The University of Newcastle, Australia

HDR FAQs

UON Graduate Research has compiled five lists of Frequently Asked Questions for future and current HDR candidates.

Future students may have queries regarding the eligibility requirements, costs and funding available for HDR programs, and how to lodge an application.

Current students may seek guidance on how to get started with their HDR - i.e. enrolment, induction and collecting their free laptop; progressing through their degree - i.e. applying for ethics clearance, achieving confirmation and accessing ongoing support; making changes to their candidature - i.e. to their enrolment status, supervisory team or HDR program; and upon nearing completion - i.e. submitting a thesis, the examination process and graduating from UON.

The answers to the FAQs supplement the information provided in the Future Students and Current Students webpages.

If you have a query that isn't answered on the site please contact UON Graduate Research.

Future Research Students

A higher degree by research (HDR) programs at UON are either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree.

All HDR programs involve a supervised research project that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to make a contribution to knowledge in a particular field of study. UON has over 150 HDR programs to choose from.

The Australian Qualifications Framework sets out the qualification types and learning outcomes descriptors for Doctoral Degrees and Masters Degrees (Research).

A UON Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is typically of four years full-time (or part-time equivalent) duration.

A UON Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree is typically of two years full-time (or part-time equivalent) duration.

These durations are specified in the Doctoral Degree (Research) Awards and Programs Schedule and the Masters Degree (Research) Awards and Programs Schedule and are consistent with the Commonwealth Government’s Research Training Program (RTP) conditions for HDR candidate support.

Full-time students should aim to spend on average 40 hours per week on their research studies. Effective time management is an important attribute of research students and your research plan will include a consideration of how you will manage your workload.

UON offers over 170 higher degree by research (HDR) programs across eight disciplines:

  • Health and Medical
  • Science and Engineering
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Humanities and Social Science
  • Creative Arts
  • Education
  • Business and Law
  • Indigenous

The list of Master of Philosophy (M Phil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees can be found here.

Domestic students are exempt from paying fees for higher degree by research (HDR) programs under the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP). RTP funding is limited to:

  • four years full-time (or part-time equivalent) for a PhD candidate
  • two years full-time (or part-time equivalent) for a Research Masters candidate

All students are required to complete their degree within the RTP entitlement period.

For international students, the indicative annual cost of a higher degree by research (HDR) program with the University of Newcastle is between AU $27,520 and AU $36,975 depending on your chosen degree.

For more details, see Costs.

For details on scholarships and other financial support, see Scholarships.

You may be eligible for one or more of the range of financial support and scholarships available to Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates.

For instance, the domestic HDR students are exempt from paying fees under the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP).

A scholarship funded by the University of Newcastle or the Australian Government provides an annual living allowance of $27,082 per annum (2018 rate - indexed annually). Our scholarships for international students cover the cost of tuition fees, and in some cases include the cost of compulsory Overseas Student Health Cover.

Much more information on scholarships and other financial support is available on the Scholarships page.

The University assesses all applications on a case-by-case basis. Please check the eligibility requirements for your degree program before you apply.

The UON English Language Proficiency for Admission Policy sets out the requirements for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs including Higher Doctorate Awards.

The standard requirement for an IELTS qualification is an overall score of 6.5, with section minimums of 6.0. For HDR programs offered by the School of Health Sciences, the School of Nursing and Midwifery or the School of Medicine and Public Health the minimum overall score is 7.0 and the section minimums are 6.5.

There are exemptions in place if you have studied for one year in a country where the medium of instruction is English. Please refer to the English Language Proficiency Requirements Table 2 for a list of exempt countries.

If you do not meet the English Language Proficiency standard you may be offered a conditional offer, dependent upon your enrolment in the University’s English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

UON will not accept applications without the support of a nominated supervisor. It is important that there is potential supervision available before applicants take the time to submit their application.

Support from a potential supervisor is needed before your application can be considered but does not guarantee that you will be offered admission or awarded a scholarship.

All Commonwealth Government and UON scholarship applicants must complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) form and have it signed by a potential UON supervisor to be considered for scholarship. You should upload the EOI form with your online application. The potential supervisor will also provide you with a code to be included in your application.

You can find potential supervisors using the UON Find a Supervisor search function.

You can find potential supervisors using the UON Find a Supervisor search function.

All Commonwealth Government and UON scholarship applicants must complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) form and have it signed by a potential UON supervisor to be considered for scholarship.

Applicants can submit an application at any time of the year.

Applicants interested in applying for a scholarship will need to apply before the round closes. The dates are listed on the Scholarships page.

You can elect to start your degree at anytime.

