The purpose of this Course Guide is to inform Course Members of the academic requirements and standards that the CDSS requires in order for you to complete a Graduate Certificate (Grad Cert).
The CDSS Academic Adviser's, role includes:
briefing Course Members and answering your queries about the requirements and processes involved in obtaining a Graduate Certificate (Strategic Studies);
helping you to select relevant and appropriate topics for Assignments One and Two and the two major papers that you must complete this year in order to obtain your Graduate Certificate: the Strategic Assessment Paper (SAP) and the Security Policy Paper (SPP);
in conjunction with your Home Syndicate Director, acting as your academic supervisor to guide and advise you about the research and writing aspects involved in completing your written assignments, especially your SAP and SPP; and
examining your Assignments One and Two, your SAP and your SPP, and providing an assessment of each of these to you.
Please do not ask me to read or comment on draft copies of your Assignments One and Two and your SAP and SPP, as I will be marking them.
I look forward to getting to know you all throughout this year as you undertake the Defence and Strategic Studies Course. I wish you a productive, enjoyable and successful time at the CDSS.
A/Prof Claude Rakisits
Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies
Australian Defence College
Weston ACT 2600
Part I Graduate Certificate academic option 3
Requirements for Graduate Certificate Course Members 3
Significant dates for Graduate Certificate Course Members 3
Requirements for Graduate Certificate Course Members
To qualify for the award of a Graduate Certificate (Strategic Studies), you must complete all of the DSSC assignments and requirements as detailed in the applicable CDSS ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ and other relevant CDSS documentation, including this Course Guide for the Graduate Certificate (Strategic Studies).
This requires you to:
fully participate in the five thematic lecture blocks and associated exercises within the Defence and Strategic Studies Course;
satisfactorily complete the designated three assignments (2,500-word Assignments 1 and 2, and the 2,000-word Assignment 1);
satisfactorily complete a 3,000-word Strategic Assessment Paper (SAP); and
satisfactorily complete a 3,000-word Security Policy Paper (SPP).
The three assignments, the SAP and the SPP, must all meet the CDSS’s academic requirements and standards as set out in the ‘Defence and Strategic Studies Course Deliverable Submission Details’ and in this Course Guide. These standards may be altered or amended from time to time. Should any changes or amendments be made, CMs will be advised of these by PCDSS.
The document ‘Defence and Strategic Studies Course Deliverable Submission Details’ provides process details for the three assignments, the SAP and the SPP. CMs have some flexibility with the topics for all assignments, within the boundaries of the guidance outlined during the Assignment brief. CMs will nominate their own topic for their SAP and for their SPP. For the SPP, however, a course sponsor or service chief may, in some cases, provide a topic or topics for an SPP to a CM. SAP and SPP topics may or may not be related.
Significant dates for Graduate Certificate Course Members
Key dates and milestones are detailed in the document ‘Defence and Strategic Studies Course Deliverable Submission Details’ provided to all CMs.
All CMs must submit their various items of written work on the due dates detailed above. An extension to any piece of written work is normally only granted to a CM where unforeseen personal or compassionate circumstances have arisen. The maximum period of extension for 2,000 word assignments is two weeks.
Where a CM considers there is a case to request an extension, the CM must:
discuss the matter with the relevant Syndicate Director (SD); and
submit a minute or email to the Director of Studies (DSTUDS) (information copy to relevant SD) not later than a week prior to the submission date.
The same principles apply for any CM seeking an extension to the SAP. The maximum period granted for an extension will be two weeks after the original SAP submission date. No SAP will be accepted after this date.
The delegate for extensions is the DSTUDS. Due to the tight timelines involved with marking, no extension will be granted for the SPP.
All work submitted for assessment by the CDSS must meet ‘the required standard’. For what this standard comprises, see ‘Academic requirements for Assignments, SAP and SPP’ below.
