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Conferral and Certification Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) takes pride in student achievements and provides robust processes for those achievements to be formalised, quality assured, documented and celebrated.

(2) Conferral and certification processes are designed to assure the integrity of CDU unit and course completions, ensuring that a CDU qualification is recognised and valued by employers, industries and professional bodies.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This policy outlines the University’s approach to conferral and certification of awards, including graduation ceremonies.  

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This policy applies to all students enrolled in an award unit or course at CDU, and includes those in vocational and higher education and those enrolled with partner organisations.

(5) Higher Degree by Research students are advised to read this policy in conjunction with the Higher Degree by Research Policy.

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Section 4 - Policy

(6) The University Council authorises the awarding of University qualifications and approves the scheduling of graduation ceremonies.

(7) Conferral and certification processes will ensure:

  1. timely processing of student results and completions to minimise any delay in the use of certification to seek employment, register with professional bodies or access further study.
  2. achievements can be celebrated at a graduation ceremony in the presence of family, friends, and peers.
  3. awards may be conferred at the next available University Council meeting when required prior to holding a graduation ceremony (early conferral).
  4. authenticity and integrity of award documentation, so that academic standards and the credibility of qualifications are upheld.

Completion and Eligibility for Conferral

(8) The University will identify vocational and higher education students who have completed an award at the end date of each teaching period, assessing their progress against the requirements of the course.

(9) Once a student has been assessed as having completed their award, they will be assessed for eligibility for award conferral.

(10) While a student may be completed, students will not be eligible for conferral (to receive documentation or graduate), where they have:

  1. outstanding fees or payments owing to the university; and/or
  2. not registered for a Unique Student Identifier (USI) or where the USI is unable to be verified.

(11) Students who are eligible for conferral and are assessed as having completed their course will have the following documentation issued to them within ten (10) working days.

  1. Vocational Education and Training (VET) students will receive a Qualification Completion Certificate and Academic Transcript.
  2. Higher Education (HE) students will receive an Academic Transcript.
    1. International students will also receive a Completion Letter.


(12) An award can be conferred at a graduation ceremony or at a University Council meeting.

(13) Students must nominate their preferred method of conferral by the published deadline.

(14) Students who have not nominated their preferred method will be automatically conferred in absentia at the next graduation ceremony.

(15) Award conferral is public information and the University will publish graduate information in the official graduation program. 

  1. Students may contact Graduations for a list of graduate information published.
  2. Students who do not wish to have their name published must contact Graduations in writing prior to their completion.

Graduation Ceremony

(16) Graduands who have nominated to have their award conferred at graduation will be invited to attend a ceremony, usually with a minimum of six (6) weeks’ notice. Graduands can elect to:

  1. accept the invitation, or
  2. decline the invitation, or
  3. elect an alternate ceremony.

(17) Graduands are required to wear academic dress for their graduation ceremony, as detailed in the Academic Dress Procedure.

  1. Australian First Nations graduands will be invited to wear a stole with the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and a First Nations Graduate Pin, in addition to the required academic dress.
  2. All graduands (from Australia and overseas) are encouraged to wear cultural or ceremonial attire in addition to the required academic dress.

Deferral to a future graduation ceremony

(18) Graduands may request to defer their attendance at a ceremony by up to twelve (12) months.

  1. Students in double degrees who have completed the requirements for one degree, may request a deferral of longer than twelve (12) months so that they can graduate from both degrees at once.

 Request to attend Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education presentation ceremony

(19) Graduands may request to attend the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) presentation ceremony in Batchelor or Alice Springs, instead of a CDU graduation ceremony, if they:

  1. are an Australian First Nations student;
  2. completed at least one (1) unit of their course with BIITE at the Batchelor or Alice Springs locations; and
  3. can have their award conferred by CDU prior to the next scheduled BIITE ceremony.

(20) In electing to attend a BIITE presentation ceremony, graduands are authorising CDU to transfer required personal information and documentation to BIITE for the purpose of participating in the ceremony.

(21) The University will provide BIITE with a list of graduands (and their official CDU documentation) as soon as is practicable after the cut-off date for each graduation round, for publication in the BIITE presentation program.

(22) Graduands electing to attend a BIITE presentation ceremony will:

  1. be recorded as conferring ‘in absentia’ for the purpose of the CDU ceremony; and
  2. be required to wear the BIITE academic dress.

(23) Graduands are not eligible for Away from Base funding to travel to a graduation or presentation ceremony.

Student Awards

(24) Successful recipients of student awards under the University and Chancellor's Medals - HE Student Award Procedure and University and Chancellor's Medals - VET Student Award Procedure, will be:

  1. notified in writing
  2. invited to attend a graduation ceremony and
  3. presented with the award at their chosen graduation ceremony (or in absentia).

Certification Documentation 

(25) The University will issue official certification documentation (see Table 1) to graduands in accordance with the relevant Australian Standards and guidelines.

  1. Graduands will receive a printed testamur upon conferral at a graduation ceremony or University Council meeting.
  2. Graduands who are conferred in absentia can collect their documents from Casuarina campus up to one (1) week following the graduation ceremony. Any uncollected documents will be posted within two (2) weeks of the ceremony date.
  3. A digital certified copy of Testamurs, Academic Transcripts and AHEGS (HE only) will be available via My eQuals.

(26) Table 1:  Types of Official Documentation by Course

Course Official Certification Documents
Higher Education
  1. HE Graduation Testamur
  2. Academic Transcript
  3. Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS)
  4. Completion Letter (International students only)
Vocational Education & Training
  1. VET Graduation Testamur
  2. Academic Transcript
  3. Qualification Completion Certificate

(27) Students who have an award conferred but then continue to the next level of a nested course (for example moving from a Graduate Certificate to a Graduate Diploma) will not be required to surrender their award.

Replacement Certification

(28) Testamurs will be replaced (at no cost) upon surrender of the original Testamur, where:

  1. a legal name change is required within 6 (six) months of conferral, subject to relevant supporting documentation;
  2. there is change in gender identity, subject to the submission of a statutory declaration or letter from a treating practitioner if applicable;
  3. the Testamur is damaged; or
  4. the Testamur is flawed.

(29) A Testamur that is lost or stolen will be replaced (at no cost), subject to the submission of a statutory declaration or police report as relevant.

(30) Additional copies of certification can be requested and may be subject to a fee:

  1. including where a legal name change is required 6 (six) months after conferral, subject to relevant supporting documentation.

Revocation of an Award

(31) To ensure the integrity of an academic award and the accuracy of University records, an award may be:

  1. withdrawn by the University where it has been found that the award was issued in error or issued at the incorrect award level; or
  2. revoked or withheld by the University where the student is in breach of a University policy and the rescission of an award is a valid penalty for such a breach.
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Section 5 - Record Management and Reporting

(32) The University will maintain official records of all conferrals, including Testamurs issued.

  1. Records will be disposed of in accordance with the Records and Information Management Policy and Procedure.

(33) Graduation programs are an official record of all graduates (including recipients of all award types), and may be amended from time to time with the approval of the Chancellor.

(34) Award conferral and revocation data will be reported periodically to relevant governance committees.

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Section 6 - Non-Compliance

(35) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(36) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Complaints and Grievance Policy and Procedure - Employees and Complaints Policy - Students.

(37) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.