Master’s by Research milestones

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.

Formal progress reviews called milestones are compulsory for all Monash research candidates.

The MADA Graduate Research Office organises milestone presentations in collaboration with supervisors, and will contact candidates with the time and date of their milestone presentation.

Required documents are uploaded via the online milestone report system. An email prompt will be sent to students once the milestone has been scheduled. Specific requirements are detailed in Appendix D of the Monash University Masters by Research Handbook.


Due: at 8-9 months candidature equivalent full-time (EFT) enrolment.


  1. 20 minute oral presentation on your visual and written research to the review panel.
  2. 1000 word summary report including –
    • discussion of the research question;
    • brief report on progress of research;
    • a project plan;
    • timeline to completion.
  3. Draft chapter of exegesis (2500 word for MFA/MDes, 3000 word for MA);
  4. Images of studio work (MFA/MDes only).


  • Determine whether the research project is appropriately conceived as clearly achievable within 2 years EFT;
  • Provide formal assessment of the candidate’s overall performance within the probationary period of enrolment, ensuring that the student’s research direction is sound, their methodologies are appropriate, the standard of their comprehension and writing is in accordance with the requirements of their degree, and that theory and practice are in alignment;
  • 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.

Progress Review

Due: at approximately 16 months candidature EFT


  1. 20 minute oral presentation on your visual and written research to the review panel.
  2. 1000 word summary report including –
    • progress of research since Confirmation;
    • revised project plan including overview of work remaining to completion;
    • updated timeline to completion.
  3. Chapter outline of exegesis
  4. Draft chapter of exegesis (2500 word for MFA/MDes, 3000 word for MA) distinct from that presented for Confirmation;
  5. Draft Examination Exhibition plan and images of studio work (MFA/MDes only).


  • 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’s research project should be ready for examination by the thesis submission date;
  • The student is able to demonstrate command of their research in written and oral forms, and in their practice (MDes and MFA only);
  • Appropriate feedback on any issues that need to be addressed prior to submission;
  • The examination exhibition plan is feasible (MDes and MFA only)
  • The student and supervisor/s have begun to discuss potential examiners.

Transfer to PhD

Due: Transfer must be approved and completed by 15 months candidature.

Candidates proposing to transfer from a Master’s to a PhD will need to demonstrate how the scope and depth of their project has significantly expanded from the original proposal.

The transfer to PhD process is often initiated through the Confirmation milestone. If this is the case, the intention to transfer should be highlighted to the Graduate Research Office and the milestone panel members prior to the presentation date. The progress report and oral presentation will need to address the change in scope and depth of the project. A timeline for the completing the project as a PhD is required

A transfer to PhD outside of the Confirmation process will involve the candidate providing written documents and a oral presentation to a review panel.


  1. 20 minute oral presentation on your visual and written research to the review panel.
  2. 1500 word progress summary report including -
    • justification of expanded scope of PhD project
    • discussion of research question;
    • report on progress of the research;
    • an updated project plan;
    • timeline to completion as a PhD;
  3. Draft exegesis chapter (3000 word for MFA/MDes, 5000 word for MA)
  4. Images of studio work (MFA/MDes only).

If you are interested in transferring from Master’s by Research to a PhD, please discuss with your supervisor and the MADA Graduate Research Office.

MADA Milestone Roles