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*Formal milestone requirement

Visit the ANU's postgrad students research pages pages for more information.

This timeline shows the ideal sequence of milestones and lifecycle events for a full-time HDR student at Crawford. The University mandates certain reporting requirements that act as 'gate keepers' to shape and monitor your progress through the PhD program within the ideal timeframe of three years (for an MPhil candidate, the sequence of milestones is much the same, but concentrated in a 1-2 year period).

The three-year timeframe is a guide only.
Timeline
Item
Notes
YEAR 1
0 months
Enrolment
Enrolment for ANU research students is carried out by the central Enrolments Office . Students who are initially enrolled in an introductory academic program or bridging course are unable to enrol in the research degree until the requirements for those courses are met.

For more information on how to enrol visit the research students enrolment pages .
0 - 3 months
Preparation
  1. Check your enrolment is correct. You need to check your own enrolment details on ISIS.
  2. Setup your ANU email account. This will normally be done for you.
  3. Collect your ANU student card from the ANU Student Exchange.
  4. Meet with your Crawford HDR Administrator and the PhD Academic and Research Skills Advisor for an induction to your local research area.
  5. Meet with your interim supervisor. At this meeting you will discuss the formation of your supervisory panel and clarify the shared expectations between student and supervisor.
  6. Attend the College, School, and Departmental induction programs.
0 - 4 months
Topic
The first few months are crucial to the development of a viable thesis topic, i.e., one that in the view of the supervisor can be completed within the maximum time allocated to the course. It is also important that you establish good work practices. This includes meeting writing and other relevant deadlines, set in consultation with the supervisor.
0 months - 12 months
Coursework
Some students are required to undertake coursework as part of their candidature. A full academic coursework load is 24 units per semester. Students enrolled in less than 24 units are expected to spend the remaining time on their research work. A full-time research student is expected to devote 40 hours a week on average to the research program during enrolment, with the exception of recreation leave which is approved by the Chair of the supervisory panel (otherwise known as the Chair). Your supervisor and the HDR Convenor in your area must approve any changes to coursework enrolment.

Students should complete the enrolment change form immediately after enrolment if coursework is prescribed. Research students cannot enrol themselves in coursework; the
enrolment change form should be signed by your supervisor and handed to your HDR Administrator.
3 - 6 months
Annual plan*
New students submit a detailed annual plan for the forthcoming year within three to six months of commencement. The plan should include details of supervisor/candidate contact, fieldwork plans if known, required coursework and progress milestones to be endorsed by the supervisory panel and the candidate. The annual plan needs to be endorsed by the supervisory panel and the candidate, and included in your student file.

This plan is matched with progress recorded in the first Annual Report. Direct download the First annual plan form.
9 - 12 months
Annual report*
In addition to the seminar requirements, you are required to report annually on work completed towards the degree and a plan for the coming year. The due date for each annual report can be found on ISIS. The annual report must be completed and returned by the due date to the HDR Administrator.

NOTE: New students combine their first annual report with their first PhD thesis seminar presentation.

The annual report must include:
  • An update on chapters drafted or completed
  • Tentative submission dates for individual thesis chapters
  • A projected submission date for the overall thesis
  • Reference to any still-unresolved or challenging conceptual problems
  • The status of field research (either under way or completed)
  • The extent to which the project’s fieldwork has strengthened or transformed the research design
  • Concerns about supervision
  • aAny delays predicated on illness, personal circumstances, work/tutorial responsibilities, absence of key panel members due to leave, etc.

Annual reports need to be balanced, indicating both potential problems as well as your achievements.

The annual report is reviewed by the Chair, who assesses the candidate’s progress against previous annual reports and comments if required. The Chair will deem progress to be satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or marginal and in the latter two cases make recommendations for remedial action. You will be given access to the comments made in your report by the Chair.

If you do not submit your thesis within the maximum period, you must continue to submit annual reports every 12 months.

