Candidature Meetings and Milestones

For Graduate Researchers seeking University-level information on Graduate Research procedures, please visit the Graduate Research Hub.

For staff seeking University-level, internal procedural information, please visit the Students and Teaching - Graduate Research page.

For detailed information about Melbourne School of Health Sciences procedures for candidature meetings and events, please click the expandable headings below:

  • Initial Formal Meeting with Supervisor(s)

    At the start of the probationary candidature (within the first month), a formal meeting should be held with the primary supervisor (and other supervisors if available) to discuss issues detailed in the checklist.  

    At this stage, the Advisory Committee needs to be formed.  Although it is the student's responsibility to set up their Advisory Committee and arrange its meetings, this should be undertaken with the advice and guidance of their principal supervisor and co-supervisors.  Guidelines on the composition of the Advisory Committee can be found here.

    After completing  the checklist, please send a copy to  ?

  • Pre-Confirmation Meeting

    The pre-confirmation meeting is the first meeting with the Chair of the Advisory Committee.  The aim is to ensure that the student is on track to pass confirmation.

    Before the meeting

    The student should arrange a meeting at which all the following should be present:

    • All supervisors
    • Chair of Advisory Committee
    • Advisory Committee Member(s) can be invited to attend as well, but their presence is optional

    At least 10 days prior to the Advisory Committee meetings, the student should complete their part of the online progress review form with a brief (typically 1-2 pages) Written Report attached.  The student needs to ensure that all attendees have access to the online form.  If not, the student should circulate a PDF print of the online form and written report via email.

    The report should include the following:

    • The title of the thesis and name of the candidate
    • A brief abstract (approximately 100 words) that includes a concise statement of the research question
    • Research plan outlining the proposed project structure and/or the research objectives to be achieved
    • Progress to date
    • Timeframes for any regulatory approvals still required (e.g. ethics)
    • Report on approach to and progress with literature review (PhD students only)
    • A brief summary of supervisory arrangements in place and the procedure used for documenting formal supervision meetings
    • Details of any problems encountered

    We recommend that you book a meeting room with a projector for 60 minutes.  You are required to prepare a brief presentation regarding your research plans and progress to date.  The appropriate duration for the presentation is flexible but, as a guide, it is typically around 10 minutes to allow sufficient time for discussion that should follow.

    During the meeting

    The meeting will start with your presentation on your progress review to date.  After your presentation, you can expect the Advisory Committee to discuss and review the following topics:

    • Feedback on presentation, report, progress to date, resources, timeline, any problems etc
    • (PhD students only) Discussion re approach to literature review
    • Whether supervision arrangements are working satisfactorily
    • Agreement on how supervision meetings will be documented (typically by email summary)
    • Potential intellectual property (IP) issues relating to the project
    • Principles of authorship and how these will be addressed in relation to the project
    • Ensuring all the possible ethical implications of the project have been considered
    • Responsibilities for keeping research data and records
    • Any significant changes since starting that may affect the feasibility of the project (for example: changes in supervisors' other roles and commitments affecting their time availability, changes within the research group, changes in availability of critical resources, recently published work that affects the direction of the project etc.)
    • Thesis format; flag need for consideration of thesis with publication
    • Hurdle Requirements:  3 Minute Thesis Competition (present once during candidature, after confirmation), Completion Seminar Attendance (F/T 5 per yr, P/T 3 per yr, can include seminars in other schools and Research Colloquium),  Hurdle Requirement Report (present one report at each meeting with your Advisory Committee)
    • Professional development: courses for required skills
    • Availability of appropriate resources for project, including statistical report
    • The University's compulsory Research Integrity Online Training (RIOT) to be completed before confirmation.
    • Travel and fieldwork
    • Progress in terms of continuation, or the possibility of discontinuation or transfer to an alternative degree

    At the end of the meeting, the Chair of the Advisory Committee will inform the student of the outcome and complete their part of the online pre-confirmation form.  The potential outcomes of the pre-confirmation review are 'satisfactory progress' and 'at risk of making unsatisfactory progress'

  • Confirmation

    The Confirmation process consists of a Confirmation seminar presented by the Graduate Researcher, followed by a Confirmation meeting involving the Graduate Researcher and the Advisory Committee.  The purpose of the Confirmation process is to determine whether the research work done to date indicates a strong likelihood that it will result in a high quality thesis, completed in the required time.  It is a forum for student and supervisors to consider the progress of the research, obstacles they have encountered, potential future problems, and improvements that could be made.  It is also an opportunity to invite other individuals to give advice on the project.

