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Higher Degree Research Doctoral Equivalence Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy provides guidance in determining Higher Degree Research (HDR) doctoral equivalence.


(2) The Australian Government’s Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 require that supervisors appointed to supervise research doctorates must either hold a doctoral degree or be deemed equivalent to holding a doctoral degree. The Higher Degree Research Supervision Policy requires Executive Deans of Faculty to only approve the appointment of supervisors who meet this criterion.


(3) This Policy applies to all individuals engaged in the provision and support of HDR supervision, including University staff, and individuals appointed to adjunct or advisory positions. Obligations for HDR candidates are outlined in the Overview (Handbook and Guide) for Candidates and Supervisors.

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Section 2 - Policy

(4) The University recognises that some staff members may have undertaken research activity that could be deemed equivalent to having completed a research doctorate. Such research activity would normally include evidence of substantial experience that has qualified a person to plan, direct and implement a research program equivalent to a doctoral thesis, and meeting the learning outcomes specified in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 10. In making this assessment, the University will look closely at the nature, amount and duration of research previously undertaken, including the extent of independent research involved.

(5) Evidence might include:

  1. leadership in the design and management of research projects in a relevant field;
  2. the quality and quantity of publications, and whether they are peer-reviewed;
  3. contributions to research culture, including participating in peer-review;
  4. an assessment of research standing and leadership, for example in the provision of expert advice at a senior level or the development of professional standards;
  5. other evidence of competitive research awards including prizes; and
  6. appointment to advisory boards and professional associations, testimonials and other peer esteem factors.

(6) The Executive Dean of the Faculty will assess such evidence in consultation with senior staff with significant expertise in research assessment, and make a recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) as to the deeming of doctoral equivalence. The recommendation of Macquarie doctoral equivalence will be confirmed in writing by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

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Section 3 - Procedures

(7) Nil.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(8) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(9) Nil.