Skip to main content


Obtaining candidacy approval confirms that your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee has provided official confirmation that your program of study, including research aims and expected results, are of an acceptable standard.

Annual leave

You are entitled to 20 days annual leave each year, calculated on a pro-rata basis.

There is no formal application process, but you should obtain your supervisor’s consent prior to taking any leave.

If this permission is withheld, it is suggested that you discuss the problem with your chairperson. Annual leave may not be accumulated from year to year.

Scholarship holders should check the conditions of their scholarship to confirm the amount of annual leave they are entitled to and are required to notify the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School before taking any leave.

Changing between full-time and part-time enrolment

It is important that you consult with your Thesis Committee before changing your study mode.

You should advise your reasons for changing your enrolment and discuss the manner in which this will affect your candidacy. Resources can then be assessed within your enrolling area to determine whether your change of study mode is feasible. Such resources can include but are not limited to supervisory capacity, facilities and technical support issues.

If you are a full-time candidate changing to part-time, your change of enrolment is likely to lessen the immediate workload of your supervisor, but it will mean that supervision will extend over a longer period. If your supervisor is due for long-service leave or retirement, is planning to change jobs or has committed to other projects, then this may impact on their ability to continue to provide adequate supervision over the anticipated period of candidature. If this is the case, you and your Thesis Committee may need to find an another supervisor or make alternative arrangements.

If you are a part-time candidate changing to full-time, your change of enrolment is likely to lead to an increase in your supervisor’s workload. Under these circumstances, it is possible that your supervisor may be unable to provide an adequate level of supervision. If this is the case, you and your Thesis Committee may need to find an another supervisor or make alternative arrangements.

You should then complete an Enrolment/Enrolment Amendment form and obtain the appropriate approval signatures.

Important note: If you are a scholarship holder it is essential that you check the conditions of your scholarship before changing your enrolment. Most scholarships are available only to full-time candidates, and changing to part-time could result in you losing your scholarship. You must contact the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School before changing your enrolment.

Conversion between higher degree by research programs

Apply for a conversion of candidacy if you have gained candidacy for one higher degree by research and wish to change to another. This should indicate how the scope of your research has changed from the previously approved program.

Master by research degree to a doctoral degree

If you have obtained candidacy, and wish to upgrade from a master by research program to a doctoral program, you must submit a revised Application for Candidacy / Conversion of Candidacy form to your Graduate Studies Committee.

Your supervisor will be required to certify that your proposed program of study is expected to produce an original contribution to your discipline that is of a standard internationally recognised for a research doctoral degree by providing a letter of support.

The recorded commencement date for the new program shall be that of your original degree.

You will be advised by the Graduate Research School if you have been successful and your enrolment will be amended accordingly.

Doctoral degree to a master by research degree

If you have obtained candidacy, and wish to downgrade from a doctoral program to a master by research program, you must submit a revised Application for Candidacy / Conversion of Candidacy form to your Graduate Studies Committee.

The recorded commencement date for the new program shall be that of your original degree.

You will be advised by the Graduate Research School if you have been successful, and your enrolment will be amended accordingly.

Extension of time to complete

Your time-based enrolment commences from the date of initial enrolment.

The Department of Education and Training’s Research Training Scheme (RTS) Guidelines allow a maximum of four equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL), equivalent to four years full-time study, for each doctoral candidate, and a maximum of two EFTSL, equivalent to two years full-time study, for each master by research candidate.

If the submission date of your thesis extends beyond the limits prescribed (having taken any leave of absence into consideration), you will be classified as Overtime and placed on Conditional status.

You will be informed by the Graduate Research School of your change in status, and automatically granted a grace period of overtime in which to complete and submit your thesis. For full-time students, this period is six months and for part-time students, 12 months.

If you are unable to submit your thesis within the designated grace period, you must apply for a formal extension using the Request for Extension of Time to Submit Thesis form. Extensions of time are only granted under exceptional circumstances. You must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • reasons why you were unable to complete your research project on time;
  • that you have made a concerted effort throughout the duration of your research to keep the project on schedule;
  • intervening factors that have been taken into account appropriately in Annual Progress Reports. Factors and issues from previous years that are alleged to have significantly hindered completion are unlikely to be considered if they are not mentioned in the relevant annual progress reports.

Scholarship holders should be aware of the conditions of their scholarships, which usually only apply for a limited period of time, as this may mean that you will not receive funding for the extension period.

Hazard identification tool

For the hazard identification tool visit Curtin’s HIT site.

HDR consumables allowance

You will have access to a consumables allowance once you have achieved candidacy.

Concur is the expense management system used by Curtin to manage reimbursements, and can be accessed via the website or smartphone app. Students will be setup with a Concur account at candidacy approval and be able to view their current balance.

The Postgraduate Research Concur Student Guide is available on the Student policies and procedures webpage.

Leave of absence

A leave of absence may be granted for periods of one to 12 months unless in exceptional circumstances.

In exceptional cases, with provision of supporting documentation, a further period may be approved by the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee on the recommendation of your Head of Enrolling Area.

You must lodge an Application for Leave of Absence form prior to the start date of your proposed period of leave. Applications for retrospective periods of leave are only considered in exceptional circumstances.

Important note: International onshore students cannot take a leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances (for example, serious illness and bereavement) as student visas cannot be maintained if students are not studying. A Student Advisor – International Student Visas must authorise your leave of absence before you can lodge the form with the Graduate Research School.

The University prefers that you do not take leave before approval of your candidacy because it is important to maintain continuity of the process between enrolment and candidacy and for you to demonstrate your commitment. If candidacy has not been attained at the time the leave of absence is approved, the due date for submission of the Application for Candidacy will be extended accordingly.