However, if you are awarded a scholarship there will be time limits placed on your commencement date. Please visit Scholarships for more information or refer to your offer letter.

The principal requirement for the award of a higher degree by research is the submission and examination of a thesis. The types of thesis at UON are listed in the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research.

All HDR candidates are also required to complete milestones along the way. These include the confirmation process and submission of progress reports. More information can be found on the Major Milestones page.

Applicants may be eligible to count the whole or part of their previous HDR study at another university at the same level at UON. Each case is assessed on its own merits. The applicant must have formally withdrawn from enrolment in the higher degree of the other university for which the previous tenure is applicable, before enrolling at UON.

Further information on transfer of candidature from another university is specified in the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research.

Applicants may be eligible to count the whole or part of their previous HDR study at another university at the same level at UON. Each case is assessed on its own merits by the School in which the program is offered.

Further information on transfer of previous candidature from another university is specified in the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research.

An applicant should nominate either full-time or part-time enrolment at the time of their application. Where the viability of the research project could be impeded by part-time enrolment the candidate may be directed to enrol on a full-time basis.

International candidates studying in Australia on a student visa must enrol on a full-time basis in accordance with the requirements of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act).

Scholarship recipients are required to enrol on a full-time basis unless approval is granted to undertake part-time study due to extenuating circumstances.

Current candidates should see the Enrolment status page for more information on applying for part-time enrolment

Applicants may apply for off-campus enrolment at the time of their application using the Off Campus Enrolment Application (Prospective Candidate) form. Candidates applying for off campus status must reside and/or work outside a 50km radius of the UON campus responsible for the candidate’s program of enrolment and be able to demonstrate that the arrangements will not impede their progress in any way.

Where the viability of the research project could be impeded by off-campus enrolment the request may be declined or conditions imposed.

Current candidates should see the Enrolment status page for more information on applying for off-campus enrolment.

UON’s Jointly Awarded Doctoral Degree (JADD) and Dual Awarded Doctoral Degree (DADD) programs enable PhD candidates to complete their degree jointly at UON and an international partner institution. A JADD or DADD can be undertaken in any discipline where there are suitable supervisors available at both UON and the partner institution.

For more information, speak to your supervisor, who may liaise with UON Graduate Research.

All applicants should provide the following supporting documents with their application:

  • Completed Expression of Interest form, signed by their nominated supervisor
  • Research proposal
  • Colour copies of all previous academic qualifications, except for those completed at the University of Newcastle – certificates and/or transcripts for each course, whether completed or not
  • Depending upon your individual circumstances you may also need to provide one or more of the following documents in colour copy
  • English translations of academic qualifications, if academic qualifications are not in English
  • Evidence of name change if academic qualifications are in a different name
  • English Language qualification, or details of English proficiency, or indicate tertiary studies in English
  • If you are an overseas registered nurse, provide a colour copy in English of your license
  • Birth certificate, if not previously enrolled at this University
  • The personal details page of your passport, and visa if applicable
  • Evidence of previous enrolments for incomplete research program, if previous incomplete research programs specified
  • Curriculum Vitae detailing relevant experience or employment, if previous experience/employment is specified
  • Statement of research experience from previous supervisor, if previous research experience is specified
  • Candidature variation form for applicants intending to study off-campus

When preparing an application for entry into a higher degree by research program it is necessary to supply a clear statement describing the proposed area of research (a research proposal). Consultation with a faculty or school academic staff member in the research area of interest is required prior to submission of an application. Liaising with an academic allows you to frame the proposal to align with established disciplines and areas of supervisor capacity.

The Research proposal template provides a guide as to how to write your proposal.

If you are applying for admission only (i.e. no scholarship) your application will take approximately six to eight weeks to process.

If you are also applying for a scholarship please take note of the outcome decision date. The dates are listed on the Scholarships page.

If your PhD or Research Masters application is successful you will be sent a letter of offer. If you have also applied for a scholarship, separate advice will be provided.

If you are a domestic student you can accept your offer by visiting myUoN and login to myHub with the details that were previously emailed to you.

If you are an international student you can accept your offer by returning your offer acceptance form.

If your offer is conditional you will have to provide specified documents before you can enrol.

See Accepting your offer for more information.

All commencing higher degree by research candidates can do certain things to prepare for their studies. Following these five steps will give you the best chance of making a smooth transition to your new life at UON so you are feeling as comfortable as possible from day one.

