Milestones are dates by which you plan to complete parts of your research, thesis and studies. Establish your own milestones and keep a record of them. Discuss them with your Research Progress Panels (RPPs) because they have experience of the time required to complete parts of research projects.
Some milestones have been established by the University for all HDR candidates.
Confirmation of Candidature
Confirmation of Candidature is an important milestone and is completed by full-time doctoral candidates about 12 months after commencement. It is required before one third of the time allowed for the degree has elapsed; that is the end of 16 months of a full-time PhD and 8 months of a full-time research masters. Confirmation of Candidature requires your Research Progress Panel's approval of your research proposal (or similar description of your research if proposals are not usual in your discipline e.g. some creative arts) and your more important milestones.
If you have to apply for ethics approval then decide on some milestones for it; for example when you will complete the application and when you can expect to have your approval.
Research progress panel meetings
Include RPP meeting dates in your milestones.
Significant work presentations
All HDR candidates now make significant work presentations. These are presentation to seminars (may be departmental) and conferences – local, national or international. The Three Minute Thesis Competition is not a significant work presentation but it is good for developing your skills. Reporting to your Research Progress Panel without a larger audience is also not adequate to meet this requirement.
Notice of Intention to Submit
Your Notice of Intention to Submit your completed thesis for examination, which is completed three months before the date you expect to do it, is another milestone. Some other common milestones are completing literature reviews, completing data collection and data analysis, completing fieldwork, writing each chapter and completing a first draft of your thesis.