Research

Welcome to research at UWA. Our dedicated Graduate Research School (GRS) provides training and development while you’re undertaking your research degree. You can also find support, information and guidance through your supervisors, graduate research coordinator (GRC), discipline chair or other relevant school staff. Your GRC has an important role in the governance and management of research training and is the authority for these matters in your school. Your GRC is responsible for assessing and approving all formal submissions related to candidature, scholarships and examinations for students in courses administered by the GRS.

In addition to their governance role, your GRC is often your first point of contact and can assist you by:

  • distributing information about opportunities
  • developing and coordinating activities to help you develop your skills and form networks
  • facilitating your orientation
  • providing information about, and referring you to, support services
  • providing confidential counsel where necessary and following up matters of concern

View the list of GRCs

Within the GRS, you have a candidature officer who assists with the management and administration of your candidature including:

  • enrolment
  • changes to candidature
  • your research proposal, annual reports and other milestones
  • travel awards
  • transfers or changes to your course

Contact your candidature officer at PGhelp@postgraduate.uwa.edu.au.

Contact your scholarships officer at researchschols@uwa.edu.au.

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Get involved

The Postgraduate Students’ Association (PSA) is the representative body for postgraduate students at UWA, providing services and events throughout the year to foster a sense of community among students. Membership is free and automatic for all postgraduate students upon enrolment.

Enrolment

You are a research student if you’re undertaking any course managed by the GRS or a postgraduate course that includes two thirds or more research that is managed by a faculty. You are required to manage all changes to your enrolment and candidature with either the GRS or your faculty.

Your re-enrolment in subsequent years depends on the lodgement and approval of satisfactory annual and interim progress reports, research proposals, confirmations of candidature, travel reports and payment of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) and any other debts by the re-enrolment period at the end of each year.

If you are in a course managed by the GRS you will be re-enrolled automatically each year if all your milestones have been submitted to the GRS as required and you have no debts to the University. We are unable to re-enrol you if you have any financial encumbrances such as unpaid parking fines or library fees.



Concurrent enrolment

If you're in a research-only course, you may enrol in up to 24 points of coursework units during your candidature if you have the approval of the GRS with the endorsement of your coordinating supervisor and GRC. To apply, submit an application for Variation of Terms.

Except for those in approved combined degrees, research students enrolled in a research degree at UWA are not usually permitted to enrol in additional courses, either at another university or at UWA. Visit the Handbooks site to check the rules of your course.

Managing your candidature

If you’re enrolled in a course administered by the GRS, you have a series of dates, known as milestones, which provide a framework for the management of your candidature.

  • Each milestone is associated with paperwork you need to complete in consultation with your Coordinating Supervisor and submit to your GRC and then the GRS.
  • The due dates for these are in studentConnect.
  • Your milestones are calculated on your enrolment type (full-time or part-time) and the type and length of the course you are enrolled in.
  • During your candidature, additional milestones may be added to your list as required.
  • If you change your enrolment status (by changing to full-time, part-time, or suspending your candidature), your milestone dates will be updated in studentConnect. Note: Your annual report milestone will not change – it falls on the same date every year regardless of other changes.

During candidature, you may wish to apply to change supervisors, school and/or research direction, extend your candidature, take leave or suspend your studies, change between part-time and full-time enrolment, and/or change your course. If you are an international student, some changes to enrolment may have implications for your student visa. For more on these changes, visit the GRS website. Applicants wishing to transfer or change from a master’s program at UWA to the PhD, or vice versa, should submit an application for upgrade or downgrade as relevant.

Checking your details and milestones in studentConnect

Visit studentConnect at any time to:

Your contact address, home address and emergency contact details must be current, and you also need to check your address as part of your re-enrolment.

To find your milestones, click on the Courses link, your course code number and the milestones tab. A list of milestone types, the current status of each milestone, the due date and achieved date will appear.

View our step-by-step guide to finding your milestones in studentConnect. If you believe there is an error in your milestones, get in touch with us.

Key milestones

  • DELNA

    DELNA is the Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment, which must be completed by all new students in courses managed by the GRS within the first 10 weeks of candidature. Its purpose is to identify students who need additional development of their English skills and to ensure this commences early in candidature.

    DELNA

  • Research proposal

    Approval of your enrolment and continuation of your candidature depend on the approval of a satisfactory research proposal. The due date for your research proposal will depend on your degree and whether you’re studying full time or part time. Find the due date of your proposal in studentConnect.

    Your proposal is prepared by you with close guidance by your supervisors. You, your supervisors and your GRC must ensure that your research proposal submission is completed and signed, indicating that you all agree with the information provided. Once your proposal is submitted to the GRS it is reviewed and you will be notified of the outcome.

    Timely completion of a satisfactory research proposal is a requirement of your continuing candidature, so late submission of your research proposal may result in review of your candidature.

    More information

  • Annual Progress Reports

    You are required to lodge an Annual Progress Report every year, even if you are on suspension or studying part time. This provides an opportunity for you, your supervisors and your GRC to review your progress and to discuss and revise your research plan each year. It is particularly important to review your progress in light of the time limit for your candidature to ensure you will complete within this limit. A satisfactory Annual Progress Report is a condition of your re-enrolment.

