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Forms and guidelines for research degree students

The forms you'll need throughout your candidature are available below. Make sure you read the information about each form so you fully understand what's involved.

These are all fillable PDF forms. Many browsers will let you type directly on the form, but if not, try downloading and opening the file.


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You may also wish to refer to Policies, regulations and codes of good practice.

Trouble viewing the forms? Download the latest version of Adobe Reader. If you experience issues with accessibility, please contact research.students@unisa.edu.au.


Extend a scholarship

Can you apply for an extension?

  • If you are a doctoral student you may apply for an extension to your scholarship if your scholarship conditions and benefits provide for it and you have not previously received an extension to scholarship.
  • Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships, UniSA Postgraduate Awards (USAPAs), UniSA President Scholarships (UPS) and most other scholarships provide for up to 6 months' extension of scholarship under certain conditions.
  • If you are a masters by research student you are not eligible to apply for an extension to your scholarship.

Under what conditions are extensions of scholarship granted?

It's important to note that scholarship extensions are not automatically granted.

  • The University has an expectation that you will submit your thesis within 3 years. You and your supervisor should plan your research project around this timeline and set realistic milestones for completing within this time.
  • Grounds for extension may include:
    • equipment failure
    • delays in recruitment of participants for study
    • delays in obtaining data
    • delays in supply
    • delays in obtaining ethics approval
    • changes in supervision and project.
  • The unavailability of a supervisor will not normally be considered grounds for extension as there is an expectation that there always be at least 2 supervisors on the supervisory panel. Where there are issues with supervision and supervision is not available, administrative leave should be taken whilst the situation is being resolved. However, in some situations supervisory issues are appropriate grounds for extension and the Dean Research will assess these on a case by case situation.
  • The Dean Research must be satisfied that the grounds for extension were outside your and your school’s control and you have clearly demonstrated that everything was done to try and submit the thesis within 3 years. This should also be documented within your reviews of progress.
  • NOTE: The following reasons are not grounds for an extension:
    • Personal reasons such as illness or family/carers responsibility. Appropriate leave should be taken in these circumstances.
    • Work commitments (including assisting with grant applications).
    • Study away from the University.

How do I apply for an extension to my scholarship?

  • Applications for extension to scholarship must be made on the appropriate form (see below)
  • Applications should be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the end of your scholarship (but no more than 3 months in advance) to ensure plenty of time for assessment and processing.
  • If you are enrolled part-time you can only apply for an extension to scholarship for a maximum of 6 months at a time. A new application and work plan must be completed if you wish to apply for the remainder of the scholarship extension entitlement.
  • To complete this form you must include the following:
    • A detailed explanation of the reasons for applying for the extension to scholarship, including the timelines and dates affected.
    • A detailed progress plan listing the thesis and research progress to date and the tasks that have been set to complete the thesis (download an example).
    • A supporting statement from you supervisor.
    • A support letter from your scholarship provider (for externally funded scholarships)
  • Each case is different and you must provide as much relevant information as possible to support your application and so that the Dean Research can assess it appropriately.
  • Electronic submission of the form to your supervisor will only be accepted from your UniSA student email account.
  • The Graduate Research candidature team will notify you of the outcome of your application via your UniSA student email account.
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Leave of Absence

Any type of leave of absence taken during candidature will count towards the total amount of leave. This applies to both full-time and part-time research degree students.

Prior to commencing the leave, a request for leave of absence must be approved by the Supervisor and REPL and be made on the appropriate form.

The research degree student will be notified by Student and Academic Services of the outcome of their application.

What leave am I entitled to?

Recreation Leave

  • You are entitled to twenty days recreation leave for each full-time equivalent year.
  • This leave is not deemed to be a ‘leave of absence’ and does not affect your candidature dates or consumption.
  • For scholarship recipients, recreation leave does not affect your scholarship payments and you will continue to receive your stipend during your recreation leave.
  • Recreation leave must be pre-approved by your supervisor and fit within your agreed milestones and timelines.
  • Each school monitors this leave differently and therefore you must ensure you follow your school’s procedure for managing recreational leave.

