Skip to content
Currently Under Review

updated

Appendix 6: Master by Research Grade, Mark Ranges and Descriptors

Introduction

During discussions of the Research Education and Development Committee during 2010, it was agreed that the Master of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide would be a graded degree and that a set of grade descriptors would be developed to provide a guide to the standard of work expected to achieve each grade level. Subsequently, the grading scheme was extended to the Master of Clinical Science.

The grade descriptors which follow are made available to examiners of a Master of Philosophy or Master of Clinical Science thesis to facilitate consistency in the examination process, as required for a Doctoral scholarship selection purposes. Grades and indicative marks will be used for internal University purposes only and will not appear on students' transcripts or parchments.

High Distinction HD (80–100)

Broad Features

An 'upper HD' (90–100) student has strengths in all of the following areas:

  • Outstanding command of expression and logical argument of a standard for publication, in a skilfully structured manuscript.
  • Superior evaluation and integration of existing literature.
  • The thesis evidences creative thought and critical evaluation throughout.
  • Sophisticated understanding of research methods, with evidence of careful attention to critical design issues in the execution of the project.
  • Insightful and appropriate data analysis and exceptionally outstanding presentation and reporting of results.
  • Thesis data and/or the results of other studies is rigorously and comprehensively interpreted.
  • Superior contextualisation of the results in the context of the field.

A 'middle HD' (85–89) student displays many of the above strengths, but is not as well-balanced in overall quality.

A 'lower HD' (80–84) student displays many of the above strengths, but is less well-balanced in overall quality.

Overall: an HD student (upper, middle or lower) has outstanding potential for research at doctoral level and warrants strong scholarship support.

D (75–79)

Broad Features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • The manuscript is well written, logically argued and generally well structured.
  • The evaluation and integration of the existing literature is of a high quality.
  • Evidence of significant insight and original thought in dealing with the critical issues.
  • Evidence of a solid understanding of research methods.
  • Thoughtful and appropriate design of the research project.
  • Clear and coherent interpretation of the thesis data, and/or the results of other studies.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the importance of the results in the context of the theoretical framework.

Overall: a D student is capable of undertaking postgraduate research at doctoral level.

C (65–74)

Broad Features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • Generally competently written and logically organised. Some minor problems may exist in the expression and/or cohesion of the text.
  • Provides an adequate coverage of the literature, although it may at times tend to be more descriptive than evaluative, and arguments are sometimes disjointed.
  • Reasonable insight and some evidence of original thought in dealing with the critical.
  • A general understanding of the research methods.
  • Adequate design of the research project, although possibly containing minor but retrievable errors.
  • Data analysis is appropriate for the design, and results are generally clearly presented.
  • Generally sound interpretation of results and their importance to the theoretical context.

Overall: a C student may be capable of undertaking postgraduate research at Doctoral level with close supervision.

P (50–64)

Broad Features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • Adequate evidence of logical argument and appropriate expression. Errors mostly do not impede understanding or the reader's willingness to engage with the arguments presented.
  • Adequate but superficial coverage of the relevant literature, which may lack detail in some areas.
  • Occasional evidence of insight into the issues underlying the thesis or essay, but little evidence of original thinking. A basic but limited understanding of the research methods.
  • The design of the research project is generally adequate but is marred by some errors and oversights.
  • Acceptable data analysis, although other approaches may have been more appropriate.
  • The presentation and interpretation of the results is adequate but limited, demonstrating a pedestrian understanding of the results and their relevance to the theoretical framework.

Overall: The student showed difficulty in mastering the higher-order skills required at Masters level and would be unlikely to be able to undertake Doctoral research.

Fail (0–50)

Broad Features

The project is characterised by most of the following:

  • The work is not well written and shows a serious inability to structure and present a logical argument.
  • Coverage of the necessary literature is inadequate, with little information provided relevant to the claims made, or conclusions drawn, within the thesis.
  • Little evidence of insight including serious misunderstanding of key concepts and issues.
  • Knowledge of research methods is lacking.
  • Serious flaws exist in the design of the research project making it difficult or impossible for the research to meet its aims.
  • Data analysis techniques are arbitrary or inappropriate and the results are presented inadequately.
  • An inability to show how the results of the research project relate to the theoretical framework. Serious misinterpretations of results.

Overall: the candidate showed considerable difficulty in mastering the higher-order skills required at Masters level and would presently not be able to undertake further Doctoral research.

Address

Level 2, Schulz Building,
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005
AUSTRALIA

Contact

Telephone: +61 8 8313 5882
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 5725
Email

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 9:00am-5:00pm