    More information

  • Confirmation of candidature

    If you're enrolled in a PhD, for the first year of candidature you are enrolled as a ‘provisional candidate’. At the end of the first year of your enrolment (or the equivalent of one year of candidature if you have had any period of part-time candidature – check your milestones in studentConnect for precise dates), you will submit paperwork along with your annual report for your confirmation of candidature. Confirmation of candidature does not apply if you are enrolled in a master’s by research.

    Your research proposal will outline a number of tasks to be completed before submission of your confirmation paperwork. These tasks and the standard at which they must be achieved will be agreed between you, your supervisors and your school, and set out in the research proposal for approval by the GRS. We set a number of compulsory tasks that all doctoral students need to complete for confirmation of candidature:

    • completion of the Academic Conduct Essentials (ACE) unit
    • UWA ethics approval if animal or human ethics approvals are required
    • a substantial piece of writing (in addition to your research proposal) – this is included to assess your academic writing skills, your conceptual understanding of your research (or part of your research) and how well you put these two together.

    In addition to the compulsory tasks set by the GRS, supervisors and/or GRCs will add a number of tasks. Some schools set mandatory tasks for confirmation of candidature. Possible tasks you could be required to complete include presenting work orally to the school and/or passing appropriate units or courses such as laser, radiation, chemical and/or laboratory safety.

    Find out more

  • Ethics approval

    All student researchers at UWA must be aware of, and meet, their ethical responsibilities when designing, implementing and managing a research project. Many student projects require formal ethics approval, and ethics approval from UWA is mandatory for all research that requires ethics approval even if your work is covered by ethics approval from another institution. If your research requires animal or human ethics committee approval, ethics milestones are entered into your milestones list. Your supervisors will be the nominated contact for the UWA ethics committees. Once the relevant ethics committee has informed your supervisors that your application has been approved, you need to notify the GRS of your ethics approvals numbers. Until then, your research proposal milestone will be marked as provisionally approved.

    Research integrity

  • Thesis submission and examination

    Your thesis due date is one of your milestones in studentConnect. Start thinking about the core elements of your thesis at the beginning of your course and seek advice and critical comment from your supervisors throughout candidature. Read theses in your, and related, discipline areas to become familiar with different styles and ways to present content.

     

    Thesis

     

    If you enrolled in a PhD after 1 January 2018, you're required to complete an oral examination in addition to examination of your written thesis. This means you have the opportunity to meet with your thesis examiners and discuss your project outcomes in detail.

     

    Oral exams (viva voce)

     

Other information and resources

  • sCHOLARSHIPS

    Graduate Research School Travel Award

    The Graduate Research Student Travel Award provides allowances of up to $750 for travel within Australia, and up to $1850 for travel overseas. These grants are awarded by the University for the purpose of travel directly related to the candidate’s research. This could include, but is not limited to, conference attendance, fieldwork, or travel to work in labs interstate or overseas. The awards aim to facilitate international and interstate travel for research purposes, and only in exceptional cases, and only for long distance travel, can be used for travel within Western Australia.

    Convocation Postgraduate Research Travel Award

    The Convocation Postgraduate Research Travel Award enables research students to enhance their work through travel in Australia or overseas. Awards are made available through the generosity of graduates and with assistance from the University and the PSA. The value of each award is up to $3000 and may be used to cover travel or accommodation costs, or to supplement another travel scholarship or award.

    View all research scholarships
  • Finance and resources

    Your supervisors or GRC can provide information about funds for travel to conduct research or collect data, or to cover the costs of specialist equipment or project requirements.

    The University Policy on Graduate Research Training sets out the University’s expectations with respect to the provision of resources for research students.

    Schools are expected to provide you with:

    • accommodation (such as a laboratory) and access to a desk
    • access to laboratory and workshop services (such as machine tools and qualified technicians available to each researcher, according to need, for research)
    • access to equipment required and approved for your research
    • access to a basic library collection
    • standard reference materials or funds for abstracting services
    • provision of computers (excluding access to high-performance computers or other specialised applications) and basic computing facilities such as word processing and other standard software
    • use of photocopiers, telephones, mail, fax, email and internet for purposes related to your research
  • Research internships and other external engagements

    Participating in internships and work integrated learning (WIL) can increase your employability, whether you aim to progress in academia or in industry, government or business. During your candidature, you may be provided with opportunities to take part in an external placement – either paid or unpaid – within industry, government and other research end-users. Opportunities are posted on the GRS website and sent to you via the GRS newsletter. Your engagement in an internship will be subject to approval.

    View policies and procedures

    If you hold a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or other UWA scholarship, you may be eligible to take up to four weeks of Paid Professional Development (PPD) leave. This leave is given for paid professional development through approved academic activities such as demonstrating in laboratories, tutoring, assisting with field trips, and organising conferences. During PPD your RTP and other scholarships are not suspended.

  • Travel

    All travel must be in accordance with the rules defined by the University Policy on Travel.

