Higher Doctorate Degrees

Academic Year

These Program Rules should be read in conjunction with the University's policies (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies) and the Research Student Handbook (https://www.adelaide.edu.au/graduate-research/current-students/handbook). The Research Student Handbook explains the procedures to be followed by students and contains guidelines on research and supervision for research degrees offered by the University. All students must comply with both the Academic Program Rules and the procedures detailed in the Research Student Handbook.

The General Higher Doctorate Academic Program Rules shall apply to the following Higher Doctorate programs at the University of Adelaide. The following Higher Doctorate degrees have no Specific Academic Program Rules and therefore are bound entirely by the General Higher Doctorate Academic Program Rules:
Doctor of Health Sciences
Doctor of Dental Science
Doctor of Engineering
Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Music
Doctor of Laws
Doctor of Science

The Higher Doctorate awards are the highest of academic awards offered by the University and are awarded to candidates who are eminent in their respective field.


Academic standing

1.1The Faculty shall only accept a candidate for a higher doctorate degree if it is satisfied that the submission represents a contribution of distinguished merit.
1.2Candidates for a higher doctorate shall normally hold a Degree of the University of Adelaide and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Adelaide or another institution.
1.3Notwithstanding Academic Program Rule 1.2, faculties may accept candidates who have qualified for a degree of another university or institution of higher education recognised by the University of Adelaide, and have a substantial demonstrable association with the research of the University.
1.4No person shall be admitted to a higher doctorate degree before the expiration of at least 5 years after admission to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or 8 years after admission to a Bachelor or Master degree.




A person who desires to become a candidate for the degree shall give notice of the intended candidature in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies, Adelaide Graduate Research School.
At the same time and in a separate statement, the applicant shall furnish the following:

  1. a detailed curriculum vitae
  2. academic transcripts and testamurs
  3. a statement supporting the applicant’s claim for the award of the degree
  4. a statement detailing the applicant’s past or current affiliation with the University of Adelaide
  5. a statement declaring that none of the work has formed part or all of an award for another degree
  6. a list of publications / creative works / recordings to be included in the submission.

Copies of publications, creative works or recordings relevant to the application may be requested by the Faculty.

2.2The Dean of Graduate Studies, Adelaide Graduate Research School, will forward the application to the relevant Faculty for consideration.


Consideration of applications

3.1The Faculty shall appoint a panel consisting of at least three senior academic members of the University who have an understanding of the applicant’s field of research. The Executive Dean of the Faculty shall nominate one member of the panel to act as Convenor.
3.2Where candidates apply to a Faculty outside of their current discipline, the panel must include representative(s) of the Discipline area appointed in consultation with the appropriate Executive Dean.

The panel shall investigate the information provided, including the quality and nature of the submission for examination and recommend that the Faculty:

  1. allow the applicant to proceed, and approve the subject or subjects of the work to be submitted
  2. advise the applicant not to submit the work in its current form
  3. not allow the applicant to proceed.

In the case of (a) or (b) the assessment panel will determine which documentation or publications / works may be included or excluded from the final submission.


Notification of assessment of application and intention to submit

 The Adelaide Graduate Research School, on behalf of the Dean of Graduate Studies, will advise the candidate of the Faculty’s decision and request the candidate forward written notification of intention to proceed with the submission.


Appointment of examiners

 On receipt of the candidate’s written notification of intention to proceed, the Faculty shall nominate three external examiners, all of whom will be eminent in the field of the submitted work and active in research.



6.1Candidates shall supply one digital copy of the submission which shall contain a declaration of originality, an introduction addressing the nature and significance of the work and a conclusion.  In cases where digital submission is not possible, three bound copies must be submitted.
6.2Loose collections of previously published works will not be accepted.
6.3Candidates shall pay the required examination fee.



  1. The degree will be awarded entirely on consideration of such published works, creative works or recordings as the candidate may submit for examination
  2. To qualify for the degree the candidate shall furnish satisfactory evidence that they have made an original contribution of distinguished merit to the Discipline.

Examiners will be requested to report on the submission and recommend whether the candidate:

  1. should be awarded the degree
  2. should not be awarded the degree.


Examination result

8.1Recommendations of the examiners to award the degree must be unanimous or the degree will not be awarded.
8.2The reports of all examiners will be forwarded to the Faculty for ratification of the decision to admit or not admit the candidate to the degree and the Dean of Graduate Studies, Adelaide Graduate Research School will notify the candidate of the Faculty’s decision.
8.3A submission may not be presented for re-examination.


Deposit of submission

 Such number of copies of the submission and any other material on which the degree is awarded shall be deposited in the University Library or elsewhere in the University as determined by the University. Unless otherwise determined by the University the copies shall be made available for loan and photocopy.



 Subject to Chapter 89 of the Statutes, candidates who have satisfied the requirements for any award of the University shall be admitted to that award.


Posthumous award

 If a person dies after completing, or in the opinion of the University, substantially completing the requirements of the award, the University may confer the award posthumously.


Revoking the award


If the University is satisfied that, when the Doctorate was conferred on a person, the person

  1. did not possess the relevant qualifications,
  2. had not completed the necessary requirements,

the Vice-Chancellor and President with authority devolved to him / her by Council may revoke the award.
Upon revocation, the person is taken never to have received the award.



 When, in the opinion of the University, special circumstances exist, the University, on the recommendation of the relevant School / Discipline in each case, may vary any of the provisions in Academic Program Rules 1–12 above.