The following sections outline the criteria examiners receive in order to make their recommendation, what recommendations are available to them, and the standard timeframes of an examination.

During the examination process:

  • the candidate and supervisor/s must avoid any communication with the examiners except where an oral presentation is involved.
  • all contact between the examiners and the University is managed by the SGR Examinations Office from when the examiners are approved to the release of the examination result. This excludes any administrative arrangements needed for examiners to attend a presentation or exhibition of the candidate’s research.

For detailed information refer to section 6 of the Thesis/project submission and examination process.

Examiners will assess the thesis or project according to the RMIT examination criteria.

The SGR Examinations Office provides examiners with a copy of the relevant RMIT advice. These documents outline the criteria a thesis or project is marked against, and the recommendations available to the examiners:

Master by Research candidates who commenced their enrolment from January 2016 receive a grade for their thesis or project.

Grades are of benefit to the Master by Research candidate when they apply to a PhD program, especially if they aim to be competitive for a scholarship. Candidates will receive a grade within the following rage:

  • High Distinction (80-100%)
  • Distinction (70-79%)
  • Credit (60-69%)
  • Pass (50-59%)
  • Fail (<50%)

Grades are recommended by the examiners. The individual grade awarded by each examiner will not be disclosed to the candidate. The candidate receives a final grade, derived from a final assessment of the grade in adherence with the Master by Research grading process.

Examiners individually and independently:

  • assess the thesis or project;
  • prepare a brief assessment report for your guidance; and
  • make one of the following recommendations to the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development, SGR.
Recommendation
Description

R1 - Passed

No requirement for amendments other than corrections of an editorial nature. The candidate is to be awarded the degree for which they are enrolled.

R2 - Passed subject to specific, minor amendments

The candidate must make the amendments and/or address the recommendations of the examiner/s for re-writing or re-working of any sections as appropriate. The Senior/Joint senior supervisor/s and Dean/HoS or their delegate is required to approve the amendments.

R3 - Revise and resubmit

The thesis project requires more work to be able to be passed. The candidate must undertake revision and/or extra work as recommended by the examiner/s. The Senior/Joint senior supervisor/s and Dean/HoS or their delegate is required to approve the amendments. The thesis/project is then re-examined.

R4 - Failed

The student record will be updated to show a fail for the research component. The candidate is not awarded the degree for which they are enrolled and is NOT permitted to revise and resubmit the thesis/ project for re-examination.

Upon receipt of both examiner reports they are considered by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development, SGR as per the Thesis/project submission and examination process and Schedules One to Three (PDF) of the Higher Degrees by Research Policy.

The examinations team is not able to provide any information about the content or recommendations of the reports until an examination classification has been made by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development.

After your thesis or project has been examined and classified, you will receive an examination outcome notification email from the SGR Examinations Office, which will include:

  • the examination outcome
  • information on preparing to lodge your final thesis or project via Equella, or what is required of you for in the event of a re-examination
  • a due date to either lodge your archival thesis or project, or to resubmit for re-examination.

You will then be able to obtain a copy of your examiners reports from your senior supervisor (or School research administrator/Head of School/HDR Coordinator).

The examination classification can include a request from examiner(s) for amendments to be made to the thesis or project. The classification schedule and timeline for these amendments is shown below.

Classification Timeline for any amendments
C1 - Passed

The amendments are to be undertaken within 4 weeks of the notification being sent to the candidate. The Senior/Joint senior supervisor/s and Dean/Head of School or their delegate is required to approve the amendments.

A list of the amendments is lodged with the final version of the thesis or project in Equella.

C2 - Passed subject to specific amendment

The amendments are to be undertaken within 6 weeks of the notification being sent to the candidate. The Senior/Joint senior supervisor/s and Dean/Head of School or their delegate is required to approve the amendments.

A list of the amendments is lodged with the final version of the thesis or project in Equella.