    Approvals for travel should be obtained from your coordinating supervisor, GRC and the GRS. This approval is required in addition to the other requirements of the University’s Policy on Travel. Travel bookings must be made through Concur Travel, the University’s approved online booking tool, and all travel arrangements should be made through UWA’s preferred travel service providers.

    If you travel overseas for your research or for annual leave, you need to notify us of your travel plans by completing an Overseas Travel form.

    Approval of all overseas leave is conditional on submission of your research proposal.

    If you’re travelling overseas, you should obtain a Healix card that provides details of how to access 24/7 medical, security and traveller assistance as well as pre-departure advice.

    Security and support

    You have access to medical, security and traveller assistance as well as pre-departure information and advice via Healix International, the University’s provider. Register with Healix International and create a user profile to receive a pre-travel advisory email 30 days – or less if intended travel is within 30 days – prior to departure to or through higher risk countries (quote Policy Number: UWA16349 when registering). This email will outline country-related information, what risks you should be aware of and how to contact Healix during your trip should you need assistance. For the most up-to-date travel and security information, and to find out whether your destination is high risk, visit Healix.

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Researcher training and development

UWA has a range of services to help you develop and enhance your skills.

Contact the Graduate Education Officers in the GRS, who provide a variety of development activities including workshops, writing groups, seminars and individual consultations GRS Calendar of Events.

If you need assistance to develop other, more foundational skills, contact the Study Smarter team.

Other support available

Academic staff within your faculty

If you need specific help related to your research or clarification of concepts, you should talk to your supervisors. Before you meet with your supervisor, consider the type of feedback you require and communicate this clearly so that you can get the most out of the meeting.

Statistics Clinic

The UWA Centre for Applied Statistics offers free statistical advice all year round for PhD and master’s by research. Clinic sessions are by appointment only. Request an appointment or email consulting-cas@uwa.edu.au. The centre also provides short courses on statistics, which are subsidised for research students.

Research Integrity Advisors

Research Integrity Advisors (RIAs) can assist you in addressing ethical and procedural issues. They can help you understand how to obtain ethical review, publication and dissemination of research findings, authorship, conflicts of interest, and management of data and primary materials. They can advise about research practices and the process of making an allegation of a breach of the codes of ethics and conduct.

Confidentiality, intellectual property and copyright

In conducting your research, you may receive assistance or information from funding agencies and companies. The entity giving you that assistance or information may require certain restrictions on the publication of that information or of the research results or information produced in the project. Intellectual property at UWA is dealt with according to the University Policy on Intellectual Property.

The University Library provides copyright support for postgraduate research students so you can understand and conform to the copyright obligations. Early in your candidature it is important to become aware of the issues relating to the inclusion of copyright material in theses and plan to obtain the relevant copyright permissions where required.

Fieldwork and safety

Visit UWA’s Safety, Health and Wellbeing website for information and policies which you should become familiar with.

Your responsibilities

  • You must take reasonable care of your own safety and health and that of others.
  • You are required to report all known hazards, incidents and injuries.
  • You must comply with the Safety Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and School Rules. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Training and risk assessments

Your School is required to inform you of its own safety and training arrangements. This is particularly important should you be required to undertake laboratory or fieldwork or other activities where you may be exposed to significant hazards. You should always carry out a risk assessment to identify the known and potential hazards of an activity or operation before beginning work. Access a Fieldwork Safety Plan to get started.

Safety Plan

Fieldwork in remote and rural areas

  • You should receive appropriate first aid training from your school before embarking on fieldwork.
  • Always follow instructions given, avoid risks and do not go out alone.
  • Always let someone know your intended route and destination and when you expect to return.
  • Report in when you get back.
  • If you are going off-road, the University four-wheel drive course will need to be completed.
  • All incidents and injuries must be reported to the Safety and Health Office.
  • Before embarking on fieldwork, you are required to read the Fieldwork in Rural and Remote Areas Policy.

Working in isolation

  • A risk assessment will need to be made prior to working to determine the risk of working in isolation.
  • Never work alone when carrying out potentially hazardous work.

Policies and processes

There are many University policies relevant to research and research training.

Satisfactory progress

To remain enrolled, you must make satisfactory progress in your course of study. You will normally be deemed to be making satisfactory progress if you have:

  • submitted a satisfactory research proposal within the agreed time
  • completed agreed confirmation of candidature requirements to the required standard within the agreed time to the satisfaction of your supervisors and GRC
  • continued to complete sufficient written and technical work of an acceptable standard to your supervisors and GRC within agreed periods of time
  • submitted all reporting requirements satisfactorily to your school and to the GRS/faculty, within the required time

Final assessment of research courses is partly or entirely via the examination of the research thesis. The thesis is sent to either two or three external examiners, depending on the course. The examiners recommend to the University what the classification of the thesis should be and the final classification is made by either a faculty committee or the Board of the Graduate Research School, depending on the course.

Appeals against assessment

You have the right to appeal an academic decision or assessment.

For more information, contact the GRS or your faculty office.

Complaints

If you have a serious concern or complaint which you have not been able to resolve directly, you may approach your GRC or the Graduate Research School for advice and/or lodge a complaint.