If you’ve been directed to this page after having your pre-confirmation or confirmation approved, please follow these links to find out what you need to know.
What is confirmation?
Confirmation is a major milestone in your candidature. It is the evaluation of the progress in your research project, and to see that your work has met expectations, to identify any problems with your progress and to help set the direction for your successful completion. When you first start your degree, you are considered to be on probation. Your probationary candidature changes to confirmed candidature following a satisfactory confirmation meeting outcome.
Why do I confirm?
The purpose of confirmation is to:
- assess your progress to date and your academic preparedness
- determine whether you have developed a clearly defined, coherent and feasible research project and contribute suggestions for its successful completion
- publicly acknowledge a major milestone in the project and inform others about the research project
- provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have the written and oral presentation skills appropriate to graduate research study
- determine that any specific requirements for confirmation of your candidature have been met.
You will be emailed a link to the online confirmation form ahead of the confirmation due date. To be confirmed, you will need to:
- provide a RIOT: Research integrity training completion certificate
- have completed any required coursework
- submit a written report to your advisory committee (includes your supervisors)
- give a presentation
- meet with your advisory committee.
See Preparing for confirmation for a detailed guide on what you need to do and what to expect during your confirmation.
You must confirm your candidature by the deadlines below.
If you transferred from another institution, you may transfer as a probationary graduate researcher and have a shorter confirmation deadline, or may transfer as a confirmed graduate researcher.
You can only request one extension to your probationary candidature before the due date.
Full time (in calendar months)
Part time (in calendar months)
PhD student with ≥75 credit points of mandatory coursework
PhD student (Faculty of Arts only)
How to get help
Your supervisors, fellow students and local graduate research administrators are good people to talk to about confirmation.
Preparing for confirmation
This section will assist you in getting ready for your confirmation; you can select from this table of contents to drop down to a specific section.
- Confirm my confirmation date
- Arrange your meeting
- Complete the confirmation prerequisites
- Submit your written report
- Prepare a turnitin similarity report
- Give your presentation
- Creative disciplines
- Complete your section of the confirmation form
- What happens at the meeting?
- Outcomes of confirmation
- How to get help
Confirm my confirmation date
Twelve weeks before the due date, you will receive a notification of your upcoming confirmation from the University to your University email account. The email will include a link to your online confirmation form and your confirmation due date.
If you haven’t received notification about your confirmation and think you should have by now, contact your local graduate research administrator.
Your advisory committee (includes your supervisors) receive regular emails with a summary of their students’ upcoming progress reviews (including your confirmation).
Arrange your meeting
The meeting where you and your advisory committee discuss your confirmation needs to be scheduled. Find out what the local practice is for arranging this from your supervisor or local graduate research administrator, as faculties and departments do this differently. We highly recommend that you have this meeting booked well in advance.
Complete the confirmation prerequisites
To be able to confirm, you need to complete the following beforehand:
- Complete the compulsory research integrity training. You are required to attach a copy of your RIOT: Research integrity training completion certificate to your online confirmation form.
- Complete any required coursework subjects to the required attainment level. A summary of your completed coursework will be automatically included in the online confirmation form.
- Meet any special requirements noted in your offer letter or as discussed with your supervisor and that are considered necessary for your confirmation.
Submit your written report
- Submit your form with the written report attached at least 10 days before the meeting is scheduled to give your advisory committee enough time to give you considered feedback.
- You can ask to see examples of high-quality written reports, so you know what standard you need to aim for.
Prepare a written report of:
- at least 3000 and up to 10000 words for a doctorate
- at least 2000 and up to 5000 words for a masters
Depending on the requirements of your faculty or department, you may need to include a draft thesis chapter.
The content and structure will vary across disciplines but should include:
- a concise statement of the research question(s)
- a literature review
- as appropriate to the discipline of study, an explanation of the conceptual framework to be used and/or a summary of experimental methods and equipment requirements
- a summary of progress to date including preliminary data, resources development, etc
- an argument for the relevance and importance of your study
- a proposed schedule and timeline for the phases of the study, based on the expected thesis submission date (this is your research plan)
- a brief bibliography
- a list of publications, presentations, conference posters or creative works you’ve produced during your probationary candidature.
Your written report will be used to assess your research proposal and the standard of your academic writing.
See Academic writing and communication skills webpage for resources to help you develop strong academic writing skills.
