While you study
Research degrees are time-based and not semester-based. You are allowed between two and four years equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) for a doctoral degree and between one and two years EFTSL for a master (by research) degree.
Your supervisors are there to help guide you through your study at Curtin. They are the first people to go to when you have a question about your study, Curtin’s policies and processes, facilities and equipment needs and issues, or if you want to vary your program or take leave.
If you are having difficulties in your course and have not been able to have these resolved by your supervisors, you should make an appointment to see your thesis chair.
Director of Graduate Research
Each School has a Director of Graduate Research (DGR). DGRs are responsible for managing enrolments, student progress (Milestones) and annual reports. DGRs also provide School level approval for changes to thesis title, thesis committees, leave of absence requests, extension requests, nominations of examiners and chair reports.
Graduate Research School
The Graduate Research School (GRS) oversees high-level policy, administration and leadership matters related to Curtin’s HDR programs. You may need to contact the GRS is you are having issues in your course and you have not been able to have these adequately addressed at the School level. You may also come into contact with the GRS if your enrolment status is set to conditional or during your thesis examination.
Student Wellbeing Advisory Service
Curtin’s Student Wellbeing Advisory Service provides support for students. You can speak to a Student Wellbeing Advisor by either visiting Curtin Connect in Building 102 on Bentley campus, calling 1800 244 043 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Curtin Student Guild have the Student Assist support and advocacy service. You can visit the Guild at Building 106F on Bentley Campus, call Student Assist on 9266 2900 or email email@example.com.
Curtin’s Counselling Services
For students at the Bentley campus, you can seek advice from the University’s Counselling Services. You can call 9266 7850 or 1800 651 879 to make an appointment. They are located on level two of Building 109. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for information, but please note that no counselling is provided via email.
During your enrolment, your progress will be formally monitored at three points. These points are known as Milestones. The defined Milestones are Milestone 1 (candidacy), Milestone 2 (mid candidacy) and Milestone 3 (pre-submission).
Please ensure you visit the Milestones page for further information.
About Annual Progress Reports (APR)
Annual Progress Reports (APR) enable you and your Thesis Committee to assess the progress of your research project.
Your APR is an online questionnaire to which you must attach a one-page summary of your progress. You will be sent a link for the questionnaire approximately four weeks before the due date. Annual reports are usually due in April each year.
Your supervisor is also required to fill out a similar summary of your progress.
Who needs to complete a report?
If you were enrolled in a higher degree by research on or before the 31 December of the year prior to the reporting period you need to complete an annual report (unless you have submitted your thesis or have withdrawn from the course).
If you are on Leave of Absence during the reporting period you must still complete the annual report.
What happens if you don’t submit your report
If you don’t submit your APR by the closing date your enrolment status will be changed to Absent Without Leave (AWOL).
Ensure you attend an Orientation session for research students at the start of your first semester. Learn more about Orientation for research students.
All students will have a Thesis Committee consisting of at least a Thesis Chair, Supervisor and Co-Supervisor (or Associate Supervisor).
Your supervisor carries the primary responsibility for your supervision, including the coordination of all communication between the supervisors and you. The supervisor will be a member of the academic staff of the school in which you are enrolled. You should be able to seek advice from your supervisor when you have problems in your research program. Many candidates find it best to present both the problem and potential solutions and discuss these, rather than solely relying on the supervisor to provide a solution.
You should establish some guidelines with your supervisor on how frequently you will hold formal meetings, how they will be initiated, and what records will be kept.
Tips to optimise your meetings:
- Establish regular meetings with your supervisor (each fortnight or month), and prepare relevant written material.
- Take notes during the meeting and create a list of outcomes so that you and your supervisor are clear about the objectives that have been achieved as well as outlining a focus for following meetings.
- Set up the next meeting before you depart, as this will allow your supervisor time to consider the agreed focus for the next meeting and to read any material you may have presented.
- Create a timeline for your research and thesis completion. This plan should ensure you will be able to meet your Milestone requirements.
