Thesis examinations

About thesis examination

A successful examination of both written and oral components leading to the award of the degree signals that the University of Queensland certifies the candidate as an independent researcher (for PhD graduates) or a developing researcher (for MPhil graduates) in their chosen discipline by having developed the appropriate graduate attributes. All Higher Degrees by Research theses are assessed by two examiners, external to the University.

Preparing for thesis submission begins with the thesis review milestone and nomination of examiners outlined on the Candidature Progression page. At this point a Chair of Examiners is also nominated. The Chair can access training on the role via our Chair of Examiners online course

Thesis submission process

Once your candidate has completed the thesis document and it is ready to submit, they will share an iThenticate similarity report with you, as their Advisor. If you support their submission they will submit their thesis via the UQ Research Data Manager, for you to endorse. You will receive a notification to log in to UQRDM to review and endorse the submission. Guides for candidates on thesis submission via UQRDM can be found here.

If the nomination of examiners or thesis upload is outstanding, they will be given instructions on how attend to these in order to progress the submission. Examiners will then be sent the electronic version of the thesis for review.

If the submission date was delayed the examiners may need to be re-invited with new dates.

Examination criteria

Examiners are asked to generate a written report against the examination criteria and also provide the candidate with areas for improvement or revisions to the thesis. These reports together with the report from the oral examination panel will inform the Dean in deciding the outcome of the examination. 

Outcomes and conferral of degree

There can be a range of outcomes from the examination process (login required) – not simply pass or fail. The most common outcome is that the thesis is passed pending changes as described in the examiners’ reports as well as the report from the oral examination committee. In some cases, no additional changes are required and the thesis is passed as is. Alternatively, if the thesis and/or performance of the candidate does not meet the expectations of the examiners, the candidate may be required to revise the thesis and resubmit it for examination and/or repeat the oral component of the examination.

Guides are available to illustrate the examination timeline with an oral examination and without an oral examination

Once the candidate has completed all the required changes to the thesis, these are confirmed by the Chair of Examiners (login required) and forwarded to the Dean for approval. The Dean then recommends to the Provost that the degree should be conferred. Degree conferrals for HDR candidates occur every two weeks throughout the year.

Related training

Chair of Examiners training - this session will outline the role of the Chair of Examiners in the thesis examination process, with particular emphasis on the Oral Examination.  It will identify the requirements of being a Chair of Examiners and outline the duties and responsibilities of that role.  Examples and case studies will be used to ensure participants gain an accurate and realistic understanding of the Chairs obligations and responsibilities.