C3 - Revise and resubmit

The revisions are to be undertaken within 12 months from the notification being sent to the candidate. The Senior/Joint senior supervisor/s and Dean/Head of School or their delegate is required to approve the revised thesis or project and response to examiners.

A response to examiners is lodged with the revised thesis/project in Equella, and is sent out for a re-examination on a pass/fail basis.

C4 - Failed
No amendments allowed. The candidate will not be awarded the degree for which they were enrolled.
For further detail on examination outcomes, refer to section 9 of the Thesis/project submission and examination process.

The following schedule outlines the steps the majority of candidates experience when they receive an outcome of C1 Passed or C2 Passed subject to minor, specific amendments.

  1. The candidate submits to Equella;
  2. The SGR Examinations Office disseminates the thesis or project to examiners;
  3. The examiners complete a written report and make a recommendation;
  4. Upon the receipt of both reports, they are sent to the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development, SGR for classification;
  5. The candidate is notified by the SGR Examinations Office of the examination outcome;
  6. The candidate makes any necessary changes and lodges their archival thesis or project to Equella;
  7. The Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development, SGR reviews the candidate’s record for the purpose of completion of program;
  8. The candidate is notified by the SGR Examinations Office of course completion.

In general, it takes approximately three months from the date you submit your thesis or project to the date you receive an examination classification, but delays can occur for various reasons:

  • An examination cannot commence if your supervisor has not submitted the Recommended Panel of Examiners (RPOE) form for your examination at the time of your submission. Your RPOE form should be completed by your senior supervisor two months in advance of your intended submission date and submitted to the SGR Examinations Office. An examination cannot commence until examiners are appointed.
  • Examiners may take longer than requested to submit their report for a range of professional or personal reasons. In these instances the SGR Examinations Office will make regular contact with the examiner to uphold a revised timeframe. You will be contacted as soon as your examiner reports have been received and an examination outcome has been determined.

College HDR Advisory Committees (CHEACs) meet when there is a divergence of opinion between the examiners' recommendations (refer to Schedule One (PDF)).

The role of the CHEAC is to advise on an examination outcome, based on the examiners’ recommendations, which will safeguard academic standards and fairness.

Members of the CHEAC will include a Chair and a member of RMIT academic staff not directly involved in the candidature. Your supervisory panel are invited to attend the meeting in the form of an advisory role. Any supervisors who attend the meeting are expected to contribute to the discussion but are not members of the committee and cannot be involved in the determination of the classification recommendation.

The Chair is normally the College HDR Director; the independent academic is a senior RMIT academic who has knowledge of the discipline and experience in HDR examinations.

When examiner reports are referred to a CHEAC the examination is not considered as complete. For this reason, candidates are not able to view the reports or know what the recommendations are. Candidates will be informed a CHEAC was held and what the examination outcome is after the CHEAC outcome has been finalised.

If the CHEAC considers that an external review of the examination is required to reconcile the examiners’ reports, the Committee may recommend the appointment of an adjudicator (refer to Schedule Two (PDF)).

An adjudicator is not an additional examiner, but a discipline expert nominated to evaluate the soundness of the initial two examiners’ recommendations. Adjudicators assess whether the examiners have:

  • appropriately assessed the substance of the candidate’s thesis or project;
  • erred in their judgement of the thesis or project;
  • reviewed the work at a level appropriate to the degree; and
  • made their recommendation in accordance with the RMIT examiner guidelines.

The classification outcomes available to the adjudicator are limited by the recommendations given by the original two examiners (refer to Schedule Three (PDF)).

You are required to complete an academic response to the negative aspects of the examiners’ reports. The adjudicator will receive your document as part of the package provided to them to complete their adjudication. It is in your best interests to complete your response and email it to the SGR Examinations Office within a quick turnaround; we recommended eight weeks.

In assessing the examination the adjudicator completes a report detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the examiners’ reports. This adjudicator report will be used by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Development, SGR to provide the candidate with a classification.

Key contact

Email: sgr.examinations@rmit.edu.au