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Overview of a research degree

Your candidature consists of milestones that mark your progress towards successful completion of your research degree.

The diagrams below show key milestones for a typical full-time candidature*, and include links to further information where relevant. There is a key to acronyms below the diagrams.

You can also download a PDF of research degree milestones (144 kB).


PhD milestones**

PhD milestones

**Professional doctorate degrees contain 18 units of coursework – this is negotiated with your REPL (or equivalent), and will affect timelines


Masters by research milestones

Masters by research milestones

Key to acronyms

RESA: Research Education Support Activities
RTS: Research Training Scheme (the Australian government funding scheme for domestic research degree tuition fees
PORTIA: Postgraduate Office Research Training Information Assistant


*These timelines are indicative and based on full-time enrolment. The timelines will be doubled for part-time enrolment (excluding Reviews of Progress, which must be undertaken by all students every 6 months). Exegesis-based assessment follows the same timelines as thesis-based assessment.


Possible changes to candidature

During your research degree there may be changes or variations that affect your expected completion date. It is very important to ensure you complete the relevant form to ensure everything is recorded correctly.

All variations must be lodged before 31 March (SP2) or 31 August (SP5). Late forms will not take effect until the following study period.

Changes that do not affect candidacy expiry date:

  • change of supervisor
  • change of mode (internal or external)
  • change of program
  • extension of scholarship
  • application to go overtime (alerts stakeholders that you have met your milestones but DOES NOT extend your candidacy expiry date) – overtime fees will be charged

Changes that will affect candidacy expiry date:

  • Change of load (full-time or part-time)
  • Leave of absence
  • Review of Progress (failure to submit a Review of Progress may result in administrative withdrawal)

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