Your candidature milestones

Candidature milestones provide you with the opportunity to hone your project, as well as receive feedback and guidance throughout your candidature. It will keep you on track to successfully complete your project within 3 to 4 years (PhD) or 1 to 2 years (MRes).

You can manage all aspects of your candidature through iGRad.

Overview: This tab details your course code, school, Graduate Research Coordinator (GRC), campus, thesis topic, commencement date, maximum expiry date and your Supervisors. If you need to change any of these details during your candidature, please discuss this with your supervisory team, then complete and submit the relevant application form to your Research Hub.

See the Candidature Forms page.

Action Dates: This tab details all your candidature milestones for the lifetime of your Research Degree. It outlines your regular supervisory meetings as well as your major milestones, such as your Confirmation of Candidature, Annual Reviews of Progress and Thesis Submission.

Your Primary Supervisor and GRC are responsible for signing off the Action Dates in iGRad. You will receive automatic reminders from iGRad if a milestone becomes overdue. If the meeting/milestone has occurred and has not been signed off in iGRad, discuss this with your Primary Supervisor.

The following headings appear under Action Dates:

  • Type - outlines the type of action required (Task, Meeting, Confirmation, Review, Milestone, Examination)
  • Title - the full title of the action
  • Due Date - the date that the action is expected to be completed
  • Status - advises when an action is upcoming or overdue

Each action date is required to be signed-off as complete by either the Primary Supervisor[1] Graduate Research Co-ordinator[2] or the Graduate Research Office.

Completed actions are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

[1] Primary Supervisor - is the supervisor in the supervisory team who is the primary point of contact, they would normally be the supervisor with the largest responsibility and must be in the School in which the candidate is enrolled; they are the first listed in the Overview screen. If the supervisor listed first is not the Primary Supervisor a change to supervision arrangements should be submitted to the GRO.

[2] Graduate Research Coordinator - must be in the School in which the candidate is enrolled.

Your major candidature milestones are:

You are encouraged to meet with your supervisory team on a regular basis (e.g. fortnightly) to discuss project progress, troubleshoot issues and develop action plans for future research. These regular meetings support fruitful communication between you and your team, and assists all parties to manage their expectations.

Meeting Agendas: You are responsible for preparing the agenda for your meetings and documenting the discussion and outcomes. This record provides clarity for all parties. The agenda can include:

  • Meeting date/attendees
  • Progress on matters arising from the last meeting
  • Other project progress since the last meeting
  • Matters for discussion/troubleshooting
  • Progress towards your next candidature milestone(s)
  • Actions/outcomes arising from current meeting
  • Any other business

A template can be found on the Candidate Forms page.

You are required to develop a draft research plan within three months of candidature (full-time equivalent). The plan guides your entire candidature and is revised as needed. It is an important document for passing Confirmation of Candidature and at each annual Review of Progress.

It is recommended that you work on your Research Plan as a Word file first. This will assist in incorporating feedback from your supervisory team, prior to generating the Research Plan in iGRad.

Research Plan: This tab will assist you in developing and maintaining your Research Plan over the course of your candidature. You can add content and comments to the plan. Supervisors are able to view the content and add text in the comments tab.

Below each of the tabs in the Research Plan are explained, click on the links to view:

The ethical conduct of research is essential and many research projects, including PhD or Masters projects, require human or animal ethics approval to proceed.

It is essential that you discuss with your supervisors at the very outset whether ethics approval is needed and, if so, how to obtain it.

Confirmation of Candidature (CoC) assesses satisfactory academic progress. You are given the opportunity to formally outline and explain your project and its progress. At the end of your CoC, you and your supervisors should be comfortable with the robustness and viability of your research project. You will be provided, with valuable feedback on how to improve your research questions and proposed methodology. You will also have a clear path to follow towards your next Annual Review of Progress.

You will need to discuss the requirements of your CoC with your supervisory team and GRC as early as possible. They will provide you with further details on how to progress through your CoC for your relevant School/Institute, which may include the following:

  • Submit a ‘substantial’ piece of written work for peer review (usually 5000+ words)
  • Submit your Research Plan in iGRad
  • Obtained, or in the process of obtaining, your Ethics Approval (if required)
  • Give an oral presentation to your peers on your project
  • Have held a minimum of five (5) supervisory meetings with ALL team members
  • Completed the required coursework for your Research Degree
  • Submit your Confirmation of Candidature report via iGRad

You can also find further information in the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature Policy.

After completing Confirmation of Candidature you will have a formal review of progress every 12 calendar months until you submit your thesis. The annual Review of Progress is an important milestone where you objectively receive feedback on your progress to date, review the rigour of your research methodology and discuss future research activities. You will also discuss with your supervisory team and GRC what is required for Thesis Submission and Examination.

You will be required to complete an annual review report in iGRad. The Annual Review section allows you to fill out information and upload documents regarding your Annual Review. Both you as the candidate and your primary supervisory need to complete your reports before the meeting is held with the GRC.

