) The appeal shall be lodged with the Manager, Graduate Research School and Scholarships Office, within 14 University working days of receipt of notification of the Deans written decision.

(3) The Board shall consider the appeal and the Chair shall provide the Candidate with written advice of the outcome and the reasons for it.

Appeal to Research Higher Degrees Appeals Committee

4. (1) If a Candidate is not satisfied with the outcome of consideration of his/her case by the Board and believes he or she has reasonable grounds to pursue an appeal further, he or she shall submit through the Manager, Graduate Research School and Scholarships Office, a written appeal to the Research Higher Degrees Appeals Committee within 14 University working days of formal receipt of the Boards decision.

(2) The appeal shall comprise a copy of the original written appeal to the Board, submitted in terms either of Regulation 3(1)(b) or of Regulation 3(2)(a) together with a covering letter which shall explain the grounds for dissatisfaction with the decision of the Board on the appeal.

5. (1) A Research Higher Degrees Appeals Committee shall comprise:

(a) three persons, other than current members of the Board, appointed by, but not representing, the Vice-Chancellor;
(b) the Chair of the Academic Board, or nominee;
(c) a Candidate currently enrolled for a research higher degree, nominated by the President of the Postgraduate Students Association.

(2) The Vice-Chancellor shall appoint one of the members appointed in terms of paragraph (1)(a) to be the Chair of the Committee.

(3) The quorum for an Appeals Committee shall be the full committee.

(4) The Committee shall have the power to regulate its own procedures in hearing appeals.

(5) The proceedings of each meeting of an Appeals Committee shall be minuted and shall be made available to the Candidate concerned, following acceptance by the members of the Committee.

Powers of an appeal committee

6. (1) A Research Higher Degrees Appeals Committee shall not itself have the power to change a thesis, other examinable work or degree classification or a determination of unsatisfactory progress or to cancel a sanction which follows a determination of unsatisfactory progress, but shall have the power to require the Board to:

(a) instigate appropriate procedures for reassessment of results and/or reconsideration of sanctions;
(b) report on the outcome; and
(c) make a recommendation, within a specified period, on the outcome of the application of the procedures referred to in paragraph (a).

(2) If, following investigation of an appeal, the Committee is satisfied that the original recommended final or annual assessment, and/or sanction decision was fairly arrived at, the Chair shall so advise the Chair of the Board who shall confirm the assessment and/or sanction decision.

(3) If, following receipt of a report and recommendation of the Board which has been required in terms of sub-regulation (1), the Committee is satisfied that the Boards recommended final or annual assessment and/or sanction decision has been fairly arrived at, the Chair shall so advise the Board which shall release the assessment or sanction decision.

(4) If following receipt of a report and recommendation of the Board which has been required in terms of sub-regulation (1), the Committee is not satisfied that the Boards recommended final or annual assessment and/or sanction decision has been fairly arrived at, it may either:

(a) require the Board to –
(i) instigate further procedures for re-assessment; or
(ii) reconsider an annual result and/or sanction recommendation in light of the Committees comments; or
(b) refer the matter to the Academic Board for its consideration.

Advice of outcome

7. The appellant and other interested parties shall be advised in writing of the outcome of an appeal to a Research Higher Degrees Appeals Committee.

Recourse to Vice Chancellor

8. A Candidate who is dissatisfied with the outcome of an appeal to the Research Higher Degrees Appeals Committee may request that the Vice-Chancellor take steps to ascertain whether or not the appeal was fairly conducted.

Appeals outside the University

9. A student who has exhausted the avenues of appeal available within the University may pursue their case through any appropriate government body or official.