Show Cause Process

A show cause process is used to initiate the termination of a higher degree research candidature. A candidature may be terminated for:

  • Failure to make satisfactory academic progress at any time during the period of candidature;
  • Failure to attend candidate research training or events declared compulsory by the relevant Research and Higher Degrees Committee, the Research Studies Committee or the Graduate Research School;
  • Failure to undertake or successfully complete a Confirmation of Candidature;
  • Failure to complete an Annual Progress Report (APR) or as a recommendation of an APR;
  • Academic misconduct as described under the Student Misconduct Rule;(opens in a new window)
  • For other breaches of Western Sydney University policy or procedures.

The following guidelines describe the process for the preparation of a Case for Show Cause and available actions. If you need more information or assistance, please consult your HDR Director or contact the Graduate Research School.

Preparation of a Case for Show Cause

If the candidate has violated any of the above processes, the principal supervisor in consultation with the supervisory panel and the relevant HDR Director makes a case for a show cause process to begin.

In cases where compulsory milestones have not been met, the Research and Higher Degrees Committee, the Research Studies Committee or the Graduate Research School may initiate this action.

To initiate a Case for Show Cause, the supervisory panel must:

  • Identify the nature of the problem(s): At least one of the reasons listed above must be nominated.
  • Provide evidence of efforts or interventions to address the situation: Evidence may be include meeting notes, emails (single or chains of conversation), feedback on work submitted, letters, past Annual Progress Reports, logged phone calls, referrals to counselling services, recommendations to attend training and development opportunities, etc.)
  • Provide evidence of the candidate being informed about the problem.
  • Provide evidence that the candidate failed to comply or to reasonably explain the problem.
  • Provide statements by the principal supervisor and the School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee describing why the action is being taken. The statements may be a brief summary of the case.
  • Recommend a course of action: This may include a recommendation to transfer from a doctorate to a Master of Philosophy or Master of Research degree, or from a Master of Philosophy to a Master of Research degree.

It should be noted that:

  • The case must identify all known issues that may have influenced the situation even if they are not considered to be the primary cause.

Presentation of a Case for Show Cause

The case is presented to the School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee.

The School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee may:

  • Recommend another course of action;
  • Reject the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence and make a request for further clarification; or
  • Endorse the decision to present a Show Cause request to the candidate and refer the matter to the Research Studies Committee for consideration. A show cause request may include a recommendation that the candidate be permitted to transfer from doctorate to a Master of Philosophy or Master of Research degree, or from a Master of Philosophy to a Master of Research degree.

The Research Studies Committee may:

  • Recommend another course of action;
  • Refer the matter to the Dean, Graduate Studies to undertake an alternative course of action;
  • Reject the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence and make a request for further clarification; or
  • Endorse the decision to present a Show Cause request to the candidate. A Show Cause request may include a recommendation that the candidate be permitted to transfer from a doctorate to a Master of Philosophy or Master of Research degree, or from a Master of Philosophy to a Master of Research degree.

If the Research Studies Committee endorses the decision to present a Show Cause request to the candidate:

  • The candidate is notified by the Graduate Research School and given all of the evidence that was presented to the School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee and to the Research Studies Committee.
  • The candidate is given 14 working days to respond.
  • The candidate is notified via their Western Sydney University student email account.

The candidate response

The candidate must provide a case to support their continued candidature which includes a timeline for completion and an explanation of how the past impediment to progress has been addressed. The timeline for completion must conclude within the remaining candidature time.

Supervisors comment on the candidate's response

The candidate must provide a case for continuing the candidature to the principal supervisor.

  • The supervisory panel may make further comment on the candidate's response.
  • If, following receipt of the candidate's response, the School or Institute elects to withdraw the show cause procedure a full explanation must be given to the Research Studies Committee with details of how the candidature is to be remediated.
  • The candidate's response and the supervisor's comments are presented to the Research Studies Committee for a determination of whether the candidature will be terminated or continued.
  • The student is informed of the Research Studies Committee's decision.
  • If the candidature is to continue, the terms of candidature will be included in the advice given to the candidate, with a copy sent to the principal supervisor.
  • If the candidature is to be terminated, the candidate will be advised and given 28 calendar days to lodge an Appeal.

Research Higher Degree Appeals Policy

Until expiration of the time allowed for an Appeal (28 days), the candidature will continue as normal.

The grounds for Appeal against a decision to terminate a candidature are;

  • Procedural irregularities in the termination process;
  • Significant evidence of circumstances substantially affecting the candidate's performance of which the Research Studies Committee was not aware.

Refer to the Research Higher Degree Appeals Policy(opens in a new window) for more information.

Summary of Show Cause Process

  1. Supervisory panel prepares a Case for Show Cause.
  2. Case for Show Cause is presented to the School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee.
  3. The School or Research Institute Research and Higher Degrees Committee recommend a course of action, reject the case or refer the matter to the Research Studies Committee for consideration.
  4. The Research Studies Committee recommends a course of action, refers to the Dean of Graduate Studies, rejects the case or endorses the case for show cause.
  5. If the case for show cause is endorsed, the candidate is notified and given 14 working days to respond.
  6. Candidate provides a response and the supervisory panel provides further comments to the Research Studies Committee.
  7. If the response is accepted by the Research Studies Committee, the School or Institute works with the candidate to initiate a remediation plan.
  8. If the candidate does not respond or the case is rejected by the Research Studies Committee, a notice of termination of candidature is sent to the candidate.
  9. The candidate has 28 days to appeal the decision.
  10. At the end of the time allowed for an appeal, the candidature will be terminated by the Graduate Research School.