Other things to consider include:
*** Important Notice: The Guidelines for Essential Facilities For Higher Degree by Research [pdf. 329KB] and Research Support Fund Reimbursement List [pdf. 285KB] were updated on the 5th December 2018. Please read Information Information sheet about changes to the Guideline for Essential Facilities [pdf. 154 KB] for more information ***
Your School will provide you with access to a computer (desktop or laptop), printer access and appropriate software to support your research program. You will also be provided with a desk, secure storage and a telephone. Such resources may be shared, however your School will ensure that you have adequate and reasonable access commensurate to your research program and stage of candidature. If you require additional software, please contact CITS.
Data storage must be arranged as part of your Data Management Plan.
Ensure you read the Guidelines for Essential Facilities For Higher Degree by Research [pdf. 329KB]
The Research Office at Curtin (ROC) provides discretionary funding to support HDR students undertake their research projects. This discretionary funding is administered according to the arrangements set out in the Guidelines for Essential Facilities For Higher Degree by Research [pdf. 329KB] and Research Support Fund Reimbursement List [pdf. 285KB]
It is important for students and supervisors to note that any funding made available by the ROC to support HDR research is discretionary and the allocation, administration arrangements and permitted uses may change from time to time throughout a student’s enrolment.
Lab, fieldwork and creative production costs
If you are undertaking a study which requires you to purchase essential materials, lab resources or data, or you need to undertake fieldwork, you may make a claim for reimbursment of your expenses from your research support allowance.
Information about your research support allowance is contained in the Guidelines for Essential Facilities For Higher Degree by Research [pdf. 329KB].
Read the Research Support Fund Reimbursement List [pdf. 285KB] for more information about types of items you can claim.
The Research Office at Curtin (ROC) provides discretionary funding to support Doctoral students to participate in a scholarly conference. This discretionary funding is administered according to the arrangements set out in the Guidelines for Essential Facilities For Higher Degree by Research [pdf. 329KB].
Curtin will provide funding to assist Doctoral students to participate in at least one national or international conference. The maximum* amount of funding for each student to support conference participation is AU$2,500, or MYR$2,500 for Curtin Sarawak students.
* It is important for students and supervisors to note that the funding made available by the ROC to support HDR conference participation is discretionary and the maximum value and administration arrangements may change from time to time throughout a student’s enrolment.
During your candidature you may have reason to travel directly related to your HDR research. This may be for data collection, specialised training, internships or fieldwork purposes. Read the Guidelines for Essential Facilities For Higher Degree by Research [pdf. 329KB] about funding to support Fieldwork and Conference Travel.
Before arranging any travel, you must consult the Travel Approval website to ensure you follow the correct procedures for a safe and productive trip. All student travel, regardless of the source of funding, needs to be approved via the Travel Operations Portal before departure to ensure your trip is registered for insurance purposes. See the Risk and Assurance website for more information about insurance and to view the coverage of Curtin’s travel insurance policy.
All travel funded in part or total by Curtin must be booked through a travel facilitator.
International onshore students
Please note that your OSHC medical insurance does not cover you when you are on fieldwork, attending conferences or other approved university business outside Australia so you must also obtain approval for travelling overseas as detailed above. Additionally, if you are leaving Australia for fieldwork or data collection, you must complete the Offshore Fieldwork and Data Collection form. You can request the form by emailing email@example.com. You must return your completed form, signed by your supervisor, to firstname.lastname@example.org before your departure.
If you’re in receipt of a scholarship, please ensure you seek approval to travel from the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School (email@example.com). Failure to obtain approval may result in your travel not being processed.
Curtin offers insurance cover for some activities you may undertake as part of your research. This includes various levels of cover for travel, liability, medical treatment liability, personal accident and property insurance.
You can use the Curtin University logo on documents such as research participant information sheets, consent forms and questionnaires, but you must ask your supervisor to contact University Marketing to request a logo and to provide details about its intended use.
Code of Conduct
You must abide by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research in all your research activities.
It is your obligation to ensure you full understand Curtin’s plagiarism policy for students so you avoid any plagiarism issues. If you are in doubt please seek assistance from your supervisors, thesis chair or Director of Graduate Research.
Conflict of interest
If you have any complaints which have not been resolved in your School or Faculty you may direct complaints to the Dean of the Graduate Research School:
- Associate Professor Amanda Davies, Dean, Graduate Research School – GRS.Dean@curtin.edu.au
The Integrity and Standards Unit can assist if you have any concerns or need clarification, advice or support in relation to the lodgement of management of a complaint.