Leave of Absence

Note: For any of these leave types candidature and scholarship end dates will be extended by the amount of leave days taken.

Type

Entitled duration

Covered by University Scholarship

Medical

Not specified

10 days per annum. May be accrued. Up to 12 weeks during your scholarship for periods of illness lasting longer than 10 days and for which a medical certificate is provided.

Adoption/Paternity

10 calendar days

Yes (after completion of 12 months of your award)

Maternity

12 Weeks

Yes (after completion of 12 months of your award)

Carer’s/ Family

10 calendar days per calendar year

Sick leave entitlements may be used to cover leave for family caring responsibilities. Supporting documentation must be provided

Jury Duty Days attended at the criminal sittings of the court Yes. Documentary evidence must be provided to support the leave request.

Personal

Up to 12 months (in less than 6 month blocks)

No

Financial

Up to 12 months (in less than 6 month blocks)

No


Administrative leave

  • The Associate Dean: Research Education may place a student on administrative leave for up to six months where progress is being impeded for reasons such as change of supervision or approval to change program/research.
  • Candidature and scholarship will normally be suspended during a period of administrative leave.

What are the conditions under which I can take a leave of absence?

  • Normally, you will have completed your confirmation of candidature and not still be in provisional enrolment. A leave of absence in provisional enrolment will not be approved unless there is documentary evidence of exceptional circumstances.
  • You will not have exceeded your allocated period of candidature.
  • You will have approval from your supervisor and Research Education Portfolio Leader / Research Degrees Coordinator / Associate Head of School: Research prior to taking the leave.
  • If the total leave exceeds 6 months, you have the approval of the Associate Dean: Research Education.
  • If the total leave exceeds 24 months, you have the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. In these instances you will need to provide a clear case why the leave is required, including a supporting statement from your supervisor and Associate Dean: Research Education.
  • If you are an international student visa holder you must be compliant with your requirements under your student visa.
  • If selected for jury duty you must supply a letter from the Office of the Sheriff of South Australia stating the days attended at the Criminal Sittings of the Court and complete a Juror Claim Form 2 – Payment to Employer form: http://www.courts.sa.gov.au/ForJurors/Pages/Claim-Forms.aspx. Both documents must be submitted with the leave of absence application form.   

 

Can I apply for retrospective leave?

  • Leave is considered retrospective if it is submitted after the relevant census date
  • A request for retrospective leave must be made within 12 months of the period being applied for and be supported by documentary evidence.
  • Retrospective leave will only be approved in special circumstances.
  • Special circumstances are those which include, but are not limited to, medical, family, personal, employment or course-related circumstances which were:
    • beyond your control, and
    • did not make their full impact until on or after the census date and
    • the circumstances made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements of the research degree during the study period in which you enrolled.
  • If you are requesting retrospective leave for an entire study period after the relevant census date, you can apply for an Amendment to Enrolment and Fees in Special Circumstances (PDF 266KB).

 

If you are an international student on a student visa:
  • You may take recreational, medical, maternity or carers/family/adoption leave, as set out in the Academic Regulations for Higher Degrees by Research and/or your Scholarship Benefits and Conditions
  • The only other grounds for leave are 'compassionate or compelling circumstances' (i.e. circumstances that are beyond your control and have an impact upon your academic progress or wellbeing, as supported by documentary evidence). You will need approval from a  Student Advisor/International Student Officer in teh Student Engagement Unit in these cases. The Student Advisor/International Student Officer will require a full understanding of the nature for compassionate and compelling circumstance to be able to grant approval for ESOS compliance for your student visa. A letter template is available in the 'You might need' section below to provide to your medical practitioner to support this requirement.
  • Examples of compassionate and compelling circumstances include but are not limited to:
    • Serious illness or injury, as supported by a medical certificate;
    • Bereavement of close family members, such as parents or grandparents (where possible a death certificate should be provided);
    • Major political upheaval or natural disaster in your home country requiring emergency travel, which has impacted on your studies;
    • Where a supervisor has been unavailable, due to circumstances outside of the University's control, and this has affected your progress;
    • Critical situations with the student's family
  • Please note that a leave of absence may result in cancellation of your CoE, which may affect your student visa.

