Quality Assurance and Improvement in Research Degrees



1. Quality assurance and the continuous improvement of the University's research degree programs are fundamental to the mission of the University of South Australia. This Policy sets out the principles to support ongoing quality and improvement of research training and provides the framework for the monitoring and review of research degrees at the University of South Australia. This Policy is to be read in conjunction with Appendix AB-63 AD1: Research Degrees Quality Assurance Framework.


2. This Policy applies to all research degree programs offered by the University.


3. This Policy does not apply to coursework undergraduate and postgraduate programs, including honours degrees.


4. Academic Board is the approving authority for this Policy.

5. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Enterprise is the officer responsible for organisation-wide adherence to this Policy.

6. Deans of Research (or their delegate) in each Academic Unit are responsible for supporting quality assurance and continuous improvement processes as defined by the Research Degrees Quality Assurance Framework (Framework).

Policy Principles

7. The University is committed to the evaluation and improvement of research education and training as described in the Framework.

8. The Framework provides standards to promote research degrees that:

  1. encompass innovative and partnered research that serves industry and/or the community,
  2. enables timely completions of research degrees,
  3. develops learning in a research-rich environment, and
  4. develops research and transferrable skills consistent with the Research Degree Graduate Qualities.

9.  The mechanisms for the evaluation of quality in research education and training, including the development and implementation of a continuous improvement process, are linked to the University's annual strategic planning processes.

10. The University will evaluate the quality of research degrees using candidate and stakeholder feedback, and quality indicators against which standards are established and benchmarked, as described in the Framework.


Continuous improvement means the ongoing review cycle designed to progressively improve courses, programs and teaching outcomes.

Evaluation of quality means:

  1. The aggregation, analysis and interpretation of research degree student feedback about their perceptions of the quality of their research degree experience.
  2. The systematic consideration of stakeholder views and benchmarking activities about the quality of research degrees and the research and transferrable skills development activities for research degree students and supervisors.
  3. Examiner ratings and comments on theses and exegeses submitted at the culmination of the research degree candidacy.

Quality assurance means the application of monitoring, review and evaluation processes to ensure that the University's teaching and learning processes and outcomes are meeting the standards defined by the University, through this Policy and its broader strategic goals.

Associated Documentation

Policy AB-58: Research Degrees

Appendix AB-63 AD1: Research Degrees Quality Assurance Framework

Research Degree Graduate Qualities

  • Officer Responsible for Update and Review:  Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise
  • Approved by:  Academic Board, 24 September 2021
  • Commencement Date:  1 October 2021
  • Review Date:  June 2026
  • History:  This Policy supersedes Policy RES-15.1 Quality Assurance and Improvement in Higher Degrees by Research.