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) at GRS.CurrentStudents@curtin.edu.au advising of the change.
Your thesis title on your student record must match the title of your submitted thesis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before approaching your supervisors, ensure you have read the Information Sheet for converting to another HDR course [.pdf 27KB].
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.
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 three years and a maximum of four 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. To be eligible for an extension 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
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 (Research_Scholarships@curtin.edu.au) before applying for an extension.
You’re entitled to 20 days annual leave each year, calculated on a pro-rata basis. There is no formal application process, but you should obtain your supervisor’s consent prior to taking any leave.
If this permission is withheld, you should discuss the problem with your Thesis Chairperson. Annual leave may not be accumulated from year to year.
If you’re a scholarship holder, check the conditions of your scholarship to confirm the amount of annual leave you’re entitled to, and notify the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School at Research_Scholarships@curtin.edu.au before you take any leave.
A leave of absence may be granted for a period of one to 12 months.
In exceptional cases, with provision of supporting documentation, more than 12 months of leave may be approved by the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee on the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Research of your School.
You must lodge an Application for Leave of Absence form prior to the start date of your proposed period of leave. Applications for retrospective periods will not be considered.
Important note: International onshore students cannot take a leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances (for example, serious illness and bereavement) as student visas cannot be maintained if students are not studying. A Student Advisor from International Student Visas (firstname.lastname@example.org) must authorise your leave of absence before you can lodge the form with the Graduate Research School.
The University prefers that you do not take leave before approval of your candidacy. If candidacy has not been attained at the time the leave of absence is approved, the due date for submission of the Application for Candidacy will be extended accordingly.
If you are a scholarship holder, you are usually only funded for a specific period of time (normally three years for a doctoral program) during which it is expected that your research should be completed and your thesis submitted. Under these circumstances, should there be a period during which you are unable to actively engage in your research, it is recommended that you discuss your circumstances with your supervisor and Thesis Committee and apply for a leave of absence. You are also advised to check the conditions of your scholarship and you must advise the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School before taking a leave of absence.
You don’t need to formally apply for sick leave if it’s for a period of less than one month.
If your medical condition is going to affect the continuation of your studies beyond a month, you should complete an Application for Leave of Absence form and submit it along with your medical certificate/s, via your supervisor, to your Director of Graduate Research.
If you’re a scholarship holder you’ll also need to contact the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School (Research_Scholarships@curtin.edu.au).
Neither annual leave or sick leave (taken without an approved leave of absence) will extend your time to submit your thesis for examination.
Withdrawing from your course
Termination of Enrolment
If your performance in your course is determined to be unsatisfactory, 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].
The Conditional Status Information for Students provides some further information about the processes that may lead to termination of enrolment.
If you have received a “show-cause” notice indicating the University’s intention to terminate your enrolment, you can:
- Lodge your appeal with the Director of Graduate Research of your School.
- Withdraw from your course to avoid termination of your enrolment.
If you choose to appeal and your appeal is unsuccessful, your School chooses to continue with the termination of enrolment process.
Notification of outcome
You will be formally notified by the Dean of the Graduate Research School about the decision to terminate your enrolment.
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 (email@example.com).
Where to go for help
If you require advice about appeal procedures please contact the Current Students Team within the Graduate Research School (GRS.CurrentStudents@curtin.edu.au).
Curtin’s Student Wellbeing Advisory Service provides specific support for students on conditional status. You can speak to a Student Wellbeing Advisor by either visiting Curtin Connect in Building 102 on Bentley campus, calling 1800 244 043, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For independent advice about appeal procedures, you may wish to contact the Curtin Student Guild’s Student Assist. Student Assist is a support and advocacy service provided by the Guild. You can visit the Guild at Building 106F on Bentley Campus, call Student Assist on 9266 2900 or email email@example.com.
Another option for students at the Bentley Campus is to seek advice from the University’s Counselling Services. You can call 9266 7850 or 1800 651 879 to make an appointment. They are located on Level 2 of Building 109. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for information, but please note no actual counselling is provided via email.