 

How do I apply for a leave of absence?

  • Your application for leave must be:
    • made on the appropriate form (see below)
    • made prior to taking leave, except where the leave is for unplanned personal/carers/sick leave, in which case you should submit your application as soon as possible after the event
    • approved by your supervisor and Research Education Portfolio Leader / Research Degrees Coordinator / Associate Head of School: Research
    • if the total leave exceeds 6 months, your application must be approved by your Associate Dean: Research Education.
  • You may need to provide the following information in your application:
    • a medical certificate
    • support from your sponsor (for sponsored students)
    • a progress plan for when you return from leave.
  • Submit the form to your school's research administration team
  • You must not assume that your request has been approved unless you have been notified in writing by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
  • If you are an international student on a student visa make sure you read the section above before completing and submitting the form.
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Change of load between full-time and part-time enrolment

What you need to know

  • You may change load from full-time to part-time candidature, or vice versa, provided that your supervisor and Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent) approves the recommendation.

Important information for scholarship recipients

  • University research degree scholarship conditions require you to be enrolled full-time (except in exceptional circumstances), so if you are on a scholarship and apply for a change of load from full-time to part-time you must seek approval from the relevant Associate Dean: Research Education.

Important information for international student visa holders

How to apply

  • Requests for a change of load should be made on the ‘Request to change load’ form. (see below)
  • You must not assume that your request has been approved unless you have been notified in writing by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
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Change of mode between internal and external enrolment

What you need to know

  • You may change load from internal to external candidature, or vice versa, provided that your supervisor and Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent) approves the recommendation.

Important information for scholarship recipients

  • University research degree scholarship conditions require you to reside in South Australia (except in exceptional circumstances), so if you are on a scholarship and apply for a change of load from internal to external you must seek approval from the relevant Associate Dean: Research Education.

Important information for international student visa holders

  • International student visa holders must be enrolled internally, so if you return to your home country you must submit an application for change of mode.

How to apply

  • Requests for a change of mode should be made on the ‘Request to change mode’ form. (See below)
  • You must not assume that your request has been approved unless you have been notified in writing by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
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Change personal details

What you need to know

Complete this form if you have changed your name or citizenship.

If your address has changed you can update this via your student portal under 'my Personal Details'

Note: international student visa holders must notify the University of a change of address within 7 days.

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Withdrawal from program

What you need to know

  • Before you withdraw it is important to discuss your concerns with your supervisor and/or Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent).
  • You may apply to be readmitted to your research program provided you have had less than three years absence and will continue with your previous research project. An application for readmission must be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies (more information...)

Important information if you are a scholarship recipient

  • Withdrawing from your program will result in cancellation of your scholarship. You will need to re-apply for scholarship if you wish to be readmitted at a later stage.

Important information if you are an international student on a student visa

  • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will be notified of your withdrawal, which will result in the cancellation of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and may affect your student visa.
  • If withdrawing within 6 months of commencement you will need to contact Graduate Research research.students@unisa.edu.au and request a release letter from the University.

How to apply

  • Discuss your concerns with your supervisor and/or Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent).
  • If you wish to withdraw from your program you need to complete a ‘Program Withdrawal’ form (see below).
  • Once the form is complete please submit it to your divisional research office.
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Readmission

What you need to know

  • If you have withdrawn or your enrolment was suspended or administratively withdrawn, you may apply to the Dean of Graduate Studies for reinstatement, provided your have had less than 3 years of absence and will continue your previous research project.
  • If you are reinstated, and are over your allocated candidature time, you will be liable for tuition fees.

