Candidature variations

There are a number of variations that are applicable to students. Find out how you can make changes to your course or enrolment and view the types of variations.

The following variations to candidature require approval by your supervisor, and in some cases require further approval (eg. Head of School or Academic Registrar). You should apply on the appropriate form in advance of the effective date of the change. Retrospective applications can only be approved if the application meets the below policy and procedure.

Policy and Procedures

All applications for a variation to candidature are governed by The University of Melbourne's Graduate Research Training Policy (MPF1321).

How to submit a candidature variation form

  1. Log in to eStudent
  2. Select the 'Graduate Research' tab on the top of the page
  3. Click on the link to the type of variation you are requesting on the left panel of the page
  4. Complete all the required fields and submit the application

Login to eStudent

The Graduate Research Hub lists an overview of all the variations available as well as the direct links to each request form.

Take me to the GR Hub

Leave of absence

You may apply for leave of absence - a period of non-enrolment - for reasons related to health, family or carer responsibilities, which may temporarily hinder your studies.

To view a summary of your leave entitlement, please see: how much leave can I take?

You may also be entitled to addition leave, such as parental or recreation leave, please see: additional entitlements

International students should view the information on the International students' leave of absence web page before submitting a  request. Scholarship recipients will need to view the scholarships terms and conditions to understand the payment agreement/eligibility.

Please note that supporting documentation is required for the following applications:

  • backdated/retrospective applications
  • parental leave (maternity, adoption leave and partner leave)
  • sick leave
  • applications beyond the entitlement
  • applications during the period of 'at risk' or 'formal warning of unsatisfactory progress'
  • International students on a student visa

To request a leave of absence, please ensure that you have carefully read the information above and subsequently, submit a request here:

Apply for leave of absence

Return from leave of absence

If you have an approved leave of absence, you will need to indicate your return from leave in order to recommence your enrolment and reactive your scholarship payment. If you fail to return from leave, your candidature and/or scholarship may be cancelled.

To indicate your return from leave, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Submit return from leave of absence notification

Study away

You may apply for study away - a period of time in which you are conducting research away from the University - internationally or domestically throughout your candidature.

There are several requirements that you should be mindful of, including:

  • residency requirements and study away duration
  • supervision during study away
  • progress reviews and thesis submission dates
  • ethics approval
  • travel to high risk destinations

Please review in detail the mentioned requirements here.

Travel to high risk destinations listed as 'do not travel' or 'reconsider your need to travel' will require further approval from the Academic Registrar.

Free travel insurance is automatically provided upon approval of your study away request. If the University's travel insurance does not meet your needs, you may seek additional travel insurance elsewhere that suits you better. If you have any queries, check with the University's Insurance Office via Stop 1.

To request a study away, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Apply to study away

Return from study away

If you have an approved study away, you will need to indicate your return from study away. The online form will be emailed to you approximately five days prior to your expected return. If you reach your return date and the form has not been received, you will be sent a further reminder. If you still fail to complete the form, your candidature and/or scholarship may be cancelled.

To indicate your return from study away, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Submit return from study away notification

Change of study load

Changes to study load, from full-time to part-time or vice versa, can be requested at any stage of your candidature and can be requested more than once. You may switch to a part-time study rate (20 hours per week, dedicated study) or full-time study rate (40 hours per week, dedicated study).

If you are a visa holder or scholarship recipient, you will need to review your visa or scholarship conditions before you apply. For more information, refer to the reduced study load and scholarship terms and conditions webpages.

Please note that supporting documentation may be required, such as evidence that the change is due to compassionate and compelling circumstances. Examples may include:

  • serious illness or injury
  • pregnancy or childbirth
  • care responsibilities for dependents
  • visa processing delays
  • traumatic experiences
  • political upheaval or a natural disaster in your home country

Please enquire within the Student Visa Team or Melbourne Scholarships Office if you are unsure of your eligibility.

To request for a change in study rate, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Apply for change of study rate

Change my supervisors

As your research project progresses and transforms, you may need to make adjustments to your supervisory panel and advisory committee, including supervisory arrangements and contributions. This request requires the endorsements from the current and proposed supervisors, as well as the relevant Heads of Schools or their nominee.

To request for a change to your supervisory panel, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Apply for change to supervisors

If your new principal supervisor is in a different Faculty or a different School within the same Faculty, please read in detail information on:

Changing your department

Change of research project details

Any change to your research project, including changes to their thesis title, updating or recording new Field of Research code/s, and requesting a major change in your research topic should be formally recorded. These changes require endorsements by your supervisor and if necessary, Head of School.

To make changes, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Apply for change to project details

Add and drop coursework subjects

You are able to request enrolment into additional coursework subjects and this form should only be used for subjects beyond the PhD Coursework Component (ie. in addition to the compulsory workshop and elective subjects). These subjects should be relevant to your research and not exceed the maximum credit point allowance for graduate researchers (inclusive of the subjects compulsory in the PhD Coursework Component):

  • 100 points for Doctor of Philosophy
  • 50 points for MA

Please note standard enrolment and census dates apply to coursework subjects. Candidates enrolled in coursework subjects should be mindful of all census dates relating to their subjects.

To apply for enrolment into additional coursework subjects, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Apply to add or remove subjects

To make changes to your PhD Coursework Component, please use the following link instead:

Graduate Research Enrolment Request Form

Course withdrawal

You can withdraw from your research degree at any time. It is not possible to withdraw from your research degree under the following circumstances:

  • the University has notified you of a recommendation to terminate your enrolment, or
  • your thesis (or creative equivalent) has been submitted for examination.

To apply for a course withdrawal, please ensure that you have read the information above before submitting a request below:

Apply for course withdrawal