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.

Preparing for candidature in research degrees with coursework components (Professional Doctorate)

In order to progress into the research component of your degree, you need to have successfully completed all of your coursework, with an average greater than 70%.

Once you have done so, you can submit your Application for Admission to Professional Doctorate – Research Phase.

If your application is approved, your Flagship Research Institute will advise you that the pre-candidature phase has commenced. If the standard required to proceed to the research component of the degree is not achieved, you may apply to have completed units credited towards a Masters by Coursework in a relevant field. We will provide counselling and advice about your options.

When your pre-candidature has commenced, prepare to apply for full candidature.

Composition of Panel (Confirmation, Mid and 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.

Confirmation of candidature presentations

Panel composition due
(supervisor to complete)
Candidature documents due
(student to complete)
Presentation date
(Room FS1048, 10am-4pm)
29 January 15 February 26 February
26 February 11 March 25 March
1 April 15 April 29 April
29 April 13 May 27 May
27 May 10 June 24 June
24 June 8 July 22 July
29 July 12 August 26 August
26 August 9 September 23 September
23 September 7 October 21 October
28 October 11 November 25 November

Candidates: If you are unable to schedule a time within the 2020 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].

Panel composition due
(supervisor to complete)
Candidature documents due
(student to complete)
Presentation date 1
(Room D309, 10am-4pm)
Presentation date 2
(Roo D620, 10am-4pm)
30 January

6 February

20 February 27 February
25 February 10 March 24 March 26 March
31 March 14 April 28 April 30 April
28 April 12 May 26 May 28 May
26 May 9 June 23 June 25 June
23 June 7 July 21 July 23 July
28 July 11 August 25 August 27 August
25 August 8 September 22 September 24 September
29 September 13 October 27 October 29 October
27 October 10 November 24 November 26 November

Candidates: If you are unable to schedule a time within the 2020 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].

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.

Step 1

Step 2

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:

  • thesis title
  • abstract
  • project aims
  • statement of significance and contribution to knowledge
  • literature review
  • methodology and conceptual framework
  • ethics approval
  • occupational health & safety risks
  • conclusion
  • budget
  • timeline
  • reference list.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

The relevant Flagship Research Institute panel may:

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

Step 5

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 & Towards Submission

Following are the scheduled times for presentations and the respective dates, one month prior, for supervisors to compose the panel, and candidates to submit documents.

Candidates: If you are unable to schedule a time within the 2019 schedule, please discuss with your principal supervisor. Your principal supervisors will need to organise an alternative date, time and venue. Please email this information to [email protected].

Schedules: Mid-Candidature & Towards Submission

Due date
Panel composition (Supervisor)
& documents (Candidate)
Time Presentation date
10 February 9am–5pm 9 March
12 February 9am–5pm 11 March
17 March 9am–5pm 15 April
18 March 9am–5pm 16 April
13 April 9am–5pm 11 May
15 April 9am–5pm 13 May

Due date
Panel composition (Supervisor)
& documents (Candidate)
Time Presentation date
11 February 9am–5pm 10 March
13 February 9am–5pm 12 March
17 February 9am–5pm 16 March
19 February 9am–5pm 18 March
23 March 9am–5pm 20 April
26 March 9am–5pm 23 April
25 March 9am–5pm 22 April
25 March 9am–5pm 22 April
14 April 9am–5pm 12 May
16 April 9am–5pm 14 May
20 April 9am–5pm 18 May
22 April 9am–5pm 20 May

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.

Mid-candidature review

The mid-candidature review is the second milestone you will meet in your 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.)

Doctor of Philosophy

Within 18-24 months (EFT) of initial enrolment and after successful completion of confirmation of candidature; usually 12 months (EFT) after the completion of confirmation of candidature.

(1.5 – 2.0 Consumed Load)

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)

Within 27 months (EFT) of initial enrolment and after successful completion of confirmation of candidature; usually 12 months (EFT) after the completion of confirmation of candidature.

(2.25 Consumed Load)

Professional Doctorates

Within 18-24 months (EFT) of initial enrolment and after successful completion of confirmation of candidature; usually 12 months (EFT) after the completion of confirmation of candidature.

(1.5 – 2.0 Consumed Load)

Application form & guidelines

Towards submission

The submission is the third 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.

Doctoral Candidates

Within 36 months EFT of initial enrolment and after successful completion of mid-candidature; usually 12 months EFT after the completion of mid-candidature (if applicable).

(3.0 Consumed Load)

Professional Doctorates

Within 30 months EFT of initial enrolment and after successful completion of candidature; usually 12 months EFT after the completion of candidature.

(2.5 Consumed Load)

Masters (Research)

Within 18 months EFT of initial enrolment and after successful completion of mid-candidature; usually 6-8 months EFT after the completion of mid-candidature (if applicable).

(1.5 Consumed Load)

Application form & guidelines

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.

Failure to achieve candidature

If your application for candidature is unsuccessful you will have one opportunity to resubmit. If candidature is not confirmed in the second attempt you will be advised that your progress is unsatisfactory and will be counselled about the options available.

Contact us

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