1.1 Overview

1.1 The Handbook for Doctoral Degrees

The Handbook for Doctoral Degrees outlines the University’s procedures and guidelines as they relate to graduate research students. In addition, it is designed to assist students, Graduate Research Coordinators, supervisors and professional staff in interpreting relevant University regulations, linking to relevant policies and procedures published on the University’s Policy Bank.

1.2 The degrees to which this handbook applies

This handbook applies to:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), including specialist degrees
  • Professional doctorates
  • Higher doctorates

1.2 Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Monash University signifies that the holder has completed a course of training in research under academic supervision and has submitted a thesis that the examiners have declared to be a significant and original contribution to knowledge, demonstrating the student’s capacity to carry out independent research.

A student for the PhD must be an enrolled student of the University and is required to carry out a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the guidance of at least two supervisors. The student, together with the supervisor(s), is responsible for developing the research program to be followed.

Students enrolled in a PhD complete a traditional thesis (or equivalent, where the degree is practice-based) and undertake one of three options as specified by the Monash Doctoral Program in which they are enrolled. An exception are students enrolled in a joint award or cotutelle where requirements are determined by the arrangement itself. (See 1.2.3 Joint-award or Cotutelle PhD degrees below).

1.2.1 PhD (traditional thesis)

The student’s PhD research project is to be conceived from the outset as clearly achievable within 3 years equivalent full time, with students expected to complete their degree within 3 to 4 years equivalent full-time.

In addition to any program requirements as specified by the Monash Doctoral Program (see 1.2.5 Monash Doctoral Program below), enrolment in the PhD requires a student to submit a thesis (or equivalent, in the case of practice-based degrees), in accordance with the University’s Graduate Research Thesis Examination Procedures.

1.2.2 PhD Thesis including Published Works

Students should refer to the Guidelines for a Thesis Including Published Works.

1.2.3 Joint-award or Cotutelle PhD degrees

Joint-award doctoral degrees are conducted under shared enrolment and supervision arrangements agreed to by Monash University and the partner institution. The degree is awarded by both institutions as a cotutelle or joint award (see Appendix F).

Additional program requirements (such as coursework and components) are negotiated on a case by case basis for joint award students, in collaboration with the joint partner.

1.2.4 Course requirements

All students (other than those enrolled in a joint PhD/cotutelle program) who have commenced their degree at Monash in 2017 should refer to the 2017 University Handbook for information on the requirements of their degree.

Previous years of the University Handbook can be accessed here.

Currently enrolled students undertaking a joint PhD/cotutelle should refer to their student schedule for requirements. If in doubt, please contact Monash Graduate Education.

1.2.5 Monash Doctoral Program

Unless formally exempted from doing so, PhD students are required to complete the following compulsory activities:

  • Monash Graduate Research Induction (online);
  • Research Integrity (online);
  • Any Faculty or Program induction requirements.

In addition to these, students will participate in one of the following three options, as determined by their Faculty or Program of enrolment:

  • Option 1 - Professional Development mode
  • Option 2 – Coursework
  • Option 3 - Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Programs (GRIPs).

Students enrolled in Option 1 are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours of professional development activities:

  • 60 hours of activities from Excellence in Research & Teaching.
  • 60 hours of activities from Professionalism, Innovation & Career.

Students are to refer to the Monash Doctoral Program website for details.

1.2.6 Graduate Research Industry Partnerships (GRIPs)

Through skills development, interdisciplinary and industry engagement, GRIPs are designed to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and the development of transferable skills, enhancing the student’s industry links while aligning their skill development with industry needs.

The University currently offers four GRIPs:

Students are to refer to the GRIPs website for details.

1.3 Higher doctorates

The following higher doctorate degrees are offered by Monash University: Doctor of Economics (DEc), Doctor of Engineering (DEng), Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Letters (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc), Doctor of Medical and Health Sciences and Doctor of Informatics (DInf).

As the University’s highest academic award, the degree gives formal recognition to scholars who have made a substantial, original and distinguished contribution to knowledge. Eligibility for the award of higher doctorate is assessed on the basis of scholarly published work that is judged by national and international peers to indicate the student’s authoritative standing in the field and his/her achievements in the advancement of knowledge.

The requirements of a higher doctorate can be found in Appendix L.

1.4 Administrative structures overseeing doctoral degrees

1.4.1 Graduate Research Committee

The overall aims of the Graduate Research Committee (GRC) are to ensure excellence in research training and the timely completion of theses and courses of study.

GRC is responsible for administering the relevant regulations and for advising the Monash University Academic Board on all matters of policy relating to these degrees. GRC has final responsibility for approving admission to doctoral enrolment and for such matters as: amendments to individual study programs; changes to enrolment and supervision; student progress; and submission and examination of theses. The Committee is also responsible for the allocation of central scholarships, awards and grants to graduate research students. 

The chair of GRC is the Vice-Provost (Graduate Education).The Committee comprises the chair; a deputy chair (who also chairs the Graduate Research Steering Committee (GRSC) and is the Academic Director of Graduate Research; the Director of Graduate Research Services, a representative of each faculty (including remote campuses); two representatives of the Monash Postgraduate Association; and may include any other relevant person co‐opted from time to time by the Committee. 

Two student members represent the humanities/social science and science/technology disciplines. The steering committee (GRC), convened by the Academic Director of Graduate Research, meets on a regular basis to consider various policy and individual student matters. GRC also has a number of other formal sub-committees providing oversight of the selection of scholarships and the Monash Doctoral Program.

1.4.2 Monash Graduate Education

Key functions of Monash Graduate Education include:

  • developing University-wide research and employment training programs relevant to all graduate research students;
  • ensuring students are equipped with professional skills required for careers both within and outside of academia and research institutes;
  • reviewing and enhancing graduate research supervision;
  • identifying and disseminating examples of best practice in supervision and research training;
  • training and accrediting academic supervisors of graduate research students;
  • administering University-wide research degrees, including all doctoral and research master's degrees;
  • developing and administering graduate research scholarships and graduate research training policies;
  • establishing and maintaining the guidelines that ensure high research standards.
  • supporting the University in attracting and retaining quality graduate research students, both domestic and international;
  • ensuring the equitable provision of graduate research support, resources and facilities across the University's campuses;
  • establishing a forum which provides a focus for the evaluation of graduate research program requirements and identification of issues of particular relevance to graduate research students; and
  • implementing the graduate research strategies and targets of the University.

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