Head of enrolling areas

Information for Heads of Enrolling Areas can be found below.

For further information pertaining to the Thesis Committee, please see the Guidelines for Thesis Committee Members.

Application for admission to a Higher degree by research

You must ensure that the following conditions are met by any applicant to a Higher degree by research.  This will ensure that your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee considers only qualified students.

  • The student is eligible to enrol.  The student must satisfy at least one of the eligibility criteria contained in the General Admission Requirements (Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 3).  If there is any query as to whether the student satisfies these criteria, the student’s qualifications should be assessed at this stage by an Admissions Officer (within Student Services).  International student qualifications must be assessed by Curtin International before any paperwork is sent to your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.
  • Appropriate supervision is available.  The Enrolling Area must be able to provide the necessary supervision and facilities required to support the student’s proposed research program (see the document outlining Essential Facilities for Higher Degree by Research Students).  Supervision should conform with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • The student is proficient in the English language.  The student must satisfy the English proficiency requirement of the University as listed on the Graduate Research School’s (GRS) Entry requirements page.  Please note that your formal acceptance of an application implies that the student’s English language proficiency is adequate.  It is critical for the success of the international student that they have both written and verbal skills to enable them to complete the thesis in English.
  • The student has appropriate background skills.  The student has demonstrated adequate training and the ability to pursue the projected research program to the required standard.
  • Contact requirements can be met.  If the student resides overseas or interstate, adequate arrangements must have been made to meet the contact requirements with supervisory staff.

Assessing an application for admission

Now evaluate the application formally and either accept or reject it.  An applicant must be informed of rejection as soon as possible.  Rejection of an international applicant will be via Curtin International, who will inform the applicant on behalf of the GRS.  Domestic applicants will be informed directly by the Future students team in the GRS.

If you accept the application, you should complete the relevant section of the Application for Admission form and submit it to the GRS Future students team who will then seek approval from your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.

If the application is rejected by your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee, the GRS Future students team or Curtin International will notify the applicant of the outcome.  If approved, a formal Letter of Offer will be sent to the applicant which confirms:

  • a new student number where necessary;
  • the thesis title or topic;
  • the names of members of the Interim Thesis Committee; and
  • the date by which the Offer must be accepted (or it will lapse).

Interim Thesis Committee

At the time the student applies for admission, and after consultation with the student, you must nominate an Interim Thesis Committee comprising at least a Chairperson and a Supervisor.  One or more Associate Supervisors and/or Co-Supervisor may also be nominated.

Scholarship applicants

If the student wishes to apply for a scholarship, the relevant Scholarship Application form should be completed and submitted at the same time as the application for admission.


Once the student has accepted the Offer and been enrolled, your Enrolling Area is expected to provide the supervision and support required to enable the student to complete their research in a timely manner.  This commitment is made by accepting the student’s application for admission, and later re-confirmed at candidacy.

In particular, the student should be encouraged to participate in informal and formal research seminars and research activities, both within your Enrolling Area and in other areas where appropriate.  Each student should also be kept well informed about any additional facilities or equipment (e.g. computing facilities, space or furniture) that they may be able to access.

Application for candidacy

The student will complete Parts 1 to 4 of the Application for Candidacy form, attach Appendix A (Consumables Allowance Budget Proposal) and the summary of proposed research program and submit the documentation to the Supervisor, who will discuss the composition of the Thesis Committee with you.  Part 3b and 5 of the form should be completed and signed by you and submitted to the Graduate Research School.  Before signing the form you are advised to:

  • confirm that Part 3a Copyright and Ownership of Intellectual Property: Student Agreement has been signed by the student;
  • check that Part 2 Ethics and Research Practice Clearance has been completed (See additional Ethics information);
  • check that the research proposal is confined to ten pages for Doctoral candidates and five pages for Master’s candidates, excluding references;
  • check that the Thesis Committee complies with Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 8;
  • check that any external Associate Supervisor has been registered as a University Associate;
  • check that Part 5 of the Application for Candidacy form has been signed by the Supervisor and the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee.

Variation to candidacy details

Once candidacy has been approved, any changes to the thesis title or the thesis committee must be approved by your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee using a Variation to Candidacy Details form.

The completed and signed form should be forwarded to the Graduate Research School for processing.

If the Chair, Supervisor or Co-Supervisor is unable to carry out their roles and responsibilities for a period exceeding three months, you must nominate a replacement for the relevant period for approval by the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee.

Conversion of candidacy

A student may apply to convert a Master’s (by Research) candidacy to a Doctoral candidacy per Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 7.  This is dealt with by using the application for candidacy procedure and using the Application for Candidacy/Conversion of Candidacy form.

Particular emphasis is on the sections of the form relating to Conversion and Ethics.  It is important to ensure that the student has included a statement within the research proposal showing how the research has changed and how it will make a substantial and original contribution to the area with which it deals.  The supervisor will also need to attach a letter of support.  Ethics should be reviewed again in light of the changes to the research proposal.

