HDR candidature

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Getting Started – Information for new students

Making a smooth and settled transition to your higher degree by research (HDR) program will help you to feel comfortable and best able to succeed.

Accepting your offer, getting ready for your first day, enrolment, induction and understanding the policies and procedures that apply to you are all important steps in getting started at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

Now that you have applied to study your HDR program at USC, what happens next?

Accept your offer

Your admission process will slightly differ depending on whether you are a domestic or international student. To accept your offer and enrol, access the following link.

Induction at USC

Commencing your research degree can be a daunting experience. There are policies and procedures that will be unfamiliar to you, regardless of your previous level of study. At USC we know how important it is to support students and to help them feel comfortable in their new surroundings from day one.

There are a number of induction activities available to you:

In-person induction

After you accept your offer you will be invited to attend the upcoming HDR in-person induction. There are four held each year, it is recommended that you attend the induction that takes place as close to your commencement date as possible to get the most out of the information presented.

Meet with your supervisor(s)

HDR candidates are expected to arrange their first meeting with their supervisor(s). Through this meeting, students are provided with clear and comprehensive information on the expectations and degree requirements of their HDR program.

For more information on the supervisor-candidate relationship see the HDR Supervision Procedures and the HDR Academic Policy. These documents provide a framework for HDR supervision at USC and support the university’s compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework as relevant to research training.

Self-managed induction

There are a range of other activities you should undertake in your first weeks to smooth your introduction to life as a USC research student. These are presented in no particular order:

  • Familiarise yourself with USC’s Guidelines, Policies and Procedures *Particularly those items listed under Research
  • Familiarise yourself with the content on the Graduate Research Studies Management Blackboard Portal. Here students can access information, forms and announcements connected to their candidature.
  • Attend the in-person induction nearest to your commencement date (February, April, July or November).
  • Visit the library and their web pages.
  • Obtain a student ID card from Student Central.
  • Understand what fees you will pay as an HDR student.
  • Familiarise yourself with HDR Scholarship opportunities.
  • Pick up a coffee from a campus café and take a self-guided tour of the Sippy Downs campus.
  • Speak to your supervisor about any Laboratory inductions you need to complete (if applicable). See the “Lab and Fieldwork” tile on the Important Links page in USC Central.

Further information and links can be found on the Important Links page on USC Central (login credentials required).

Commencement

@research email address

HDR candidates may request an "@research.usc.edu.au" email format by completing this online form. Once activated, your research student email address will be firstname.lastname@research.usc.edu.au.

Your details
Progressing Students

As you progress through your HDR program there will be numerous interactions with people, systems and resources to support you achieve your goals. To make the most of these interactions, it is important to understand when and how they occur.

Useful contacts

Your supervisor is your key contact throughout your degree. They will provide guidance on all aspects of your research. You will meet regularly with your supervisor to ensure you are making progress in your degree.

Each School appoints an HDR Coordinator, who is responsible for monitoring the general progress and welfare of research students in that academic area. The Head of School is available as an alternative contact for consultation.

The Dean, Graduate Research is the senior academic officer overseeing HDR matters across the university.

The Graduate Research Office is responsible for administering USC’s HDR programs.

For a list of all other USC contacts, refer to the A-Z directory.

Workshops and events

Bookmark the Research Calendar to keep up-to-date on upcoming research training and event opportunities.

Other USC events are advertised on the Events Calendar and the Campus Life Calendar.

Major Milestones
Overview of Candidature Milestones

The duration and timeframes connected to a candidate’s milestones are dependant upon the type of HDR program in which the student is enrolled and the study load (part-time or full-time). As an example, the below tables provide an overview of what an HDR candidate can expect to undertake in each year of their study based on a full-time study load.

