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Procedure: Higher degree by research - candidature progression


To outline the progression indicators, including milestones, which are component aspects for successful candidature and timely completion.



  1. This document should be read in conjunction with the Research Awards Rule, and the Higher Degree Research Candidature policy and procedures.
  2. Progression indicators track the progress of a candidate, and include:
  1. Milestones;
  2. Attendance;
  3. Compliance with reasonable instructions from their supervisory panel;
  4. Maintaining regular contact with their supervisory panel;
  5. Ethics approvals;
  6. Work, Health and Safety requirements;
  7. Appropriate publications for 'Thesis by Compilation’ submissions
  1. Candidates are required to satisfactorily complete milestones by the due dates to progress in their Higher Degree by Research (HDR) program.
  2. Milestones are formally documented by the University on a candidate’s record.
  3. The timeframes specified in this procedure may be varied by the Delegated Authority according to the circumstances.
  4. HDR candidates continue to submit an annual report and annual plan at a minimum every 12 months until thesis submission, or termination of program.
  5. HDR candidates may apply for an extension of their program prior to their maximum submission date (192 units FTE PhD; 96 units FTE MPhil).

Non-completion of milestones

  1. The Delegated Authority monitors milestones and determines eligibility for ongoing candidature where milestones remain outstanding for 3 months or more.
  2. Unsatisfactory completion or non-completion of milestones are grounds for the Delegated Authority to enforce a supplementary milestone, explore changes to project and/or supervisory panel members, suggest a transfer from a Doctor of Philosophy to a Master of Philosophy or recommend to the Associate Dean termination from the program.
  3. A Delegated Authority may determine a thesis not be accepted for examination if a progress indicator has not been completed.
  4. Applications for extension may not be considered if milestones are outstanding or unsatisfactorily completed, unless the Delegated Authority approves otherwise due to extenuating circumstances.
  5. If a candidate fails the Research Integrity Training twice, the eForm will pass to the Chair of Panel along with a list of questions the student failed. The Chair is to meet with the candidate to discuss the principles of the code (using the eForm as a guide) and complete the milestone eForm.
  6. Non-completion or unsatisfactory progress may have an impact on the Conditions of Award for scholarships.

Table 1: Progression Indicators; Mandatory unless otherwise specified

Each candidate can be provided with an individualised template plan of milestones on commencement. Further information regarding the progression indicator and templates available online at:

Progression Indicator


Timeframe (PhD)1 3

Timeframe (MPhil)1 3

Annual plan (AP)2

Research plan for at least the coming year. The Annual Plan (AP) outlines what the candidate intends to undertake, with sufficient detail to allow the supervisory panel and Delegated Authority to assess the appropriateness and feasibility of the plan.

The first AP is due three months after commencement, and in subsequent years at the same time as the Annual Report.

3 months

3 months

Completion of research integrity training (RIT)2

All ANU HDR candidates are required to complete the online Research Integrity Training (RIT) course. This course consists of 10 short modules designed to introduce appropriate research conduct.

Candidates are required to undertake and pass a RIT test as evidence of their understanding of the material. HDR candidates must complete the RIT milestone before they can submit any subsequent milestone.

3 months

3 months

If required, completion of Ethics requirements.

Ethics amendments may be required during candidature

6-12 months

3-9 months

If required by the DA, completion of Mid-Term Review (MTR)

18 months

15-18 months

Thesis Proposal Review (TPR)2

Annual Report and Plan (AR)2

A detailed thesis proposal, literature review (TPR), report on research activities since commencement, and plan for the next year.

The review indicates the subject of the proposed research, the methodology to be employed, an analysis of the relevant literature on this topic, a description of how the proposed research will make an original contribution to the field of study and where relevant, outline the research work required or undertaken.

All members of the supervisory panel participate in a TPR, AR, and AP review meeting.

The Chair of the supervisory panel should include comments made during the meeting, and make a recommendation on progress in the eForm. The Delegated Authority approves and determines the outcome of milestone.

9-12 months

6-9 months

If required, coursework requirements

12 months

6 months

Annual Report and Plan (AR)2

Report of research activities during the past year. The Annual Report (AR) also provides an opportunity for a candidate to flag any personal, academic or technical problems which may impact on their research and its timely completion.

The Chair of the supervisory panel comments, and makes a recommendation on progress and a candidate is given the opportunity to meet and discuss the comments. The Delegated Authority approves and determines the outcome of the milestone.

Annual progress is assessed against the previous Annual Plan.

24 months


Oral Presentation2

The Oral Presentation occurs up to 12 months before the intended thesis submission date.

The presentation is advertised within the University.

The supervisory panel participate and make an evaluation. This is documented in a written report. A copy of the written report is provided to the candidate. The report of the panel is not provided to the thesis examiners.

The preparation of candidates for the oral presentation will occur throughout their candidature with similar, less formal presentations.

The presentation includes the major objectives, content, results and conclusions of the candidates work. The candidate’s supervisory panel assess the presentation against the criteria of: (a) independent command of the material, (b) ability to communicate clearly and concisely the analysis of the material and findings, and (c) ability to respond appropriately to constructive commend and criticism.

Within 12 months of expected submission date

Within 6 months of expected submission date

Annual Report (AR) and Plan (AP)2 4

36 months


If required by the DA, completion of Supplementary Review

As required

Notification of intent (NoI) to submit

34 months

(at least 2 months before submission)

16 months

(at least 2 months before submission)

If specified in the program requirements, Viva Examination

As specified

As specified

Footnote 1 Clause 6 allows the Delegated Authority to vary timeframes, such as in instances where mandatory coursework is required.

Footnote 2 In the event of unsatisfactory completion, or non-completion of milestones the Delegated Authority may apply Clause 10 conditions above

Footnote 3 Completion of milestones during part time intensity are expected within the same timeframe as full time intensity (i.e. annually).

Footnote 4 Annual Report (AR) and Annual Plan (AP) milestones continue annually until submission.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Higher degree by research - candidature progression (under review)
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_012810
Purpose To outline the progression indicators, including milestone, that are component aspects for successful candidature and timely completion.
Audience Students-Graduate-Research, Staff-Academic-Research, Students-Graduate
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students - Higher Research Degrees
Effective Date 8 Jul 2020
Next Review Date 8 Jul 2025
Responsible Officer: Dean, Higher Degree Research
Approved By: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Contact Area Office of the Dean, Higher Degree Research
Authority: Racial Discrimination Act 1975
Research Awards Rule 2021
Delegations 83, 428

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