Period of candidature
Minimum and maximum period of candidature
Q. What are the minimum, expected and maximum periods of candidature?
All Australian universities have administrative processes for the reporting of progress in graduate research degrees. This is to ensure that candidates don't take an excessive amount of time to complete their degrees - after all a graduate research degree is a portal to a future career, not the destination itself .
La Trobe University expects all candidates to submit their thesis and any other required components for examination by the expected work submission date. This is your expected period of candidature.You will be notified of this date when you first enrol and it will be included on your induction checklist and all your progress reports.
The minimum period of candidature is the minimum period of time you can usually be enrolled before submitting your thesis.
The maximum period of candidature is the maximum time you can be enrolled before submitting your thesis if you need to postpone your expected work submission date due to unexpected progress delays with your research. Time where you are not enrolled (e.g. when on a leave of absence) does not count towards your maximum period of candidature.
The minimum, expected and maximum periods of candidature for respective higher degrees by research are as follows:
minimum period (CALENDAR MONTHS IRRESPECTIVE OF STUDY RATE)
EXPECTED PERIOD (eft)
MAXIMUM PERIOD (eft)
Master’s by Research
*The minimum period of candidature of a Master’s by Research Degree may be longer depending on the educational background of the candidate (as specified in volume of learning guidelines in the Australian Qualifications Framework).
You and your supervisor should design your research project together to make sure you are best positioned to complete a quality research project
s within your expected period of candidature.
Q. How many hours of study should I aim to complete each week?
In order to maximise your chances of completing your degree within the expected period of candidature, you should complete about 35 hours of study per week. If you are enrolled part-time, this is 17 hours per week.
Completing your induction checklist
Q. Why do I need to complete an induction checklist and where can I access it?
As part of your degree, you must complete an induction checklist with your principal supervisor at the start of your candidature. You will be sent an email with a link to your induction when you first enrol.
Completing this checklist with your supervisor will ensure that
- you are developing a research project plan with a design and scope that maximises your chances of completing your research within your expected period of candidature
- you establish plans to interact regularly with your supervisory team and to undertake progress milestones and complete progress reports as required
- your Progress Committee is appointed
- you understand research integrity and how to research responsibly
- you understand and comply with all graduate research training policies
- you and your supervisor are aware of any speciﬁc resources required for the successful completion of your project within the expected period of your candidature
- you are aware of any requirements of your discipline, department or school, including any requirement for a safety induction
- you are aware of all university resources available to you.
You will be required to submit your induction checklist to the Graduate Research School within 3 months of enrolling.
Variations to period of candidature
Extensions to your period of candidature and submitting your thesis early
Q. Can I request an extension to my candidature?
Yes, you can apply for an extension. Extensions to your candidature beyond your maximum completion period (24 months for Master’s by Research and 48 months for Doctoral degrees) are only given in exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances will vary individually, but may include situations like
- catastrophic interruptions to candidature (like significant loss of data)
- situations where you must be covered by University insurance to complete within the extension period
- situations where the university has been responsible for your delayed progress.
Extensions will be given at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
If you are granted an extension beyond your maximum period of candidature you will be liable for further student amenities fees and tuition fees where relevant, for the extended period.
If you are seeking to apply for extensions beyond the maximum period of candidature you must follow the instructions on the Graduate Research School website and file the appropriate form.
Applications must be completed at least 20 working days prior to the maximum completion date.
Keep in mind that an extension of candidature is different to postponing your expected work submission date. You can request to postpone your work submission dates (and therefore the expected the expected period of candidature) under the conditions outlined in the Graduate Research Progress Procedure.
Q. I’m an international student, can I apply for an extension?
Yes, you can apply for an extension.
If you are an international student on a student visa and your request for an extensions is approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, you will need to
- extend your student visa
- extend your Overseas Student Health Cover.
If you are a sponsored international student, consult La Trobe International about your request to extend with your sponsor in these circumstances, to make sure your visa isn’t affected.
Q. Can I submit my thesis early, before my minimum period of candidature?
Where you and your supervisor are satisfied that the quality of the thesis meets the requirements for the relevant degree, you can apply for an early thesis submission prior to your minimum period of candidature (generally 12 months for Master’s by Research and 24 months for doctoral degrees).
If you want to request an early thesis submission, advise the Graduate Research School through the Notification of intent to submit form.
Lapsed candidature, revival of candidature, and withdrawal
Q. My candidature has lapsed. What does this mean?
If you haven’t submitted your thesis prior to your maximum completion date, and if you have not received an approved extension, your candidature will lapse for a period of 12 months.
If your candidature has lapsed
- you will no longer be enrolled
- you are no longer formally entitled to supervision
- you can’t carry out any lab or field work, because you’re not covered by university insurance.
When your candidature lapses, you will still have access to your email address and library services. During these 12 months, you can submit your thesis any time under the conditions of the Graduate Research Examinations Policy. When you are ready to submit your thesis, submit a Notice of Intention to submit form to the Graduate Research School and we will advise you of next steps.
If you don’t submit your thesis by the end of the lapsed period you will be withdrawn from your degree.
Q. I’m an international student, what happens if my enrolment is lapsed?
If you are an international student on a student visa, you won’t be able to retain your visa and you should seek advice from the La Trobe International Compliance team immediately. When your candidature lapses the university is obliged to report the discontinuation of your studies to the Department of Immigration and Border Control. This means that you will need to leave the country unless you have another visa to support your stay in Australia.
However, it is possible for you to submit your thesis online from overseas, following the Notice of Intention to submit.
Q. Do I have to pay fees while I am lapsed?
No. As you are not enrolled, you will not be charged fees while your candidature is lapsed.
