The examination of theses is coordinated by the Thesis Examinations Office in the Griffith Graduate Research School. Candidates may contact the Thesis Examination Office, with any queries regarding the examination process both before and during the examination procedure.
University policy prohibits candidates and supervisors from initiating contact with an examiner or the Chairperson of Examiners or vice versa during the examination of the thesis. Such action could be interpreted as an attempt to improperly influence those persons. All information and correspondence relating to the examination process must be forwarded through the Thesis Examinations Office.
Length of examination
The University aims to complete a thesis examination in three months, however the length of an examination is dependent on a number of factors:
- whether the submission of the Intention to Submit form is submitted two months prior the submission of the thesis, thereby ensuring the timely nomination of examiners
- the time taken by the examiners to report, and
- the extent of the revisions the candidate is required to make and how long it takes for the revisions to be completed.
The University has in place procedures to limit delays in the examination procedure. Examiners are followed-up when they fail to meet deadlines. Tardy examiners may be replaced, however this course of action is taken infrequently owing to its potential to delay the procedure further.
Thesis to be examined confidentially
It is generally understood that theses are dealt with in a confidential manner by the examiners in all cases. That is, it is not permissible for an examiner to make any use of the material in a thesis without due acknowledgment; to make copies or to show the thesis to others; or to make use of intellectual property contained in it.
There are theses where a greater level of legal protection is required either by the candidate or a third party, such as a funding agency or commercial partner, because the thesis contains material that may be commercial-in-confidence, may give rise to a patent, or may be legally or culturally sensitive. In these cases a formal deed of confidentiality agreement will be prepared for examiners to sign.
PhD by Publication
The examination is conducted in accordance with the procedure for examining MPhil and PhD theses, except that the decision on whether the degree is awarded will be made on an award/not award basis, as the nature of the submission does not permit revision and re-examination. An oral or written examination may also be required.
Examiner outcome recommendation
Examiners are asked to choose a recommendation on the outcome of the examination from a range of options. In summary these options include:
- the degree being awarded without the requirement for revision or further examination
- the degree being awarded subject to minor amendments, including typographical errors, being completed
- the candidate be required to submit to an oral or written defence of the thesis
- additional work be undertaken, the thesis revised and then resubmitted
- the option of an appropriate Masters Degree when available
- the degree not being awarded.
When all examination reports have been received, they will be made available to the Chairperson of Examiners, the candidate and the candidate's supervisors.
Reconciliation of examiners reports
Where there is substantial disagreement between examiners on the merits of the work, the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School may decide to:
- conduct an oral or written examination
- appoint an additional examiner, or
- appoint an adjudicator examiner whose role is to consider and report on the research and review the reports of the other examiners, or
- choose any of the above options in combination.
Resubmission of a revised thesis
Candidates who are required to revise and resubmit a thesis, studio research or both (in the case of DVA or DMA candidates) for re-examination are not required to enrol during the revision period. The University will provide continued access to email, computing and library facilities during the revision period.
The Thesis Examinations Office will advise candidates about the corrections, revisions or new work required, who will supervise this work, and how long they will have to complete the revisions, typically one month for minor revisions. It is expected that the supervisor will play some part in assisting the candidate to complete the changes.
Candidates are asked to provide a detailed statement of the revisions that have been made. If a candidate considers some criticisms and requested corrections/revisions to be inappropriate, the revision statement may be used as an opportunity to address these criticisms.
On resubmission of the thesis the principal supervisor must provide a statement that the required revisions have been satisfactorily undertaken.
Except in exceptional circumstances, the maximum period of time available for revision is 12 months after which the thesis is deemed to have failed and a notation of 'Fail' will be entered on the candidate's academic record. Candidates who need additional time to complete revisions must apply to the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School through the Thesis Examinations Office for permission, stating the reasons for the request.
Conduct of an oral examination or written examination
Oral or written examinations are organised through the Thesis Examinations Office. An oral examination will be chaired by the Chairperson of Examiners. Normally, at least two examiners will participate, either in person or by an available form of electronic conferencing.
In exceptional circumstances, when only one examiner is available, that examiner and the Chairperson of Examiners will conduct the oral examination. An examiner who is unable to participate in the examination may be asked to submit a list of questions to be put to the candidate at the examination.
The candidate's supervisors may be present as observers but may not speak unless called on to do so.
A candidate may be required to undergo a written examination if, for reasons acceptable to the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School, the candidate is unable to be present for an oral examination, or it is not possible to assemble sufficient examiners for the purpose of conducting an oral examination. Examiners will be invited to submit a list of questions. The candidate's written response to these questions will be communicated to the examiners who will be invited to provide comment.
On completion of the oral or written examination, the participating examiners will make a recommendation to the Chairperson of Examiners. The Chairperson of Examiners will prepare a report on the outcome of the oral or written examination for the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School.
Review of the outcome of the examination
The University recognises that the complex nature of the examination process necessitates procedures that give candidates, in certain circumstances, the option to request a review of the outcome of the examination. Griffith University’s Student Review and Appeals Policy and Procedures set out the process for applying for a review of a decision in relation to an HDR thesis examination outcome which affects a candidate's eligibility to graduate.
The grounds for which an examinations outcome can be reviewed are:
- procedural irregularities in the conduct of the examination, or
- documentary evidence of prejudice or of bias on the part of one or more of the examiners
A request for review of the decision on the basis of academic judgement will not be considered. A request for review cannot be made on the grounds of a complaint about the inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during the period of study for which appropriate complaints procedures should have been followed.