The University of Newcastle, Australia

Making changes

During your higher degree by research studies, you may need to make changes to your candidature. The information below sets out the procedures for applying to vary your enrolment status, supervisory team or program of study.

There are clear procedures for applying to change your enrolment status. These changes include leaves of absence (LoA), extensions, withdrawals, study load and off-campus enrolment. The steps for these tasks are set out below. All required documentation must be received by UON Graduate Research no less than two weeks prior to the applicable census date (31 March for Semester 1 or 31 August for Semester 2) in order to take effect for that semester.

For simple administrative tasks, such as updating your contact details, enrolling and re-enrolling, making payments and viewing details of your degree you can log into myHub through myUoN.

Apply for a leave of absence

The application must be made using the leave of absence variation form (PDF, 114KB) in advance of your Leave of Absence (LoA). Approval must be obtained from your supervisor. The form must then be submitted to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

Once the form has been received and processed, we will notify you and your supervisors via email and by post. Please ensure your contact details are correct in myHub.

You may request LoA for one or two semesters after you complete one full-time or two part-time years. Leave will not normally be granted for more than twelve months and must be sought before the semester in which you want the leave of absence to start.

Holders of an international student visa may only apply for LoA based on compassionate or compelling grounds. Approved leave will be reported to both the Department of Education and Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Candidates are usually expected to return to their home country for the duration of the approved leave.

Scholarship holders will have their scholarship suspended when a LoA is approved. Periods of approved scholarship suspension will not be deducted from the overall scholarship tenure.

You will be unable to access UON facilities (e.g. laboratories, ICT resource, Library) and research supervision during your leave period.

Please note that all candidates are entitled to four weeks annual leave. You do not need to complete a form to take annual leave but you must discuss each instance with your supervisor.

Apply for an extension

You may apply for an extension if your research has been interrupted. International candidates may only extend their programs under compassionate or compelling circumstances or where documented intervention strategies have been implemented.

PhD candidates may apply for six months extension (full-time) or 12 months (part-time) at each request. MPhil candidates may apply for three months extension (full-time) or six months (part-time) at each request. You may also be eligible for an extension to your scholarship covering tuition fees only.

You must complete an extension to candidature form (PDF, 261KB) detailing the reasons for the extension request and provide a completion plan, including the anticipated submission date, giving details of tasks and timelines. Applications must be supported by the supervisors. The form must then be submitted to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

Once the form has been received and processed, we will notify you and your supervisors via email.

How to withdraw from your program

If you want to withdraw from your research program you need to advise UON Graduate Research by sending an email from your student account to graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au.

The withdrawal will be effective from the date that the email was sent. Scholarships will also end on the same date. If you withdraw before the census date, your enrolment for that semester will be dropped and will not be included in the calculation of time spent enrolled.

If you withdraw from a program and wish to start again at a later date, you will need to re-apply.

Apply to change your status from full-time to part-time (or vice-versa)

To change your enrolment load from full-time to part-time, or vice-versa, you should first discuss your request with your supervisor. If you are a scholarship holder, you must consider your scholarship conditions, as restrictions on part-time study may apply. Holders of an international student visa are required to maintain full-time study.

To apply for a change of enrolment load complete the Change of Load (PDF, 157KB) form. You are required to obtain the approval of your supervisor prior to submitting the form to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

Once the form has been received and processed, we will notify you and your supervisors via email.

Apply for off-campus enrolment

You can apply for a period of off-campus enrolment or to study off-campus for the remainder of your higher degree by research if you reside outside a 50km radius of the Callaghan, City or Ourimbah campuses. Candidates completing data collection overseas are also required to apply for off-campus status. It is recommended that you discuss your intentions with your supervisor in advance of your application.

You must consider how you will maintain regular contact with your supervisors and participate in activities such as the oral presentation and verbal defence of your research as part of the confirmation process.

To apply for off-campus enrolment complete the Off Campus Enrolment Application (PDF, 176KB) form. You are required to obtain the approval of your supervisor prior to submitting the form to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

The form must be received prior to the applicable census date in order to take effect for that semester. Once the form has been received and processed, we will notify you and your supervisors via email.

Candidates enrolled off-campus are responsible for providing their own resources and must be aware that the university does not provide special services for candidates who wish to undertake this mode of study.

Your team of supervisors is your most important support network during your higher degree by research program. UON considers consistency in supervision throughout candidature to be a key feature of ensuring successful and timely completion. However, there may be circumstances in which changes to supervisory arrangements should be considered. These include, but are not limited to:

  • a new direction for the research project that warrants additional/alternative supervisory expertise
  • unavailability of a supervisor due to long-term absence or change of employment
  • a conflict of interest which disqualifies a supervisor
  • irreparable difficulties in the relationship between the candidate and supervisor that seriously threatens successful and timely completion and/or the wellbeing of the candidate and/or supervisor.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to raise issues of concern, and to seek to resolve such matters before they become irreparable. The Head of School Nominee should be consulted on any issues that are arising between you and your supervisors that are impeding your progress. The Assistant Dean (Research Training) is the senior academic officer overseeing HDR in your Faculty and is available as an alternative point of consultation.

Should the circumstances warrant, changes to supervisory arrangements are to be initiated by the candidate. The Supervisory Changes form must be completed by the candidate and approved by the new supervisor. The form will then be returned to the candidate to be submitted to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au. UON GR will arrange for approval by the relevant Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to change the research topic, degree program or award level. You should discuss any potential change with your supervisory team before initiating the process.

International candidates: please note that the International Sanctions Compliance Assessment is a requirement for all research topic changes.

Change of research topic

Research topic changes must be processed using the Change of Research Topic form. Approval is required by the supervisor. The form must then be submitted to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

Note that a change of your research topic may warrant a change in supervision and/or transfer of program.

Transfer of degree program

A sideways degree program transfer usually occurs when there has been a major change of research topic. The Transfer of Program form must be completed in all instances. Approval is required by the supervisor. The form must then be submitted to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

Candidates who transfer into a new program must be confirmed at that program level (M Phil or PhD). It is recommended that transfers of program are undertaken as part of the confirmation year process.

If required, you should also make supervisory changes at the same time as transferring your degree program.