Extension of candidature
What is extension of candidature?
If you are not able to submit your thesis by your expected thesis submission date, you may be eligible to extend your candidature up to the maximum course duration:
- 4 years (8 years part time) for a PhD or doctoral degree.
- 2 years (4 years part time) for a masters by research degree.
If you had commenced but not reached your maximum course duration by 1 March 2020 your maximum course duration has been extended by 6 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If this applies to you, your duration will be:
- 4 years 6 months (9 years part time) for a PhD or doctoral degree.
- 2 years 6 months (5 years part time) for a masters by research degree.
Extensions provide you with more time to finish your thesis when unanticipated delays occur and your research project deadlines need to be adjusted. For example, it may take you longer than planned to collect and analyse your data, you may need to revise your project, or you may have underestimated the time it takes to write your thesis chapters.
How many extensions can I have?
In most cases the available extensions are:
- two 6-month extensions (two 12 month extensions for part time) for PhD or doctoral degrees.
- one 6-month extension (one 12-month extension for part time) for masters degrees.
If you commenced but had not reached your maximum course duration by 1 March 2020, your available extensions are:
- Three 6-month extensions (three 12-month extensions for part time) for PhD or doctoral degrees.
- Two 6-month extensions (two 12-month extensions for part time) for masters by research degrees.
Note that if you have reached your maximum course duration, lapsed candidature or late submission processes must be followed instead.
How to get an extension
If you need an extension, your advisory committee will discuss this at your progress review meeting. The extension will be recorded and approved by the committee on the online progress review form. This will occur as part of the progress review meeting just before your expected thesis submission date.
You should maintain continuous communication with your supervisors so that they can assess your progress and decide whether to recommend an extension.
Talk to your supervisors or local graduate research administrator if you have any concerns.
Visit Finishing on time for tips on support available when progress difficulties arise.
How do I get an extension?
Approval for an extension to your candidature occurs as part of your progress review meeting with your advisory committee (includes your supervisors).
You do not need to apply for an extension yourself, but your advisory committee will request one on your behalf via the online progress review form.
- You will be contacted via your University student email account 12 weeks before your expected thesis submission date with a link to your online progress review form.
- A meeting for the progress review discussion will be arranged (follow the normal process in your faculty or department for arranging progress review meetings).
- You must complete your sections of the online progress review form at least 10 days before the scheduled meeting.
- Your advisory committee (includes your supervisors) will review your form and any attached documents before the scheduled meeting.
- Once you’ve participated in the meeting, your advisory committee will request an extension (if appropriate) and complete the online form on your behalf.
- The extension request will be assessed by your head of department.
- You’ll be notified via email with the outcome of your progress review, including further information regarding extension to candidature.
Visit Reviewing my progress for more information about the progress review process.
If you haven’t received the email notification about your upcoming progress review, please contact your local graduate research administrator.
How to get help
Get technical help
Follow these steps to get help if you are having an issue with the Progress review 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 candidature extension, you can talk to:
- your supervisors
- your advisory committee chair
- your local graduate research administrator.
I've been granted an extension - what's next?
The duration of scholarships may be less than your candidature. For example, most PhD living stipend scholarships are for 3.5 years, while the candidature can be up to four years.
You can view the details of your scholarship via my.unimelb. If you have any further queries, please submit an enquiry online.
Student visa holders
If your student visa will expire before you expect to complete your degree, or if you have any questions in relation to your visa, visit international student support.
if you have a question regarding your candidature and student visa please submit an enquiry.
Before your thesis submission
- Within the six months prior to thesis submission you must present your completion seminar.
- Two months prior you will need to complete the intention to submit online form so that the nomination of examiners can be arranged.
How to get support
You are expected to complete your thesis by the end of the extension to your candidature. The following resources may assist you in keeping on track and help you with your thesis writing.
- The Researcher Development Unit (RDU) and the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Melbourne CSHE) run courses and programs for graduate researchers at each stage of candidature, and for planning for life after thesis submission.
- There’s a range of workshops and seminars on a wide variety of academic skills. Individual appointments are also available.
- Finishing on time provides tips on support available when progress difficulties arise.