It is really important that you get your annual report in and that you fully report on your progress or otherwise: the reports are important documents that help to track progress of the thesis and can be crucial in determining the outcome of any submission for extension of scholarship or program.
9 - 12 months
First PhD thesis seminar and Thesis Proposal Review (TPR)
A Thesis Proposal Review is a formal University and College requirement. The normal expectation is that you will present your thesis proposal to a seminar attended by academic staff and students approximately nine to twelve months (pro-rata for part-time students) after your course has commenced and before undertaking fieldwork. If coursework is a requirement of the degree, the review may be postponed until all coursework is completed.

The Thesis Proposal Review seminar should lay out concisely the nature of your research project, the significance of the project, how it relates to existing literature in the field, and the principal research questions that the thesis will address. All members of the supervisory panel are expected to attend your thesis proposal presentation. The accompanying written research proposal should also contain an outline of expected fieldwork, an indicative list of the proposed chapters of the thesis, and a preliminary bibliography. Your written thesis proposal and your first annual report should be included as part of your first PhD thesis seminar presentation (your annual plan for the next year should also be combined with the first annual report). You should provide your written research proposal to your panel members; you do not need to distribute your written research proposal to people who attend your seminar.

If the Thesis Proposal Review is regarded as unsatisfactory, you may be required to repeat the exercise in six months. If repeat Thesis Proposal Reviews are unsatisfactory, a department can institute steps to terminate the candidacy. You will not be allowed to undertake fieldwork until a satisfactory Thesis Proposal Review has been completed.
YEAR 2
0 - 24 months
Research Integrity Training
All students must undertake research integrity training online within the first two years of their candidature.

The training is mandatory for HDR students.

NOTE: This is not the same as Human ethics review.
Before 24 months
Second PhD thesis seminar presentation (aka Mid-Term Review)
The second PhD thesis seminar presentation (aka Mid-Term Review) is typically based on an original chapter and usually occurs 18-24 months after beginning your course of study and shortly after completing any fieldwork. The seminar should be attended by your supervisory panel. The Mid-Term Review presentation should be designed to answer the following questions:
  • How has the project evolved since the Thesis Proposal Review?
  • What challenges have been posed by the research undertaken so far?
  • How have you had to redefine the project?
  • Where are you currently at in the overall project/thesis as it was planned?

Following your presentation you will receive a report from your supervisor that will be incorporated into your Mid-Term Review as a measure of your progress. For the remainder of the course following the Mid-Term Review, you should work closely with your supervisory panel.
24 months
Annual Report 2
Students are required to report annually on work completed towards the degree and a plan for the coming year. The due date for each annual report will be found on ISIS. The annual report must be completed and returned by the due date to the HDR Administrator.
YEAR 3

6 months before submission
Extensions
If you are unable to submit your thesis by your maximum submission date, you must seek an extension of your program by completing the Application for Extension of Program form. The application requires your supervisor’s comments and endorsement, endorsement by your Head of Department, and approval by the Delegated authority.

For more information on extensions, visit the extension of a research program page on the
postgrad students research pages.

Submission planning
See the PhD Academic and Research Skills Advisor to work out a plan for finishing up your thesis.

Start making sure your work complies with the ANU's guideline on Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students

Maps and illustrations
If needed, contact CartoGIS specialise in the visualisation and analysis of research data; they offer a service to all CAP staff (academic and professional) and CAP PhD students. Products include static maps/diagrams for publication and presentations, interactive maps for education, research and outreach, and GIS analysis and visualisation.

They often need about 4-6 weeks to produce a specialist document and it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want before asking for their support.

Start discussing examiners and examination with your supervisor
Although examiners aren't appointed at this stage, you should nonetheless start thinking about who would be appropriate to examine your thesis. Discuss this with your supervisor.

For more information, see the postgrad students research pages.

Third PhD thesis seminar presentation*
For this milestone, you are expected to deliver an oral presentation advertised to the University and open to the public, within six months before your intended thesis submission date. The third seminar presentation is typically based on an additional research chapter or on an overview of the key results of the entire thesis. You are expected to demonstrate your
  • Independent command of the material
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely the analysis of the material and findings
  • Ability to respond appropriately to constructive comment and criticism
3 months before submission
Finalise your thesis submission, including copyediting.
See the PhD Academic and Research Skills Advisor to organise copyediting.