How to apply

  • Your application must:
    • be made on the ‘Application for readmission’ form (see below)
    • be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies
    • have the support of the principal supervisor, Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent), Associate Dean: Research Education and Head of School/Institute Director
    • include milestones that have been established between the supervisor and the research degree student to ensure completion within the required timeframe. The Associate Dean: Research Education will be required to agree to these milestones and to monitor progress against milestones.
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Change of supervision

What you need to know

  • Panel supervision is the preferred supervision model at UniSA. Supervisor panels should be established as early as possible in your candidature and should include supervisors from other disciplines and advisors who are end users of research, wherever appropriate.
  • Your supervisory panel must consist of a minimum of 3 supervisors made up of:   
    • A Principal Supervisor (mandatory)
    • One or more Co-Supervisors/Associate Supervisors from your discipline area
    • One or more Co-Supervisors/Associate Supervisors from other disciplines
    • One or more Advisors who are end users of research in their discipline
  • You must have a minimum of 2 internal UniSA supervisors within 3 months of your commencement. The remaining supervisory panel members should be appointed between that time and your confirmation of candidature.
  • You may change your supervision as a result of the following circumstances:
    • Your designated principal supervisor is unable to supervise you effectively for a period of six weeks or more.
    • Your research proposal requires a change in supervision for its approval to occur.
    • You wish to change the focus of the research after the research proposal is accepted and seek a change in supervision. In this instance you must also apply to the Associate Dean: Research Education to vary the research. (In these circumstances, the University reserves the right to decline the proposed change of focus).
    • At any stage of your candidature where additional expertise is required.
  • If there are concerns regarding your supervision or where supervision is unavailable for a period of time, it is important to consider whether administrative leave should be taken so as to conserve candidature and scholarship.

How to apply

  • Requests for a change of supervision must:
    • be made on the ‘Change of supervision’ form, and
    • have the approval of your supervisors, Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent) and Head of School/Institute Director.
  • If you are changing division/school/institute, a ‘Program Transfer / Change of School/Division’ form must be completed and approved by the Associate Dean: Research Education.
  • You must not assume that your request has been approved unless you have been notified in writing by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
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Program transfer / Change of school or division

What you need to know

  • You may apply to transfer or upgrade to a different research degree provided the criteria for admission has been met.
  • Completed applications must be received by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services prior to the relevant census date. Completed application received by Graduate Research after the relevant census date will apply to the next study period.
  • If you are on a scholarship this may be affected by a change in your program/school or division/institute. You should discuss this with your supervisor and Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent) before making any changes.

How can I upgrade from a masters by research to a doctoral degree?

  • A recommendation for an upgrade from a Masters by Research to a Doctoral program must be approved by the relevant Associate Dean: Research Education.
  • The recommendation outlining how you meet the criteria for admission must be made by your supervisor and research education portfolio leader (or equivalent). The recommendation must:
    • state that the relevant areas agree to the transfer and that the appropriate resources are available to enable you to enrol
    • include a review of the research proposal or, where the student is transferring to a different school/institute but has the same research topic, approval of the research proposal is provided by the relevant Associate Deans: Research Education.
  • If approved, your period of enrolment (excluding periods of deferral and leaves of absence) will be counted towards the new degree.
  • If you are on a Commonwealth or University of South Australia funded scholarship your scholarship will also be upgraded.

How to apply

  • Applications are to be made on the 'Program transfer / Change of school/division' form (see below)
  • Depending on your situation, you may need to include the following relevant documentation:
    • Change of Supervision form
    • Revised Statement of Agreement
    • Revised Confirmation of Candidature form
    • Revised research proposal
  • Your application will need the approval of your current school/division and, if transferring to a new school or division, you will also require approvals from the new areas.
  • Submit the form to the research administration team in your school.
For a program transfer or change of school or division, you'll definitely need:
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Exceeding candidature and overtime

What you need to know

  • Doctoral students have a maximum of 4 years to complete their program. This period of time includes 6 months for examination and any corrections.
  • Masters by research students have a maximum of 2 years to complete their program. This time includes 6 months for examination and any corrections.
  • If you do not complete your program within the required period of time you will need to apply for additional time.
  • You will need to provide a reason for going overtime and your application will need to be supported by your supervisor and approved by the Associate Dean: Research Education.
  • Approval will be subject to the availability of supervision and progress being monitored on a prescribed basis.
Domestic Students International students on a student visa
  • Extra time will only be considered where:
    • there are compassionate and compelling circumstances
    • it is an outcome of a review of progress
    • you have had an approved leave of absence
  • A new Confirmation of Enrolment will only be issued where extra time has been approved. Please contact the Scholarships and Candidature team at research.students@unisa.edu.au.