  • Let us know when you’re arriving! Email graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au to confirm your commencement date. That will help us to ensure everything is ready for you from the start, including your laptop and access to support services.
  • Book a place at a UON Graduate Research Meet and Greet session. These take place every Wednesday on Callaghan campus and are an important induction experience for all commencing candidates. If you have let us know when you plan to start, you should also be able to collect your free laptop at the session.
  • Schedule a first face-to-face meeting with your supervisory team. Once you have booked your place at a Meet and Greet session, why not arrange your first meeting with your supervisors for later in the same day.
  • Make an appointment with a Student Peer Advisor and learn from someone who has been in the same situation as you. For instance, the ‘Adapting to a new academic culture as a doctoral student’ topic is perfect for new starters so book your appointment online before you commence.
  • Get informed on your rights and responsibilities as a HDR candidate by familiarising yourself with the key Policies and Procedures at UON.

International candidates moving to Australia have additional things to do to prepare for life in the country. For more information, see Before you commence.

If all the conditional requirements have been met, domestic candidates will be able to self-enrol with myHub using their new student login details. International candidates will enrol on campus at their Meet and Greet session.

If deferral is possible, this will be indicated in your Letter of Offer.

If you have any queries please contact graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au.

Current Research Students - Getting Started

Your enrolment takes place in myHub, which is accessed by logging into myUoN.

For your first enrolment you will be asked to complete some mandatory tasks, such as updating your contact details and accepting the terms and conditions, before you may proceed. If you have any conditions attached to your enrolment these must also be cleared before you may proceed.

International students will enrol for the first time at their scheduled Meet and Greet session. All subsequent enrolments can be completed individually, either on or off-campus.

For more information, visit Enrolment.

If your offer of admission letter advises that you must undertake coursework, UON Graduate Research will automatically enrol you and advise you via email.

If, once you’ve commenced your HDR program you and your supervisor may determine that you would benefit in enrolling in a coursework subject. This process is to be initiated by your supervisor, who should complete  the applicable variation to candidature form on your behalf (available in the Supervisors section of the UON GR webpages). Once this form is received and approved UON GR will enrol you and notify you via email.

Note that you will still need to enrol and re-enrol in your HDR program.

Once you have enrolled into your research you can obtain your Student ID Card from a Student Hub any time between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. You will need your student number.

If you are studying via distance or at the Port Macquarie campus, please complete a Student ID Card Mail Request form (PDF, 281KB) to obtain your card.

If you require any swipe access to certain buildings please contact your supervisor to arrange this.

For more information visit the Student Support page.

Payment of your scholarship can only commence when you are in Australia, on campus and fully enrolled, and when confirmation has been received from your Head of School that you have commenced your studies.

Please note that it can take up to four weeks to receive your first scholarship payment. This will be backdated to your commencement date.

Scholarship payments are made through UoN Payroll and are paid fortnightly.

You should advise UON Graduate Research as soon as possible of any variation to your scholarship status, for example, requests for leave of absence, sick leave, withdrawal from studies, change of address or changes to personal details.

Advice received after fortnightly deadlines may not be realised until the following pay period. This may result in a need for back payment to your commencement, or alternatively, it may result in an overpayment.

All scholarships are paid subject to satisfactory academic progress in your HDR program.

Scholarship allowance claims vary between scholarships. You should check your conditions for allowances available to you. Allowances may cover relocation or travel expenses. All claims must be substantiated with original receipts and full details of costs incurred. International students that started in 2017 will automatically receive their $1,500 relocation allowance in full with their first scholarship payment.

Claims for travel allowance from international students must include original air ticket(s).

claim form is available from UON Graduate Research.

The university offers a range of induction activities to help you acclimatise to life at UON.

The on-campus Meet and Greet session is an opportunity to be presented with critical information on managing your candidature and support available to you. The knowledgeable UON Graduate Research team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. It is also a good opportunity to connect with other commencing students.

The online HDR Induction course is available via Blackboard. It includes a HDR Induction Quiz and the mandatory Academic Integrity and Ethics and Safety Modules.

You may also be invited to attend an orientation session run by your faculty.

For more information on induction activities at UON, visit Induction at UON.

The Code of Practice for Higher Degree by Research Candidature details many of the responsibilities of HDR candidates. It also sets out the obligations of the university, Faculties and supervisors. You are also strongly advised to be aware of the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research.

Other policies and procedures affecting your candidature are available at Policies and Procedures.

The key policies affecting HDR canddiates are available in the UON Policy Library. These include policies covering appropriate conduct, research ethics, conflicts of interest and academic integrity.

At a minimum, you are advised to read the Code of Practice for Higher Degree by Research Candidature carefully. The Code sets out the responsibilities of all HDR candidates. It also sets out the obligations of the university, Faculties and supervisors. You should also be aware of the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research.