Although no formal Rules exist for the reverse situation, the procedure to be followed is exactly the same as above where there is a need for a student to convert from Doctoral Candidacy to Master’s (by Research) Candidacy.

Annual Progress Reporting

The Annual Progress Report is the mechanism by which you, as Head of the student’s Enrolling Area, your Faculty and the University as a whole can monitor the progress of a student’s research program, the quality of the supervision provided to the student and the adequate provision of resources and other facilities.  It is the official notification to the University that the student is actively pursuing their research.

The online Annual Progress Report is completed by research students and supervisors in February each year.

The Annual Progress Reports of Students and Supervisors shall be presented for discussion at the Higher Degree by Research Review Board meeting held in your area in April/May.  At the HDR Review Board meeting, recommendations regarding the academic status of each student will be made and forwarded to the Graduate Research School for students to be notified.

Leave of absence

The procedure for requesting a Leave of Absence is listed on the Application for Leave of Absence form.  The completed form is submitted to the Graduate Research School for processing.

Extension of time to submit thesis

The duration of a Higher Degree by Research is detailed in Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 4.  It is important that students complete their thesis within the relevant timelines.  However, a student may need to apply for an extension of time in which to submit the thesis for examination.  If this is supported by the Supervisor and yourself, you should submit the request to the Graduate Research School who will facilitate Faculty approval before the application is considered by the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training.

Termination of enrolment

If the student’s progress is unsatisfactory and/or the supervisor has indicated a number of problems occurring in relation to the conduct of the research, you, as Head of the Enrolling Area, should discuss the student’s progress with the Supervisor and/or Thesis Committee.

If a student is not making satisfactory progress, a report should be made by the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee to you, as the Head of the Enrolling Area.  Based on the individual circumstances, you may decide to recommend to your Graduate Studies Committee that the student’s enrolment be terminated.  The procedures for this and also for the student appeals process are stated in Rule 10: Degree by Doctor by Research and Rule 11: Degree of Master by Research, Section 16 & 17.

Appointment of Examiners

The recommendation for examiners is made on the Nomination of Examiners form submitted through the Graduate Research School for Faculty approval.  No previous or current member of a student’s Thesis Committee may be nominated.  Any subsequent changes to examiners should be made in the same way.

Following discussion with the student’s Supervisor, you will recommend that two examiners are appointed by the Thesis Committee approximately three months prior to the anticipated date of submission.

  • Doctoral Degree: two Examiners, both of whom are external to the University.  The Examiners should hold Doctoral qualifications or acceptable equivalents.
  • Masters (by Research) Degree: two Examiners, at least one of whom is external to the University.  The Examiners should hold Masters qualifications or acceptable equivalents.

You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that examiners are free from bias in relation to the student or the supervisor.  Please refer to the Guidelines for Best Practice in Thesis Examination (in the section on Thesis Examination) for further details.

Suitable examiners are likely to have substantial recent research or relevant professional experience.  Consideration may also be given to ensuring that at least one examiner has experience in the examination and/or supervision of Australian research theses.  It is recommended that Examiners have at least three years of research experience since graduating from their own Higher Degree.

You must confirm that an initial, informal approach has been made to the proposed Examiners to ensure willingness and availability to examine the thesis at the expected time of submission.  This initial contact may be made either by yourself, the Supervisor or the Chair of the Thesis Committee.  An abstract of the thesis should be forwarded to the potential examiner to inform his/her decision to examine, and ensure there are no paradigm clashes.

If subsequent to the formal appointment of Examiners, you become aware of any circumstances which will delay submission, please inform the Thesis Examinations Officer immediately.

Names of examiners shall not be released to the student.  Only the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training (or nominee), the Chairperson of your Faculty Graduate Studies Committee and the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee may communicate with the Examiners regarding the examination process while the thesis is under examination.

If the thesis is required to be classified Confidential, the student must indicate to restrict access on the Copyright and Release of Thesis form.  The Thesis Examinations Officer will then ensure that all Examiners sign a confidentiality agreement prior to dispatch of the thesis.

Appointment of replacement Examiner

Where an Examiner is unable to complete the examinations process, the Chairperson may recommend to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee that a replacement Examiner be appointed.  This request is made in the same way as for the original examiners.

Recommendation of the Chairperson of Thesis Committee

When the student has made the appropriate amendments as required by the Chairperson, a recommendation must be made that the thesis be Passed or Failed. This is achieved by submitting the Thesis Examination Report of Chairperson, signed by both yourself and the Chairperson, to the Graduate Research School.

If amendment or re-submission has been requested, a statement from the student documenting the response to the examiners’ reports must be attached to the Thesis Examination Report.

Conferral of award and graduation

The University Graduate Studies Committee makes monthly recommendations to Council for Conferral of Award.  The student is notified by the Thesis Examinations Office of the recommendation and does not have to apply to graduate.  This is done by the Thesis Examinations Office on the student’s behalf.