Varying your candidature

Changing your thesis title

Your thesis title is recorded on your student record. If you need to update your thesis title on your student record, you can send an email to the Graduate Research School (Current Students) advising of the change.

Your thesis title on your student record must match the title of your submitted thesis.

If the change of your thesis title reflects a major change of focus you must resubmit for candidacy (Milestone 1).

Important note: Scholarship holders should check the conditions of their scholarship by visiting the scholarships website before re-applying for candidacy.

Changing your Thesis Committee

Your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee may approve a change to your Thesis Committee based on the recommendation of your School’s Director of Graduate Research.

If you would like to change your thesis committee you should first discuss this with your supervisor or thesis chair. If this is not possible, you should discuss the matter with your Director of Graduate Research.


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.

Resources can then be assessed within your enrolling school to determine whether your requested 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

To change from one higher degree research course to another, you need to apply for candidacy in the desired course. You can not do this until you have achieved candidacy in your current course, you are on good standing and you have the support of your Thesis Committee.

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 an application for candidacy to a doctoral program 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 an application for candidacy to a master by research program 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

If your performance in your course is determined to be unsatisfactory by your Director of Graduate Research, or if you do not comply with the Rules, your enrolment may be terminated.

The process for the termination of enrolment is detailed in the Guidelines for the Process of Termination of Enrolment of Higher Degree by Research Students [.pdf – 77kB].

If you have received a “show-cause” notice indicating the University’s intention to terminate your enrolment, the first opportunity for you to appeal is at the School level. You can submit a written appeal or request a “show-cause” hearing to your Director of Graduate Research to state your case.

If this appeal is unsuccessful, and your School chooses to continue with the termination process, you will be formally notified by the Dean of the Graduate Research School 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 are 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 minimum period of 3 years and a maximum of 4 years equivalent full-time student load at the discretion of the university for a Doctoral student. For a Research Masters student the period of support is a maximum of two years at a full-time student load.

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.

If you are unable to submit your thesis within the designated 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.