Other policies and procedures affecting your candidature are available at Policies and Procedures.

Current students may submit an application for a University or Commonwealth Government Scholarship after commencement. Your application can be submitted by email to graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au throughout the year and must be supported by your School and is subject to a competitive awards process. Applicants must provide evidence of any research training, publications and any other relevant qualification to assist in the determining of the award.

See the Higher Degree by Research Scholarship Guidelines for more information.

Once you have accepted your offer you will receive an email with instructions on how to receive your laptop. If enough notice is provided your laptop will be ready for collection at you Meet and Greet session in your week of commencement.

For more information on the type of laptop and its specifications please visit the Accessing Resources page.

You may keep your laptop upon successful completion of your degree. If you withdraw from your studies or your enrolment is terminated, you should return the laptop to UON Graduate Research.

Your Faculty is also responsible for providing you with access to a workstation and other office facilities required to undertake your research. At the least, this will include:

  • a desk and chair and dedicated workspace (may need to be on a shared basis for part-time students);
  • a lockable filing cabinet or cupboard (may need to be on a shared basis for part-time students);
  • sufficient access to a photocopier and printer so that progress on the research project is not impaired;
  • access to office facilities for the transmission and receipt of official telephone and facsimile messages and mail;
  • sufficient access to computer facilities and software programs, and training to use such programs, so that progress on the research project and thesis preparation is not impaired;
  • where appropriate, sufficient laboratory facilities (including consumables) and bench space so that progress on the research project is not impaired;
  • adequate library access and free access through inter-library loans.

See the Guidelines for Resourcing Higher Degree by Research Candidates for more details on what is to be provided. Please contact your Faculty’s Research Training Officer for more information on the allocation of these resources.

For more information on facilities, see Accessing Resources.

Current Research Students - Progressing Students

There is a range of academic, personal and technical support available to you during your UON higher degree by research.

Your supervisor is your key contact throughout your degree. They will provide guidance on all aspects of your research.

UON Graduate Research is your central point of contact for information and support on the administration and management of your candidature.

The Student Peer Advisors (SPA) support scheme is available to all current HDR students. The scheme offers free one-on-one sessions for research students to access support and advice from former of senior research students about a variety of topics

For more information on these and other sources of support, visit Research Support.

As a current HDR candidate, you are entitled to a range of resources to support you in your research.

All candidates are eligible to apply for funding towards direct research costs. The guidelines, process and value of funding is determined by your Faculty.

To support you in your studies you will be provided with a free laptop computer, which is yours to keep when you successfully complete. You may also able to access the university’s High Performance Computing facilities and specialised research applications. Access to laboratories and other specialist facilities will be arranged within your faculty.

Your Faculty is also responsible for providing you with access to a workstation and other office facilities required to undertake your research. see the Guidelines for Resourcing Higher Degree by Research Students (PDF, 23.2KB). Your Research Training Officer will be able to assist with the allocation of these resources.

For more information on resources available to you, see Accessing Resources.

It is important that problems are identified early so that appropriate measures may be put in place to provide adequate support to you.

If you have are experiencing a problem that is affecting your progress you should speak with your supervisor.

Each School appoints a HDR Coordinator, who is responsible for monitoring the general progress and welfare of research students in that academic area. The Head of School is available as an alternative contact for consultation and the Assistant Dean (Research Training) is the senior academic officer overseeing HDR in your Faculty. Your Faculty's Research Training Officer (RTO) will be able to assist with any local administrative queries you may have. Each Faculty's contacts can be found on the list of responsible officers.

UON Graduate Research (UON GR) is your central point of contact for information and support on the administration and management of your research degree.

Your Faculty will provide opportunities to connect with established researchers in your field. Discipline groups hold regular seminars where researchers present their conference papers and other research projects. Research students are invited to attend these seminars via email.

Along with your supervisors, other established researchers and methodology experts, you are advised to connect with your peers in order to make the most of the rich intellectual and social opportunities at UON. The Student Peer Advisors (SPA) scheme offers free one-on-one sessions for research students to access support and advice from former of senior research students about a variety of topics, including use of social media in research, maintaining a positive supervisor relationship, a variety of research methods and much more.

Confirmation takes place within twelve months of commencement on a full-time basis (or part-time equivalent). To be confirmed, you will satisfy the following requirements:

1. The provision of a written document containing at least:

  • a critical review of recent work in the field
  • an updated research proposal - an updated plan of research
  • an updated timetable for completion of the thesis
  • a comprehensive statement of the resources required to complete the project within the funded period.