Should a piece of work written by any CM—with the exception of the SPP (as discussed below)—be considered not to meet the standard required by the CDSS, there is some provision for the CM to resubmit the unsatisfactory assignment.
Any resubmission of a piece of work will only be allowed as a result of the DSTUDS, in consultation with PCDSS and the Academic Adviser, agreeing that this is appropriate and that the CM can achieve the required standard via a resubmission. If a resubmission is granted, the CM will be given a specified period of time to re-work his/her piece of work and resubmit this for assessment. For the assignments, this maximum period will be two weeks; for the SAP, it may be up to four weeks. This will be from the date of return of the assessors’ reports to the CM. The CM will have to address the assessors’ criticisms in his/her resubmitted piece. The CM’s SD at the time of the original submission will oversee the resubmission process with the CM.
This section must also be read in conjunction with the section ‘Cheating, plagiarism and collusion’ below.
Assessment and graduation
Each piece of written work submitted by Graduate Certificate CMs will be assessed by a SD and by the Academic Adviser. The only exception is Assignment Three, which will be assessed by PCDSS and an SD.
For each piece of written work, you will receive an assessor’s report. Because the DSSC is a non-competitive course, none of your written work will receive a numerical mark or grade. Instead, at the top of each assessor’s report, your assessor will note whether your assignment/essay/paper ‘meets the required standard’ or ‘does not meet the required standard’. The former statement means that your work has met the CDSS’s minimum requirements and therefore is satisfactory. The latter statement means that your work has not met the CDSS’s minimum requirements and is unsatisfactory. If the latter applies, you will need to speak with your SD and/or the Academic Adviser about the possibility of a re-submission (see Resubmission Policy above).
Each assessor’s report will provide comment, feedback and/or advice on ways that you might improve your writing, your arguments, or on matters of fact. The Academic Adviser may also include in his report specific comments about the academic aspects of your work, such as your referencing, footnoting and bibliography.
To those CMs who successfully meet ‘the required standard’ for all of their written work and who are deemed to have satisfactorily participated in the five lecture blocks and exercises within the DSSC, the CDSS will award a Graduate Certificate (Strategic Studies).
Should a CM not participate in the five lecture blocks to the satisfaction of PCDSS, or fail to meet the required standard for a Graduate Certificate for all written work, PCDSS may award a Certificate of Attendance only. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Part IIYour written work
This section discusses the written work that each CM undertaking a Graduate Certificate (Strategic Studies) must complete this year.
Each CM must submit the following written pieces in the following order:
A Minute about the topic for your SAP;
An ‘SAP Outline’ plan that details how you intend to structure and complete your SAP;
A Minute about the topic for your SPP;
An ‘SPP Outline’ plan that details how you intend to structure and complete your SPP;
Assignment 3; and
For details on how to submit these written pieces, see ‘Submission of documents’ below.
Each piece of written work is discussed below. This is followed by a discussion about the academic requirements and standards that your written work must meet.
Must have an ‘argument’; must be fully referenced; must include a bibliography
Each assignment, SAP and SPP must be written in English to the highest academic standards possible. It must have an argument, be fully referenced and have a bibliography or list of references. For referencing, CDSS uses the Oxford system (footnotes/endnotes) to provide details of the evidence supporting your argument. (See The Deakin University Style Guide).
For each assignment, SAP or SPP, there is a specific word limit (2,500 words for Assignments 1 and 2; 2,000 words for Assignment 3; 3,000 words for the SAP and the SPP), plus or minus 10 per cent. That is, if the word limit is 2,500 words, the assessors will accept any piece that is between 2,250 and 2,750 words. Your footnotes, bibliography and any appendixes are not included in the word count. However, be warned: if your footnotes contain large amounts of unreferenced ‘supporting’ material that is excessive and/or that makes it look like you are writing another thesis in your footnotes in order to avoid having these words counted, you will lose marks.
