Policy glossary

Definitions for common terms used in RMIT policies, procedures and resources.

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An academic, external to RMIT, appointed to adjudicate on examiners' recommendations.

Academic (policy category)

All matters pertaining to learning, teaching and education services, programs and courses, student administration including enforcement of student regulations, research and research training, student life and student services. It includes human resource matters that relate to academic status (such as titles, promotions, academic misconduct).


Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement. All graduates from Australian higher education providers receive an AHEGS.


All changes made to a policy document other than a minor amendment.

Approval authority

The Council, Academic Board, Vice-Chancellor’s Executive, or the policy owner with prescribed authority to approve a policy document.


A component of a candidate’s research submitted for examination that is not the written component.

Associate supervisor (HDR)

A member of the supervisory team who contributes in particular areas of disciplinary or methodological expertise. See also HDR supervisor; senior supervisor.

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Include preferential treatment, privileged access, favours or other advantage. For example: invitations to sporting, cultural or social events, access to discounts and loyalty programs and promises of a new job.

The value of benefits may be difficult to define in dollars, but as they are valued by the individual, they may be used to influence the individual’s behaviour.

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Student enrolled in an HDR degree from the research commencement date until the completion date.


Candidate Action and Support Plan. A plan for focused support and monitoring with the goal of returning a candidate to satisfactory academic progress.


College Higher Degrees Examination Advisory Committee recommends whether an interim classification may be applied following examination.


Any person under the age of 16 years who is not a staff member or student.

Code of Conduct

Includes the RMIT Staff Code of Conduct and RMIT Student Charter

College CASP review

Review by College Graduate Research Committee representative or nominee, to review the action and support provided to a candidate.

Completion date

The date the candidate submits the final archival version of their HDR submission.

Confirmation of candidature

The first milestone review which assesses candidate academic progress specifically to determine whether the candidature may transition from probationary candidature to confirmed status. See also milestone review.

Conflict of interest

Arises when you act, appear to act, or could act on behalf of someone other than RMIT, and/or have, appear to have, or could have a self-interest from which you obtain, appear to obtain or could obtain some form of benefit, which is, appears to be, or could be potentially be adverse to RMIT’s best interests.


(in relation to sexual assault) is agreement which must be freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive ability to do so. Consent is not freely and voluntarily given if a person is:  

  • forced to engage in a sexual act  
  • unconscious or asleep  
  • under the influence of alcohol or drugs  
  • threatened or intimidated 
  • in fear of bodily harm or  
  • under a mistaken belief that the person engaging in the sexual act was their sexual partner. 

Controlled entity

An entity that the University owns or has an interest in; specifically, RMIT Online, RMIT Vietnam, RMIT Europe, and RMIT Training.

Core collection statements

Includes the RMIT Staff Privacy Statement and Student Privacy Statement published on RMIT’s Policy Register and in RMIT applications and systems.

Corrupt conduct

Any conduct that:

  • adversely affects the honest performance of functions by RMIT Council members, employees or RMIT
  • constitutes or involves the dishonest performance of functions by RMIT Council members, employees or RMIT whether directly or indirectly

  • knowingly or recklessly causes a breach of public trust

  • involves the misuse of information or material acquired at work

  • is a conspiracy or attempt to engage in the above conduct.

Consumed load

Amount of EFTSL that has been consumed since the research commencement date of a higher degree by research candidate.

Cultural Leaders

Include Traditional Owners or Elders or significant Indigenous leaders from Australia or overseas.

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Delegation assigned to a person in accordance with the Delegations of Authority.

Detrimental action

  • action causing injury, loss or damage;

  • intimidation or harassment; or

  • discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to a person's employment, career, profession, trade or business, including the taking of disciplinary action;

It does not include management action in relation to an employee whistleblower taken for a substantial reason other than the employee having made a protected disclosure. See Whistleblower Procedure.

Development activity

Activity, training, internship or work placement which supports the development of HDR candidates as professionals and/or researchers.


Written component of an HDR submission where other components exist, such as experiential presentation or artefact of the research.

Divisional policy

Functionally specific statements of the mandatory principles, including any legislative or contractual objectives, that determine the scope and operational relevance of the policy. This type of policy can only exist by exception under certain categories and must be consistent with a headlining Group Policy.

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Equivalent Full Time Student Load (1 EFTSL = 1 full-time year).

