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Reviews of Progress

To maintain enrolment in your research degree, you need to demonstrate satisfactory progress in your research.

Reviews of Progress take place to monitor and report your progress to Research Degrees Committee. Reviews must be completed by you, your supervisors and your local Research Degree Coordinator or Research Education: Portfolio Leader.

The following resources will help you meet the requirements of this milestone.

You'll definitely need:
You might need:

Further information about this milestone is available below.


Planning and reviewing your progress

To help you plan six months ahead and work towards your final thesis submission, the University has a twice-yearly planning and review cycle to monitor the progress of each student's research project.

This regular cycle assists students, supervisors and Research Degree Coordinators or Research Education: Portfolio Leaders to identify and discuss any issues or problems that arise.

You must make satisfactory progress during candidature to obtain approval for continued enrolment in the program (see the academic regulations relevant to your degree).

The planning and review cycle also helps you identify how you will develop and achieve the Research Degree Graduate Qualities (RDGQs).

The RDGQs define what a research degree student achieves through undertaking a research thesis. They identify competencies that are transferable to the workplace and attractive to future employers.

Planning and review flow chart

What's involved?

Academic regulations governing research degrees specify that at least two documented planning and review sessions must occur in each calendar year.

These are referred to as the SP2 and SP5 Reviews of Progress – the same form is used for both.

The purpose of a Review of Progress discussion is to review the student's progress over the previous six months and to discuss a plan of work for the coming six months. The academic regulations state that students are responsible for arranging separate times to discuss progress with supervisors and, if required, the Research Degree Coordinator or Research Education: Portfolio Leader. These meetings may be face-to-face, by telephone or by email.

The SP5 Review of Progress is required by the end of October each year so that Graduate Research, Candidature can re-enrol you for the following year and continue any scholarship payments. If you fail to complete a review you will not be re-enrolled.

Academic regulations specify the procedures to be followed if the outcome of a student's review report is unsatisfactory or if there are problems impeding progress.


Organising meetings

Graduate Research, Candidature will send you a reminder email when the planning and review sessions are due, so make sure you check your student email regularly.

You need to ensure that the planning and review takes place on time by making appointments with your supervisor/s and the Research Degree Coordinator or Research Education: Portfolio Leader.

What to discuss?

Changing your project

Sometimes research projects change direction. For example, information that your research uncovers may not be what you expected when you wrote your research proposal, and may have implications for the entire direction of your project.

This is not a bad thing (it would be a rather boring research program if all the results were completely as expected), but it may mean you have to alter your proposed activities for the following months.

For example, you may need to plan additional field or laboratory work, or arrange to visit an interstate or overseas library or gallery to examine other works you have discovered. If you are adding new research activities to your planning, you may need to delete others so that you can keep to your time commitment.

Revisiting your Research Proposal and Statement of Agreement

Refer to your approved Research Proposal and Statement of Agreement. Do you need to:

  • modify it?
  • add or delete from the literature review?
  • alter the methodology?

Maintaining your proposal as a working document will help it function as an early draft of the thesis.

Due to changes to your project, or for other reasons, you may also need to change your program.


If you need to branch out in a different direction, you may be moving into areas outside your supervisor's area of expertise. If so, it may be useful to seek guidance from experts in other fields, even with different methodological approaches. Your supervisor may be able to suggest people to approach, or you might need to tap into research networks to find academic staff elsewhere in the University or other universities (local, interstate or international).

Networking acts as a useful progress check because your contacts may be the ones who examine your thesis. If you establish good networking contacts, these people can give you informal feedback on the depth of your work and appropriateness of your methodology.


How to report

Graduate Research, Candidature requires a satisfactory SP5 Review of Progress by the end of October each year to re-enrol you for the following year and continue your scholarship payments (if applicable). Requirements for the Review of Progress are in the academic regulations for your degree.

Unsatisfactory progress

Should the outcome of your review be considered unsatisfactory, the Divisional Research Degrees Management Committee will review your progress to ascertain whether:

  1. special requirements should be put in place
  2. any grievance procedures have been appropriately dealt with
  3. candidature and/or scholarships should be terminated.

Regulations covering unsatisfactory progress procedures and appeals are in the relevant academic regulations for your degree.

Reporting forms and information