Milestones - Supporting and monitoring candidature

Regular and thorough review of progress during candidature helps keep candidates (and supervisors) on track and focused. In particular, opportunities to receive input from their broader intellectual community and colleagues provide candidates with a platform on which to receive useful insights and feedback  on their progress and research direction. The benefits of regular, formal reviews have long been recognised and valued by candidates and supervisors at Monash University with the well-established compulsory confirmation process.

Formal reviews called milestones are a compulsory process at Monash for all research candidates.

Students have the following milestones to mark the stages of progress during their degrees, based on equivalent full-time (EFT) enrolment:

Doctor of Philosophy

Commenced between 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2014 in the following degrees:

Course

Confirmation

Mid-Candidature Review (MCR)

Pre-Submission Seminar (PSS)

PhD

12 months

21 - 27 months

No later than six months prior to the enrolment end date.

Commenced on or after 1 January 2015 in the following degrees:

Course

Confirmation

Progress Review

Final Review

PhD

12 months

24 months

36 months

Research Master’s Degrees

Commenced between 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2014 in the following degrees:

Course duration

Confirmation

Mid-Candidature Review (MCR)

Pre-Submission Seminar (PSS)

MEngSc(Res)

9-12 months

n/a

n/a

Commenced on or after 1 January 2015 in the following degrees:

Course duration

Confirmation

Progress Review

Final Review

MEngSc(Res)

8 months

16 months

n/a

Milestone purpose

Confirmation

This milestone is designed to transition the student from probationary to confirmed enrolment. Its purpose is to:

  • Determine whether, in the case of PhD students, the research project has been appropriately conceived as clearly achievable within 3 years EFT;
  • Determine whether, in the case of research master’s students, the research project is appropriately conceived as clearly achievable within the standard duration of the degree;
  • Provide formal assessment of the student’s overall performance within the probationary period of enrolment, including an assessment of their progress in relation to mandated coursework units or training, while also ensuring that the student’s research direction is sound, their methodologies    are appropriate and the standard of their comprehension and writing is in accordance with the requirements of their degree;
  • Confirm, where relevant, that ethics and Intellectual Property (IP) arrangements are in place, ensuring that a plan of action is agreed to where there are issues;
  • Ensure that the resources available to the student, including supervision and facilities, are adequate for the purpose of completion of the degree within the required timeframe;
  • Provide students with the opportunity to receive peer review feedback on their research and oral presentation and development of presentation / communication skills from experienced researchers;
  • Enable a formal recommendation to be made that the student has either met or not met the requirements of the milestone.

Mid-Candidature Review / Progress Review

The purpose of this milestone is to ensure that:

  • The student’s progress since Confirmation remains satisfactory, and that they have met any requirements agreed to as part of the Confirmation process;
  • The student remains on track to complete their research project by their thesis submission date;
  • The student’s research and other professional skills are developing appropriately;
  • The resources available to the student, including supervision and facilities, are adequate for the purpose of completion of the degree within the required timeframe.

Pre-Submission Seminar / Final Review

The purpose of this milestone is to ensure that:

  • Any issues identified at the Mid-Candidature Review / Progress Review have been addressed;
  • The student’s research project is at an advanced stage and should be ready for examination by the thesis submission date;
  • The student is able to demonstrate command of their research both in written and oral forms;
  • Appropriate feedback is provided to the student about the readiness (or otherwise) of the thesis for examination, providing feedback on any issues that need to be addressed prior to submission;
  • The student has completed any required coursework and training, and that the student and supervisor/s have begun to discuss potential examiners.

Milestone extension requests

Extensions will only be considered where research has been delayed by circumstances beyond the student’s control - e.g. equipment breakdown; delays due to ethics approval, etc.

For further information please refer to the Graduate Research Progress Management Procedures.

Further information for PhD students

Information about the individual milestones is outlined in the following sections of the Handbook for Doctoral Degrees:

Further information for Master’s by Research students

Information about the individual milestones is outlined in the following sections of the Handbook for Research Master’s Degrees

All forms and guidelines are available on the Graduate Research forms webpage.