Varying your candidature

Changing your thesis title or Thesis Committee composition

You can formally change the title of your thesis or composition of your Thesis Committee during your candidacy. Following discussions with your supervisor, these changes may be recommended by the Director of Graduate Research of your School to the Graduate Research School for assessment.

Please note that if the change of title reflects a major change of focus you must provide a new candidacy application and research proposal, and resubmit for candidacy Important note: Scholarship holders should check the conditions of their scholarship by visiting the scholarships website before re-applying for candidacy.

Changing between full-time and part-time enrolment

It is important that you consult with your Thesis Committee and Director of Graduate Research before requesting a change to your study mode.

You should advise your reasons for requesting a change in your enrolment to your Director of Graduate Research. Resources can then be assessed within your enrolling area to determine whether your change of study mode is feasible. The decision to permit a change in study mode is made by the Director of Graduate Research and will consider the implications of the change for the School.

A request for a change in enrolment can be made via the Enrolment / Change of Enrolment form.

Scholarship holders: It is essential that you check the conditions of your scholarship before changing your enrolment. Most scholarships are available only to full-time candidates. You must contact the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School before changing your enrolment.

Conversion between higher degree by research programs

You may apply for a conversion of candidacy if you have gained candidacy for one higher degree by research course and wish to change to another.

Master by research degree to a doctoral degree

If you have obtained candidacy, and wish to change from a master by research program to a doctoral program, you must submit a new application for candidacy to your Director of Graduate Research.

Your supervisor will be required to certify that your proposed program of study is expected to produce an original contribution to your discipline that is of a standard internationally recognised for a research doctoral degree by providing a letter of support.

The recorded commencement date for the new program shall be that of your original degree.

You will be advised by the Graduate Research School if you have been successful and your enrolment will be amended accordingly.

Doctoral degree to a master by research degree

If you have obtained candidacy, and wish to change from a doctoral program to a master by research program, you must submit a new application for candidacy to your Director of Graduate Research.

The recorded commencement date for the new program shall be that of your original degree.

You will be advised by the Graduate Research School if you have been successful, and your enrolment will be amended accordingly.

Termination of enrolment

Provided that you are meeting your responsibilities as a Higher Degree by Research student, including making satisfactory progress in your research, this information should not concern you.

However, if your performance is unsatisfactory or if you do not comply with the Rules, your enrolment may be terminated as detailed in the Guidelines for the Process of Termination of Enrolment of Higher Degree by Research Students [.pdf – 77kB].

The first opportunity for appeal is presented at the Enrolling Area level. You can at this point submit a written appeal or request a “show-cause” hearing to state your case.

If this appeal is unsuccessful, and your Enrolling Area chooses to continue with the termination process, you will be formally notified by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training of the decision. At this stage, any further appeal can only be lodged on the grounds that due process has not been followed throughout the termination process.

If you require advice about appeal procedures please contact the Current Students Team within the Graduate Research School (

For independent advice about appeal procedures contact either the Postgraduate Student Committee and/or the University’s Integrity and Standards Unit.

International Onshore students: If you’re an International Onshore student studying within Australia on a student visa, a consequence of your enrolment being terminated is that you’re potentially in breach of your student visa conditions. This may lead to your visa being cancelled by the Department of Home Affairs.  If you have any questions on visa issues, please contact a student advisor from International Student Visas (

Extension of time to complete

Your time-based enrolment commences from the date of initial enrolment into your thesis unit.

The Australian Government’s Research Training Program (RTP) Guidelines allow a period of 3.5 equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL), equivalent to 3.5 years full-time study, for each doctoral candidate, and a maximum of 2 EFTSL, equivalent to 2 years full-time study, for each master by research candidate.

If the submission date of your thesis extends beyond the limits prescribed (having taken any leave of absence into consideration), you will be classified as Overtime and placed on Conditional status.

You will be informed by the Graduate Research School of your change in status, and automatically granted a grace period of overtime in which to complete and submit your thesis. For full-time students, this period is six months and for part-time students, twelve months.

If you are unable to submit your thesis within the designated grace period, you must apply for a formal extension using the Request for Extension of Time to Submit Thesis form.  Extensions of time are only granted under exceptional circumstances. You must be able to demonstrate:

  • reasons why you were unable to complete your research project on time;
  • that you have made a concerted effort throughout the duration of your research to keep the project on schedule;
  • intervening factors that have been taken into account appropriately in Annual Progress Reports. Factors and issues from previous years that are alleged to have significantly hindered completion are unlikely to be considered if they are not mentioned in the relevant annual progress reports.

Scholarship holders: Be aware of the conditions of your scholarship, which usually only apply for a limited period of time, as this may mean that you will not receive funding for the extension period. You must contact the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School ( before applying for an extension.