Appointment of Examiners
The examination of a higher degree by research thesis is complex. Examiners must judge a candidate's understanding of a body of existing knowledge, their approach to research, construction of hypotheses, arguments and analyses. The selection of examiners is of critical importance as a special relationship exists between examiners and candidates - if the degree is awarded candidates and examiners will become peers.
- Conflict of Interest Guidelines for the Nomination of Higher Degree by Research Thesis Examiners
In developing these guidelines we acknowledge, with thanks, the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) Conflict of Interest Guidelines.
The use of independent thesis examiners is an important indicator of the quality of an institution's examination process, requiring examination and classification to be undertaken independently and free of bias. To ensure independence of the examination process, an examiner should not be nominated if there is the potential for a conflict of interest with the student, supervisor, university, subject matter or with another examiner. There are a range of circumstances which have the potential to introduce bias and compromise the independence of the examination. It is important to note the conflict of interest can exist in fact or in perception.
In dealing with potential conflicts of interest it is important to:
- Distinguish between major conflicts which generally result in non-appointment of the examiner and minor conflicts which should be declared and explained, but don’t necessarily inhibit the examiner's independence; and
- Consider mitigating factors associated with conflicts of interest arising from collaboration on publications and/or research grants, or board memberships. The size of the team or the relative independence of some members have the potential to shift a major (potential) conflict of interest to a minor one.
Detailed information is available on the Conflict of Interest Guidelines for the Nomination of Higher Degree by Research Thesis Examiners webpage.
Examiner Payment and Conditions
When you agree to examine the thesis of a University of Adelaide student, the Adelaide Graduate Centre will become your contact for all enquiries. The Graduate Centre will advise you if the expected submission time-frame of the thesis you have agreed to examine varies significantly and re-confirm your availability.
Examiners are recompensed for their time - please download the latest schedule.
Please remember that any communication between an examiner and the student under examination or an examiner and that student's supervisors/School can invalidate the examination process, consequently, it is important to relay any questions you may have to the Adelaide Graduate Centre.
Examiners have the right to remain anonymous and whilst it is acceptable for a candidate to be aware of the names of the pool of examiners under consideration, candidates will not be advised of the names of those examiners finally recommended by the relevant School or appointed by the University.
Examination Completion Timeframe
Examiners are asked to complete the examination and provide their reports within four weeks of receiving a thesis.
On completing their assessment, each examiner submits an independent report and recommends that the thesis be awarded (with or without amendments), revised and resubmitted, or failed.
Consideration of the Examiners Reports
It is important to remember that the final outcome of an examination is determined by the University and not by the examiners. In making the final decision, the Dean of Graduate Studies or Student Matters Sub-Committee (SMS) will consider all the examiners reports, together with, where applicable, the recommendations from the School and the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee.
Revised and Resubmitted Theses
- Under normal circumstances, the revised thesis will be examined by the original examiners. However, for valid academic reasons, the Student Matters Sub-Committee (SMS) of REDC may decide that the thesis be examined by different examiner(s). Such a decision is very rarely undertaken and will be made on a case-by-case basis.
- Examiners will be advised where a thesis has been revised and resubmitted, and will be instructed to check whether or not the requirements for additional work specified during the original examiners and supervisor(s)' report and outcome letter, have been addressed.
- Examiners must not introduce new areas of substantive concern in the re-examination.
- Examiners must not recommend an outcome of 'revise and resubmit' as the University's rules only permit a student to revise and resubmit his/her thesis for examination once.
- Following consideration by the SMS, the outcome of the re-examination will be to award the degree (with or without amendments), or, to not award the degree.
Examiner Resource Pack
Once you have accepted an invitation to examine a thesis, The Adelaide Graduate Centre will forward you an e-mail providing you with links to various online resources you will need for the examination. You will also receive a password to access these protected online resources, however it is important to note that these online resources will only be available for a short period of time.
The University standard is digital examination, as such you will be required to download a digital copy of the thesis. Note that hard copies can be provided, however, this is not the norm.
Note that for non-conventional theses, other digital material - such as recording or images - may also be made available for your review.