The University of Sydney’s Show Good Cause process may seem daunting. If you receive a stage 3 notification asking you to Show Good Cause, try to remain calm and carefully work through the required steps.
Your faculty may ask you to Show Good Cause if you aren’t meeting academic progression requirements. Being asked to Show Cause by your faculty means that they require you to show good reasons why you should be allowed to continue in your degree. It is an opportunity for you to explain in writing why you have not met your milestones, and to defend your ability to successfully complete your degree. You must support your claims with evidence, if possible, and demonstrate why you should be allowed to continue in your degree.
A Show Good Cause notice will be sent to you if you have received an unsatisfactory progress rating at two consecutive progress reviews, The faculty may also ask you to Show Good Cause on the recommendation of the postgraduate coordinator, as a result of an unsatisfactory progress rating. During the final stage of your degree, a Show Good Cause notice can be sent to you if you have not submitted your thesis for examination by the latest possible date. HDR students have also been asked to Show Good Cause after receiving an allegation of academic dishonesty or research misconduct.
The notice should set out:
We suggest you include the following in your letter. You don’t have to set them out in the order below, but we encourage you to include all of these points and back them up with supporting documents:
The faculty will consider: your letter and supporting documents; progress reports; and reports by your supervisors or other senior academics, such as a postgraduate coordinator. A decision will be made by your associate dean (research education). The possible decisions outlined in University policy are that your faculty could decide:
If they decide you have not Shown Good Cause to be allowed to continue in your degree, your faculty associate dean could:
If your candidature is terminated, you may be excluded from applying for admission to a research degree at the University of Sydney for up to two academic years. While excluded from the University of Sydney, you cannot receive an award like an RTP stipend scholarship.
You have the option to appeal the outcome. We explain the 2 different levels of appeal below.
You can submit an appeal to your faculty dean if you disagree with all or parts of the outcome. The letter that informs you of the faculty’s decision should outline your entitlement to appeal. You have twenty (20) working days from the date on this letter to submit your faculty appeal.
PhD students may bypass this level of appeal if they choose and submit an appeal straight to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). The timeframe to submit an appeal to the SAB is fifteen (15) working days from the date on the decision letter.
Contact us for assistance with your appeal.
If you are dissatisfied with the result of your faculty-level appeal you have a final option of an appeal to the SAB. The timeframe for an SAB appeal is fifteen (15) working days from the date on the faculty decision letter. Your application for appeal to the SAB must demonstrate that your faculty breached due academic process. For advice on this, contact us.
If you appeal to the SAB, your case will be assessed by the Registrar’s nominee who determines if the appeal meets the eligibility criteria for consideration by the SAB. If the appeal is eligible your case will be referred to a panel hearing. You can take a representative or support person to the hearing with you, such as a SUPRA caseworker. Please contact us in advance of your hearing date to ensure availability. Your faculty will also be invited to send a representative, usually a senior academic.
For more information, read our article Academic Appeals for Coursework Students – the information about appealing to the SAB also applies to HDR students.
The Student Appeals Body is the final level of appeal at the University. If you are still not satisfied with the way the SAB or University handled your appeal you can consider submitting a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman. For domestic students, recommendations made by the NSW Ombudsman are non-binding for the University. For international students, legislation requires the University to implement any decision or corrective action the NSW Ombudsman recommends.
You can also discuss the Show Cause procedures in your school or faculty with your lead supervisor or the University’s Higher Degree Research Administration Centre (HDRAC).