Examination Panel

The examiners and the Chairperson of Examiners will constitute the examination panel.


The supervisors should discuss with the candidate a number of appropriate/potential examiners in the six months approaching submission date of the thesis, however, the final nominations should not be disclosed to the candidate. The identity of the examining panel will be revealed to the candidate by the Thesis Examinations Office after the degree is conferred (unless anonymity is requested by the examiner).

Where a supervisor or Dean does not support submission of the thesis, this information will not be communicated to the examiners in order that the examination may proceed without prejudice.

In accordance with the Universities’ Australia policy, the University pays an examiner of a higher degree submission an honorarium (2017 rate is $468 for Doctoral and $263 for Masters).

Requirements for the nomination of examiners

  • Examiners must be of international standing in the field of research.
    • Examiners normally should be experienced senior scholars who are active in research/scholarship in the relevant or related field/s, and who can be expected to apply accepted contemporary international standards in their assessment of the research.
    • Examiners should have empathy with the theoretical framework used by the candidate and be free from bias, either against the candidate or the supervisors.
    • Where the thesis covers multiple disciplines the examination panel should collectively cover the full disciplinary range of the thesis.
  • Examiners must hold a degree at least equivalent, or possess equivalent professional experience, to the degree they are examining.
    • Equivalent professional experience is defined as a record of demonstrated research ability and professional performance considered by the Dean (Research) as being equivalent to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) learning outcomes of the degree they are examining. A recommendation to appoint an examiner who does not hold a degree equivalent to the degree they are examining must be accompanied by a justification providing evidence of equivalent professional experience.
  • Examiners must be independent of the conduct of the research without any real or perceived major Conflict of Interest, see Conflict of Interest section below.

Doctoral and MPhil

  • All examiners must be external to the university.
  • Two examiners plus a third/reserve examiner will be nominated.
  • In the case of a Doctor of Visual Arts, exhibition or live performance three examiners are required for the initial examination.
  • For Professional Doctorate programs, one of the external examiners may be drawn from the relevant profession or industry.
  • An examination panel should not be unduly narrow in geographical or institutional terms. No more than one examiner will be appointed from the same university or research organisation. At least one examiner will normally be based internationally.

Masters (Research)

  • Two examiners plus a third/reserve examiner will be nominated, at least one examiner must be external to the university. Where Masters Degree (Research) programs require both examiners to be external to the University, this will be specified in the program requirements.
  • In the case of an exhibition or live performance three examiners are required for the initial examination.

Evidence of how each examiner meets the requirements above must be provided on the Nomination of Examiners form, this will include providing a CV or a link to an up to date online profile for each examiner.

Requirements for the nomination of the Chairperson of Examiners

An internal Chairperson of Examiners is required for all Higher Degree Research programs, including Masters (Research). The Chairperson of Examiners will not act as an examiner but is a member of the examining panel and is subject to the same eligibility and Conflict of Interest guidelines. It is desirable that the Chairperson has some familiarity with the field in which the thesis is written. Please ensure (where possible) that the Chairperson will be available throughout the examination process (6-12 months after submission).

The roles during the examination are listed on our website.

Conflict of Interest

The use of independent thesis examiners is an important defining feature of Australian Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs. The independence of examiners is one indicator of the quality of the examination process and of the course as a whole. The process of examination and classification of theses assumes that examiners undertake the task independently and without bias.

To ensure that examiners are independent of the conduct of the research, please review the full Conflict of Interest Guidelines before proceeding with any nominations. The below scenarios are also considered a Conflict of Interest.

  • Any current or previous supervisor of the candidate, and any person who has made a contribution to, or has advised on the work, is precluded from being an examiner or Chairperson of Examiners. This includes assessors for the Confirmation of Candidature, Thesis and Candidature Review Milestone and upgrade from MPhil to PhD.
  • An examiner should not have had a close personal or professional relationship with the candidate.
  • An examiner should not be employed by a funding body that provided funding or other support to the candidate (excluding Chairperson of Examiners or internal examiners).
  • An examiner should not be employed by an institution with which the University has signed a partnership agreement, and where a candidate has been located and/or supervised for any period during the candidature (excluding Chairperson of Examiners or internal examiners).


The principal supervisor/s must approach all nominees to determine their willingness to examine. It should be made clear to the nominees that the final decision on the appointment of the examining panel rests with the Dean, Research of the relevant Academic Group.

Principal Supervisors must also ensure examiners are provided with required turnaround times for the thesis examination and agree to same (6 weeks from receipt for Doctoral and MPhil and 4 to 6 weeks for Masters by Research).

The Thesis Examinations Office will only contact the third/reserve examiner if they are required, please take this into consideration when confirming their willingness to examine. The Principal Supervisor will be notified before any contact is made with the third/reserve examiner.

Examiners need to know the estimated time of submission. It is important not to underestimate or overestimate an expected submission date as examiners often organise their schedules in anticipation of receiving a thesis at a particular time.

Where a supervisor or Dean does not support submission of the thesis, supervisors must not formally contact the nominated examiners to ascertain their willingness to examine. The Thesis Examinations Office will formally invite the nominated examiners once the nomination is approved.


Examiners are advised to ensure complete confidentiality for the research during and after the examination period.

Griffith University’s Higher Degree Research Policy prohibits members of the examining panel, including the Chairperson of Examiners, from communicating with the candidate and supervisor/s or vice versa while the examination is underway.

The candidate and all the supervisors will be advised by email when the examination has commenced.

Nomination Process

Once the candidate has an approved Notice of Intention to Submit (refer to Submission of a thesis) the supervisor/s will be asked to nominate the examining panel. A service request will be automatically generated and assigned to the Principal Administrative Supervisor to complete. The request will then workflow to all other principal supervisors, HDR Convenor and Dean Research for consideration.

To avoid any unnecessary delays in the candidate’s examination, examiners must be nominated and approved at least one week prior to submission.

Supervisors may track the progress of the Nomination of Examiners service request at any time via Staff portal > Research > Academic resources > Search candidate requests.