Roles and responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of postgraduate students, their Schools and supervisors are recommended to be completed within 4 weeks of the student commencing candidature. It is optional, however, the student and supervisor can complete the Research Degree Supervision Agreement.

It's worth reviewing these early in your candidature - they provide the bottom-line on what you can expect from your School and supervisor, and what they will be expecting from you.

Above all, note this:

'While Schools and supervisors are expected to provide many forms of support and guidance, the ultimate responsibility for managing the project and obtaining the degree rests with the candidate.'

If things go wrong with your project or candidature they can't be fixed by blaming others. You have 'ultimate responsibility', so review and evaluate your progress regularly - with input from your supervisor, of course.

If you are concerned that an aspect of your research or candidature is not going well, voice those concerns early and act on them as necessary. Don't just assume that it will work out in the end - work to ensure that it does.

  • It is only when a supervisor is absent for more than two months that the School is required to arrange alternative supervision.
  • The School should make available to new students 'general guidelines regarding authorship of publications within the discipline'.
  • The supervisor should alert the commencing candidate to commonly encountered tasks, processes and standards expected of doctoral programmes in the particular field.
  • Supervisors should conduct a major review at least six monthly in order that the student's achieved work can be assessed within the overall shape of the study and the time-frame for completion. This is undertaken through the HDR Progress Report.
  • The supervisor must make an assessment of the student's written work early in the candidature.
  • The supervisor has a responsibility to ensure that students are included in the academic life of the School.
  • The supervisor is responsible for initiating discussions about intellectual property and authorship of any publications arising from the student's work but the student should ensure that these issues are clarified to his/her satisfaction.
  • It is the student's responsibility to keep the supervisor informed of their research activities, progress and problems.
  • A PhD is expected to be a full-time commitment on the student's part (unless enrolment is part-time) and more than 6 hours per week (on average) additional work is considered undesirable.
  • Professional development is considered to be an integral part of the PhD training program.
  • Any research that involves collecting data from human subjects (including surveys) needs approval from the relevant ethics committee before data collection is undertaken.