If you’ve been directed to this page after having your pre-confirmation, please go to I’ve had my pre-confirmation – what’s next? to find out what you need to know.
If you have just had your confirmation click on the 'I’m confirmed – what’s next?' tab on this page.
What is confirmation?
If the progress of your research project is impacted by COVID-19 and you are not able to work at your full capacity, you are encouraged to submit a copy of the Research Impact Record form to assist you in keeping evidence of progress problems as you experience disruptions. The information may then be used in the future to support a case for an extension of your candidature, or for Late Submission beyond the maximum course duration. You may complete this form more than once (monthly is recommended while you are experiencing significant disruption).
You should discuss COVID-19 disruptions and what adjustments you may need to make to your research plan (eg altering interviews or data collection) during your confirmation meeting.
Confirmation is a major milestone in your candidature designed to evaluate of the progress in your research project, see that your work has met expectations, identify any problems with your progress and help set the direction for your successful completion. When you first start your degree, you are considered to be on probation until you have had 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
- 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.
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)
Transferred from another institution
If you transferred from another institution as a probationary graduate researcher, the time you spent in the other institution will be deducted which means you have a shorter period of time to have your candidature confirmed. It is recommended that you are aware of this key milestone date and you are well prepared in advance.
Extending probationary candidature
An extension to your probationary candidature or confirmation due date can be granted for no more than the amount of time specified below.
For full time graduate researchers
- PhD or doctorate – 3 months
- Masters – 6 weeks
For part time graduate researchers
- PhD or doctorate – 6 months
- Masters – 3 months
Extensions can be granted due to delays to confirmation for reasons beyond your control eg. your committee are not available. In this instance, the confirmation form is not completed yet since the meeting cannot be held.
If the reason is due to progress being insufficient, you are considered to be at risk of unsatisfactory progress during the extended period. Extensions can only be requested by the advisory committee chair via the Confirmation form and the selection of extension to probationary candidature as an outcome.
How to get help
Your supervisors, fellow graduate researchers 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.
Your confirmation date
Twelve weeks before the due date, you will receive a notification of your upcoming confirmation from the University to your University student 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 (which includes your supervisors) receive regular emails with a summary of their graduate researchers’ upcoming progress reviews (including your confirmation).
Arrange your meeting
It is your responsibility to find out what the local practice is to arrange a confirmation meeting between you and your advisory committee. Contact your supervisor or local graduate research administrator, as faculties and departments do this differently. We highly recommend that you book this meeting well in advance.
If you need to delay your confirmation meeting and extend your probationary period, refer to the information in the 'Extension to confirmation due date' section below.
If you fail to attend your meeting or fail to respond to attempts to convene the meeting, you are considered to be at risk of unsatisfactory progress. This may lead to termination of your enrolment.
Complete the confirmation prerequisites
To be able to confirm, you need to complete the following prior to your meeting:
- Compulsory research integrity training. You are required to attach a copy of your RIOT: Research integrity training completion certificate to your online confirmation form.
- Any required coursework subjects to the expected attainment level. A summary of your completed coursework will be automatically included in the online confirmation form.
- Any special requirements noted in your offer letter or as discussed with your supervisor and that are considered necessary for your confirmation.
- Your faculty or school may have specific requirements for confirmation. Your graduate research administrator can advise on whether specific requirements apply.
Submit your written report
- Submit your form with the written report attached at least 10 days before the scheduled meeting to give your advisory committee enough time to give you considered feedback.
- You can ask your supervisors for guidance on what constitutes a high-quality written report, so you know what standard you need to aim for.
- You may wish to ask a graduate researcher who you know has passed confirmation if they are willing to share their work with you so that you know the expected standard.
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 also 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 the Academic writing and communication skills webpage for resources to help you develop strong academic writing skills. You may also find the Library’s Literature Review and other LibGuides helpful.
Prepare an iThenticate similarity report
In preparation for your confirmation, you must use iThenticate for a substantial piece of writing (eg a thesis chapter, a section of a chapter, or the written progress report). This will help you ensure 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.
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)
- other documents required by your faculty or school’s specific confirmation requirements (check with your local graduate research administrator and 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 have completed your section and submitted 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.
Give your presentation
- Schedule the presentation at a time when your advisory committee are able to attend.
- Attend as many confirmation seminars and other graduate researcher’s presentations as you can prior to your presentation to assist you in observing how research is communicated by others.
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.
If you are planning to submit 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. If the proportion of the creative works and written dissertation is no stipulated in the course handbook, this must also be agreed at your confirmation. The dissertation component cannot be less than 25% of the work.
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 indicate one of the following on the Confirmation form:
- Confirm candidature
- Extend probationary candidature – is considered at risk of making unsatisfactory progress
- Unsatisfactory progress – if you have previously been ‘at risk’.
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 well before the confirmation meeting.
Extension to confirmation due date
Only the advisory committee chair can request an extension to your probationary candidature on behalf of the advisory committee if the meeting is delayed for reasons beyond your control. The request is sent to your local graduate research administrators. If approved, a new confirmation due date will be set. In this case the Confirmation form is not yet completed as the meeting is delayed. A delay for this reason will be included in the maximum amount of extension to probationary candidature that can be approved.
If an extension to probationary candidature is requested as an outcome to a Confirmation meeting due to progress issues, you will be considered to be at risk of unsatisfactory progress.
Note that in most cases you are eligible for only one extension to your probationary candidature. You should make sure you discuss any issues regarding your progress with your supervisors well in advance of your confirmation meeting.
Your supervisors, fellow graduate researchers 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, 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.
If your confirmed project requires the use of human participants, animals, genetically modified organisms or hazardous biological agents you must have approval of the appropriate University committee before the work begins. If you have not already submitted your ethics application, you should do so now.
Professional development and support for confirmed candidates
As a confirmed candidate, 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 Researcher Development Unit (RDU) also have listings for upcoming professional development workshops on the Researcher Development Portal.
- the Graduate Student Association’s weekly Shut up and write social writing event
- 3 Minute Thesis Competition (3MT)
- 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.