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Candidature management

The period of enrolment in your higher degree by research is known as candidature. Candidature management is planning to complete your degree within the allowed time frames through project planning, setting realistic and achievable milestones, meeting regularly with your supervisor panel and having strategies in place for overcoming any likely barriers or risks to your research project progressing.

Understanding the milestones of the research journey, supervisor expectations and the support services and resources available will help you to plan and manage your candidature.

Conditions relating to candidature management are outlined in the policy Postgraduate Research Training.

Length of candidature

It is strongly recommended that doctoral candidates consult with their supervisors and develop a project that can be completed in three years (or part time equivalent). The maximum candidature for doctoral candidates is four years (or part time equivalent). The minimum candidature is two years (or part-time equivalent).

For Master by Research candidates, maximum candidature is two years (or part time equivalent), with a minimum candidature of one year (or part time equivalent).

You can find out how much candidature you have consumed, how much you have remaining and the expected submission date of your thesis for examination on your semester progress report. If it is outside the progress reporting period, you can request the information from your school’s Research Support Staff.

Extension of candidature

If you do not complete your degree within the above mentioned time frames you will be considered ‘overtime’ and will need to apply for an extension of candidature to continue your enrolment. Please note the following:

  • An application for extension will be considered only when circumstances beyond your control have impeded your progress. Employment commitments and other factors within your control will not be considered a valid reason for extending your candidature.
  • To apply for an extension you should complete an Application to Extend Candidature form with your supervisor, and then follow the instructions on the form regarding the submission process.
  • If the school Associate Dean (Research) approves your extension you will enter into a Finishing Contract. For more information download the Finishing contract guidelines.
  • If you do not submit your thesis by the approved extension date you will be excluded from the course.
  • If the school Associate Dean (Research) determines that you may not continue enrolment they will recommend that you be excluded from the course.
  • You may appeal to the Student Appeals Committee if you are dissatisfied with the assessment of your academic work or progress.

International students
If you are an international student there are a number of possible implications if you extend your research degree. You must discuss the implications with a Student Connect Officer through Student Central or the School information offices.

Ways to manage your candidature

You must meet regularly with you supervisory team to ensure the rate and quality of your work is in line with the standard of the degree. You should make sure you are aware of the milestones you are required to meet, and the expected timeframe for each milestone.

Appropriate enrolment load

You should make sure that you maintain an appropriate enrolment load that allows enough time to pursue your research project and to complete within the prescribed timeframes. It is generally expected that candidates enrolled full-time (100%) should be able to commit at least 35 hours per week to their study.

Adjusting your enrolment load

If you are not an International student you can apply to adjust your enrolment load in your progress report, or by using a Variation of candidature form.

If you are an international student you must receive approval from a Student Connect Officer through Student Central. Continue to Stages of your research journey for a breakdown of the research milestones and support available.

Support for candidature management

Your candidature management plan should be discussed and reviewed regularly with your supervisors. You can also seek support from your school's research and writing consultants and there are research training workshops held throughout the year that will help develop the skills you need to progress through your research journey.

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