Who manages graduate research degrees?

Graduate Research Degree Governance

Graduate Research degrees are governed by the Board of Graduate Research. Through the Graduate Research School, the Board approves enrolments, receives records of graduate research candidates’ research progress, authorises examiners, and recommends the award of graduate research degrees to Academic Board.

The Board of Graduate Research is chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate and Global Research), and it includes two candidate representatives, who are full members of the Board. These representatives are elected by the La Trobe Graduate Researchers team, which is comprised of School representatives. See the Board of Graduate Research Terms of reference [PDF 167KB] .

Graduate research admission, candidature, progress and examination are managed centrally within the Graduate Research School in liaison with each school’s Director of Graduate Research (DGR) and a team of department or disciplinary Graduate Research Coordinators (GRCs). Other staff concerned with graduate research degrees include supervisors, progress committee members, course coordinators and subject coordinators.

Graduate Research Coordinators and School Directors of Graduate Research

Graduate Research Coordinators and School Directors of Graduate Research are academic staff members with responsibility for leading and supporting graduate research in their local area.

The Director of Graduate Research is a senior academic staff member who leads and carries the graduate research portfolio in each school on behalf of the Head of School, including leadership of the school’s team of Graduate Research Coordinators. The DGR is expected to support the development of graduate researchers in their school, with a particular focus on candidate experience, completions, and industry engagement.

The Graduate Research Coordinator is an academic member of staff who leads and supports the graduate research portfolio in their discipline or department in keeping with the direction set by the School Director of Graduate Research. The GRC supports the development of graduate researchers in their area, with a focus on candidate experience, completions and industry engagement. The GRC plays a crucial role in creating and fostering an intellectual climate which supports both candidates and supervisors to produce high quality, engaged research.

Course Coordinators and Subject Coordinators

Many graduate research degrees include a coursework component – sometimes the administration of these requires the appointment of a specific Course Coordinator. Course and subject coordinators manage coursework subject availability and review applications and variations to coursework enrolment.

Progress Committees and Progress Committee Chairs

Each candidate is assigned a Progress Committee to support their progress and provide feedback through regular milestone meetings as stipulated in the Graduate Research Progress Policy. The Progress Committee comprises all members of the candidate’s supervisory team and may include an additional independent member, who may be external to the department, school or University. The Progress Committee is chaired by a senior academic staff member who has no direct involvement with the research, has significant experience as a graduate research supervisor and who has no actual or potential conflict of interest, in relation to the candidate or any other member of the Progress Committee. You can find more information on the role of progress committees in the Managing your research progress section of our website.

Graduate Research Supervisors

Each graduate research candidate is assigned a principal supervisor and at least one co-supervisor, whose appointment, eligibility to supervise and responsibilities are captured in the Graduate Research Supervision Policy.

Graduate Research School

The Graduate Research School (GRS) administers graduate research degrees. The GRS keeps candidate records including supervisors, progress reports, enrolment details, any study away from the University, leave, extensions and examination details.
Graduate Research School staff can provide information about the administration and procedures for graduate research degrees.


If you have a complaint during your candidature, the steps to follow are:

  1. Discuss it with your supervisor.
  2. If the matter is not resolved at step 1, discuss it with your progress committee chair, Graduate Research Coordinator, School Director of Graduate Research, or other senior staff in your area, or your Head of School.
  3. If the matter is not resolved at step 2, contact the Chair of the Board of Graduate Research (the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Graduate and Global Research) via the GRS to discuss the matter.
  4. If you need to take the matter further, you can also contact the Student Complaints Office and/or the University Ombudsman.

You may also wish to contact the La Trobe Student Association advocacy service who can provide you with independent support to help you understand your options and take action.