Thesis examination

Your thesis must be examined by a panel and possibly undergo amendments before you receive your Award.

Thesis Examining Panel

The composition of your examining panel is subject to Section 12 of either Rule No. 10 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Doctor by Research or Rule No. 11 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Master by Research.

Approximately three months before the anticipated date of completion, as determined by you and your supervisor, the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, on the recommendation of your Head of Enrolling Area, will appoint your Thesis Examining Panel (Section 12 of the above rules). Panel members will be nominated by your supervisor in consultation with the Head of Enrolling Area.

The responsibilities of the examiners are detailed in Sections 13(a)&(b) of the above rules. All examiners may request that their names be kept confidential.

Examination and results

The examiners review the thesis in terms of your understanding of the field of study, your ability to conceive, plan and conduct a program of research, the originality of your work and the significance of the contribution you have made to that field (Section 13(a) of either Rule No. 10 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Doctor by Research or Rule No. 11 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Master by Research). Generally, a thesis should also be excellent in its standard of presentation, English expression, grammar etc., and contain a substantial amount of material that you (and usually your supervisor) have published or is suitable for publication in a refereed journal. The examiners are also required to assess the thesis in relation to your stated thesis objectives. Examiners then submit an independent written report on your thesis to the Thesis Examinations Officer, which includes a recommended outcome, in accordance with Section 13b of the above rules.

The examiners’ reports are then forwarded to the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee, who assesses the reports to determine whether they are in substantial agreement. This determination must take into account the content and context of the reports (i.e. qualitative assessment of the reports) as well as the overall classification (i.e. quantitative assessment of the reports). The Chairperson will either find that there is (1) substantial agreement among the examiners, or, in the event of (2) no clear weight of opinion, will recommend the appointment of an Adjudicator.

(1) Substantial agreement

If the Chairperson finds there is a clear weight of opinion, they will recommend one of the following outcomes to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.

  • No amendments
    If the examiners have pointed out minor typographical errors, these must be corrected.
  • Minor amendments
    If minor textual and/or structural amendments are required, the Chairperson will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. You should complete these in as short a time as possible to the satisfaction of the Chairperson.
  • Substantive amendments
    If revision of specific sections of the thesis is required, the Chairperson will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. These must be done to the satisfaction of the Chairperson.
  • Revise and resubmit
    If one or more of the examiners require your thesis to be submitted in a revised form (i.e. requiring further research, rewriting, reorganisation, and/or reconceptualisation), the Chairperson will advise you in writing of the specific requirements. The examiner may specify this category for a thesis which requires major, substantive amendment and submission for re-examination by the original examiner. The maximum time allowed to undertake the revision is twelve months, but it is in your interest to complete this in as short a time as possible. Your enrolment retains “thesis under examination” status until your thesis is either passed or failed.
    Once the revision has been completed, you should provide the Chairperson with a copy of the revised version, together with a statement outlining the revisions you have made. Where there is a disagreement with some of the examiner’s recommendations, and not all the revisions have been carried out, you must also provide a statement to that effect and have it supported by your supervisor. A completed Copyright and Release of Thesis for Examination form [.pdf – 113 kB] signed by you, your Supervisor and Chairperson must accompany the re-submission.
    The revised thesis, copyright and release form and statement should be forwarded to the Thesis Examinations Officer for re-submission to the original examiner(s).
  • Fail
    If your thesis is recommended as a fail by the examiners, all but one copy (which will be retained by the University Graduate Studies Committee for record purposes) will be returned to you. You are entitled to appeal against this decision as provided by Section 17(e)-(j) of either Rule No. 10 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Doctor by Research or Rule No. 11 Made Pursuant to Statute 12 – Enrolment: Degree of Master by Research.

(2) No clear weight of opinion

Where the recommendations of the examiners do not allow determination of a result based on a clear weight of opinion, the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee will recommend the appointment of an Adjudicator to the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training (Section 13(i) of the above rules). The Adjudicator should be a person external to the University with substantial knowledge and expertise. Their role is to adjudicate between the examiners’ reports on the basis of the thesis presented.

The time frame for the examination process varies and is largely regulated by the length of time it takes the examiners to submit their reports, but you would normally expect to be advised of the examiners’ responses within four months of the date of submission.

Oral examination

An examiner or the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee may recommend to the University Graduate Studies Committee that you undergo an oral examination to clarify aspects of the thesis you have submitted. This recommendation can only be made following an initial examination of the thesis and is not permitted after a thesis has been re-submitted for examination. See Section 14 of the above rules.

Recommendation of the Thesis Committee Chairperson

After being satisfied that the examination process is complete, the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee will make the appropriate recommendation to the University Graduate Studies Committee, through the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. If amendments to the thesis were requested, you must provide a statement documenting your response to the examiners’ reports, which will be attached to the recommendation.

Final distribution of thesis

Once the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee has approved your amendments, please arrange delivery of two, loose-leaf copies of the final version of your thesis to the Guild’s G Mart shop for permanent binding. One copy is for your Supervisor and one for yourself. This applies to both masters and doctoral students.

With your final copies, you will also need to submit a completed Thesis Permanent Binding Instructions sheet (pdf – 564 kB). You can use this document to order any additional personal copies you might require above the mandatory two copies.

In addition, you are also required to submit a digital copy of the final version in accordance with the Guidelines for the Submission of Digital Theses of Higher Degree by Research Students [.pdf – 157 kB].

Digital thesis submission

Once your thesis has been passed, you are required to submit a digital copy of the final version in a format approved by the University Graduate Studies Committee.

This electronic version will be held in Curtin’s institutional repository espace, which will allow worldwide access to your work.

For detailed information on how to submit your thesis in a digital format, see the espace thesis submission page.

Graduating and receiving your Award

When the University Graduate Studies Committee has classified your thesis as Passed, your name will be placed on the graduation list for Conferral of the Award by the Council of the University. The Chairperson of the University Graduate Studies Committee will advise you of this and therefore you do not have to complete an Application to Graduate. The Graduations Officer will write to you in due course with the option of attending the appropriate ceremony or receiving the Award by mail.