2. The provision of an oral presentation to a confirmation committee.

3. The provision of a verbal defence of the research proposal before a confirmation committee.

The issues of ethics and safety approvals; intellectual property; and data retention and management must also be considered.

Consult with your supervisor during your preparations for confirmation, and refer to the Confirmation Guidelines to better understand the broader process.

More information can also be found on the Major Milestones page.

Research projects which involve the use of animals or humans must apply for ethical clearance. Though the responsibility for this rests with your supervisor, you should be actively involved in drafting information and preparing documents to lodge with the application.

It is your responsibility to follow ethical practices which are appropriate to the particular discipline and relevant profession, and as specified by the University Human Research Ethics Committee, Animal Care and Ethics Committee, and the ethical guidelines set down by any relevant government or funding body.

If you have any queries about your responsibilities around research ethics, speak with your supervisor or other designated ethics expert for your research project.

More information on your obligations can be found on the Research Integrity and Safety page.

Send an email to graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au with your request. You must specify the information you wish to be included in the letter. Allow up to one week for the request to be processed. The letter will be emailed to your student account.

Lost, stolen or damaged computers must be reported immediately to your supervisors and UON Graduate Research. If the laptop is stolen from a University Campus, you must ring Security immediately on 4921 5888 to report the theft.

If your laptop is stolen, lost or damaged, UONGR may request a replacement laptop from the Dean of Graduate Research. Damaged laptops must be checked by IT Services. Note that user-induced damage such as liquid spillages or accidental dropping is not covered by the warranty. The laptop is a loan only and must be returned to UONGR once your thesis is submitted. Please contact graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au if you require a replacement laptop.

Current Research Students - Making Changes

The higher degree by research census dates for Autumn and Spring semesters are 31st March and 31st August.

Please note that all candidature variation forms need to be submitted prior to census to take effect that semester. You must provide sufficient justification if a variation is submitted after census date.

For simple administrative tasks, such as updating your personal and contact details, enrolling and re-enrolling, making payments and viewing details of your degree you can log into myHub through myUoN. If you are a scholarship holder and you would like to update your personal details such as your address and telephone number, then in addition to updating the details on myUoN, please provide your new contact details to payroll@newcastle.edu.au so that payroll services can update the details in their systems.

If you are granted Australian Permanent Residency during your studies you will need to notify the University, as your tuition fee liability may change.

To notify us, please forward your permanent residency documents to fees@newcastle.edu.au. You should do this as soon as possible after receiving confirmation of your permanent residency from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Your permanent resident status is recognised from the date stamped on your passport or the Visa grant date on your letter. If your Australian Permanent Residency is granted before the census date (31 March for Semester 1 and 31 August for Semester 2) your new fee type will apply for that semester, however you must provide your change of residency status information to fees strictly within six weeks of the census date. After this six week period, your residency status cannot be updated for that semester. If permanent residency is granted after your most recent census date, your fee type will only be effective from the next semester.

For scholarship holders:

If you are in receipt of any scholarship you are also required to notify UON Graduate Research of your permanent residency status, as a change in residency status may affect the benefits provided by your scholarship e.g. tuition fees, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Notifying UON Graduate Research is subject to the same timing restrictions as described above.

Please note that the Student Services and Amenities Fee is payable by all students, regardless of residency status.

A leave of absence covers an entire semester (ie 1 January to 30 June for semester 1; 1 July to 31 December for Semester 2).

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, Head of School and Assistant Dean Research Training. The form must then be submitted to UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au.

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 Home Affairs. Candidates are usually expected to return to their home country for the duration of the approved leave.

Periods of approved suspension will not be deducted from your overall scholarship tenure if you take approved leave of absence from candidature for the duration of the suspension. If you do not take such approved leave of absence from candidature, the suspended period shall be deducted from your scholarship tenure and your expiry date will remain the same.

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.

Scholarship recipients may also apply for up to 10 days paid sick leave a year, calculated on a pro-rata basis. This is approved by your supervisor. Additional sick leave is dependent on your scholarship conditions and will require the presentation of a medical certificate.

Scholarship recipients may also be eligible for paid parental leave of 12 weeks. This is dependent upon your scholarship conditions and requires the presentation of your medical certificate or the child’s birth certificate.

For more details please visit the Enrolment status page.

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 and Head of School and approved by the Faculty Assistant Dean (Research Training).

It is important to apply for an extension at least 6 weeks prior to the expiry of your candidature to ensure you do not accrue fees.

International candidates may only extend their programs under compassionate or compelling circumstances or where documented intervention strategies have been implemented.