How to apply

  • Requests for overtime must:
    • be made on the ‘Application to go overtime’ form, and
    • have the approval of your supervisors, Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent) and Head of School/Institute Director.
  • In completing this form you will need to include a detailed progress plan and work plan for completion that is supported by your supervisor.
  • You must not assume that your request has been approved unless you have been notified in writing by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
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Study away from the University

What you need to know

  • You may be required to undertake study away from the University as part of your degree. This can be at an international or interstate university or organisation.
  • You must obtain permission from your supervisor, Research Education Portfolio Leader (or equivalent) and Associate Dean: Research Education. This must be done at least 1 month prior to leaving to allow time for approvals and processing.
  • Generally, study away will only be approved where you have completed your confirmation of candidature.
  • Normally, study away will be for a maximum of 6 months.
  • You may include recreational leave however this must be approved by your supervisor prior to leaving.
  • Your candidature and enrolment will be maintained whilst you are studying away and, if you are on a scholarship, this will also continue to be paid.
  • Study away is not grounds to apply for an extension to scholarship or candidacy as it can only be taken where the study away supports your research project. Where the visit is not supporting your research project a leave of absence should be applied for instead.
  • You must:
    • comply with the requirements of the overseas institution
    • undertake appropriate health and vaccination advice
    • consult regularly the Australian Government's travel advisory
    • ensure appropriate insurance cover is held
    • adhere to the University's travel guidelines.

International students on a student visa

It is your responsibility to ensure your proposed arrangements to study away from the University do not conflict with your visa requirements.

How to apply

  • Your application must be on the ‘Study away from University’ form and include:
    • a detailed plan of activities to be undertaken
    • an invitation from the university or organisation you are visiting (or approval from the appropriate authorities).
  • You must not assume that your request has been approved unless you have been notified in writing by Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
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Claim for relocation allowance

What you need to know

  • Students who have been awarded a Research Training Program (RTP) Domestic Scholarship or UniSA Postgraduate Award (USAPA) are entitled to claim expenses associated with relocating to their place of residence to take up their scholarship.
  • Some other scholarships may also provide a relocation allowance. Please refer to your letter of offer.
  • Reimbursement will be up to a maximum of $1,485.
  • Reimbursement can be for car hire, petrol, airfares and removalists, but not meals.

How to apply

  • Your application must be on the ‘Claim for relocation allowance’ form
  • You must lodge your form and tax receipts within 6 months of commencement.
  • You must also provide:
    • your original tax receipts
  • Graduate Research will contact you regarding bank details when your form is ready to be processed
  • If you have any questions please contact research.students@unisa.edu.au.
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Claim for thesis allowance

What you need to know

  • Students who have been awarded a Research Training Program (RTP) Domestic Scholarship or UniSA Postgraduate Award (USAPA) are entitled to claim expenses associated with the printing, editing and binding of their thesis.
  • Some other postgraduate research scholarships may provide a thesis allowance, please check with your school research administration in the first instance.
  • Reimbursement will be up to a maximum of $840 for PhD or $420 for a masters by research.
  • Reimbursement can be for a maximum of 4 soft-bound and three hard-bound copies of your thesis.
  • Thesis allowance is not assessable income for taxation purposes.

How to apply

  • Your application must be on the ‘Claim for thesis allowance’ form (see below)
  • You must include:
    • original receipts from the person who provided the services showing the amount incurred by the award holder, the date on which the receipt was issued and the service for which the claim is being made (scanned copies can also be provided but will need to be accompanied by proof of payment with a copy of a bank statement)
    • nominated bank account details
  • You must lodge your form with Examinations and Results team, Student and Academic Services, no more than 6 months after submitting your final Thesis and/or within 24 months of the finalisation of your scholarship.
  • Your payment will be deposited into your nominated bank account.
  • If you have any questions please contact research.examinations@unisa.edu.au.
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Nomination of thesis examiners

The nomination of examiners is an online submission and approval process using the research staff portal. The nomination of examiners must be initiated by the Principal Supervisor and then approved by the REPL (or equivalent) and the Associate Dean: Research Education before being sent to Graduate Research, Examinations for processing.

