Confirmation of Candidature

Faculty of Medicine and Health Graduate Research School LogoThe University of New England requires all doctoral candidates who commenced candidature from 1 January 2007 and onwards to undertake a Confirmation of Candidature process. The Confirmation phase, common to most Australian universities, represents the formal completion of the students ‘probationary’ status. The UNE’s Confirmation of Candidature Procedure has been approved by Academic Board and is available from the UNE Policies website.

For doctoral programs of 3 years duration student progress will be assessed at 6 months after enrolment for full-time students and at the 12 month period for part-time students. For students in professional doctorates, assessment would normally be carried out 6 months after work on the thesis or portfolio has begun for full-time students and at 12 months after work on the thesis or portfolio has begun for part-time students.

Confirmation of Candidature at UNE is a developmental strategy aimed at providing support for doctoral students in the formative stage of their research, particularly helping them to attain the academic preparedness necessary to progress to the next stage of their degree.

The Confirmation of Candidature process formally ensures a student’s progress is ‘on track’ during the early period of candidature, and their readiness to attempt the next phase of their research. In this sense, the Confirmation of Candidate includes an educational component, as well as being an integral part of the University’s quality assurance processes.

The specific aims of Confirmation of Candidature are to:

  1. identify early in a Student's candidature any support, intervention and/or guidance necessary for their proceeding successfully to the next major stage of research;
  2. assess a Student's progress and the Student's academic preparedness to complete the degree;
  3. provide the Student with an opportunity to demonstrate academic skills appropriate to higher degree by research;
  4. ensure that the scope, size, structure and complexity of the research program is appropriate to the level of the higher degree by research; and
  5. help ensure timely and successful degree completion.

Confirmation of Candidature Panel

School and HDR Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of each School’s HDR Coordinator to organise suitable times for the conduct of each HDR students Confirmation of Candidature Panel including a suitable venue. It is the Principal Supervisor’s responsibility to select appropriate Confirmation of Candidature panel members, which may include staff or experts with a particular expertise to the student’s research topic. In the Faculty of Medicine and Health this will include the students relevant Head of School and HDR Coordinator as the standard.

Faculty Research Office

The Faculty Research Office will advise of the Associate Dean, Research’s availability as the Chair, and will circulate a calendar invitation to all Faculty staff and HDR students advising of the upcoming Confirmation of Candidature presentation. At least 10 days prior to the students Confirmation of Candidature a copy of the HDR student’s research proposal will be circulated for staff and HDR students to read.

Student Responsibilities

Four weeks before meeting with the Confirmation of Candidature panel, the student will need to submit to the Chair:

  • the Confirmation of Candidature Reporting Proforma requires the student to complete the first part of the document;
  • a copy of their approved research proposal; and
  • a copy of their proposed research budget within the designated guidelines for each School; and
  • any other documentation relevant to the Panel (for example, presentations given on the research, signed off induction course(s), evidence of having met any of the required milestones, as outlined in the Supervisor and Student Agreement or other documentation).

Panel Responsibilities

The Confirmation of Candidature Panel membership is outlined in Section 3 (11) of the Confirmation of Candidature Procedures.

Instructions for the conduct of the Confirmation of Candidature Panel are outlined in Section 3 (12) of the Confirmation of Candidature Procedures.

The decision making process of the Confirmation of Candidature Panel is outlined in Section 3 (13) of the Confirmation of Candidature Procedures. The Confirmation of Candidature Proforma is to be completed by the Panel, can be found on the Research Services website under the My Study tab.

Communicating the outcome of the Confirmation of Candidature Panel is outlined in Section 3 (19) of the Confirmation of Candidature Procedures.

Where a student elects not the sign the Confirmation of Candidature Report, this should be noted by the Chair of the Panel as outlined in Section (20) of the Confirmation of Candidature Procedures.

Non-Confirmation and Appeal

In cases where the Panel decides not to confirm candidature, Panel members should refer to Section 3 (21 ) of the Confirmation of Candidature Procedures. Students wishing to appeal non-confirmation of candidature will find the Appeal procedures in the same section.

Confirmation of Candidature Format and Tips

The written submission, not counting the annotated bibliography, should be a maximum of 5,000 words. It might be helpful to many candidates to note the structure of an Australian Research Council (ARC) research grant application, if applicable. The thesis statement or research question is the core of this submission.

The research proposal should be written in non-specialist, plain English language that will be understood by an intelligent and educated reader who is not familiar with the research area.

Candidates should normally include in their proposals information about the following aspects of their work:

  • Aims of the project
  • What does the project hope to demonstrate or argue or prove or illuminate by studying a particular topic?
  • What new knowledge or understanding will it provide?
  • Can the overall aims of the project be captured in a single-sentence thesis statement or research question?
  • Significance
  • Why are the aims of the project important?
  • What difference will the new knowledge or understanding make?
  • Originality
  • Can the candidate claim with confidence that some important aspect of the work has never been achieved before?
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Candidates should provide an indication that they have carefully considered the practical implications of what will be required for the project to be completed, and demonstrate that the necessary work can be accomplished within three years.
  • Methodology
  • An outline of how the aims of the project are to be achieved.
  • Thesis outline
  • An indication of the overall structure of the proposed thesis with a chapter-by-chapter overview of the content.
  • Timetable
  • A detailed three-year timetable (or part-time equivalent) with deadlines for all major milestones and research tasks, including details about when each chapter will be drafted, submitted, revised and finalised.
  • Intellectual Property Management
  • A statement which demonstrates that IP issues involving all likely potential collaborators have been resolved.
  • Resources
  • Are all resources needed to complete the project available?
  • Data Retention and Management
  • Is the School able and willing to provide the necessary resources to store the data in an appropriate manner?
  • Appropriate Ethics and Safety Clearances
  • Critical Review of Recent Work in the Field
  • Candidates should provide an appropriate overview of what has already been achieved by other scholars in the field. The format will vary according to the norms of the discipline and the award, but it should indicate that the candidate knows the proposed project does not duplicate, in whole or in significant part, work that has already been published, and that the candidate is aware of those methodological and theoretical issues that are accepted as standard for the discipline.

The timing of the interviews:

  • Preliminary discussion: 15 minutes
  • Interview: 30 minutes
  • Discussion: 10-15 minutes