Depending on funding availability, UNRSE scholarships awarded for a three year period may be extended for a maximum of six months. Please discuss the possibility of a scholarship extension with your supervisor. If your scholarship is due to expire in the next two months and is supported by the supervisor and Chief Investigator, please apply for an extension by completing the Extension of Scholarship Request Form.

All other University and Government funded scholarships are awarded for 3.5 years and therefore extensions of scholarship will not be considered.

For more details please visit the Enrolment status page.

Please advise UON Graduate Research of your wish to withdraw 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 after census your enrolment for that semester will stand, and you will be liable for  the Student Services and Amenities Fee.

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

You may apply by completing the Load Change Request form (PDF, 157KB).

Please note that scholarship holders have restrictions regarding part-time study and they must obtain approval from their supervisor, Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training).

A part-time scholarship may only be approved where you are able to demonstrate heavy carer commitments or a medical condition such as:

  • Carer responsibilities for a pre-school child
  • Carer responsibilities for school-aged children as a sole parent with limited access to outside support
  • Carer responsibilities for an invalid or disabled spouse, child or parent
  • A medical condition, which limits the capacity to undertake full-time study (supported by medical certification)

The form must be submitted to UON Graduate Research at research-candidature@newcastle.edu.au.

International candidates will need to check with the Department of Home Affairs before applying for a change to part-time 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 or Ourimbah campuses. It is recommended that you discuss your intentions with your supervisor in advance of your application.

Complete the Off Campus Enrolment Application (PDF, 176KB) form. Approval must be obtained from your supervisor, Head of School and Assistant Dean Research Training. The form must then be submitted to UON Graduate Research at research-candidature@newcastle.edu.au.

For more details please visit the Enrolment status page.

Research topic changes must be processed using the Change of Research Topic form. Approval is required by the supervisor, the Head of School/Nominee and the Assistant Dean Research Training before the form is submitted to UON Graduate Research.

If the change is significant and represents a change of program, a transfer of program should be sought and the relevant form completed.

Changes to the wording of your research topic do not require approval. However, please email graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au with confirmation that the direction or focus of the research has not changed.

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 Head of School/Nominee and the Assistant Dean Research Training before the form is submitted to UON Graduate Research.

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.

You can apply to upgrade from a Masters program to a PhD program after two semesters of full-time enrolment or four semesters of part-time enrolment. You may also apply to downgrade from a PhD program to a Masters program.

After two full-time semesters, or part-time equivalent, a transfer from Master of Philosophy to PhD candidature may be considered, provided the applicant meets the minimum criteria. Faculties may impose additional criteria at their discretion. You must be confirmed in your new program. It is recommended that the upgrade process be undertaken as part of the confirmation year process.

The Transfer of Program form must be completed in all instances. Approval is required by the supervisor, the Head of School/Nominee and the Assistant Dean Research Training before the form is submitted to UON Graduate Research.

For more details please visit the HDR program page.

When upgrading from a Master of Philosophy to Doctor of Philosophy, a revised Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be required in order to update your Visa.

Before your new CoE can be issued, an extension to your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) must be processed. It is open to you to apply to remain in the country for up to 8 months after the date you are expected to complete your program. This is to allow time for an interactive thesis assessment process after your first submission. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has advised that your visa will likely only be granted for the period for which you have Overseas Student Health Cover in place. Please refer to: http://www.border.gov.au/Visas/supporting/Pages/485/Overseas-Student-Health-Cover.aspx.

Under the conditions of your scholarship, the University will provide OSHC only for the duration of the scholarship, which is 3.5 years for a PhD. It is your responsibility to meet the cost of OSHC required after that provided by your scholarship. If you wish to stay for the maximum allowable visa period (8 months after the date you are expected to complete your program) this is a difference of 14 months. When applying to upgrade from a Master of Philosophy to a Doctor of Philosophy you will need to indicate how many months OSHC you wish to purchase. If you have previously paid a deposit towards OSHC, this will be deducted from the amount you select.

Once your upgrade is approved and processed, UON Graduate Research will contact you to confirm the details and cost of your OSHC extension, which will be charged to your student account.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact UON Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au.

Should the circumstances warrant, you may apply for a change to your supervisory arrangements. The Supervisory Changes form must be completed by the candidate and approved by the new supervisor, the Head of School/Nominee and the Assistant Dean Research Training before it is submitted to UON Graduate Research.

Please visit the Supervisory team page for information on circumstances that may warrant supervisory changes.

You are welcome to discuss any of your concerns with staff at UON Graduate Research, your Head of School, research convener or Assistant Dean (Research Training) at any time. Should we not be able to resolve your concerns you may access the University complaints process.

