If you need to change the details of your candidature, you must complete the Variation to Candidature Form and submit it, with your supervisor's endorsement, to your School's Chair of Higher Degree Committee, who will forward it to the Faculty Office with a recommendation for action. Note that in each case you must provide information justifying your application. Applications for variations must be made well in advance of any change as variations may not be back dated.

If the matter is routine, approval is normally granted executively and the change will take effect as soon as possible (usually in about one week). If the case is not straightforward, the matter will be considered by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee, which may mean that it is not resolved for several weeks. In either case, you will be notified by letter as to the outcome of your request. Clearly, it is highly desirable that you submit the application well ahead of time to avoid delays.

Note that any variation to candidature is likely to affect the conditions of your scholarship. If you are in receipt of a scholarship, you should discuss your situation with Student Finance Services before applying. In particular, you should note that you cannot continue to receive scholarship payments while on intermission, that it is not normally possible to continue to receive scholarship payments while studying part time, and that most scholarships are tenable for a maximum of three years (two years for a masters), with a possible six month extension.

For further information see the University policy (Section 15).

Change of Attendance Status

If you wish to change from full-time to part-time study (or from part-time to full-time) you should discuss the matter with your supervisor before completing and submitting the Variation to Candidature Form. You will need your supervisor's support, and you will need to explain how your project will still remain viable while on part-time study.

Note that you will not normally be able to receive scholarship payments while studying part time.

Change of Degree

If you are enrolled in a masters degree and wish to transfer to a doctorate, you should discuss your plans with your supervisor before making an application using the Variation to Candidature Form. The application will require your supervisor to agree that the project has sufficient breadth and depth to accommodate the greater expectations of a doctoral degree.

Note that transferring to a PhD will extend the tenure of most scholarships to three years, but that the time in which you have already been in receipt of a scholarship for the masters degree will be deducted from the remaining time. Note also that the period of candidature allowed to complete the PhD will normally be discounted to reflect the time already spent in the masters degree.


Ideally, your candidature should be continuous so that your research proceeds uninterrupted and you complete your study within the allowed time. However, if you have strong medical or compassionate grounds for interrupting your study, you should discuss the matter with your supervisor before making an application using the Variation to Candidature Form. The conditions under which the government funds RHD places allow for periods of intermission adding up to 12 months over the course of the candidature. A further six months may be granted under exceptional circumstances.

Note that while on intermission you are considered not to be enrolled, which means that you will not continue to receive scholarship payments and will not have access to resources such as email and the library. Moreover, you cannot continue to use University facilities because the University's work place safety and insurance agreements do not cover you unless you are an enrolled candidate engaged in University-related activities.


Applications for an extension to candidature are normally granted only under exceptional conditions. Valid grounds for applications are when circumstances outside of your control have delayed or set back the research program. For example, you may have suffered equipment damage so that you had to repeat an experiment, or your fish might all have caught a fatal disease so that you had to breed a new batch. Note that applications that amount to saying "the work took longer than expected" are in general not favourably considered. And note also that if the nature of the problem is such that work cannot proceed, then you should consider applying for intermission until the matter is resolved.

To apply for an extension, you should discuss the matter with your supervisor before applying. TheVariation to Candidature Form must include a detailed plan of remaining work to be completed, identifying milestones and providing expected dates for completion of each stage. If your application is successful, you will normally be granted an extension for about half of the period in the first instance, with an indication that the remaining period of extension will be granted subject to your meeting the milestones identified in your plan.

Studying off Campus

If your research requires that you spend an extended period away from the campus, perhaps on a field trip or at an overseas or interstate research lab, you should discuss the matter with your supervisor and make careful and thorough plans for the work. For periods of absence of up to nine weeks, your supervisor can give approval; for longer periods, you should seek approval through the Faculty Office using the Variation to Candidature Form. If your plans call for overseas travel, you should also arrange for appropriate medical and travel insurance.

There is no application form for off-campus study. However, your supervisor will need to assure the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee that appropriate arrangements have been made to ensure that the research will be appropriately supervised during the time you are away, including provision for regular communication or for alternate on-the-ground supervision at the place of work.