Once you have obtained a place in a research degree, you must obtain candidature approval to become an 'official candidate' in your course. This occurs when you receive final approval for your research proposal. Until then you are in the pre-candidature phase and your enrolment is provisional.

Pre-candidature commences when you first enrol in the research component of your degree, and continues up to the point your application for candidature receives final approval by your Flagship Research Institute. You undertake initial research towards your thesis project and prepare for candidature during this phase.

Composition of Panel (Confirmation, Mid & Towards Submission presentations)

Your principal supervisor is responsible for nominating the Composition for Panel for the candidature milestones at least 20 working days prior to the presentation. Complete the Composition of Panel Candidature Milestone form.

If you are presenting for the Mid-Candidature Review or Towards Submission Review, your principal supervisor is responsible to nominate all panel members, including the Chair.

Schedule: Confirmation, Mid & Towards Submission presentations

Compositions of panel due; application & written submissions due* Confirmation of Candidature documents due Presentation dates
27 January 10 February 24 February
24 February 10 March 24 March
22 March 5 April 19 April
31 March 14 April 28 April
21 April 5 May 19 May
28 April 12 May 26 May
26 May 9 June 23 June
30 June 14 July 28 July
28 July 11 August 25 August
1 September 15 September 29 September
29 September 13 October 27 October
27 October 10 November 24 November

*Application and written submission only refers to Mid-Candidature Review & Towards Submission milestones for this date.

Candidates: If you are unable to schedule a time within the 2021 schedule, please discuss with your principal supervisor. Your principal supervisor will need to organise an alternative date, time and venue. This information is to be emailed to [email protected].

Compositions of panel due; application & written submissions due* Confirmation of Candidature documents due Presentation dates
27 January 9 February 23 February
28 January 11 February 25 February
19 February 5 March 19 March
23 February 9 March 23 March
25 February 11 March 25 March
5 March 19 March 2 April
30 March 13 April 27 April
1 April 15 April 29 April
20 April 4 May 18 May
27 April 11 May 25 May
29 April 13 May 27 May
3 May 17 May 31 May
25 May 8 June 22 June
27 May 10 June 24 June
29 June 13 July 27 July
1 July 15 July 29 July
27 July 10 August 24 August
29 July 13 August 26 August
16 August 30 August 13 September
31 August 14 September 28 September
2 September 16 September 30 September
8 September 22 September 6 October
28 September 12 October 26 October
30 September 14 October 28 October
28 October 9 November 25 November

*Application and written submission only refers to Mid-Candidature Review & Towards Submission milestones for this date.

Candidates: If you are unable to schedule a time within the 2021 schedule, please discuss with your principal supervisor. Your principal supervisor will need to organise an alternative date, time and venue. This information is to be emailed to [email protected].

Candidates based at the St Albans, Werribee and City Queen campuses may select to present at City Flinders Campus or Footscray Park Campus, at one of the scheduled times (as shown on this page). Alternatively, you may present at your home campus.

It is recommended you discuss this with your principal supervisor and email [email protected] to advise of your presentation date, time and venue.

Applying for confirmation of candidature

Unless you have been admitted with advanced candidature you must apply for candidature in accordance with the timelines set out in the candidature application guidelines.

Work with your supervisor to prepare for candidature in accordance with the University guidelines. Your application for candidature should contain a detailed research proposal that includes:

Your Flagship Research Institute will use the following criteria to assess the suitability of your project in relation to the degree in which you are applying to become a candidate:

  • academic merit, feasibility and viability of your project
  • capacity of the Flagship Research Institute to ensure adequate supervision, resources and infrastructure to support the proposed project
  • your capacity to successfully undertake the project within the time frame stipulated for the degree, taking into account the enrolment time fraction proposed
  • other relevant criteria determined by your Flagship Research Institute.

The relevant Flagship Research Institute panel may:

  • reject your proposal
  • endorse it outright
  • endorse it subject to you making changes.

The relevant Flagship Research Institute panel will grant candidature or declare the application unsuccessful. If you fail to achieve candidature you will have one opportunity to resubmit.

Extension of pre-candidature

Your pre-candidature may be extended for a defined period up to a maximum of 12 months (effective full-time) from the commencement of your pre-candidature phase. To obtain an extension you must have experienced unanticipated difficulties during the pre-candidature period as a result of one or more of the following:

  • disruption to supervision
  • change in focus and direction of the proposed project
  • revision required in the review process leading up to presentation for candidature
  • difficulties in scheduling of candidature confirmation deliberations and/or in convening a suitable confirmation panel
  • documented personal illness or other serious personal difficulties
  • other unforeseen disruptions beyond your control that have directly impacted on your capacity to prepare for candidature.

Complete an Application for Extension form.

If you need to extend your pre-candidature, please contact the Office for Researcher Training, Quality and Integrity within six months (effective full-time) of the commencement of your pre-candidature.

Mid-candidature review

The mid-candidature review is the second milestone Doctor of Philosophy candidates will meet in their Higher Degree by Research (HDR) enrolment.

You and your supervisory team will be notified by the Office of Researcher Training, Quality & Integrity at the appropriate time to schedule your presentation for this milestone. (Masters by Research candidates are not required to undertake this milestone.)

Degree type Time frame
Doctor of Philosophy

Within 24 months (EFT) of initial enrolment and after successful completion of confirmation of candidature (within 6–9 months EFT).

(1.5 – 2.0 Consumed Load)

Application form & guidelines

Towards submission

The submission is the final milestone you will meet in your Higher Degree by Research (HDR) enrolment.

You and your supervisory team will be notified by the Office of Research Training, Quality & Integrity at the appropriate time to schedule your presentation for this milestone.

Degree type Time frame
Master of Applied Research 1.5 years (EFT)
Master of Research 1.25 years (EFT)
Masters by Research 1.5 years (EFT)
All doctoral degrees 3.0 years (EFT)

Application form & guidelines

At this point in your candidature, and in preparation for the timely submission of your thesis, we encourage you to check the originality of your thesis with the Turnitin software to avoid missed citations or accidental plagiarism.

Download the Guide to using Turnitin to check your research thesis

All graduate students have access to Turnitin via the 'Graduate Researcher Support and Development Toolkit' found within VU Collaborate.

Advanced candidature

If you have commenced candidature at another university and want to transfer to VU with advanced candidature you must:

  • have been admitted for candidature at another university for the project proposed in your application to VU
  • satisfy VU degree entry requirements
  • be enrolled for a minimum of six months before submitting your thesis for examination
  • not be within 12 months of the maximum duration of the degree (exceptions may be granted).

You must include the following documents with your application for Advanced Candidature:

  • your candidature proposal
  • statement setting out the reasons for the request to transfer
  • statement of progress from your previous supervisor (not necessary if you are transferring to VU with your supervisor)
  • letter of confirmation of candidature from previous institution
  • other supporting documentation.

You must also contact the Office for Researcher Training, Quality and Integrity to determine if a place is available.

Contact us

If you require further information, please email [email protected]