Event coordinator

The person responsible for planning and managing the event and ensuring a safe environment for all attendees. An Event Coordinator must meet the requirements as specified under 2.1.b in the Procedure.

Examination classification

The final assessment made of an HDR submission.

Experiential presentation

An element of the examination which may include: oral presentation; exhibition; demonstration; performance or similar. The requirement to prepare for such a presentation will be identified in the research project design in accordance with School advice. A digital record of this element must be made available for archival.

Extension beyond maximum duration of candidature

Time granted to a candidate after their maximum duration of candidature has been reached to allow for HDR submission.

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Fieldwork activity

Any activity under the control RMIT, but outside of RMIT property. Students on “practicum” (or other workplace-based training) will be subject to the rules of those workplaces.

Final archival

The process by which a candidate lodges the final version of their HDR submission, following successful examination and any required amendments.

Financial interest

Any right, claim, title or legal share in something having a monetary or equivalent value. Examples of financial interest include, but are not limited to, shares, share options, and the right to receive remunerations such as salary, consulting fees, allowances, discounts and the like.

First enrolment date

A candidate’s first enrolment date is the date they first enrol in a program. This should be on or before the research commencement date on the candidate’s offer letter. Enrolment prior to commencement may be helpful to establish ‘student’ status for administrative and regulatory purposes. See also research commencement date.


Dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to any person or entity including theft of moneys or other property by employees or persons external to the entity and where deception is used at the time, immediately before or immediately following the activity.

This also includes the deliberate falsification, concealment, destruction or use of falsified documentation used or intended for use for a normal business purpose or the improper use of information or position for personal financial benefit. (Australian Standard for fraud and corruption control).

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Are free or discounted items or services and any item or service that would generally be seen by the public as a gift. Examples include items of high value (e.g. expensive pens), low value (e.g. small bunch of flowers), consumables (e.g. chocolates, or wine), services (e.g. repairs, places in courses), the transfer or loans of money (including gift cards) or property, awards and prizes won at functions attended as a representative of RMIT (such as door prizes).

It does not include:

  • ceremonial gifts which are usually provided when conducting business with official delegates or representatives from another organisation, community or government agency. Ceremonial gifts offered or accepted by RMIT employees are done so on behalf of RMIT and are retained for the benefit of RMIT. They are not considered to create a personal benefit that may give rise to a conflict of interest or compromise integrity and trust.
  • philanthropic gifts made by individuals, corporations, foundations or legal entities to assist RMIT in the pursuit of its objects and purpose.

Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Register

An internal electronic record of all declarable gifts, benefits and hospitality offered and received by RMIT staff. It records the date an offer was made, the donor or recipient, the nature of the offer, its estimated value and how the offer was managed. For accepted offers, it details the reason for acceptance and the Manager approving the acceptance.

Governance (policy category)

All matters in which the Council (and Committees of Council) has primary responsibility as the governing authority under the RMIT Act, including where it has not otherwise delegated those functions under the Delegations Policy.


Graduate Research Committee. Committee which oversees the development and implementation of HDR policy, quality assurance of HDR programs, and which makes recommendations to Research Committee on matters of quality and strategy relating to graduate research.

GRC Executive

The Executive group of the Graduate Research Committee, comprising College GRC representatives, and the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development.

Graduate research internship

A short-term, (3-6 month) research contract undertaken by an HDR candidate with a partner organisation external to the University, under the academic supervision of the candidate’s RMIT supervisory team and an industry supervisor.

Group policy

Statements of the mandatory principles guiding the operations and significant decision-making of the RMIT Group. (They must support national and international legislation and/ or Group objectives to enable Group-wide application.)

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HDR administrator

A staff member in a school or college who supports the administration of HDR candidates.

Higher degrees by research (HDR)

Masters by research or doctoral degrees which conform to the specifications of Levels 9 and 10 of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

HDR Delegated Authority (HDR DA)

Member of academic staff described in Clause 7.6 a) who has the delegated authority of the Dean/Head of School to provide academic leadership and support for higher degrees by research programs. Schools allocate different titles for HDR DAs, such as Associate Deans/Heads Higher Degrees by Research, HDR Directors, HDR Coordinators.