A student complaint may flow from any aspect of a student's educational experience at the University which is considered unfair, unjust or unreasonable.

Current Research Students - Nearing Completion

Your thesis is submitted electronically, via Blackboard.

In addition to your thesis, you must submit a completed Thesis Examination Application Form, signed by both yourself and your principal supervisor.

You may refer to the Thesis Submission Step-by-Step Guide and the FAQs available on the HDR Thesis Examination Blackboard page.

UON Graduate Research runs a monthly Thesis Submission Workshop, which focuses on on the administrative process for the submission of your thesis as well as the examination process through to the Award of your Degree. You can book online via Eventbrite.

There are many ways to reduce the file size of a PDF, though these will vary depending on the version of software you have installed.

You should be able to check and reduce your PDF file size by completing the following steps:

  1. Press "Ctrl" and “D” on your keyboard to open the "Document Properties" window and check the current size of your PDF.
  2. Look for the "File Size" field under the "Description - Advanced" section.
  3. If the file exceeds 40MB, click “File" from the menu bar, highlight “Save As Other” from the drop-down menu and then select “Reduce Size PDF” to compress the PDF.

If your thesis contains creative components that cannot be compressed, please contact thesis@newcastle.edu.au to discuss alternative thesis submission arrangements.

If you are completing a Professional Doctorate DBA Hong Kong Management Association program, you are required to submit your thesis to UON Graduate Research at thesis@newcastle.edu.au.

Professional Doctorate students in the Faculty of Business and Law are required to submit their thesis by the specified date, please refer to the DBA Dissertation Project Guidelines found on the DBA Program Blackboard site.

Each discipline area may have different requirements for the style of the thesis or, you may be submitting a thesis by publication or an exegesis with a creative component. It is important that you work with your supervisor to ensure you are on track for the style of thesis you plan to submit and that you read the relevant guidelines.

You should read the thesis examination guidelines (PDF, 134KB), which provides comprehensive information about how to prepare and submit your thesis for examination. Your thesis should also meet the requirements set out formally in the Rules Governing Higher Degrees by Research. Please contact UON Graduate Research if you have any questions.

For more information on preparing your thesis for examination, including proof reading and editing services, visit Submit your thesis.

No, the requirement to submit an Intention to Submit form is no longer part of the thesis submission process.

It is, however, important that you discuss your intention to submit with your supervisor. Your supervisor will need to nominate suitable examiners to examine your thesis. Failing to discuss your submission plans with your supervisor may extend the examination time, due to an Appointment of Examiners Form (DOC, 133KB) not being submitted by your supervisor.

Thesis references should be in a form consistent with the normal publication requirements of the discipline.

For guidance with references, abbreviations, bibliography etc., see Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 2002, AGPS, Canberra. Copies are available in the University Library.

If you intend to use material in your thesis that is owned by another party it is recommended that you seek permission at the time you decide that you will use it. At the latest, all permissions are to be sought by the time the thesis is submitted for examination.

Note that while it has been acceptable to include third party copyrighted material with appropriate referencing in a print thesis with limited circulation, it is a different matter to digitise this material and make it generally available on the web. If the thesis contains copyright material you need to obtain explicit written permission from copyright owners to include the material in the online version of the thesis. This includes: text, music scores, computer software, film, animation, music, sound and images (including drawings, cartoons, paintings, graphs, maps, photographs, tables, etc). It does not matter whether the item comes from a print or physical source or from the internet – copyright will still apply. In most cases copyright lasts 70 years from the death of the creator.

The information sheet on Copyright in your Digital Thesis contains further information. Staff at the University of Newcastle Library can also provide advice on seeking permissions.

Please see the step-by-step guide which explains how to electronically sign your thesis.

If your thesis is submitted before the semester census date, you will be withdrawn from any enrolment for that semester (and for any future semesters) by UON Graduate Research.

If your thesis is submitted after the census date, you remain enrolled for that semester and you are required to pay all fees and charges which may be due.

For more information see the Thesis Examination Guidelines (PDF, 134KB).

If your thesis is submitted before the due date for your progress report, then you do not need to complete a progress report.

It is your supervisor’s responsibility to advise the Head of School and Assistant Dean (Research Training) of the names of appropriately qualified examiners. You may also suggest names of potential examiners to your supervisor, but you will not be informed of the identity of the chosen examiners, unless they consent to their identities being made known.

Each discipline area may have different requirements for the style of the thesis or, you may be submitting a thesis by publication or an exegesis with a creative component. It is important that you work with your supervisor and that you have read the relevant guidelines.

If you have any queries contact thesis@newcastle.edu.au.