Doctoral Degree

Length of Program (Candidature) – 4 years (Full Time Equivalent) 

Year Milestone Occurs
Year 1 Induction Upon commencement of program
  Research Ethics and Integrity Training Prior to commencement of Confirmation of Candidature process
  Initial Plan and Progress Review (PPR)

2 months from commencement of program

 

Confirmation of Candidature Process

Complete 12 months from commencement of program

 

Subsequent PPRs

Every 6 months for international students and every 12 months for domestic students

Year 2

Probationary Expiry

18 months from commencement of program

 

Subsequent PPRs

Every 6 months for International Students and every 12 months for domestic students
Year 3

Thesis Examination Presentation

6-3 months prior to thesis submission

 

Subsequent PPRs

Every 6 months for international students and every 12 months for domestic students

 

Thesis Submission

3 years from commencement of program

Year 4

Undertake thesis revisions (if required)

3 months allowed for minor revisions/ 6 months allowed for major revisions

 

Candidature Expiry

4 years from commencement of program

Masters by Research Degree

Length of Program (Candidature) – 2 years 

Year Milestone Occurs
Year 1 Induction Upon commencement of program
  Research Ethics and Integrity Training Prior to commencement of Confirmation of Candidature process
  Initial Plan and Progress Review (PPR) 2 months from commencement of program
  Confirmation of Candidature Process Complete 9 months from commencement of program
  Subsequent PPRs Every 6 months for international students and every 12 months for domestic students
  Probationary Expiry 1 year from commencement of program
Year 2 Subsequent PPRs Every 6 months for international students and every 12 months for domestic students
  Thesis Examination Presentation 6-3 months prior to thesis submission
  Thesis submission 1.5 years from commencement of program
  Undertake thesis revisions (if required) 3 months allowed for minor revisions/6 months allowed for major revisions
  Candidature Expiry 2 years from commencement of program
Induction

In person session at the Sippy Downs campus, initial meeting with supervisor(s), and self-managed induction activities. Induction should be undertaken as near to commencement as possible.

Research Ethics and Integrity Training

Online training and quiz.This milestone can be completed by accessing the Research Ethics page in Blackboard.

Plan and Progress Review

The Plan and Progress Review (PPR) milestone requires the completion of a form which is used by students and their supervisory panel to tailor and monitor a bespoke research training program. This enables the HDR candidate to achieve the knowledge, skills and learning outcomes provided in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for level 9 and 10 degrees.

Further information about this milestone can be found on the PPR milestone page in Blackboard.

Confirmation of Candidature

The Confirmation of Candidature milestone signals an HDR candidate’s transition from “probationary” to “confirmed” candidature. Confirmed candidature means that the research proposal has been approved and is considered to be of a good quality. Further, this milestone determines that the research project can be conducted within the timeframe provided for the applicable HDR program. This milestone requires that students submit a Research Proposal and present their work at a confirmation seminar.

Research proposals differ according to their overarching discipline. Discipline specific guidelines can be found on the HDR Confirmation of Candidature Guidelines webpage.

Further information about this milestone can be found on the Confirmation of Candidature milestone page in Blackboard.

Thesis Submission and Examination

Each candidate’s examination process will differ in duration as the timeframe is dependent on examination outcomes and whether revisions to the thesis are required. As part of this milestone, students will present their thesis at a seminar and submit their thesis document for examination.

Further information about this milestone can be found on the Thesis Submission and Examination pages in Blackboard.

Making Changes

During your HDR studies, you may need to make changes to your candidature connected to study load, supervision team, and research topic for example.

Information and forms connected to changes to candidature can be found in the Variations section in Blackboard.

Travel

For any travel related information connected to HDR candidature, access the Travel Blackboard Portal. A link is included on the Important Links page in USC Central.

Nearing Completion

Finalisation of successful candidature and conferral of award

Once the (revised) thesis / exegesis has been reviewed by the Research Degrees Committee and accepted to be passed, candidates are required to submit their final thesis to the USC Research Bank. The Research Bank provides an open access showcase of the USC’s scholarly research output.

Once the thesis / dissertation is deposited on the Research Bank, the Research Degrees Committee recommends to the Academic Board that the degree is conferred. Once Academic Board have conferred a doctoral degree, the recipient may then use the title "Doctor".

 

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