You are a ‘commencing candidate’ after starting your research higher degree, while you are preparing for your Confirmation of Candidature.

Enrolment Appointment

When you accept your offer or arrange your international student fee payment, we will make an appointment to provide information to help you get started. Please:


The formal RHD induction is an invaluable introduction to life as a research postgraduate. The induction is held twice a year and is part of the required program of structured activities for RHD candidature.

New candidates are invited to the Induction soon after enrolment. Make sure you check your emails! International students will also have an orientation organised by the International Centre.

Confirmation of Candidature – First RHD Milestone

Preparing your Research Proposal

The research proposal is part of the first formal RHD milestone (pdf). Completing a satisfactory research proposal within the first six to 12 months of candidature (FTE) is required in order to progress an RHD candidature.

School Research Proposal policies and procedures:

The form of the research proposal varies across Schools but normally covers:

  • proposed title and topic
  • rationale, aims and objectives and methodology
  • literature review
  • preliminary bibliography
  • timetable
  • a provisional table of contents 
  • an indication of any special considerations that may be required (eg ethics approval). If your research project involves human subjects, you must get approval from the University's Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee.

You are encouraged to submit your research proposal to Turnitin text-matching software.

This proposal is examined by a committee of the supervisors, Dean of School (nominee)/ Postgraduate Coordinator, and at least one other person not involved in supervision. The proposal is assessed to ensure:

  1. the project is viable, and
  2. resources are available to support the proposed project.

Completing your Confirmation of Candidature

When you complete your Research proposal you must also follow the Milestone Process - Flow Chart (pdf) to complete your Confirmation of Candidature.

The purpose of the Confirmation of Candidature is to achieve the following objectives:

  • assess whether the research higher degree candidate has a viable research project that is achievable for the degree in which the candidate is enrolled. In some cases, this assessment may include a proposal to upgrade from Masters by Research to PhD candidature;
  • provide peer feedback to the candidate on the oral presentation and written submission;
  • assess whether additional education and/or training is required to ensure timely completion;
  • assess whether additional resources will be required by the candidate to undertake the research;
  • identify any problems or issues to address; and
  • determine whether the candidature should continue.

Part-time candidates: Please note that you will be required to submit an Interim Milestone Review in between the formal RHD Milestones.

For more information, see the EHL RHD Milestones (pdf) and the Office of Graduate Research RHD Milestones webpage.

Application to Transfer/ Upgrade/ Change your Project

In the case of a Masters candidate seeking to upgrade to a PhD, the research proposal may be used as part of the upgrade procedure and you must complete a Transfer of Candidature or Change of Project application form (DOC 95KB)

RHD Professional Development Program

Check the RHD Professional Development Program for sessions relevant to commencing RHD candidates.