Once you submit your thesis, it will be examined by external examiners. The examiner's reports and classification of your thesis will determine the final result in your degree.

Appointment of examiners

Your Principal Supervisor is responsible to lodge the following forms at least two months before you expect to submit your thesis for examination:

  • Nomination of examiners
  • Foreign influence transparency scheme - thesis examiner*

A nomination of examiners form is to be completed by your Principal Supervisor and the relevant Research Institute. To assist your principal supervisor with the completion of the nomination of examiners, a checklist has been developed to ensure all requirements are met.

You can provide your Principal Supervisor with a list of suitable or unsuitable examiners for consideration and discussion, however your Principal Supervisor is responsible for the final nomination of appropriate examiners. Prior to the final nomination, your Principal Supervisor must inform you of the proposed nominations to ensure that any conflicts of interests are managed effectively.

The following factors are considered by your supervisor when nominating potential examiners. Examiners should:

  • be appropriately qualified experts of international standing in their discipline/field
  • be external to Victoria University (VU)
  • normally be associated with a university or research institution
  • have demonstrated current research expertise relevant to the thesis
  • be free of conflict of interest in relation to the other examiner, the candidate, supervisors and University in accordance with the official University Conflict of Interest in Thesis Examination Guidelines at the time of nomination and throughout the examination process
  • have been advised and agree to examine the thesis on a confidential basis.

*International standing is defined as:

  • publications or grants of international standing
  • international collaboration
  • international research experience

The role of Chair of Examiners is normally undertaken by the Deputy Director of the relevant Research Institute or nominee.

For further information, please refer to HDR Procedure 9 available on the VU policy library.

Under Australian law, Victoria University must register any agreement with a foreign citizen or resident who has previously undertaken or will undertake activities aimed at influencing politics or government in Australia on behalf of a foreign government, government entity, foreign government related individual or political organisation.

Your Principal Supervisor is responsible to obtain a completed Foreign influence transparency scheme – thesis examiner form from each nominated examiner. The forms must be submitted with the nomination of examiners.

Conflict of interest in thesis examinations

The Graduate Research School has responsibility for the integrity of the examination process for all Higher Degree by Research theses.

To ensure that all theses are assessed independently and that the examination process is free from any perception of bias or preferential treatment, Victoria University has developed and approved conflict of interest guidelines to manage the declaration and assessment of any potential conflicts of interest in the examination process.

It is important to note the following:

  • a conflict of interest may be with the institution, the supervisor/s or the HDR candidate.
  • the existence of a conflict of interest does not automatically preclude a nominee being approved by the University as a thesis examiner. When considering a nominee, the University considers carefully the nature and severity of any conflict(s) of interest.
  • the aim of the conflict of interest guidelines is to protect the candidate, examiner and VU against potential negative perceptions during the thesis examination process. It is not a presumption that an individual will behave inappropriately.

If a potential conflict of interest is not declared by the Research Institute, the candidate or the examiner but discovered during or after the examination, the University may anul one or more of the examiners' reports and replacement examiner/s will be appointed.

For more information please contact the Graduate Research School.

Number of examiners

The number of nominated examiners varies depending on your degree and discipline. If an examiner can no longer assess your thesis a replacement examiner will be appointed and given two months to submit an examination report.

When we receive the examination report we will pay the examiner in accordance with the honorarium set by the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee.

For both doctoral degrees and master research degrees:

  • A traditional, creative project (no live component) with publications requires two appropriately qualified experts of international standing in their discipline/field.
  • A thesis by creative project (with a live performance and exhibition) requires three appropriately qualified experts of international standing in their discipline (two plus a reserve).

Examiners reports

Examiners will assess your thesis in accordance with the guidelines that apply to your degree:

Each examiner will prepare an examination report that recommends one of the following:

  • PASSED without further correction
  • PASSED subject to minor corrections being made to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners
  • PASSED subject to substantial amendment, as outlined in the examiner's report, being made to the satisfaction of the Chair of Examiners
  • DEFERRED and the candidate should be permitted to resubmit the thesis in a revised form

Master Research Degree examiners will also be required to provide a numerical and honours level assessment.

If the majority of examiners classify your thesis as 'passed' (either passed without further change or subject to minor/substantial changes) your thesis will be classified as passed by the Dean, Graduate Research once the required changes have been made

Examiners recommend different classifications

If your thesis is assessed by two examiners and each recommend a different classification - such as a 'pass' and a 'deferral' or 'fail' - a third examiner will be nominated to assess your thesis. The majority of the three examiner's reports will determine the classification of your thesis.

If your degree or discipline requires your thesis be assessed by more than two examiners, the majority of the examiner's reports will also determine the classification of your thesis.

Recommendations for thesis classification Thesis classification
Based on a combination of passed recommendations without further correction and/or minor corrections. Passed
Based on a combination passed recommendations including without further correction, minor corrections and/or substantial amendments. Passed
Based on a combination of passed after re-examination(s). Passed
Based on at least a majority of recommendations of failed, and/or failed after re-examination(s). Failed


Deferred recommendation

If a majority of examiners recommend the thesis be deferred you will need to re-enrol and undertake a major re-write of the thesis. You normally resubmit your thesis for re-examination within 9 months (or equivalent of full time) of receiving notification.

When you submit your thesis for re-examination you must include the response to examiner template, which outlines the substantive changes made to your thesis. Your thesis, the response template and initial examiner reports will be sent to the same examiners who deferred the thesis for assessment. The examiners will have six weeks from the date they receive your thesis to grade it as passed or failed.

Failed classification

If the majority of examiners recommend the thesis be classified as failed and you disagree with the feedback from the examination process, please discuss with your supervisor and Chair of Examiners to determine how to proceed.

If you are still not satisfied with the overall examination outcome of your thesis you may appeal against this outcome on limited grounds (refer to HDR Procedure 9 submission examination and classification).

Once your thesis has been examined you must apply for classification of your thesis as passed and conferral of your degree by the VU Council.

Contact us

For all examination document submissions and enquiries, please email [email protected].