Current Higher Degree Research students

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Higher degree researchers at Southern Cross University are engaged in relevant and original research projects across a range of fields. We are proud to support our current HDR students as they continue their journey as part of Southern Cross University's thriving and highly regarded research community.

Current HDR students and the University itself must comply with a number of requirements to fulfil all study, supervisory and administrative needs. These requirements are explained in the information that follows. The University also understands that during the course of study, individual circumstances may change. Again, we offer support and guidance to our current HDR students when this occurs.

Your HDR candidature

Find out information on:

  • Transferring your candidature
  • Changes to candidature and enrolment
  • Important milestones.
Find out more
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Research end user

Find out information on:

  • Research end-user engagement reporting
  • Research internships
  • Other commercialisation and engagement activities.
Find out more
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Examination and graduation

Find out information on:

  • Examinations and graduation
  • Thesis submission and availability
  • Restricting the availability of a thesis.
Find out more
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Your HDR Candidature

Transferring your candidature

Doctoral candidates may transfer at any time into a Masters by Thesis degree if the project is suitable and the request is supported by the Principal Supervisor and Head of School. Conditions apply and can be found in Part A of the Higher Degree Research Candidate Transfer Policy.

Similarly, Masters by Thesis candidates may transfer at any time into a PhD if they can satisfy the admission criteria, the project is suitable and the request is supported by the Principal Supervisor, the School's Director of Higher Degree Research Training and the Head of School. See Rule 9 for PhD study. Conditions apply and can be found in Part B of the Higher Degree Research Candidate Transfer Policy.

Application to transfer from Masters to PhD candidature

Changes to candidature and enrolment

Southern Cross University understands that during your candidature, situations may arise which may require you to alter the conditions of your enrolment. The following changes all require completion of a Change to condition of enrolment:

  • Change to thesis topic
  • Change to supervision arrangements. This may mean a new Supervisor candidate agreement
  • Change to attendance type, i.e. from full-time to part-time
  • Interrupting your candidature.


1. Confirmation of candidature

This means you have been assessed as having the capacity to undertake your nominated research project and to complete the degree.

Masters by Thesis candidates will serve a confirmation period of no longer than six months full-time or 12 months part-time. PhD candidates will serve a confirmation period of at least six months, and no longer than nine months, full-time equivalent.

For more information, please refer to the Confirmation of candidature guidelines.

2. In-Candidature Review

This review evaluates your progress towards finalising your research project. It also ascertains whether the submission of your thesis is on track with the timeline provided at your Confirmation of Candidature.

For PhD candidates, this review would occur 12 months post-Confirmation of Candidature (full-time equivalent). For Masters by Thesis and Professional Doctorate candidates, this review would occur nine months post-Confirmation of Candidature (full-time equivalent).

For more information, please refer to the In candidature review guidelines.

3. Progress reports

As a Higher Degree by Research candidate, you are expected to make satisfactory progress towards completion of your degree. To comply with Southern Cross University’s rules, you must report on your progress every six months. Reports are submitted to the Graduate School and you and your supervisors can then identify issues that may have arisen.

Confidential reports can be submitted directly to the Manager of the Graduate School. This is important if either the student or supervisors wish to report on an issue they feel uncomfortable about raising with each other.

Progress reports inform the Graduate School of any difficulties you may be having related to your research and/or supervision. They help ensure that (a) your supervisors and the School/Special Research Centre Director for Higher Degrees by Research Training (SDHDRT) are aware of any problems that need to be addressed; (b) that you are maintaining regular contact with your supervisors, and (c), that you are making satisfactory progress in accordance with your research timeline.

HDR Research End-User Engagement Reporting

Under the auspices of the Australian Government's Department of Education, reporting requirements for all Higher Education Providers are in place to improve monitoring of the research training system. The new indicators for reporting can be found on the Department of Education website.

Accordingly, research end-user engagement is now included in the required data that all universities must collect and report to DESE.

Important: As part of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment requirements, it is now compulsory for all Higher Degree by Research students to report on their own engagement with research end-users.

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What is a research end-user?

A research end-user is defined as an individual, community or organisation external to academia that will directly use or directly benefit from the output, outcome or results of your research. Research end-users include business, government, NGOs, communities and community organisations.

Specific exclusions of research end-user are other higher education providers; affiliate organisations; controlled entities or subsidiaries of a higher education provider (such as Medical Research Institutes).