HDR Sanctions and Defence Trade Controls assessment

Process used to identify whether the proposed research of an applicant for HDR admission, or the current research of a candidate, is subject to sanctions arising from the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 or the Charter of United Nations Act 1945 or controls under the Defence Trade Controls Act 2015.

HDR submission

The candidate’s submission for examination which comprises a thesis or dissertation and may also include published research outputs, artefacts or experiential presentations of the research conducted during candidature.

HDR supervisor

An appropriately experienced and qualified individual responsible for advising and guiding a candidate on the conduct of their research. See also associate supervisor; senior supervisor; joint senior supervisor.

Health information

Information or an opinion about an individual’s physical, mental or psychological health; a disability; health services provided or future provision of health services; and a variety of other health matters (including information about organ or body substance donation and genetic information)


The friendly reception and entertainment of guests. Examples include, luncheons, dinners, invitations to sporting, musical or theatrical events or other similar corporate hospitality, planned or impromptu light refreshments at a business meeting, expensive restaurant meals and sponsored travel and accommodation. The value of hospitality is calculated on a per head amount.

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Impaired (with reference to drugs or alcohol)

Signs of impairment include slurred speech, swaying or staggering, aggressive behaviour, etc.

Improper conduct

Conduct that is corrupt, a substantial mismanagement of public resources, or conduct involving substantial risk to public health or safety or to the environment. The conduct must be serious enough to constitute, if proved, a criminal offence or reasonable grounds for dismissal.

This type of conduct is grounds for a protected disclosure. See Whistleblower Procedure [in development].

International candidate

A person enrolled in a higher degree by research who is not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or a citizen of New Zealand.

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Joint senior supervisor

Senior supervisor appointed to a candidate, alongside another senior supervisor.

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Local candidate

A person enrolled in a higher degree by research who is a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or a citizen of New Zealand.

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Milestone review

A formal event to review the academic progress of an HDR candidate; see also confirmation of candidature.

Minor amendment

A change made to a policy document that does not modify it in a way that changes the intent or significantly affects the content or application of the policy. It includes where there is a need to: correct or update a title, name, formatting, web link, and references to law or other policy documents; spelling, grammar, or clarity of language.


An RMIT academic staff member (HDR DA or nominee) who is appointed to review examination reports and recommended grades for a masters by research when the examiners’ grades differ by more than 15 percentage points.

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Normal location of study

The place where an enrolled candidate will undertake the bulk of their study and research towards their degree.

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Offshore candidate

A candidate who is located outside of Australia for the majority of their candidature whether local or international.

Operational Effectiveness (policy category)

All matters pertaining to the sustainable management and operational success of the University and its controlled entities which do not fall within the definition of Governance, Talent and Culture, or Academic.

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People manager

Any staff member who has a person reporting to them in any capacity.

Personal data

Refers to any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, directly or indirectly, by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person. (Article 4, GDPR Regulations).

Personal information

Information or an opinion, that is recorded in any form about an individual whose identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion. Typically, this includes information like name, date of birth, address, phone number etc. Personal information includes personal data.

Policy author

A senior subject matter expert nominated by the policy owner. Policy authors are responsible for the accuracy and maintenance of the policy document life-cycle and any supporting resources. They will act as a key liaison for the University Policy Manager. The policy author may also be delegated the custodian of a procedure or resource by the policy owner.

Policy document

The collective term for all policies, procedures, associated resources. A schedule to a policy document forms part of the policy document.

Policy Register

The official repository for all current and expired policy documents of the University. It contains the operational details for policy documents.

Policy Governance Manual

The comprehensive document owned and provided by the University Policy Manager that sets out the Procedure and any Resources for Group-wide implementation of the Framework

Policy owner

The VCE Member with whom the policy matter most clearly resides, having regard to the organisational structure and the prescribed purpose and scope of the policy document.


Proactive Risk and Incident Management Excellence.

Privacy by design

The means for ensuring privacy protections are integrated in process and technology design.


Captures the ‘how to’ statements of mandatory prescribed processes, practices and/or actions to give effect to principles under a policy.

Public Official

Usually includes, but is not limited to, politicians, public servants, and any employees or contractors of government entities or utilities, or international public-sector organisations.

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Research Candidate Progress Committee. The committee which reviews unsatisfactory academic progress of a candidate and determines whether a candidature should be terminated.

Research commencement date

The date appearing on the candidate’s offer letter, from which duration of HDR candidature is calculated. See also first enrolment date.