The iGRad annual review page contains 5 sections:

Please note that you will continue to receive automated reminders until your GRC has completed the iGRad sign-off.

Click on the links below for more information about the various stages of examination and how they are managed in iGRad. to upload their abstract, thesis and all relevant documents to iGRad to allow the Graduate Research Office to conduct the examination process.

More information about:

Step 1: Abstract

Approximately eight weeks prior to submitting your thesis/exegesis for examination, you will need to upload your abstract by completing the Examination > Intention to Submit tab in iGRad.

Log in to iGRad

On receipt of your abstract, a request will be sent to your supervisory team and Head of School from the Graduate Research Office, asking them to nominate examiners for your thesis/exegesis.

The nomination of examiners process is confidential. You are permitted to provide the names of examiners that you do not want to examine your work (and accompanying reasons), but that is the extent to which you are involved.

A Chair of Examiners will also be appointed by the Head of School to act as an independent Chair throughout the examination process. Where the Head of School is also a Supervisor of the Candidate, the relevant Faculty Dean/Institute Director will appoint the Chair of Examiners.

Step 2: Thesis/Exegesis Submission

Before the maximum expiry date of your candidature, you will need to submit your thesis/exegesis for examination by completing the Examination > Thesis Submission tab in iGRad.

Log in to iGRad

The thesis/exegesis requires all relevant signatures inserted into the document before uploading. Details about formatting, length and referencing will be dependent on the discipline in which you have conducted your research. Please consult with your supervisor about these details.

Printed copies of your thesis/exegesis are no longer required, unless specifically requested by an examiner. In this case, the Graduate Research Office will request these from you.

On receipt of your thesis/exegesis, notice will be sent to your Head of School to request the approval of your submission. You can track the examination process via the Examination tab in iGRad. This will inform you when the examiners have been nominated, when your thesis/exegesis has been sent and the due dates for the examiner reports.

Step 3: Examiner Reports

Examiners are requested to return their reports to the Graduate Research Office within six weeks of receiving the thesis/exegesis, however this can often take longer due to workload and personal circumstances. The Graduate Research Office has procedures in place to follow-up on overdue examiner reports.

Once all of the examiner reports have been received, they are sent to the Chair of Examiners. The Chair of Examiners are responsible for providing a recommendation to the Graduate Research Office on the reports, who will then submit their comments and recommendation on the examination outcome to the Dean of Graduate Research.

The Dean of Graduate Research shall consider the recommendations of the examiners and the Chair of Examiners before determining how to proceed to the next stage.

Once determined, we will inform you of the outcome of your examination and send you the examiner reports.

When you have completed the required revisions, please submit your corrected thesis to the Chair of Examiners. They will then inform your Head of School/Institute that they have reviewed the final thesis and recommend that your degree be awarded. If approved, the Head of School will then advise the Graduate Research Office via email.

After the Graduate Research Office receive this approval, we can then advise you of the identity of your examiners and invite you to upload your final thesis and graduation requirements by completing the Examination > Graduation Requirements tab in iGRad.

Step 4: Final Thesis/Exegesis Submission

After the Graduate Research Office have invited you to upload your final thesis and graduation requirements, you will need to submit your final thesis/exegesis by completing the Examination > Graduation Requirements tab in iGRad.

The thesis/exegesis requires all relevant signatures inserted into the document before uploading. Please be advised that printed copies are no longer required.

You will also need to provide:

  • Thesis Access Form (PDF 90.8KB)
  • A separate thesis abstract for the purposes of the AHEGS.  This abstract must be strictly 2000 characters (including spaces) or less: This is required for the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS), a Commonwealth requirement.
  • For PhD or Professional Doctorate candidates only: A 40-word summary of your thesis to be read at the ceremony to a general audience. Refer to the 40 Word Summary Guidelines.

Once you have fulfilled the above requirements, the Graduate Research Office will request Academic Senate approval to award the degree. We will advise you when this approval has been received.

Step 5: Graduation

Graduation ceremonies occur each year in August and December. In order to graduate, you will need to have completed the below steps:

  • Made any required revisions to your thesis
  • Received Head of School approval for your final thesis
  • Submitted an electronic copy of your final thesis via iGRad
  • Submitted an AHEGS abstract via iGRad
  • Submitted a 40-word summary via iGRad (for PhD or Professional Doctorate candidates)
  • Submitted a Thesis Access Form via iGRad
  • Obtained Academic Senate approval
  • Checked/updated your graduation status and details in eStudent:

Any graduation updates you make in eStudent will automatically notify the Graduation Office of whether you are attending a ceremony.

If necessary, you may apply for special permission to have your degree conferred at a meeting of the University Council by contacting the Graduation Office.

Additional information about graduation can be found on the Graduation site.

Please contact the Graduation Office if you require more information.

  • Check your outstanding fees in eStudent:

All outstanding fees must be paid (including SSAF). Note that if you have any fee sanctions, these will stop you from being able to graduate.

Please contact the Fees Unit if you have any questions.