Current research students

Information about Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) supervision panel membership and timelines, as well as symposia requirements, grants and fieldwork funding.

  • Graduate research courses
  • PhD supervision panels

    Supervision panels are intended to ensure Research Higher Degrees (RHD) candidates receive ongoing support towards the successful completion of their thesis, by ensuring access to a wider range of academic staff for feedback and support. The supervision panel will play an important role at several stages in the candidate's candidature, meeting to discuss the research progress reports at the milestones identified in the timelines table below.


    The purpose of the supervision panel is:

    • to improve candidate's experience by providing a wider range of academic staff committed to a candidate's progress
    • to expand the feedback a candidate receives on the progress of their work
    • to increase the breadth of ideas and insight to which candidates are exposed
    • to ensure that the candidate has access to academic advice at all times, in particular in the absence of her/his main supervisor
    • to provide advice to the candidate about opportunities during or after their degree (including conferences, exchange programs, tutoring, relevant workshops, grant opportunities and publishing)
    • to improve completion patterns by providing candidates with structured planning of their research work


    Supervision panels must consist of at least three members of staff.

    Two supervisors: The principal supervisor (who will be responsible for regular supervision) and the associate supervisor (who may take over regular supervision when the principal supervisor is absent for more than two months, and also read a full, final draft of the thesis before it is sent to examiners). In cases of co-supervision, both co-supervisors will form part of the panel

    A panel chair nominated by the RHD Coordinator: The Chair is intended to constitute an independent advisor, able to make suggestions to the student and supervisors about progress and expectations as to performance, based on relative comparisons with the RHD cohort generally. It is not expected that a Chair will have detailed substantive knowledge about a candidate's field of research; nor is a Chair expected to ask detailed substantive questions about a candidate's topic, chapters, confirmation report etc.

    All panels will include representation of senior academic staff, including at least one panel member at Level D or E.


    As a minimum requirement, Advisory Committees must meet annually for both full-time and part-time Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) candidates:

    PhD panel meeting Full-time candidates Part-time candidates Minimum written requirement

    Progress Report


    12 months

    5,000 words (max.)

    Confirmation Report

    9-12 months

    18-24 months

    8-10,000 words

    Progress Report


    36 months

    As agreed by panel

    Progress Report

    24 months

    48 months

    20,000 words (non-inclusive of confirmation materials)

    Progress Report


    60 months

    As agreed by the panel

    Completion Report

    36 months and each expected completion date

    72 months and each expected completion date

    If requiring extension: a 2,000-word report + 30,000 words of completed chapters

    Research based on travel can affect panel scheduling. Where possible, planning at the Confirmation stage should schedule trips to not clash with supervision panel meetings. If a panel meeting is to be delayed for more than one month due to travel, this decision should be clearly recorded by the panel chair on the candidate's file, and notified by the School Research Officer to the Graduate School.

  • Symposia

    Research higher degree candidates are required to make a public presentation of their work at the University as part of confirmation (formal review for Masters candidates) and completion. The School organises three research symposia per year to give candidates approaching these milestones the opportunity to fulfill this requirement, and calls for papers are sent prior to each Symposium date.

    Candidates should submit a brief (100 words) abstract with title to the Research Support Officer at least two weeks before the symposium to be included in the program. Once the program has been finalised, the Research Support Officer will notify candidates and their supervisors of the time of presentations. The candidate's supervisors must attend the presentation, with the advisory committee chair facilitating the session.

    Probationary candidature is normally for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 12 months (or 3 and 6 months for Masters candidates) ending with confirmation. A 20-30 minute confirmation presentation (allowing time for questions) must be held within this time.

    Completion presentations will normally be no less than an hour (allowing time for questions) and should be held 3-6 months prior to submission for PhD candidates and 3 months prior to submission for Masters candidates.

  • Funding

    Grants are available from numerous sources on and off campus to help graduate research students meet the costs associated with their research. The most common grants are listed below, but other 'one-off' grants become available from time to time. Visit the SSPS Scholarships web page to view all awards offered by the Faculty of Arts and the Melbourne Scholarships website for all University scholarships.

    School Graduate Research Funding (also known as RAGS)

    This is the School's own fund for supporting graduate research students who wish to travel within Australia or overseas to access key source material not available locally, conduct surveys or other research projects, access data sets or to present at conferences.

    Conditions of the grant

    • Students must be currently enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) or Masters Degree by Research in the School
    • Applicants are required to apply for matching funding wherever possible
    • Grants must be spent within 12 months of approval
    • Evidence that the funds were spent for the purposes they were awarded for may be requested
    • Applicants are expected to minimise costs wherever possible
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) students must have their candidature confirmed and Masters students must have passed their formal review. PhD students who are beyond 3.5 years of candidature and Masters students who are beyond 1.75 years of candidature must make a special case as to why the funding will specifically aid a timely completion. This aspect must also be referred to in the supervisor’s endorsement

    Value of grants

    • Funding will be awarded of up to $2,500 per candidature for Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) students, and $1250 per candidature for Masters by Research students

    Permission to Study Away from the University

    All students studying overseas must submit an Application to Study Away form through the Student Portal and must arrange travel insurance for the duration of the trip.

    Please note: Students whose study away period is 3 months or more, must arrange for local supervision whilst they are away from the University. This information must be supplied in the Study Away form.

    Important information

    • The completed application must have the endorsement of the student's supervisor and the Head of School
    • Applicants should clearly identify the relationship between the activities to be carried out under this grant and their thesis
    • An application to attend a research workshop or conference will be considered only if the student is delivering a paper
    • Completed applications should be typed or filled out on a word processor
    • Applications should be submitted to the School Research Officer for consideration by the Head of School

    Please note: If you are applying for funding from GRATS or another grant scheme that has a school-contribution as a requirement, you do not need to fill out this form.

    Complete the School funding application