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Conferral and Graduation Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This policy sets requirements for:

  1. the awards and award levels of Charles Sturt University (the University), ensuring they are conferred:
    1. only on students who have met the requirements of the course that leads to the award
    2. with proper recognition and celebration of students’ achievement
  2. the award documentation issued to graduates, ensuring that is consistent with:
    1. the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
    2. the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 standard 1.5
  3. the conduct of graduation ceremonies.


(2) This policy applies to all awards issued by the University, all graduands and graduates, and to all staff involved in the work of confirming students’ completions, graduation ceremonies and issuing award documentation.

(3) This policy does not apply to courses or subjects that do not lead to an award of the University (see the Course and Subject Policy).

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Section 2 - Policy

Part A - Conferral of awards

Eligibility to graduate

(4) To be eligible to graduate with an award from this University, students must:

  1. have completed the course requirements as stated in the University Handbook for the year in which they commenced the course of study, unless either:
    1. the student has agreed in writing to undertake the course requirements stated in the University Handbook for a later year,
    2. the student left or was withdrawn from the course for any reason and was subsequently readmitted to it. In this case, the student must complete the course requirements stated in the University Handbook for the year in which the student resumed study in the course, or
    3. an alternative course structure is approved by the course director or other delegated approver, where the student has had subject substitutions approved (see the Enrolment and Fees Procedure),
  2. have completed the mandatory academic integrity training applicable to their course,
  3. have no outstanding grades for any subjects contributing to their course/award,
  4. have no outstanding tuition or non-tuition debt to the University,
  5. have provided the University with their unique student identifier (USI), and
  6. not be under investigation for misconduct.

(5) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure states the requirements for graduating from:

  1. a single component of a double degree course, or
  2. a lower award from an articulated set of courses.

List of graduands

(6) Student Administration will identify eligible students who have fulfilled the requirements for completion of coursework courses and higher degree by research courses and add these students to the lists of graduands for submission to the Chair, Faculty Board (for coursework awards) and/or the Chair, University Research Committee (higher degree by research awards).

(7) The Chair, Faculty Board (for coursework awards) and/or the Chair, University Research Committee (for higher degree by research awards) endorse the list of graduands and recommends the list to the Academic Senate (or the Academic Standing Committee) for approval.

(8) Academic Senate (or the Academic Standing Committee) approves lists of graduands and recommends the conferral of the awards to the Chancellor or their delegate for conferral.

Conferral of awards

(9) The Chancellor, acting on behalf of the Council, approves the conferral of the awards on the approved list of graduands.

(10) Only one testamur will normally be issued to a graduate. In extraordinary circumstances, the University Secretary has authority to issue more than one copy of a testamur.

(11) The conferral date will be printed on the testamur and certifies the admission of the student to the award of the University. The conferral date will be the date the conferral is approved by the Chancellor or their delegate.

(12) All testamurs will be posted to the graduate’s mailing address as per their student record.

(13) All graduates will be invited to attend a future graduation ceremony.

Conferral of aegrotat and posthumous awards

(14) The Chancellor or their delegate may confer an award on a student who has died or sustained an incapacitating illness or injury if they were close to completing the requirements of an award:

  1. An aegrotat award may be conferred where a student sustains a permanently incapacitating illness or injury, which prevents them from completing their course.
  2. A posthumous award may be conferred where a student dies before they complete their course.

(15) Where a student who has received an aegrotat award recovers their capacity to undertake the course, the award may be relinquished or revoked and the student required to complete the remainder of the course.

(16) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure states detailed requirements for:

  1. processes for approval and conferral of aegrotat and posthumous awards, and
  2. details about their presentation at graduation ceremonies.

Conferral of honorary awards

(17) The Governance (Honorary Awards and Titles) Rule 2021 details the authorisations to confer honorary doctorates.

Amendment, relinquishment or revoking of awards

(18) The Governance (Relinquishment and Revocation of Awards) Rule 2023 details the authorisations to change or revoke awards.

Part B - Award levels

(19) The awards granted by the University are, from highest to lowest:

  1. Doctorate
  2. Master by research
  3. Master by coursework
  4. Postgraduate diploma
  5. Postgraduate certificate
  6. Graduate diploma
  7. Graduate certificate
  8. Bachelor (Honours)
  9. Bachelor
  10. Associate Degree
  11. Diploma
  12. Associate Diploma
  13. University Certificate

Bachelor (honours) award classes

(20) Bachelor (honours) degrees (both one-year courses and integrated four-year courses) will be awarded with one of the following classes of honours, as set out in the Assessment Policy:

  1. Class 1
  2. Class 2, Division 1
  3. Class 2, Division 2
  4. Class 3

(21) The faculty will state the criteria to be used for determining graduates’ level of honours in each bachelor (honours) course, as part of the course approval. The criteria may be:

  1. the student’s grade in the research component alone,
  2. the student’s grades in the research component and specified coursework subjects, or
  3. the student’s grades in all subjects required for the course.

Awards with distinction

(22) Coursework awards with a volume of learning of 64 credit points or more, other than bachelor (honours) degrees, will be conferred with distinction where the graduand has completed at least 64 credit points for the award at Charles Sturt University and achieved a grade point average (GPA) of 6.0 or higher.

Part C - Award documentation

(23) The University provides graduates with the following documentation of awards:

  1. a digital and a printed testamur,
  2. a digital Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS), and
  3. access to an official online transcript of their academic results.

(24) The University Secretary approves the form of the:

  1. testamur, and
  2. the AHEGS content in accordance with the Guidelines for the presentation of Australian Higher Education Graduation Statements.

(25) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure states the relevant requirements for:

  1. student names and course titles on testamurs,
  2. replacement testamurs, and
  3. management and content of the AHEGS.

(26) The University implements measures to prevent fraudulent activity in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and may request information such as proof of identification or address, prior to issuing a testamur or replacement testamur. 

Awards involving third parties

Joint awards with a third party

(27) A joint award may be offered where Charles Sturt University and another university or equivalent award-conferring educational institution offer a program accredited by both the University and the other body.

(28) An award of the University can only be offered jointly where the third party is accredited to offer such an award in its own right and:

  1. Charles Sturt University has accredited the joint award through its normal course accreditation processes, before the course leading to the joint award can be delivered, and
  2. the third party has accredited the award through its own and/or the relevant national accreditation processes.

(29) The University Secretary will approve the content and design of the testamur for a joint award. It will also need to meet the third party’s requirements and any relevant national requirements for award documentation in the country where the third party is based.

Acknowledgement of third parties on Charles Sturt University award testamurs

(30) An award of Charles Sturt University may acknowledge the role of a third party in the delivery and/or curriculum of the course leading to the award, where the award is either:

  1. delivered by another institution or body,
  2. delivered jointly by the University and the third party,
  3. delivered by the University but the third party contributes significantly to the content of the curriculum, or
  4. delivered by the University to employees or members of the third party under contract with the third party,
and the third party seeks acknowledgement of its role in delivering, contributing to or contracting for the delivery of the award.

(31) Where the conditions in clause 30 are met, the relevant contract with the third party may provide for text to appear on the testamur presented to graduates, acknowledging the role of the third party.

(32) Normally only one third party will be acknowledged on the testamur.

Credit pathway agreements

(33) Where the University enters a credit pathway agreement with another institution, whereby students complete an award at the other institution and receive credit for it towards the University’s award, then the University and the third party will each confer their own award. This type of credit agreement is sometimes referred to as a ‘dual award’.

(34) In these cases, the Charles Sturt University testamur is the standard testamur, and does not include the third party.

Part D - Graduation ceremonies

Responsibilities and procedures for graduation ceremonies

(35) The University Secretary is responsible for graduation ceremonies as an event of the University.

(36) The Division of Student Experience – University Events and Experience manages and conducts graduation ceremonies in collaboration with the University Secretary, the Manager, Graduation and Protocol, Student Administration and other relevant divisions and offices of the University.

(37) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure states:

  1. responsibilities for managing and conducting graduation ceremonies,
  2. detailed requirements for graduation ceremonies, including their timing and location,
  3. approval and endorsement of a graduation ceremony schedule inclusive of postponement or cancellation,
  4. the order of the academic procession and seating arrangements,
  5. the conduct of proceedings,
  6. detailed inclusions of ceremony, and
  7. the presentation of graduates.

Ceremonial roles at graduation

(38) At each graduation ceremony there will be the following ceremonial roles:

  1. Presiding officer, who is the official host on behalf of the University Council. The presiding officer must be the Chancellor or one of the following officers nominated by the Chancellor to act on their behalf, in order of preference:
    1. Deputy Chancellor
    2. Vice-Chancellor
    3. A member of Council
    4. Pro Chancellor
    5. Deputy Vice-Chancellor
    6. A senior member of University staff (for offshore ceremonies only)
  2. Master of ceremony, who is the local host of the ceremony. The master of ceremony will be nominated by the University Secretary.
  3. Esquire bedell, who is the University Secretary or an academic or professional/general staff member nominated by the University Secretary to act on their behalf.
  4. Presenter, who is the Executive Dean or a single delegate for the faculty per ceremony.

(39) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure provides further details on the participants in the ceremony. 

Ceremonial protocols

(40) The following protocols will be observed at all graduation ceremonies:

  1. A Welcome to Country or Acknowledgment of Country will be delivered.
  2. An invited speaker will give an address.
  3. The Executive Dean or single delegate for the relevant faculty will present the graduates.
  4. The presiding officer will present a token of graduation to the graduates.
  5. One of the new graduates will deliver a vote of thanks on behalf of the graduates.

Ceremonial items

(41) The University Secretary is the custodian of the University Mace on behalf of the Council. Only the University Secretary, or their delegate, may carry the mace at a graduation ceremony.

(42) The University Secretary is the custodian of the message stick. The message stick is carried by the Elder present at the ceremony. If an Elder is not present, the message stick will be carried by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (First Nations Engagement) or their delegate.

(43) From time to time, the University may introduce new ceremonial items or protocols. These may be added to the policy as a minor amendment with the approval of the University Secretary.

Academic and ceremonial dress for graduation ceremonies

(44) The Protocols Policy and Protocols schedule - Academic and ceremonial dress states the academic and ceremonial dress required for graduands, officeholders and honorary award recipients attending graduation ceremonies.

(45) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure provides further information on the expectations and exceptions for participants in the academic procession.

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Section 3 - Procedure

(46) The Conferral and Graduation Procedure supports this policy and should be read alongside it. The procedure states detailed requirements for:

  1. ceremony schedule inclusive of approval and/or postponement or cancellation,
  2. checking students’ completion of course,
  3. checking students’ eligibility to graduate,
  4. deadlines for inclusion in a ceremony period,
  5. attending graduation ceremonies, and
  6. how posthumous, aegrotat, double degrees and multiple awards are presented at graduation ceremonies.
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Section 4 - Guidelines

(47) Nil.

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Section 5 - Glossary

(48) For the purposes of this policy, the following terms have the definitions stated:

  1. Award – as defined in the policy library glossary.
  2. Confer – means to admit a student to an award of the University, certified through the provision of a testamur.
  3. Coursework course – as defined in the policy library glossary.
  4. Coursework subject – as defined in the policy library glossary.
  5. Graduand – means a student who has been confirmed as meeting the requirements for completion of their course but has not yet been conferred with their award.
  6. Graduate – means a student having met all course requirements and approval steps to graduate and having been conferred the award by the Chancellor.
  7. Higher degree by research (HDR) course – as defined in the policy library glossary.
  8. Research component – as defined in the policy library glossary.
  9. Teaching faculty – means the faculty to which the teaching school belongs or that manages the course in question. 
  10. Testamur – means the legal certification of a graduate’s award, containing the graduate’s name, the course completed, the date it was conferred, signatures of the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor, and the University Seal.