Prepare an iThenticate similarity report
In preparation for your confirmation, you are strongly encouraged to use iThenticate for any substantial piece of writing (eg a thesis chapter, a section of a chapter, or the written progress report) early on in your studies. The value in doing this is to make sure that you have a solid understanding of scholarly norms and citation requirements from the beginning of your studies. Avoiding plagiarism is crucial for academic and professional success.
For more information and support including detailed advice about how to get your iThenticate similarity report, see the Academic writing and communication skills and iThenticate at the University of Melbourne webpages.
Give your presentation
- Schedule the presentation at a time when your advisory committee (includes your supervisors) are able to attend.
- Attend as many confirmation seminars and other graduate researcher’s presentations as you can.
Give an oral presentation of between 20 to 30 minutes on your project (including questions) in your department at a seminar, or in a similar forum. The format may vary across disciplines, ask your supervisors for advice.
Your presentation will be used to assess your research proposal, and the standard of your academic verbal communication.
The Approaching confirmation workshop provides advice on how to prepare for confirmation and present your research and progress to date.
If you are planning on submitting a thesis consisting of a dissertation and creative work, you and your supervisors should present a proposal (on a format appropriate for a thesis of that nature) to the advisory committee for endorsement
Complete your section of the confirmation form
You need to complete your section of the confirmation form 10 days before your presentation. You will need the following information on hand to complete your section:
- written report (attach to online form)
- RIOT: Research integrity training certificate of completion (attach to online form)
- details of publications or other research outputs
- general thoughts about your progress, including any successes or areas where you may need assistance.
Once you complete your section of the form, your advisory committee chair will record the outcome of the confirmation meeting in their section of the online form. You will be able to review the completed form once your graduate research administrator has processed it on your student record.
What happens at the meeting?
- You verbally defend your proposed research project with the advisory committee. During the defence, the advisory committee will assess the feasibility and resource requirements of your proposed project and offer you suggestions for its successful completion.
- Your progress to date will be discussed
- Your future plans will be discussed
- The online confirmation form will be completed by your advisory committee chair, including recording a recommendation for the outcome of the meeting.
Outcomes of confirmation
Your advisory committee can recommend one of the following:
- Confirm candidature
- Extend probationary candidature – at risk of making unsatisfactory progress
- Formal warning of unsatisfactory progress
Confirmation of candidature is by far the most common recommended outcome. If you have concerns about your progress or research project, take a proactive approach. Talk to your supervisors or your local graduate research administrator.
Only the advisory committee chair can request an extension to your probationary candidature on your behalf; the request is sent to your local graduate research administrators. If approved, a new confirmation due date will be set. Note that you may be eligible for only one extension to your probationary candidature. You should discuss the option of an extension with your supervisors first.
Your supervisors, fellow students and your local graduate research administrators are excellent resources if you need assistance with confirmation. These Graduate Research Hub webpages may also be of help:
How to get help
Get technical help
Follow these steps to get help if you are having an issue with the online Confirmation form.
- See a list of known technical issues, and how to get around these
Get technical help
- If you cannot see your technical issue in the list above, or if you are having issues with your username or password, contact Stop1.
Get other form help
If you have a question about filling in the form, or your degree details on the online form are not correct contact your local graduate research administrator.
If you need more information about your confirmation, you can talk to:
- your supervisors
- your advisory committee chair
- your local graduate research administrator.
Congratulations on your successful confirmation!
The next big milestone for you is your thesis submission. This may seem a long way off, but beware that it will come up quickly. Building on your research and self-management skills, as well as maintaining your drive and enthusiasm for your research project while balancing what life brings outside of study, will be your next challenge.
Professional development and support for confirmed candidates
As a confirmed student, there are a number of workshops and online programs you may find useful to support you through your remaining candidature:
- the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Melbourne CSHE) run courses and programs
- the Graduate Student Association’s weekly Shut up and write social writing event
- Graduate Certificate in Advanced Learning and Leadership
- 3 Minute Thesis Competition (3MT)
Academic Skills for graduates also have resources to support you. Common areas of support are:
- writing skills
- editing skills
- presentation skills
- reading academic journals
- incorporating supervisor feedback into the thesis.
Graduate researchers are eligible for longer appointments. Book an appointment with an adviser.
Counselling and Psychological Services have resources to support you. They run workshops and individual counselling that assist you when you need support. Common areas that graduate researchers seek support for are:
- overcoming procrastination
- overcoming imposter syndrome
- mental health assistance.
The Thesis Whisperer is an excellent example for an external resource with a huge number of articles and help guides on all aspects of graduate research.