HDR Examinations - FAQs for staff

How do I nominate examiners?

Examiners need to be nominated in the HDR Examinations online system. You will receive an email when your candidate gives notice of their intention to submit the thesis and, if you have not already commenced contacting potential examiners, this is your prompt to do so.

How many examiners do I need to nominate?


When do I need to nominate examiners?

You need to have nominated suitable examiners before the thesis is lodged for examination. You will only be able to nominate the examiners once the Notice of Intention to Submit has been approved. HDR Examinations will not permit the candidate to lodge their thesis for examination until examiners have been nominated and approved. Any delay to the nomination impacts directly on the candidate.

You should commence the nomination process well in advance of the anticipated date of thesis submission.

Who can be nominated as an examiner?

  1. Examiners must:
    • three of the four examiners must have experience as examiners of higher degrees by research at the level being examined
    • be currently active in the field
    • be impartial with no conflict of interest
    • be independent experts with international standing in the field of research
    • have a qualification at least equivalent to the degree being examined.
  2. Examiners must not:
    • have been a staff member or graduate in the past five years
    • have had close associations with the candidate or the candidature
    • be a staff member of an institution at which any of the candidate's external/research supervisors are based, or at which the candidate has spent part or all of their candidature.
  3. Nominations:
    • are the responsibility of the supervisor and not the candidate
    • must be provided before the thesis is submitted
    • a minimum of four names must be provided
    • at least two nominees must be from outside Australia - in rare cases where this may not be possible, an explanation must be provided in writing
    • a current street address and phone number for courier delivery must be provided, as well as an email address.
    • if four experienced examiners at the required level cannot be found, it is possible to nominate up to one examiner without experience of examining at the level of the degree being sought. Such examiners are required to outline their qualifications and previous examination and supervision experience, and may only examine up to the level of the highest degree they have been awarded.
  4. Supervisors must:
    • informally contact nominees before nominating them for approval
    • advise nominees they may not be formally selected by the Committee
    • advise nominees that Deakin uses an online thesis examination system and that they will be given access to a PDF copy of the thesis
    • advise nominees that reports are to be sent only via the online examination system no more than eight weeks from the date of receipt of the thesis (late reports may miss out on being used in the determination of the result)
    • check that nominees are still available if the thesis is delayed
    • ensure that all details on the nomination form are competed - incomplete nominations will not be accepted and will delay the examination.

These criteria are also available in the appropriate section of HDR Examinations.

May candidates be involved in nominating examiners?

It is the responsibility of the principal supervisor to contact potential examiners and that of the Head of Academic Unit to formally endorse the nomination.

However, candidates should be encouraged to discuss potential examiners with their supervisor(s).

I am about to complete the Nomination of Examiners, do I need to enter all four examiners at once?

No. You can save and exit at any time before you submit your final nominations but you must enter all four examiners before you can submit the form for approval.

Can I communicate with the nominated examiners about the examination during the examination?

No. All communications in relation to the examination must be conducted via an HDR Adviser in Deakin Research.

When can my student submit their thesis?

Students are unable to upload their thesis until the examiners are nominated by the Supervisor, and approved and selected by the Chair of the Thesis Examination Committee. Once these steps are complete, your student will receive an email notifying them that they may now log on and upload their thesis. Unfortunately it is not an option to do this until all steps up until this point are complete.

Is a COVID-19 Thesis Impact Statement required in a thesis for research conducted during or impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

No, it isn’t. The candidate can opt to include or not include a COVID-19 Thesis Impact Statement in their thesis and should do so only on advice of the supervisory panel.

If considering a COVID-19 Thesis Impact Statement, what impacts can be included?

The focus of the statement is on impact on the research, including:

  • How your planned research activities such as topic, research question, methods and data collection and/or the scope of your research were disrupted or changed due the pandemic. For instance: inability to conduct fieldwork or face-to-face research; access to facilities such as labs, archives or other working spaces; inability to collect or analyse data due to travel restrictions.
  • How the research was shaped by the disruption: the actions or decisions taken to mitigate the disruption; new focus; revised research questions or development; pivoting or adjusting the research project.
  • Any other relevant factors relating to the impact of COVID-19 related disruption on your research.

How can a COVID-19 Thesis Impact Statement be incorporated into the thesis?

Supervisors should advise the candidate on the format which best fits the thesis and impact on the research. The options are:

  • Upfront as an additional page in the thesis (no more than 600 0words)
  • Integrated into the thesis in relevant chapters.

The Head of Academic Unit has changed since my student started an examination, how do I change it in HDR Examinations?

Contact our HDR Adviser.

The current Head of Academic Unit does not appear in the drop down list, what should I do?

Contact our HDR Adviser.

I believe there is a conflict of interest with a student who I am supervising or is in my school?

If you believe you need to delegate responsibility to another staff member, please contact our HDR Adviser.

What do I do if I am the supervisor but I am also the Head of Academic Unit?

If you are the primary supervisor of a candidate, you need to select either the Deputy Head of Academic Unit, Acting Head of Academic Unit, Assoc Head of School (Research) or HDR Coordinator. The system will list alternative Head of Academic Unit nominees for you to select to act as Head of Academic Unit for this examination.

What are the possible outcomes of my student's examination?

The recommendations an examiner can make and what they mean are explained on our examination outcomes page.

Are oral examinations compulsory?

No, except for a very specific group of students. Only students studying in the Institute for Frontier Materials who commence on or after 31 October 2016 will be required to undergo an oral examination. It is not a requirement for any other student. No other area of the University has adopted oral examinations. If they were to introduce oral examinations in the future, only students admitted to the area after that date would be required to undergo an oral examination. It would be made clear in the terms and conditions at the start of your candidature. An oral examination will never be imposed retrospectively on a student who was not admitted under those terms.

If, on the other hand, your student would like to participate in an oral examination, they could request to do so. You would need the approval of the academic unit because there are some fairly significant logistical arrangements involved and the academic unit would need to be amenable to that.

Last updated:
Page custodian: Deakin Research