You should refer to the Thesis Examination Guidelines and the relevant guidelines for your type of thesis.

If you have any queries contact thesis@newcastle.edu.au.

You may use a professional editor in preparing your thesis for submission. There are national guidelines for editing research theses. Please read these guidelines carefully, noting that before they commence the work, you will need to provide your editor with a copy of the guidelines, as well as evidence of your supervisor’s permission for the editing.

Most theses are publicly available unless there are significant reasons for not doing so, i.e. due to confidentiality or intellectual property issues. If you would like to restrict access to your thesis please complete the Application for Embargo form (PDF, 95KB) at the time of submitting your thesis for examination.

An embargo is initially approved for twelve months with the possibility of an extension. A further embargo may, where necessary, be requested for the final digital copy of your thesis. Application and approval is required.

In the case of commercial-in-confidence, the principal supervisor must identify a thesis that is commercial-in-confidence on the Appointment of Examiners form. Examiners will be requested to agree to keep the thesis confidential until such time as the degree has been awarded.

UON theses are accessible via NOVA, the University of Newcastle's institutional digital repository.

The tuition fee component of a scholarship will usually terminate upon submission of the thesis or creative component for examination. The stipend component will usually terminate 14 calendar days after the submission of the thesis or where applicable, creative component for examination. The terms of your scholarship will set out the conditions attached to your award.

If you have any queries please contact graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au.

Candidates will have access to their student email indefinitely, and are able to set up forwarding to other email addresses if more convenient.

Candidates will also maintain access to the Library for 90 days following the award of degree. You will also have access to your student portal for 90 days.

Once your degree has been awarded you can apply for alumni access.

The terms of your Student Visa will set out the conditions attached to your stay in Australia.

If you have any queries contact the Department of Home Affairs.

Your thesis will be examined by two examiners external to UON. They will be internationally recognised experts in your area of research. You are permitted to suggest potential examiners to your supervisors, however, you will not be informed which examiners were approved by the Dean of Graduate Research to examine your thesis.

It is important to note that you are not permitted to contact potential examiners. The Faculty is responsible for the nomination process.

The names of the examiners remain confidential until the outcome of the thesis has been determine. If they have waived their right to anonymity, you will be informed of their identity.

Where a breach of confidentiality occurs, replacement examiners will be appointed.

The University requires examiners to provide their examination report within two months of receipt of the thesis. Outcomes cannot be determined until all examiner reports have been received. However, the examination process can take three to six months from the date of dispatch of the thesis until a determination is made by the Research Training Sub-Committee.

If significant delays are being experienced, the faculty may choose to use the reserve examiner. UON Graduate Research understands the anxious wait that candidates experience during the thesis examination process and aim to keep candidates informed if delays occur.

You can check on the progress of your thesis examination by emailing thesis@newcastle.edu.au.

You will be contacted by post with the letter confirming the award of your degree.

It is important that you review and update your contact details on MyHub, as we will contact you at your listed postal address.

The Thesis Examination Guidelines sets out the implications of each of the thesis outcomes.

If you have any queries contact thesis@newcastle.edu.au.

An early release of graduation documents can be requested prior to your graduation ceremony by emailing Graduation with the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Student number
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number

If you wish to collect the documents on-campus (Student Central, Hunter) please state this and include the date the documents are required.

To waive the associated fee, please confirm that your documents are required for employment and/or visa purposes.

A digital copy of graduation documents will also be made available to all graduates via the My eQuals system. This will include testamur, Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS) and official academic transcript.

The completion letter that will be sent to you from UON Graduate Research will contain the date that your degree was awarded/conferred. This is the date on which you have been deemed eligible to graduate with the relevant qualification.

You may only cite your award and if applicable, use the title of Doctor, from the date that your degree is conferred. The letter of award can be used to demonstrate to employers or others that you have been awarded the degree.

Graduation will contact you about the time and venue of you graduation ceremony by email to your preferred email account as listed in myHub.

Graduation ceremonies are normally held in each semester at Callaghan campus and once each year at Port Macquarie, Ourimbah and Singapore. The timing of the award of your degree and your location of enrolment will determine which ceremony you are eligible for. UON Graduate Research can provide relevant cut-off dates to help you organise your final submission for a particular graduation ceremony.

Once you receive your graduation invitation you will need to advise whether you will be attending, not attending, or deferring your graduation for up to one year through the online registration form link in your invitation.

If you advise that you will not be attending, you will be given the option of collecting your graduation documents or having them posted to you after the graduation ceremonies have concluded. A digital copy your testamur, official academic transcript and Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS) will also be made available to you via the My eQuals system at this time.