Candidature Milestones

Candidature milestones provide you with the opportunity to refine 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. The Action Dates tab details all your candidature milestones for the lifetime of your degree. It outlines your regular supervisory meetings, as well as your major milestones such as:

  • Confirmation of Candidature
  • Annual Reviews of Progress
  • Thesis Submission

Your Primary Supervisor and Graduate Research Coordinator (GRC) are responsible for signing off the Action Dates in iGRad. You will receive automatic reminders from iGRad if a milestone becomes overdue. If a meeting/milestone has occurred and has not been signed off in iGRad, discuss this with your Primary Supervisor. Completed actions are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Your 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 your first three months of candidature (full-time equivalent). Use the Research Plan tabs in iGRad to create, develop and maintain your research plan over the course of your candidature. 

Once all the tabs have been completed, use the Generate Plan button in iGRad to create a research plan document to use in your Confirmation of Candidature. As you revise and develop your research plan via the tabs, use the Generate Plan button to create updated research plan documents to use in your Annual Reviews of Progress.

Your supervisors are able to view the content and can add comments. Please ensure that you discuss all issues which you believe are affecting your candidature with your supervisors or your Graduate Research Coordinator (GRC).

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is dedicated to creating and maintaining an environment that promotes the responsible and ethical conduct of research in accordance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

It is essential that you discuss with your supervisors at the very outset whether ethics approval is needed and how to obtain it. Many research projects, including Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Research projects, require Human Ethics or Animal Ethics approval to proceed.

The Research Integrity and Ethics Unit is there to support researchers at UTAS. Please contact them with any questions relating to an ethics application, a clinical trial or a research integrity issue.

The purpose of Confirmation of Candidature is to assess:

  • Your academic preparedness and whether you have developed a clearly defined, coherent and feasible research project and whether you have documented this adequately in your research plan
  • Whether you have met coursework requirements as specified in your letter of offer
  • Whether other specific requirements (e.g. obtaining ethics approval) have been met
  • The suitability of the supervisory team to support you to completion
  • Whether your oral and written skills are sufficient for undertaking a Higher Degree by Research
  • The likelihood of you completing your Higher Degree by Research within the maximum degree period

Discuss the requirements of your Confirmation of Candidature with your supervisors and Graduate Research Coordinator (GRC) as early as possible.

In order to have your candidature confirmed, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Research Plan
  • Ethics Requirements
  • Data Management Plan
  • Written Work
  • Oral Presentation
  • Peer Review
  • Supervisor-Candidate meetings
  • Coursework
  • Any additional criteria required by your school or specified in your letter of offer

Detailed information can be found in the Higher Degree by Research Reviews of Progress Policy and Higher Degree by Research Reviews of Progress Procedure.

Following successful Confirmation of Candidature, your progress will be formally reviewed every 12 calendar months through candidature until submission.

The purpose of the annual review is to make an assessment of:

  • Your academic performance consistent with your research plan
  • The adequacy of research infrastructure and resources (including the supervisory team relationship) needed to complete your research project within the maximum degree period

You will be required to complete the Annual Review tab in iGRad. This allows you to fill out information and upload documents regarding your Annual Review, before a meeting is held with your Graduate Research Coordinator (GRC).

Detailed information can be found in the Higher Degree by Research Reviews of Progress Policy and Higher Degree by Research Reviews of Progress Procedure.

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.

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 member of your supervisory team, the relevant College Dean or 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.

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 supervisory team 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 often takes 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 any required revisions, please submit your corrected thesis to the Chair of Examiners. They will review your final thesis and, if approved, recommend to the Graduate Research Office that your degree be awarded.

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 (including all supplemental material) 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
  • All supplemental material associated with your thesis
  • A 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. Please 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 your 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 approval for your final thesis
  • Submitted an electronic copy of your final thesis via iGRad
  • Submitted a thesis abstract of strictly 2000 characters (including spaces) or less via iGRad: This is required for the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS), a Commonwealth requirement
  • 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 via eStudent: Degrees are regularly conferred at ceremonies held in August and December. If necessary, you may apply to have your degree conferred earlier at the next available meeting of the University Council. Information about graduation is available here. Please contact the Graduation Office if you require more information.
  • Checked your outstanding fees in eStudent: All outstanding fees must be paid (including SSAF). Please note that if you have any outstanding fees, this will stop you from being able to graduate. Please contact the Fees Unit if you have any questions.