Candidature variations

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

Overview of candidature variations

The following variations to candidature may be applicable to you in your Doctor of Philosophy - Arts (PhD) or Master of Arts - Research (MA), depending on your circumstances. They will require approval by your supervisor, and in some cases require further approval from the Head of School and/or Academic Registrar. You must apply on the appropriate form in advance of the effective date of the change. Retrospective applications may only be approved if the application meets the below policy and procedure.

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

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


Leave of absence

You may apply for leave of absence or an extension to your existing leave — a period of non-enrolment, whereby your research time is paused temporarily — 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 the Taking Leave how much leave can I take? section. You may also be entitled to addition leave, such as parental or recreation leave, please see the Taking Leave additional entitlements section.

Before submitting a request, International students should view the information on the Student Leave of absence web page.

To understand payment agreement/eligibility, Scholarship recipients will need to view the Graduate Research scholarships terms and conditions web page.

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 for a period of leave of absence or an extension to your existing leave, please submit a request here:

Apply for leave of absence

Return from leave

If you have an approved leave of absence, you will need to indicate your return from leave in order to recommence your enrolment and reactivate 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 submit a request here:

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,
  • ongoing supervision during study away,
  • ongoing progress reviews and thesis submission dates,
  • ethics approval, and/or
  • travel to high risk destinations.

Please review in detail the mentioned requirements on the About Study Away web page.

Please note: 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 for a study away period or if you require an extension to your existing study away, please submit a request here:

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 still fail to complete the form, your candidature and/or scholarship may be cancelled.

To indicate your return from study away, please submit a request here:

Submit return from study away notification


Change of study rate

Changes to study rate, 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, you will need to review your visa conditions before you apply. For more information, refer to the Reduced study load web page.

Please note that supporting documentation will be required for International student visa holders, 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, or
  • political upheaval or a natural disaster in your home country.

Please enquire within the Student Visa Team if you are unsure of your eligibility.

To request for a change in study rate, please submit a request here:

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 percentage 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 submit a request here:

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

To make changes, please submit a request here:

Apply for change to project details


Add and drop coursework subjects

You are able to request enrolment into additional coursework subjects beyond the PhD Coursework Component. 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 PhD
  • 50 points for MA

You may also make changes to your existing PhD Coursework enrolment where necessary.

Please note standard enrolment and Census Dates apply to coursework subjects. Graduate researchers enrolled in coursework subjects should be mindful of all Census Dates relating to their subjects.

To apply for enrolment into additional coursework subjects or make changes to your PhD Coursework Component, please submit a request here:

Apply to add or remove subjects


Course withdrawal

You can withdraw from your research degree at any time. However, 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 submit a request below:

Apply for course withdrawal