    The main aim is to support and give advice to the student and to identify any problems early before they become insurmountable.  Early recognition of problems is crucial for successful completion.

    Before the Confirmation:

    Complete RIOT.  The University will not confirm students until the training has been completed.

    At least 10 days prior to the Advisory Committee meeting, the student should complete their part of the online progress review form.  The link for this form is emailed to the student automatically by the Candidature Management System 12 weeks ahead of the meeting and it will also appear in the Chair's Weekly Digest as "not yet submitted".  The student will attach a brief Written Report (3000-5000 words) and also circulate a PDF print of the online form and written report via email.

    The Written Report (3000-5000 words) should include:

    • The title of the thesis and name of candidate
    • A brief abstract (approximately 100 words) that includes a concise statement of the research question
    • A critical summary and analysis of relevant literature
    • As appropriate to the discipline of study, an explanation of the conceptual framework to be used and/or a summary of experimental methods and equipment requirements
    • A summary of progres to date including preliminary data, resources developed etc
    • An argument for the relevance and importance of the study
    • A proposed schedule and timeline for the thesis
    • A brief bibliography
    • A record of results from any required coursework component (if applicable)
    • A list of publications produced or any presentations made
    • A 'Turnitin' originality report for a substantial piece of writing (e.g. a chapter, section of a chapter, or the written progress report).  To access Turnitin, go to the Thesis Similarity Checking community under 'My Communities' on the LMS.  There is a link to the LMS under 'Learning Tools" on the 'Home' tab of the Student Portal

    The draft literature review should be uploaded to the online confirmation form.  Note that, together, the written report and draft literature review are sufficient to fulfil the University's Confirmation requirement: 'The [written] report should be between 3,000 and 10,000 words long'.

  • The Confirmation Seminar

    At the Confirmation Seminar, the GR presents their research findings to date at a public seminar.  The appropriate duration for the presentation is flexible, but as a guide, it is typically around 20-30 minutes.

  • The Confirmation Meeting

    The Confirmation Meeting is held after the Confirmation Seminar. For convenience, it is usually held directly after the seminar, but this is not a requirement.

    The Advisory Committee will discuss and reveiw the following topics with the GR:

    • Literature review - with Turnitin originality report
    • Ethics approval
    • RIOT certificate
    • Feedback on the Confirmation Seminar
    • Review student's Written Report (3,000-5000 words)
    • Review student's previously submitted Pre-Confirmation Report
    • (Part-time students only) Ensure six-monthly interim progress review meetings with all supervisors are documented
    • Progress to date: preliminary data, methods and resources developed etc.
    • Timeline and schedule of project
    • Problems encountered
    • Thesis format; flag need for consideration of thesis with publication.  All authors need to agree that the student contributed >50% of the publication content and is the sole primary author.  Consider the student's timeline: if the student is unable to wait for acceptance of publication, they can include their findings as a regular thesis chapter based on their original draft
    • Scientific writing skills and their development; courses attended
    • Presentation skills: participation in other seminars and symposiums
    • Professional development: courses for required skills (N.B.  Child and Adolescent Health Program)
    • Availability of appropriate resources for project, including statistical support
    • Travel, conferences and fieldwork
    • Hurdle requirements (Induction and orientation, Completion seminar attendance, Child and Adolescent Health Program)
    • Discussion as to whether a 'plan B' is necessary or has been considered

    During the meeting, the student and supervisors will leave in turn so that each has the opportunity to talk with the Advisory Committee in the absence of the other.

    At the end of the meeting, the Chair of the Advisory Committee will inform the student of the outcome and complete their part of the online Confirmation Form.  The potential outcomes of the confirmation review are 'satisfactory progress', 'extension to probationary candidature' and 'formal warning of unsatisfactory progress'.

  • Progress Review Meetings

    Progress Review Meetings of the GR and their Advisory Committee are typically conducted every 12 months, although the GR or any member of the Committee can request an additional meeting.  The purpose of the meeting is to conduct and document a formal discussion and assessment of the GR's progress.

    Before the meeting

    The student should arrange two meeting dates, (1) with their supervisors (2) with the Adivsory Committee.  At least 10 days prior to the Advisory Committee meeting, the student should complete their part of the online progress review form with a brief Written Report attached.  The student needs to ensure that all attendees have access to the online form.  If not, the student should circulate a PDF print of the online form and written report via email.

