Confirmation and progress reports

Information about candidature milestones and the committees that advise on progress for PhD and Masters by Research students.

Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) Confirmation

Confirmation is a key point in PhD candidature. Its purpose is to determine whether work to date on the PhD research proposal indicates a strong likelihood that it will result in a high quality thesis, completed in the required time. Information about Confirmation can be found on the Graduate Research Hub Confirmation web page.

All PhD graduate researchers must complete the online component of the Research Integrity Online Training (RIOT) prior to Confirmation. RIOT covers the principles of research integrity and their application to the planning, conducting and reporting of research. RIOT also presents other aspects of the responsible conduct of research including human research ethics, the care and use of animals in research, and the broad societal responsibilities of research. For detailed information please see the RIOT website.

PhD Fieldwork

If a fieldwork component is envisaged, graduate researchers must include a fieldwork plan, basic methodology, timetable and a tentative fieldwork budget with their Confirmation Report form to be eligible to apply for the Arts PhD Fieldwork Grant Scheme after confirmation. This Fieldwork documentation must be submitted along with the Confirmation Report Form.

Master of Arts (MA) Confirmation

The Confirmation is a key point in masters by research candidature undertaken at six months (or equivalent part-time) candidature. Its purpose is to determine whether work to date on the research proposal indicates a strong likelihood that it will result in a high quality thesis, completed in the required time. Information about the Confirmation can be found on the Graduate Research Hub Reviewing my progress and Mapping my degree web pages.

All MA graduate researchers must complete the online component of the Research Integrity Online Training (RIOT) prior to Confirmation. RIOT covers the principles of research integrity and their application to the planning, conducting and reporting of research. RIOT also presents other aspects of the responsible conduct of research including human research ethics, the care and use of animals in research, and the broad societal responsibilities of research. For detailed information please see the RIOT website.

Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) and Master of Arts Progress Reviews

Completion of progress review forms is required for the continuation of enrolment and any scholarship held. Progress review forms provide an opportunity for both the graduate researcher and advisory committee to review and evaluate progress on the project. Information about Progress Reviews can be found on the Graduate Research Hub Reviewing my progress and Mapping my degree web pages.

Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) and Master of Arts Advisory Committees

Advisory Committees are convened for all graduate researchers, PhD and MA by research, in line with University best-practice (see the Graduate Research Hub Working with my supervisors web page). The goal of this committee is for academic staff to meet with graduate researchers to assist with progress in their thesis. Where possible the timing of these committee meetings and most of the written requirements are integrated with the Confirmation and Progress Reviews.

Candidature Milestones and Requirements

The meeting schedule and written requirements are the minimum required by the University and the Faculty of Arts.

Graduate researchers will receive the relevant form for their next review approximately three months before the due date. For further information about how review meetings will be organised, graduate researchers should contact their School Graduate Research Administrator.

PhD Advisory Committee Meeting Full-Time Graduate Researches Part-Time Graduate  ResearchersSupporting DocumentsOral Presentation Required
Progress ReviewN/A 12 months Summary of Progress^No
Confirmation Review 9-12 months 18-24 months Confirmation Report* + 10,000 words of thesisYes
Progress ReviewN/A 36 months Summary of Progress^No
Progress Review 24 months 48 months Summary of Progress^  + 30,000-40,000 words of thesis, additional to materials submitted at previous reviewsNo
Progress ReviewN/A 60 months Summary of Progress^No
Progress Review (Completion)36 months72 monthsA complete draft thesis + Summary of Progress^Yes, within 6 months of thesis submission
Progress Review (Completion)42 months84 monthsSubmitted thesis OR full final draft + Summary of Progress^Yes, within 6 months of thesis submission
Thesis Submission42-48 months84-96 monthsSubmitted thesisYes
Final Progress Review (only required if thesis not submitted on time and applying to lapse/for late submission) 48 months 96 months Summary of Progress^ 
MA Advisory Committee Meeting Full-Time Graduate Researches Part-Time Graduate  ResearchersSupporting DocumentsOral Presentation Required
Confirmation Review6 months 12 months Confirmation Report* + 5,000 words of thesisYes
Progress Review12 months24 months Summary of Progress^ + 15,000 words of thesisNo
Progress Review (Completion)18 months 36 months A complete draft thesis + Summary of Progress^Yes, within 6 months of thesis submission
Thesis Submission18-24 months36-48 monthsSubmitted thesisYes
Final Progress Review (only required if thesis not submitted on time and applying to lapse/for late submission)18 months 48 monthsSummary of Progress^ 

Confirmation Report*

  • An abstract of approximately 100 words that includes a concise statement of the research question/problem/aims/hypothesis,
  • A critical summary and analysis of relevant literature including the conceptual framework (theoretical approach), research questions, and discussing the significance/importance of  the study,
  • A plan of the research (i.e. preliminary methodology) including potential fieldwork, interviews, archival research etc.,
  • The funding required to support these research activities and how this funding will be sought (i.e. PhD Fieldwork Grant, Arts Graduate Research International Grant),
  • A reference list or bibliography,
  • A summary of progress to date including preliminary data, resources developed, etc.,
  • An argument for the relevance and importance of the study,
  • A detailed chapter plan,
  • Research Ethics application (if applicable), and
  • Identification of any difficulties experienced during the period under review.

Beyond these formal requirements, there is no formula for a successful Confirmation Report. Each project is different and the structure of individual reports will reflect that.

For example, the report may take the form of a single 10,000 word document, addressing all of the requirements listed above or it might take the form of a shorter overview document, together with a substantive chapter. Graduate researchers should consult with their advisory committee/principal supervisor as to which format of the 10,000 words is appropriate to their discipline or thesis.

The key aim is to convince the panel that graduate researchers have gained a satisfactory level of knowledge of the relevant field to which the research will contribute, that the project is clearly conceived, feasible and likely to achieve its aims within the timeframe for a timely completion, and that the level of critical analysis, writing and scholarship is of an appropriate standard.

Summary of Progress^

This summary should be attached as an additional document if the information has not already been provided in the progress review form:

  • The title of the thesis and name of graduate researcher,
  • A brief abstract (approximately 100 words) that includes a concise statement of the research question,
  • A chapter outline of the thesis along with a statement on the progress of writing for each chapter (eg. commenced/not commenced; percentage completed), and
  • A timeline or plan for the completion of the thesis, the stage reached in relation to the overall research plan and work to be completed, which should culminate in the completion of a draft thesis at the 3 year point of candidature.

If applicable:

  • A list of publications (eg peer reviewed, conference proceedings) produced, conference presentations made; or other research outputs,
  • Creative works if relevant, and
  • Any written materials requested by the advisory committee or discipline specific documentation.

When graduate researchers are close to thesis submission, the plan for completion should include specific details of the planned completion seminar, as well as factor in time for supervisor feedback and significant editing.