A detailed and information User Guide is available for both the submission and approval of examiner nominations in the research staff portal. 

Appointment of examiners

  • Examiners must:
    • hold a research degree at the level (or higher) they are examining, or have equivalent professional experience
    • be of high academic standing and have an international profile in the student's research field
    • wherever possible, have recent research activity in that field
    • have the capacity to arrive at an independent assessment of the thesis
    • have knowledge about the standards expected for the thesis/research work/artefact
    • not have given any substantive advice on the research (except in the case of a resubmitted thesis)
    • not had or have a close personal relationship with the student or supervisors.
  • Where possible, one of the examiners should be from an overseas university or overseas research organisation.
  • Examiners must also be external to the University.

Confidentiality

  • Students have the right to be consulted about the choice of examiners but should not know the identity of the examiners who have been nominated.
  • Anonymity of examiners must also be maintained throughout the examination process.
  • There should not be any dialogue between students and/or supervisors with the examiners during the examination process. If dialogue is required this must first be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Timelines and Processes

  • At 75% of your candidature (3 years FTE for PhD students and 1.5 years FTE for Masters by Research students) you will be sent an email requesting that you update your intended submission date in your student research portal. Once your intended submission date has been updated your Principal Supervisor will be sent an email. At this stage you and your supervisors should start to discuss your submission and examination timelines, including your examiners
  • Your Principal Supervisor should make informal contact with your potential examiners, providing them with your intended submission timeframe and confirming their availability and willingness to act as an examiner
  • Your Principal Supervisor will need to submit their examiner nomination via the research staff portal. After an overnight process the nomination will be sent to your REPL (or equivalent) and then Associate Dean: Research Education for approval. Once the nomination of examiners has been approved your Principal Supervisor and Graduate Research will be notified
  • If your thesis has also been submitted online and approved by your Principal Supervisor, REPL (or equivalent) and Associate Dean: Research Education, Graduate Research will commence the examination process
  • Once the examination process has commenced:
    • you will be notified that your thesis has been received
    • your candidature will be suspended (ie. you will no longer consume any load)
    • if you are on a scholarship this will be suspended
    • your examiners will be formally invited to examine your thesis
    • You will be notified of the expected examiner report submission date
  • The Graduate Research Team aims to send your thesis out within 1-2 weeks of receiving it. Most theses are sent out within 4-5 working days. Delays can occur if an examiner takes a little longer to respond to their formal invitation to examine the thesis or the appropriate documentation has not been received.
  • Examiners are asked to examine the thesis within 8 weeks of receiving the thesis. The Graduate Research team allows an additional week for confirmation of successful receipt of the thesis
  • The Graduate Research team will contact the examiners 2 weeks before your reports are due and then weekly after the due date has passed.
  • In some rare cases an examiner may take a much longer time to examine a thesis. In these instances the Manager, Graduate Research will contact the examiner. If required the reserve examiner will be used. This is very uncommon.

Other Important Informatopm

  • Your Principal Supervisor should contact with the proposed examiners to check their availability and whether they agree to examine the thesis. A template for this initial contact can be downloaded here
  • Two examiners and a reserve examiner should be identified in the nomination form. The form can be submitted without a reserve examiner but it is always best to provide one if it is required later down the track.
  • The supervisor will need to provide:
    • copies of the examiner’s CVs (The Deans Research will need this when they are reviewing and approving the nomination)
    • full names and addresses (including email, telephone and fax numbers) of each examiner
    • whether the thesis can be sent electronically.
  • The Dean Research will review the nomination and approval forwarded to Scholarships and Candidature, Student and Academic Services.
  • The Graduate Research team will confirm the availability of the examiners and dispatch the thesis.
  • Once both reports have been received the Graduate Research team will forward these to the student, supervisor, Research Education Portfolio Leader (or Equivalent) and Dean Research.
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