You need to allow about 3 weeks for the copy editing process: 2 weeks for the copy editor to work on your text, and 1 week for you to make final changes. Copyediting will not be organised unless your supervisor agrees that your text is at the copyediting stage.
2 months before submission
Notice of Intention to Submit
You should email the Higher Degrees Examinations Officer advising your name, student ID number, the title of the thesis and the date on which you expect to submit it for examination. This notification sets in train the process for appointing examiners for your thesis. You will receive submission forms (Personal Information form, Library Access form and Supervisor form) and your department will receive a Notification of Examiners form.

For more information visit the Notice of Intention to Submit page on the Higher Degree Research Guide site.

Nomination and Appointment of Examiners
When your thesis preparation is in the final stages, you should be consulted about the selection of possible examiners. Your discussions would usually be about many potential examiners; however, the final panel is not made known to you.

For more information, read the ANU's guideline on Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students
2 weeks before submission
Supervisor to complete Nomination of Examiners form
Remind your supervisor to complete the Notification of Examiners form and pass to your HDR Administrator for signatures.

Make an appointment with a printing service
Make an appointment with a printing service. The University Printing Service (ext. 5 2514) offers a paid thesis printing service for ANU students. You need to submit 4 copies of your thesis to the Higher Degrees Examinations officer.
1 week before submission
Get 4 copies of the thesis printed and bound
The University Printing Service (ext. 5 2514) offers a paid thesis printing service for ANU students. Most students get their 4 submission copies spiral bound. Hard cover binding usually occurs once the thesis has been passed.

Make an appointment with the Higher Degrees Examinations officer
to submit your thesis in person
Contact the Higher Degrees Examinations officer on T: 6125 2266, or email researchthesis.enq@anu.edu.au

Submit abstract to the Higher Degrees Examinations officer
It is a requirement that a brief précis, or abstract, amounting to 250-500 words, be bound in the thesis. The précis, or abstract, must also be submitted electronically to the Higher Degrees Examinations Officer at, or prior to, submission of the thesis.

Contact the Higher Degrees Examinations officer on T: 6125 2266, or email researchthesis.enq@anu.edu.au
Day of submission
Submit your thesis. yay.
On the day of submission, take with you
  • 4 copies of your thesis
  • completed Personal Information form and Library Access form (these will be emailed to you)

For more information, read the ANU's guideline on Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students.
Post-submission
Claiming thesis production costs
If you have held a scholarship that entitles you to be reimbursed for thesis production costs, and the time period for submitting a claim has not passed, you should present your receipts when you submit your thesis. If in doubt, check your scholarship conditions of award and read the Thesis Allowance Policy.

For more information, read the ANU's guideline on Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students.

Examination
Examiners are asked to provide their written reports on the thesis within 3 months. They are asked to advise within one month if they believe an oral examination is required.

For more information, read the ANU's guideline on Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students.

Examination reports and changes
Once your examination reports are in, your supervisor will go through them and provide you with a list of changes that are to be made to your thesis before it can be passed. There is currently no time limit on how long you can take to make the changes -- but we recommend you do them quickly, so as not to lose momentum.

Hard cover binding
After receiving formal notification that your doctorate will be conferred, you must provide the university library with a hard-bound copy of your thesis. This is organised by the Examinations Office. It is also good etiquette to supply hard-bound copies of your thesis to your supervisor and to anyone who helped significantly along the way. And it's always nice for you to donate a hard-bound thesis to the Crawford PhD thesis collection.

Be a huge success and graduate
Once you have been approved to graduate, your graduation invitation and details about the ceremony will be sent to your ANU student ID email address. You cannot use the title of 'Dr' until your testamur has been conferred.

For more information, read the ANU's guideline on Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students.

Access to the ANU Library
This continues until your library/student card expires.
*Formal milestone requirement