    This report should include the following:

    • The title of the thesis and name of the candidate
    • A brief abstract (approximately 100 words) that includes a concise statement of the research question
    • A table of contents or chapter outline of the thesis along with a statement on the progress of writing for each chapter (e.g. commenced/not commenced; percent complete)
    • 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
    • Note: Items a) to d) should normally be no more than three pages
    • A record of results from any required coursework components (if applicable)
    • A list of publications (e.g. peer reviewed, conference proceedings) produced or any presentations made
    • A brief summary of supervisory arrangements in place and the procedure used for documenting formal supervision meetings
    • A list of training and professional development courses attended and skills attained
    • A list of any publications and/or presentations made
    • A list of meetings attended
    • A summary of involvement in community service events
    • Details of any problems encountered

    We recommend that you book a meeting room with a projector for 90 minutes.  At the meeting, you should present your progress to date.  The appropriate duration for the presentation is flexible but, as a guide, it is typically around 20 minutes to allow sufficient time for discussion that should follow.

    During the meeting

    The meeting will start with your presentation on your progress to date.  After your presentation, you can expect the Advisory Committee to discuss and review the following topics:

    • Feedback on presentation
    • Review graduate researcher's written report (3,000-10,000 words)
    • Review graduate researcher's previously-submitted progress report(s)
    • Ensure six monthly interim progress review meetings with all supervisors documented
    • Progress to date: preliminary data, methods and resources developed etc.
    • Timeline and schedule of project
    • Problems encountered
    • Thesis format; flag need for consideration of thesis with publication.  All authors need to agree that the graduate researcher contributed >50% of the publication content and is the sole primary author.  Consider the graduate researcher's timeline: if they are unable to wait for acceptance of publication, they can include their findings as a regular chapter based on their original draft.
    • Scientific writing skills and their development; courses attended
    • Presentation skills: participation in other seminars and symposiums
    • Professional development: courses for required skills (N.B. Child and Adolescent Health PhD Program)
    • Availability of appropriate resources for project, including statistical support
    • Travel, conferences and fieldwork
    • Hurdle Requirements:  (2nd and 3rd year) 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Completion Seminar Attendance (F/T 5 per yr, P/T 3 per yr, can include seminars in other schools and Research Colloquium),  Student's own Completion Seminar (booked?), (PhD students started after 1 Jan 2018 only) Child and Adolescent Health PhD Program
    • Discussion as to whether a 'plan B' is necessary or has been considered
    • (2nd and 3rd year) Discussion about career goals and life post-PhD

    During the meeting, the student and supervisors will leave in turn so that each has the opportunity to talk with the Advisory Committee in the absence of the other.

    At the end of the meeting, the Chair of the Advisory Committee will inform the student of the outcome and complete their part of the online progress review form.  The potential outcomes of the progress review are 'satisfactory progress', 'at risk of making unsatisfactory progress' and 'formal warning of unsatisfactory progress'.

  • Completion Seminar

    This seminar is compulsory for all students to fulfil university requirements and should take place no more than 6 months prior to thesis submission.  Our recommendation is to present it around 3 months prior to submission.

    In order to advertise your seminar to the School, please email shs-research@unimelb.edu.au at least one week ahead of the date.  You will need to provide:

    • Date and Time
    • Title
    • Abstract and biography (in PDF or Word format)
    • Zoom link and password

    The total duration of the Completion Seminar should be around 1 hour.  The graduate researcher should allow time for questions and discussion within this time.

    The student must submit a brief thesis summary of their PhD research (approximately 2,000 words) to the Committee at least 1 week prior to the seminar, outlining the aims and scope of the thesis and the main results.

    The student's Advisory Committee must attend the seminar to give constructive feedback to the student which will enable them to refine their thesis, if necessary, before submission.  Following the seminar, the Committee Chair should submit a short report which notes any strengths and weaknesses of the work as presented.

    The Advisory Committee may be extended to include additional individuals who are broadly knowledgeable in the field of study, who may be able to identify how the student may enhance particular aspects of their thesis.

Progress Review Timeline

The full supervisory team needs to meet with the student at least every six months to discuss the student's progress.  In case of annual progress review meetings with the full Advisory Committee, the student and full supervisory team need to have an additional meeting six months after the annual progress review meetings.  A record of these discussions must be kept.  This may take the form of an email from the student to the supervisor summarising the discussion.

Further review meetings are optional, but can be requested at any time by the Graduate Researcher, Supervisors, Advisory Committee or the Melbourne Children's Graduate Research Committee (??)

Please click below for a detailed description of the progress review timeline:

Progress Review Timeline Table