Research output

Public dissemination of research outcomes in the form of a book, book chapter, commissioned report, conference paper, creative work, journal article, patent, or performance, or other form appropriate to the discipline or field.

Research project

In relation to HDR candidates, the work planned to fulfil the requirements of the degree.

Research Training Program (RTP)

The Australian Federal Government block grant provided to Australian higher education providers (universities) to support the research training of local and international HDR candidates.


The collective term describing supporting documents in various forms offering detail, context or recommendations which articulate and give effect to policies and procedures. Resources include: guidelines, manuals, work instructions, detailed scenarios.

Commitment Statement: a standardised statement through which the University can demonstrate its recognition of, and commitment to adopting good practice to promote the Code of Conduct or support policy principles and objectives.

Guideline: advisory and explanatory statements offering detail for good practice to support policies, procedures or standards.

User manual: describes a comprehensive document that sets out the procedure/s and detailed work instructions and processes. Its status is binding if referred to in Policy.

Instruction: details systems and workflow responsibilities for administering procedures. Detailed scenarios: these include case studies, FAQs or other general guidance material such as a webpage that are ‘live’ documents managed by operational areas to support implementation of policy.

Standards: statements of mandatory prescribed specifications as to the qualities of a product, service, system, infrastructure or other resource that underpin a policy. They must be referred to in a Policy and are binding.

RMIT Group

The University, its controlled entities and strategic investment vehicles (known as the RMIT Group).

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A benefit provided to a student to support current or future study, based on either personal circumstances or achievement or both, as well as other eligibility criteria. It may include financial allowances, tuition fees (full or partial), or non-financial benefits received on a recurrent or one-off basis. It includes benefits that may otherwise be known as grants, stipends, bursaries, fee reductions or fee waivers.

Self-authored learning resource

Describes any learning resource or part thereof (such as chapters) that is authored by a staff member.

Senior supervisor (HDR)

A member of the supervisory team who, provides overall academic leadership to the candidate on their research project. See also Associate supervisor.

Sensitive information

A special category of personal information that requires more protection. It includes the following information about an individual: racial or ethnic origin; political opinion; membership of a political association; religious beliefs or affiliations; philosophical beliefs; membership of a professional or trade association; membership of a trade union; sexual preference or practices; criminal record.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault occurs when someone does not consent to a sexual act, such as where a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, including when they have withdrawn their consent. Sexual assault includes a range of behaviours, all of which are unacceptable and constitute a crime. 

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is:  

  • any unwanted or unwelcome sexual advance,  
  • any unwanted or unwelcome request for sexual favours or  
  • any other unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, 
  • which, in the circumstances, a reasonable person, aware of those circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person would feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated. 

Sexual harassment also includes sexual assault and other offences associated with unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as indecent exposure, stalking and obscene communications. Any form of sexual misconduct involving a person under the age of 18 years is a crime. 

See also the Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual harm

Is the term RMIT uses to describe any kind of impact on a person (including trauma) which could result from non-consensual sexual behaviour and including sexual harassment or sexual assault.  

Specified activity

Describes a business activity or process such as projects, grants or scholarships that may create a new relationship or change the way staff interact with internal or external stakeholders.


A financial allowance paid directly to the candidate to support living costs while enrolled in their program of study. See also Scholarship.

Study away

A period of time when an enrolled candidate is undertaking research and study away from their normal location of study, for example, conference attendance or fieldwork.

Study load

Study load denotes the time fraction allocated to a candidate’s study and is either 'full-time' or 'part-time'.

Submitted status

The enrolment status of a candidate who has submitted their research for examination.


RMIT Leader who is directly responsible for a place of work, teaching and/or study, or fieldwork activity including line managers, lecturers, teachers, activity coordinators.

Supervisor register (HDR)

The list of personnel eligible to undertake HDR supervision at RMIT.

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Termination of candidature

Cancellation of the enrolment of a candidate in their HDR program; a result of unacceptable lack of academic progress.

Talent and Culture (policy category)

All matters pertaining to human resources, dispute resolution of employees of the RMIT Group in accordance with relevant enterprise agreements and awards, safety and wellbeing, conduct, ethics and integrity, and sustainability.

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University Policy Manager

Role with operational responsibility to manage the Policy Governance Framework and its implementation.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer