Appointment of staff without Doctoral qualifications instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction provides a consistent and transparent process for the recruitment requirements relating to essential staff qualifications and assists the University in ensuring that quality assurance and best practice processes are implemented for the appointment of staff without doctoral qualifications.

This instruction applies to:

  • all academic staff (Level B-E) newly appointed to fixed term or continuing employment who do not hold a doctoral qualification. This includes existing staff appointed or promoted to a new academic position.
  • all newly appointed academic staff (Level A).
  • all newly appointed Heads of School and Deans who do not hold a doctoral qualification. This includes existing staff appointed or promoted to Head of School or Dean.


Acting or short term appointments for less than 6 months duration.

Instruction steps and actions

Qualification requirements:

Appointments to Academic A require the incumbent to have commenced, or enrolled to commence, their PhD/Doctorate at the time of appointment.

Appointments to Head of School, Dean or Academic B-E require the incumbent to hold a completed doctoral qualification.


Exceptions to the above requirements may only be granted with Vice-Chancellor approval.

Consideration may be given to one or more of the following:

  • A candidate nearing completion of their PhD who has submitted their thesis for examination and can provide documentation to support this.
  • Appointments relating to disciplines that have only recently introduced PhD qualifications. In this case, a postgraduate qualification combined with professional accreditation and standing and/or research achievement is expected.
  • Appointments where the candidate pool is extremely limited due to the nature of the position or discipline and it is deemed that a doctoral qualification may not be required as an essential criterion. A decision to appoint an academic staff member or Head of School or Dean, who does not hold a doctoral qualification, should be assessed against the expected profile and standing the University and/or School would gain by appointing a highly renowned or recognised professional in a specialised field.
  • A firm commitment from the candidate to enrol and/or complete their doctoral qualification by an agreed date.
  • Approved Application for Equivalence in accordance with the Staff Qualification Equivalence Process.

Obtaining approval prior to offer:

The Chair of the selection panel or Hiring Manager should make a submission to the Vice-Chancellor, with prior endorsement of the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor, justifying the reason for appointment and providing relevant background information. The submission should include a copy of the candidate's curriculum vitae and, if applicable, evidence of progress towards doctoral qualifications.

If deemed appropriate for the candidate to go through the Staff Qualification Equivalence Process, the submission should also address the Professional Experience Criteria outlined in the equivalency process and be directed to the relevant Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for a decision on equivalence, prior to submitting to the Vice-Chancellor.

If, prior to recruitment, it is deemed that a doctoral qualification is not an essential criterion and/or that it may be difficult to recruit a person with doctoral qualifications, a case should be submitted by the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor to the Vice-Chancellor for approval prior to commencing the recruitment process. Where the Vice-Chancellor gives prior approval to appoint a candidate who does not have a doctoral qualification, written verification of Vice-Chancellor approval should accompany the recruitment request. In this case, the position description should identify the essential alternative qualification required, with a doctoral qualification noted as preferred.

Other requirements:

All academic position descriptions should identify the PhD/Doctorate requirement as an essential criterion.

Only after approval has been granted to appoint a candidate who does not have doctoral qualifications can a formal employment offer be made.

Following appointment, the Performance Workplan should be utilised to manage the timely progress of doctoral studies.

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