If you are a scholarship holder, you are usually only funded for a specific period of time (normally three years for a doctoral program) during which it is expected that your research should be completed and your thesis submitted. Under these circumstances, should there be a period during which you are unable to actively engage in your research, it is recommended that you discuss your circumstances with your supervisor and Thesis Committee and apply for a leave of absence. You are also advised to check the conditions of your scholarship and you must advise the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School before taking a leave of absence.

A Graduate Studies Officer will inform you whether your application has been approved or rejected, and your enrolment will be amended as appropriate.

Domestic students who are recruited for Jury Duty, should lodge an Application for Leave of Absence form, along with a copy of the letter of call to service. A form should be submitted even if the time taken for this service is less than one month in duration.

Sick leave

You do not need to formally apply for sick leave if it is for a period of less than one month.

If your medical condition is going to affect the continuation of your studies beyond a month, you should complete an Application for Leave of Absence form and submit it along with your medical certificate/s, via your supervisor, to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee for consideration.

If you are ill for an extended period, but you do not formally apply for a Leave of Absence then your sick leave will not be recognised and you will still be required to complete your program within the prescribed time limits.

Approval of retrospective leave will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. If you are a scholarship holder you will also need to contact the Research Scholarships Office in the Graduate Research School.

Supervisory relationship

Before your candidacy you should establish some guidelines with your supervisor, including the frequency, initiation and record-keeping of formal meetings.

The need for formal meetings may change as your candidacy progresses, perhaps with more frequent meetings in the early design stages and less frequent meetings during the data collection and analysis phases.

Establish continued regular meetings with your supervisor, and prepare relevant written material and/or an outline for the format of each meeting. Take notes during the meeting and create a list of outcomes so that you are both clear on objectives that have been achieved as well as outlining a focus for the following meeting/s.

It is a good idea to set up the next meeting before you depart, as this will allow your supervisor time to consider the agreed focus for the next meeting, and to read any material you may have presented.

It is important to lay down some clear guidelines specifying what action to take if one party cannot attend a scheduled meeting, as well as making provisions for ongoing evaluation of the frequency and success of meetings.

Foremost of these is a timeline for research and thesis completion, which outlines a series of intermediate goals and gives some ideas about how progress will be assessed and feedback provided.

Students should be able to seek discussion and advice where there is a genuine problem, after initial attempts to rectify any issues. Many candidates find that it is best to present both the problem and potential solutions and discuss these, rather than solely relying on the supervisor to provide a solution.

If you would like to refresh your memory, you can re-visit the Guidelines for Establishing the Higher Degree by Research Supervisory Relationship [.pdf – 153kB].

Other issues that may need to be addressed include:

Termination of enrolment

Provided that you are meeting your responsibilities as a higher degree by research student, including making satisfactory progress in your research, this section should not concern you.

However, if your performance is unsatisfactory or if you do not comply with the rules, your enrolment may be terminated as detailed in the Guidelines for the Process of Termination of Enrolment of Higher Degree by Research Students [.pdf — 77kB].

The first opportunity for appeal is presented at the enrolling area level. You can at this point submit a written appeal or request a “show-cause” hearing to state your case.

If the above appeal is unsuccessful, and your enrolling area chooses to continue with the termination process, you will be formally notified by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training of the decision. At this stage, any further appeal can only be lodged on the grounds that due process has not been followed throughout the termination process.

If you require advice about appeal procedures please contact the Current Students Team within the Graduate Research School.

For independent advice about appeal procedures contact either Curtin University Postgraduate Students’ Committee (PSC) and/or the University’s Integrity and Standards Unit.

Important note: If you are an International Onshore student studying within Australia on a student visa, a consequence of your enrolment being terminated is that you are potentially in breach of your student visa conditions. This may lead to the cancellation of your student visa by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). If you have any questions on visa issues, please contact the Student Advisor – International Student Visas.

Time allowed for the completion of your degree

Research degrees are time-based and not semester-based.

Rule 10: Degree of Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 4(b) entitles you to two to four years equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) for a doctoral degree and one to two years EFTSL for a master (by research) degree.

Transfer between enrolling areas

The process of transferring between HDR programs will depend on whether you have provisional or confirmed candidacy.

The time allowed for the new degree will remain the same regardless of whether or not you have attained candidacy. If the new degree is at the same level as the original degree, then the recorded commencement date and the “funded EFTSL consumed” date of your new degree will be the same as the original degree (such as from doctoral degree to doctoral degree or from master degree to master degree).

Provisional candidature

If you have not attained candidacy, you must submit a new online Application for Admission into the new program. If accepted, you will receive a letter of offer. You will need to withdraw from the current program before being permitted to enrol in the new program.

Confirmed candidature

If you have attained candidacy, then you need to submit a revised Application for Candidacy / Conversion of Candidacy form to the appropriate Faculty Graduate Studies Committee. If approved*, the Graduate Research School (GRS) will convert your enrolment. You will not need to withdraw and re-enrol.

*International Onshore students: Curtin International will issue an offer into the new course so an updated Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) can be obtained before the GRS can convert your enrolment.

Important note: Scholarship holders must contact the Research Scholarships Office in the GRS before transferring between programs.


For travel and insurance information please visit Student policies and procedures.

Variation to candidacy

You can formally change the title of your thesis or composition of your Thesis Committee during your candidacy.

Following discussions with your supervisor, these changes will be recommended by the Head of Enrolling Area to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee for assessment of your Variation to Candidacy Details form.

Please note that if the change of title reflects a major change of focus you must provide a new candidacy application and research proposal, and resubmit for candidacy.

Important note: Scholarship holders should check the conditions of their scholarship by visiting the scholarships website before re-applying for candidacy.