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 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 Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School.

Once the form has been received and processed, we will notify you and your supervisors via email. 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 Home Affairs. 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 University facilities (e.g. laboratories, ICT resource, Library) and research supervision during your leave period.

Annual Leave

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.

Sick Leave

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.

Parental Leave

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. You should contact Graduate Research prior to the birth (or placement through adoption or fostering) of your child, to advise of your intended period of leave.

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 Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School.

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

Scholarship Extensions - temporary measures for the Research Training Program (RTP) during the coronavirus pandemic

Scholars may be eligible for an extension of their RTP Fees Offset and RTP Stipend if they are:

  1. Otherwise making satisfactory progress;
  2. The grounds for the extension relate to the student’s course of study being materially adversely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions; and
  3. The student was enrolled as at 1 March 2020 (or enrolled prior to this and on a leave of absence as at 1 March 2020).

The maximum periods of support under such an extension may be two and a half years full-time equivalent to support a full-time Master Degree (Research), or four and a half years full-time equivalent for a full-time Doctoral Degree (Research/Professional).

You are advised to seek the support of your Principal Supervisor before making your formal request. Following that, please complete the Scholarship Extension Request form.

Requests for extensions, or questions around whether a scholarship could possibly be extended should not be submitted until 3 months prior to the current expiry date. As the situation is changing daily, it is not practical to provide individual advice ahead of time.

For any requests not related to COVID-19 restrictions please contact Graduate Research to discuss your situation, noting that you will be asked to demonstrate that the request is made due to events that relate directly to your research which are out of your control.

How to withdraw from your program

If you want to withdraw from your research program you need to advise 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 Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School.

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 Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School.

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.

Changes to your student status

If you are granted permanent residency in Australia you must notify Graduate Research immediately.

An international HDR candidate who obtains permanent residency may be allocated to a Research Training Program (RTP) place.

Your team of supervisors is your most important support network during your higher degree by research program. However, there may be circumstances in which changes to supervisory arrangements become necessary. 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

The Head of School (or Nominee) coordinates supervision for your program and should be consulted on any issues that are arising between you and your supervisors that are impeding your progress. The Deputy Head of College (Research) is the senior academic officer overseeing HDR in your College and is available as an alternative point of consultation.

If you would like to initiate a Supervisory Changes complete the form and submit this to Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au. GR will arrange for approval by the relevant Head of School. Alternatively, supervision changes can be initiated by the School.

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 Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School.

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 Graduate Research at graduate-research@newcastle.edu.au, who will arrange for approval by the Head of School.

Candidates who transfer into a new program must be confirmed at that program level (MPhil 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.

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