Being a joint PhD candidate

This information is provided for our joint PhD candidates who have been admitted to a joint degree across two institutions. Being enrolled in a joint PhD means that you are in a unique position to benefit from the expertise, supervision and experiences at two separate institutions and often across two continents. It is your and your supervisors’ responsibility to ensure that you are meeting the requirements of both universities in which you are enrolled.

Expectations

As a joint PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, we expect that you will:

  • have at least one supervisor from each institution;
  • spend a minimum of 12 months at each institution during your degree;
  • have a ‘home’ institution and a ‘host’ institution. The definition of home institution depends on the arrangement between Melbourne and the partner University. The home institution is usually where you will commence your studies and where you will be primarily funded;
  • be accepted and admitted as a candidate at both institutions before commencing your PhD and have your progress monitored at each institution;
  • submit your thesis for examination via the examination process at each institution;
  • on successful completion, be awarded with a joint degree, recognised with a testamur from each institution.

IGRAs

Individual Graduate Researcher Agreements (IGRAs) represent the contract which is signed between you, your supervisors and both institutions confirming details of your joint PhD candidature. Your IGRA will clarify:

  • funding arrangements
  • progress review requirements
  • the expected dates that you will be at each institution
  • examination requirements specific to your joint degree
  • Your IGRA should be completed prior to your commencement, and no later than three months after you start. Your IGRA will be administered by your home institution and the relevant IRTG coordinator/s will assist you in obtaining the necessary signatures from both institutions.

Supervisors

As a joint PhD candidate, it is important to ensure that you maintain regular communication and meetings with your supervisors from both institutions. More information about working with supervisors is available here.

Progress Reporting

UoM requires that your progress is regularly reviewed by an Advisory Committee. More details about these processes at the University of Melbourne are available here.

If the partner institution has a similar progress review process, then you don’t necessarily have to do both. If the timing is similar, you may be able to complete one of the reporting processes and provide the documentation and outcome of that review to the other institution for their record keeping purposes. For example, you can download a pdf copy of a review completed on the University of Melbourne’s Candidature Management System and forward this to the relevant administrator at the partner institution. Instructions for this are here. You should contact your faculty if you have questions about progress review processes.

Leave of Absence

Circumstances may arise that mean you are unable to work on your research for a period of time. In consultation with your supervisors at both institutions, you should submit your Leave of Absence request at the institution where you are currently located. If you are studying in Melbourne and require a Leave of Absence, further information is available here. It is important to ensure that you and/or your supervisors forward any confirmation of Leave of Absence periods to the administrators at your partner institution to ensure that the leave is recorded and accounted for at both institutions, allowing for adjustment of progress review and thesis submission dates.

Study Away

Study Away refers to a period of time for which you are approved to undertake research-related activities away from the University of Melbourne. The University of Melbourne has an obligation to ensure all our students are in safe learning environments and so we need to know when you are not expected to be on campus in Melbourne.

As a joint PhD candidate, if you commence at the partner institution, a Study Away request will need to be completed at the time of your enrolment, and then again for subsequent periods at the partner institution. More information on submitting a Study Away request is available here. You can select the Study Away reason of ‘studying at joint PhD partner institution’ in the form.

Examination

Your examination will be carried out in a manner that meets the requirements of both universities as stated in your IGRA. If you have any questions you should consult with your supervisors. When you are ready to submit your thesis to Melbourne, you can find general information about the submission and examination process here.

Contacts

Faculty Graduate Research Administrators

https://gradresearch.unimelb.edu.au/key-contacts

IRTG Coordinators

https://gateway.research.unimelb.edu.au/resources/graduate-research/joint-phds-IRTGs