school Level

Degree level

The College of Science (CoS), and the College of Health and Medicine (CHM) guidelines on HDR examinations aim to ensure high quality, independent and timely examination of HDR theses. This document sets out the conditions for examinations and appointment of examiners and should be read in conjunction with the Research Awards Rule and the ANU HDR policies and procedures relating to examinations. 


The Notification of Intent to Submit (NoI) eForm should be completed by the candidate at least three months prior to their intended submission date. The eForm will be available via ISIS MMD-HDR.

Further information and assistance can be found online.

Nomination of Examiners

Following submission of the NoI eForm the Primary Supervisor will receive a notification to complete the Nomination of Examiners (NoE) eForm.

  • Candidates are given the opportunity to recommend potential examiners via the eForm, but the candidate must not know the names of the final examiners chosen.
  • It is a requirement of the examination that no fewer than two external expert examiners of international standing are appointed. 
  • Within CHM/CoS the expectation for a PhD examination is that at least one of the two external expert examiners is an international academica. If no international examiners are appointed, the Delegated Authority must provide a justification when submitting the NoE e-form to the Associate Dean (HDR) for approval.
  • Whether two or three examiners are appointed is at the discretion of the School.
  • The examiners are to be appointed before the thesis is submitted to minimise delays in the examination process.
  • The examiners must be made aware of the expectation to provide the report within two months.
  • The examiners should not have been involved with the project and should not have recently (within five years) published or closely collaborated with the candidate or members of the supervisory panelb.
  • All examiners should be experts in the topic of the thesis (or in different aspects of an interdisciplinary or multi-faceted thesis).
  • At least one examiner should have significant expertise in supervising PhD students and in examining theses.
  • When submitting a NoE eForm, the supervisor should attach a short CV or biosketch for each nominated examiner, which highlights why they are suitable to examine the thesis. A link to a url is sufficient, however the e-form will be returned to the Delegated Authority if insufficient information about the proposed examiners expertise is made available.

Initial Examination

  • The HDR Examinations Officer (GRO) will monitor the length of the examination and be in contact with the Delegated Authority if there are delays beyond 2 months.
  • The Delegated Authority may need to consider appointing an additional examiner.

Prohibited Communications

  • The candidate, member of the supervisory panel or school administrators MUST not communicate directly with an examiner during the course of the examination to discuss the examination process.

Delegated Authority Recommendation on Receipt of Reports

  • Under no circumstances are the examiners’ recommendations to be provided to the candidate by the School. The HDR Examinations Office (GRO) will send an anonymous version of the reports to the candidate once the recommendation has been approved.
  • If an examiner makes any statement in their report that questions the integrity of the thesis (plagiarism, other forms of misconduct), the School must immediately notify the College.
  • A recommendation on the outcome of the examination can only be made once all examiners reports have been received. In the event that an examiner takes more than two months to respond the Delegated Authority within the School should contact the examiner to ask for the intended date of submission of the report, and/or to give the examiner an opportunity to withdraw from the examination.
  • In cases where there is less than two examiner reports available the School must appoint a new examiner.
  • In cases where the recommendations of the examiners are divergent, the Delegated Authority should follow the divergent examiners report procedure, as detailed in the HDR - examiners reports recommendations guideline and provide a justification for their recommendation. In cases of significant disparity an additional examiner should be appointed. 

College Approval

  • The examiners make a recommendation to the University; the Deputy Dean (Education) determines the outcome of the examination.
  • The College may require amendments to the thesis before award of the degree if the examiners note typographical or other minor errors, even in cases where the examiners have recommended unconditional award.

Response to Examiners Comments

  • When a candidate is required to undertake revisions to the satisfaction of the Delegated Authority, it is a CHM/CoS requirement that they provide a document outlining the revisions made in response to the examiners comments when submitting the revised thesis for approval by the College Deputy Dean (Education).


There is no requirement for an international examiner, although the examiners should still be of international standing for an MPhil or DPsych examination.

If there has been a recent collaboration or publication between a nominated examiner and a supervisor or candidate, a statement justifying the nomination and addressing the potential conflict of interest must be provided for consideration by the College Deputy Dean (Education).