Before you commence

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 the University of Newcastle so you are feeling as comfortable as possible from day one.

  • Let us know when you’re arriving! Email: to confirm your commencement date. If you let us know early enough we can ensure everything is ready for you from the start, including your laptop (see below) and access to support services.
  • Book a place at a 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 given us at least five weeks’ notice of when you plan to start, you will also be able to collect your free laptop at the session. Book online via Eventbrite.
  • 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.

International students

Candidates moving to Australia have additional things to do to prepare for life in the country. You will receive information on what to do before departing as part of your onboarding pack. The important things to arrange include:

  • Student visa: You must arrange a valid Student visa for the duration of your studies. The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs provides comprehensive information about the Student visa (subclass 500) and the process to apply for a visa. All visa applications are lodged and assessed by the Department. To apply for your visa you will need to have received your Confirmation of Enrolment document, also known as an eCOE. We will send you this after you have accepted your offer to study with us and paid any deposit fees.The base student visa application charge set by the Department of Home Affairs is $560.
  • Overseas Student Health Cover: It is a condition of your Student Visa to have OSHC for the duration of your Visa. If you are awarded a scholarship, your Offer of Admission will have included details on the coverage that can be arranged for you. The University's preferred provider is Allianz Global Assistance. If you have indicated that you would like the University to arrange your OSHC on your behalf, this will be arranged for one week prior to your commencement date. The Department of Home Affairs website contains information on OSHC requirements.
  • Travel: Along with booking your flights, you should plan how you will travel from the airport to Newcastle. The Global: Arrival and customs page has up-to-date information on your options.
  • Accommodation: You may need to arrange temporary accommodation for your first weeks in Newcastle so that you can visit longer term accommodation after you have arrived. The Global: Accommodation webpage lists some of your options.
  • School registration: If you have School-age children (5-18) you will need to register them with the NSW Department for Education. Note that there may be fees applicable for children of temporary residents.  
  • Finances: bring between AUD$1,500.00 - $2,000.00 with you for accommodation, transport, food and other essential costs on your arrival. Note that if you are on a HDR scholarship, it may take up to four weeks from your commencement to receive your first payment. You may also choose to apply for a bank account online before you arrive. For more information on opening a bank account and on cost of living in Australia, see the Global: Finances page.
  • Budgeting: The Government (RTP) living allowance stipend base rate is $28,597 – it is recommended that you should budget on this as a minimum amount for living expenses. Beyond that, the table on the HDR Costs page provides indicative amounts required for a student and are presented as a guide only. Note that the Department of Home Affairs states that a student requires $21,041 per year in order to receive a student visa. This will increase significantly if you have dependants.

International candidates are also advised to refer to the Beginning a Life in Australia guide, produced by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, which contains helpful information on topics such as employment, Australian law, housing and transport. You will also find The Life in Australia booklet useful. This guide is produced by the Australian Government Department of Home Affrairs and sets out an overview of Australian history, way of life and values.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.