What is a research end-user engagement?

Generally, it is an experience or activity in which the HDR student has undertaken a paid or unpaid placement, internship, fieldwork, training, scholarship funding or joint supervision arrangement where their research will benefit a research end-user organisation via intellectual property or commercial gain.

External engagement

The Australian Government Department of Education and Training has provided definitions for different types of external engagement, Southern Cross University will now be required to only report on three Industry Engagement activities, as follows;

  1. PhD or Master research students that are Jointly supervised by a research end-user. i.e. Industry supervisor that is external to academia.
  2. PhD students who undertake a Research internship with a research end-user that was agreed within 18 months of course commencement for a full-time student or within 36 month for part-time student.
  3. PhD students who undertake a Research internship with a research end-user any time after 18 month full-time or 36 month part-time of your course commencement.

Industry Engagement will become an essential part of your candidature. By undertaking an Industry internship or being Jointly supervised by an industry supervisor will not only start to drive early engagement between industry and yourself as research students, it will strengthen the links between the latest research and industry innovation that you are directly involved in. Not to mention making you more employable through skills development and experience after completion of your PhD.

Whether you’re an artist, a scientist, a health professional or involved in business and law, you should be looking for ways to engage with industry whilst you are a student.

Research internship undertaken with a research end-user.

  • A research internship should be undertaken within 18 months from the commencement date of the student’s HDR if the student is undertaking a full-time student load (36 months from the commencement date for a part-time student load).
  • A written agreement is required and must detail the Research & Development (R&D) activities to be undertaken and the duration of the internship.
    The internship must be for a minimum of 3 calendar months in duration, and at least 60 full-time equivalent (FTE) days of engagement.
  • An eligible internship must be related to the student’s area of research.
  • A research internship can be either paid or unpaid, and can form part of an enrolment or be undertaken during a HDR period of suspension and can be undertaken any time throughout your candidature.

For further information on Research end-user or Industry internships please see FAQ.

This is defined as a student with at least two HDR supervisors, at least one of whom is from a research end-user organisation. The supervision arrangements must be endorsed by the HDR student's Higher Education Provider (HEP) and the research end-user supervisor must be actively engaged in the student's HDR.

Examples of joint supervision by a research end-user are:

  • An external supervisor who comes from a government research agency such as DPI or CSIRO, or a non-governmental organisation that undertakes research.
  • A living stipend, sponsorship for training or conference attendance provided by an end-user.
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Examination and Graduations

Once your thesis has been submitted, it takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the Graduate School to receive all the reports. Once all examiner reports have been received, these and any annotated copies of your examined thesis will be sent to the School Director and your Principal Supervisor for release to you. Please refer to our HDR Student Handbook or the Graduate School’s Examination’s Officer to learn more about dealing with examiner reports. It should be noted that when examiner reports are released to you through your supervisory team you will be given detailed instructions on how to respond to these reports.

Once a candidate has completed all changes to their thesis and the Dean, Graduate Studies has recommended the awarding of a degree, all candidates must provide the following to the HDR Officer:

  • One electronic copy of the final thesis in PDF format
  • One unbound copy of the final thesis
  • A 100-word abstract of the thesis
  • A fully signed Thesis Deposit and Verification Form. This is pursuant to the University's policy that, subject to authorised exemption, all theses are to be included in the repositories of the University Library.

Upon receipt of this material, the Graduate School will initiate the preparation of your academic transcripts and refer your name to the Graduation Office in preparation for graduation. Candidates should also be aware that there are copyright implications that must be addressed before making your thesis available online.

Lodgement of all required copies of a research thesis is a prerequisite for graduation.

A candidate retains the intellectual property in the thesis. However, pursuant to University policy and rules, lodging a research thesis with Southern Cross University means that an unbound hard copy will be placed in the University library archive. Also, a digital copy will be uploaded to the online institutional repository to be published online within an approved institutional auspice.

A candidate may apply to impose access restrictions on both the digital and unbound copies. Please refer to the submission rules if you seek such restrictions.

Candidates should also be aware that there are copyright implications that must be addressed before making your thesis available online.

Please complete the Thesis Deposit and Verification Form and return it to the HDR Officer.

Access to a thesis may be completely restricted for a defined period of up to 24 months (see University rules). A restricted thesis will have its citation and abstract data made available, but not the full thesis. Once the full thesis is published in the Cross Connect, there is no restriction on who may access it.