Each written piece should have an introduction, a middle section that makes your argument and provides your supporting analysis, observations and evidence, and a conclusion. Your argument should be structured logically. Do not number each paragraph. Your conclusion also should not be a reiteration; rather, it should tell your assessor what you ‘conclude’ or deduce from the material and the argument that you have presented. In other words, you need a conclusion that points to and/or discusses the implications or ramifications of your argument for future events and developments.
Each written piece should provide a comprehensive answer to the question being asked (within the word limit) and should demonstrate a full understanding of the topic. This could include defining key terms in the question, placing the question in a broader relevant context (e.g. theoretical or empirical) and stating why the question is important in this context. Also, try to use shorter sentences rather than longer, more complex ones - they are both easier to write and to read!
Your piece should also mount and build a logical and analytical argument that states your ‘case’ - or answer - in relation to the topic. This argument must be supported and/or substantiated by evidence inserted into the piece via references. It does not matter whether your assessor personally dislikes or disagrees with the argument that you advance; rather, your argument must be cogent and well supported by credible evidence.
If you say something that you consider to be a ‘fact’ (but which may or may not be known to your assessor or which he/she potentially may contest or disagree with), you must support this ‘fact’ by providing a reference that tells your assessor where you obtained this ‘fact’ from: e.g., a newspaper report, a journal article, a book, an official publication, a recorded interview with someone, etc. Equally, if you state something significant or controversial or contestable without providing evidence, you assessor may well ask you to provide evidence to support your statement or proposition. Hence, you must provide suitable evidence to support or substantiate your argument when needed and/or as appropriate. These references must be from unclassified and, principally but not necessarily solely, English-language sources. They must be inserted into your document in an appropriate, consistent and accurate format that adheres to academic standards. Your assessor also must be able to find and access these references in order to check or investigate your argument. You should always provide a page number/s for the document given in each reference when this comprises a book or a journal article.
Sloppy referencing suggests poor scholarship and may detract from your argument. On the other hand, good referencing strengthens your argument and your overall written piece. It is better to over reference than under reference, but obviously there is no need to reference a non-controversial fact known by all. Importantly, references also guard against plagiarism (also known as intellectual theft!), an academic misdemeanour that is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the CDSS. See ‘Cheating, plagiarism and collusion’ below.
When you cite or quote from other written works, these must be done accurately via a reference/s. Indeed, when quoting someone else, each quotation must be inserted into your own text exactly as per the original, errors and all (in which case, insert [sic] after the error). If you omit something from the quote, use an ellipsis (…); if you alter or add something to the quote, put this in square brackets ([ ]).
A bibliography or list of references should be included at the end of each written piece. Works should be listed alphabetically by author or, if the report is an official document without an author, by title. Beware using an excessive number of Internet sources. While these are easy to obtain, their veracity and reliability is not always good. Do not, under any circumstances, use Wikipedia as a source.
In summary, you need to present an answer that comprises a logical and analytical argument. We do not want mere descriptive pieces or unconnected observations that tell us what happened and when this happened, but, rather, an answer that addresses the question and tells us why certain things happened and their ramifications.
In relation to what comprises ‘the required standard’, the following table provides advice:
Fulfilment of the overall task
The task was fully comprehended. The author offered an analysis and an argument. The material presented was linked to the task, topic or question asked.
Use of information,
Well researched with good use of material, information or evidence that is appropriate, consistent and supportive of the analysis and conclusions. References used to acknowledge all sources of information and all use of others’ ideas. Bibliography or list of references also provided.
Application of theories
and/or concepts dealt
within the topic or unit
Relevant theories and concepts, etc., applied in an appropriate way. No major misunderstandings; logical connections between ideas made; no serious omissions.
Structure and organisation
Sequence and structure logical and easy to follow. Introductory and concluding sections used effectively. Paragraphs and appropriate headings used throughout. Word count requirement met.
The English language used is generally sound and clear throughout. Spelling, punctuation and grammar generally satisfactory.