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Thesis submission

Once you have completed your thesis, you will need to submit it for examination.

Notice of intent to submit

Four months before your latest date for submission, we will send you instructions on completing your Notice of intent to submit. You'll need to complete this three months before your expected thesis submission date.

In your Notice of intent to submit, you will provide information relating to:

  • your planned thesis submission date
  • requested mode of examination
  • request for examination under emergency conditions (optional)
  • request for word count extension (optional).

Once the above is approved your Notice of intent to submit will be deemed complete.

Your supervisor will nominate examiners and usually provide them with your thesis abstract. Prospective examiners will need to formally accept this invitation. Your supervisor will organise any additional examination requirements, such as:

  • arrangements if your thesis contains musical scores, an exhibition of artwork, or is in a language other than English
  • replacement examiners if any become unavailable. 

How to lodge your Notice

You can lodge your notice in RECS by going to ‘My Record’, ‘Examinations’, then ‘Start’.

If you want to submit your thesis before your earliest date for submission, you will need to complete an early submission request in RECS first. Contact HDRAC for further assistance if needed.

Students due to revise and resubmit their thesis

If you are due to revise and resubmit your thesis contact your HDRAC faculty/school team for advice.

Mode of Examination

There are three different ways of having your thesis examined. You have the opportunity to select a relevant mode of examination in your Notice of intent to submit, subject to supervisor endorsement and faculty/school approval. You should discuss the mode of examination with your supervisors before submitting your Notice of intent to submit.

  • Oral Examination – examiners will consider the thesis and prepare a short preliminary report as well as note any questions arising from the thesis review. You will be given access to this report before the oral examination and then attend a private discussion with the examiners, moderated by the Chair of Examination who convenes the oral component of your examination. This is an opportunity for you to respond to the examiners' questions. In many cases, you'll know the examiners’ recommendation immediately after the oral examination. For others you will be informed in a timely manner.
  • Thesis-Only Examination - examiners will each write an extensive stand-alone review of the thesis. When all of the examiners’ reports are received, the relevant officers and committees looking after your examination will consider the reports and advise the student accordingly.
  • Exhibition Examination – currently only available to students in the visual arts (FASS – ACE). You will present a piece of art subsequent to the submission of a written thesis component (sometimes referred to as an ‘exegesis’). The examination consists of a presentation by the student, consideration of the art piece by the examiners and a final oral examination of your research.

Sydney College of the Arts

Thesis including an exhibition

If your thesis submission includes an exhibition, alternative arrangements need to be made to accommodate your exhibition and an oral examination.

You need to provide a Notice of intent to submit as described above. You will also need to follow the steps to submit your thesis.

Exhibition examination 

HDR students normally exhibit their creative work for examination in the designated SCA Project Space, Room 201B, A12 Macleay Building.

You will meet with your lead supervisor to complete a SCA Student Exhibitor form and risk assessment and submit it to SCA Gallery Manager. You need to observe the terms and conditions, installation requirements and schedule.

We make every effort to meet your space and equipment requirements, however we can’t guarantee all requirements can be met due to the large and complex nature of exhibitions. Promotion of your work for examination and any hosting events are your responsibility and must be discussed in advance with the SCA Gallery Manager.

Oral examination

Your oral examination will:

  • test your comprehension of the field of study described in your written component and presented in your exhibition examination 
  • clarify points of principle or detail in your written component and creative work
  • assess your contribution to the content and presentation of the creative work and your written component.

Before your oral examination you will be sent the preliminary reports on your thesis by the convenor for your examination. This will help you prepare for your presentation. The reports are confidential and can’t be published in any form without consent.

Your oral examination will take about two hours and consists of four sections.

  1. Contextualisation of your work
    You need to talk about the lead-up to your examination work and work produced during your candidature including themes, issues and any problems. Examiners will ask you background questions.
  2. Examination of creative work
    You will discuss your creative work and site of the exhibition.
  3. Discussion of written component and related matters
    Examiners will ask you questions about your research paper and raise any points for clarification. You will have the opportunity to raise any points you think the examiners might have missed about either the creative or written work.
  4. Examiners confer
    You will be asked to leave the examination room. The Chair of the examination will facilitate a discussion with the examiners on your recommended result. After about 15 minutes you will be recalled and the Chair will close the examination.

Once the Faculty receives the Chair’s report and any final reports, a final recommendation on your result will be made. We will notify you of this outcome.

More information

If you need help, you can contact your HDRAC faculty/school team.

You’ll be able to access user guides and videos with more information once you log in to RECS.

Last updated: 01 March 2024

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