Q. My academic workload is already high. How do the progress and candidature policies help?

The progress and candidature policies will

  • make the expectations of graduate research progress and candidature clearer, reducing the chance of ambiguity and conflicting messages which take up valuable time
  • reduce the expectation to hold progress meetings with your full-time candidates from twice each year (in an RPP meeting) to once a year
  • support better progress management and time management by providing tools like a progress support plan with clear pathways (either to improvement, or withdrawal when things don't go well).

These policies will make it more likely for candidates to complete quality projects on time and will significantly reduce the workload involved in managing the poor progress of a candidate.

Q. I am the main supervisor and I will be away or on leave. Can my co-supervisor act as both supervisors?

No. A supervisor can only have one role at a time and you must always have at least two supervisors for your candidate’s research.

If you are on leave, it is possible to maintain continuity of supervision through other communication channels. If this is not a possibility, then interim supervision arrangements have to be made. The Head of School or relevant Director of Graduate Research will need to arrange for continued supervision while you are on leave – this can be an interim arrangement if need be.

In any event, a gap in supervision should never be greater than ten days.

Q. I am an external supervisor. Will I only be paid for supervising an enrolled candidate?

The payment of external supervisors is negotiated within schools and the Graduate Research School does not record or communicate this information.

A school may who restrict payment to external supervisors of currently enrolled candidates. If your candidate lapses for example, you will need to check with your school directly.

Q. My students’ thesis topic has changed and I think it should be in another discipline. What can I do?

If the change is a minor change, contact the GRS with your support of the change. The Graduate Research will update this directly.

If the change significant and a change of discipline is likely, the candidate may need to negotiate new supervision in a different department or school. If this is the case, the Graduate Research Coordinator in the new discipline will need to seek the approval of the relevant Directors of Graduate Research in both the original and the new school – this is because the change will represent a change in the funding and resources.

In these situation the respective Heads of School or Directors of Graduate Research are responsible for negotiating any redistribution of resources for the candidate as well as any completion funds. The candidate’s expected work submission and milestone due dates will not be adjusted where they change their topic and/or supervision.

Q. My student doesn’t answer my emails. What can I do?

Contact the Graduate Research School and we can provide you with a personal email address to try. You may also like to ask a co-supervisor or the candidate’s Progress Committee chair to approach the candidate directly.

If the candidate is not responding to any reasonable attempts to get in touch, let your Graduate Research Coordinator know so they can confirm this with the supervisory team and the Graduate Research School. If a candidate cannot be contacted after reasonable attempts, they can be declared absent without leave and withdrawn from their degree.

Q. As a supervisor, how can I support my candidate who has lapsed?

Lapsed candidates aren’t formally entitled to supervision and any support you provide will not be reflected in the Academic Workload Planning System (AWPS).

You may be in a position to provide additional supervision at this time and this can be negotiated individually with the candidate based on your circumstances, their circumstances and their potential to complete within the lapsed period.

For this reason supervisors are encouraged to support candidates to completion within the maximum candidature available. You can provide additional support for lapsed candidates at your own discretion based on your circumstances, their circumstances and their potential to complete within the lapsed period.

However, they won’t be able to carry out lab or field work while they are not enrolled and international students on a student visa will likely need to leave the country once their visa expires.

Q. Can my candidate extend instead of lapsing so I can still get AWPS points?

Candidates can certainly apply to extend their enrolment after their candidature expires, by submitting an extension form detailing a supported case for the Dean of Graduate Studies.

If your candidate enrolled in their degree after 11 October 2017, they will be charged either the international tuition fee or the value of the RTP Fees Offset award for the additional period of enrolment unless the school chooses to cover these costs.

Candidates who enrol after 11 October 2017 will need to manage their candidature through their progress milestones, and may postpone their expected work submission date by postponing their milestone due dates. If they need time in addition to any postponements granted throughout their candidature, they can apply for a further postponement up to their maximum candidature date (four years full-time equivalent for doctoral candidates, two years full-time equivalent for masters by research candidates). At this time their candidature will lapse and they can submit within twelve calendar months.

Q. What can I do if I don’t want my candidate to pay fees for extending their candidature?

Encourage your candidates to submit within their maximum candidature and help them to plan projects that can be completed by the (now earlier) expected work submission date. This allows enough time to recover from any issues or delays while still remaining with the maximum completion period.

If a local candidate enrolled in their degree prior to 11 October 2017 they will not be charged tuition fees if an extension to their candidature is approved.

Q. What fees need to be paid if a candidate revives their candidature?

The fees a candidate will have to pay will depend their remaining fee scholarship entitlement: the applicable fees are those for which there is no further RTP Fees Offset or La Trobe Full Fee Research stipend remaining.

Q. When should I advise my candidate to withdraw?

Candidates can withdraw at any time if they don’t wish to continue their studies. However, if your candidate would like to withdraw, it is worth first considering other candidature management options – such as taking a leave of absence, changing study rate or changing supervisors.

A range of support services identified on the GRS website is also available for candidates who are struggling – either with academic progress or for other reasons. If these measures and your supervision won’t be enough to support your candidate through to completion, it may be advisable for them to withdraw. Please also approach your Graduate Research Coordinator or with the Graduate Research School for advice.