Q. Can I apply for an extension of candidature after the end date before my candidature lapses?
You can apply to extend your enrolment after your candidature is due to expire through an extension form. Extensions to your candidature beyond your maximum completion date and period (24 months for Master’s by Research and anything beyond 48 months for Doctoral degrees) are at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies and are only given in exceptional circumstances. The maximum completion date is when your candidature expires and will lapse.
If you have not exhausted all of your postponement time and still need to extend your work submission date, you may apply for an extension up to your maximum completion date. In this case you will need to provide the GRS with an appropriate justification for the delay and a satisfactory plan for completion.
If you have exhausted all your allowable postponement time, your expected work submission date will already have been adjusted to the maximum completion date.
If you enrolled in your degree after 11 October 2017, you will be charged either the international tuition fee or the value of the RTP Fees Offset award for the additional period of enrolment.
The total allowable postponement period (and therefore extension to work submission time) across the course of candidature is 36 weeks full-time equivalent for doctoral candidates and 24 weeks full-time equivalent for Master’s by research candidates.
Q. Can I carry out lab research or fieldwork while lapsed?
No. You cannot carry out lab or field work while lapsed because you’re not enrolled and not covered by university insurance.
Q. Can I access the library and my email address while lapsed?
Yes. You retain access to University library services, your University email and IT login while your candidature is lapsed.
Q. What happens when my lapsed period runs out?
If you don’t submit your thesis by the end of the lapsed period you will be withdrawn from your degree.
Q. Can I extend my lapsed period or submit my thesis once my lapsed period has expired?
No. If your enrolment has been withdrawn for not submitting your thesis within the 12 month lapsed period, you will only be allowed to revive your candidature under exceptional circumstances.
Q. Is the lapsed period the same for Master’s by Research and Doctoral degrees?
Yes. The lapsed period is 12 months for all higher degree by research degrees.
Submitting your thesis with a lapsed candidature
Q. My enrolment has been lapsed, how can I still submit my thesis?
You can submit your thesis at any time prior to the expiry of the 12-month lapsing period under the conditions of the Graduate Research Examinations Policy . When you are ready to submit your thesis, submit a Notice of Intention to submit form to the Graduate Research School and we will advise you of next steps.
If you have not submitted your thesis after 12 months of lapsed candidature you will be withdrawn.
Q. My principal supervisor has left La Trobe University since my candidature was lapsed. Who do I get to sign my Notice of Intention to Submit form?
If your principal supervisor is no longer at La Trobe University, you will need to consult with your Graduate Research Coordinator to identify a suitable person to act as your principal supervisor for the examination period.
Revival of candidature
Q. If I have been withdrawn from my degree, can I re-enrol and revive my candidature?
If you withdraw from your higher degree by research prior to your maximum candidature date, and seek to re-enrol within three years of that withdrawal, you can apply to revive your candidature. You will need to detail any change of research project and supervision arrangements when you apply.
If your candidature is revived, any prior period of candidature will be deducted from the period of candidature you have remaining. To apply to revive your candidature, follow the instructions on the Graduate Research School website.
If you seek to re-enrol in a higher degree by research after three years have elapsed from your date of withdrawal, you must reapply through the normal admission process and the candidature is considered to be new.
Q. What happens to my fees when my candidature is revived?
You will be liable for any applicable fees for the remaining period of candidature once your enrolment is revived.
Q. Can I re-enrol once my lapsed period has expired?
No. Candidates whose enrolment has been withdrawn for failing to submit their thesis within the 12 month lapsed period will only be allowed to revive their candidature under exceptional circumstances.
Q. Does the 3 year time limit on revivals apply to candidates who withdrew before the effective date of the new policy (11 October 2017)?
No. If you withdrew before 11 October 2017, the 3 year time limit to revive does not apply; however, you will need to demonstrate that your topic is still relevant and that appropriate supervision arrangements are available.
Q. My enrolment has been terminated, can I reapply for my degree?
If you have been terminated due to unsatisfactory progress or academic misconduct you may not revive your candidature and may not normally reapply for the same degree until three years after the date of termination.
Q. Can I withdraw from my candidature?
You can withdraw from your higher degree by research at any time, unless the Board of Graduate Research has decided to terminate your enrolment.
Make sure that you discuss your intentions to withdraw with members of your supervisory team, your Graduate Research Coordinator and/or Progress Committee before withdrawing from your candidature. If you are an international student on a student visa, make sure to discuss your intentions with the La Trobe International team.
To to withdraw from your degree, you need to submit a withdrawal form to GRS, available on the Graduate Research School website. The Graduate Research School will action the withdrawal following receipt of the form.
Q. What happens to my scholarship payments after I withdraw?
The Graduate Research School will arrange for any scholarship payments or further fee liabilities to cease upon your withdrawal from candidature. If you are intending to withdraw you have to do this in advance. A late application may result in overpayment of funds that have to be recovered.
Q. I’m an international student, what happens to my visa if I withdraw?
If you are an international student on a student visa, you won’t be able to retain your visa and you should seek advice from the La Trobe International Compliance team immediately.
The university is obliged to report the discontinuation of your studies to the Department of Immigration and Border Control. This means that you will need to leave the country unless you have another visa to support your stay in Australia.
Q. I withdrew before 11 October and want to submit my thesis, will I need to lapse my candidature?
If you withdrew before 11 October you will need to apply to revive your candidature and re-enrol to submit your thesis. You should re-enrol six weeks prior to submitting your thesis. This will allow enough time for the notice of intention to submit to be processed and authority to submit process to take place.