Transfer to another graduate research degree
What is a transfer to another graduate research degree?
A transfer is changing from one graduate research degree you are enrolled to one of the graduate research degrees listed below:
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
- Masters by Research
A transfer is normally requested because the scope of your research project is larger or smaller than initially anticipated and may be suited to a different degree. You could also decide during your candidature that you want to change your professional direction (eg change your PhD to a MPhil, so you can enter the workforce earlier than planned). The administrative process associated with a transfer is also referred to as a course conversion.
Prior to submitting an application
Before you submit your application, you should discuss the possibility of a change to your graduate research degree with your supervisor. Together you will be able to determine what impact the change may have on your studies and the successful completion of your thesis. Once you have determined you will be applying to transfer please:
Follow these steps before you submit your transfer application:
- Step 1
- Talk to your supervisors and determine when you will commence in the new course (date of transfer)
- Step 2
- Ensure you meet the entry requirements for the research degree which are listed in the Handbook
Please also be aware that:
- it is best that you apply within the first 6 to 12 months of candidature – if you have had more than 18 months (full-time equivalent) of PhD candidature, approval to transfer to masters will need to take course duration rules into consideration.
- approval is required from your supervisor, head of department and the dean of your faculty.
- If you are transferring from a Masters or MPhil to a PhD and an approved PhD confirmation is part of the transfer, you will need to complete a separate confirmation form which can be obtained from your local graduate research administrator.
- if you wish to transfer to a confirmed PhD, you need to complete a PhD confirmation progress review successfully*.
- you may be transferred to probationary PhD candidature and will be required to confirm in the PhD at a later date
- your research masters confirmation is considered equivalent to a PhD confirmation and you will not need to confirm in your PhD candidature again.
How to apply
Using the online 'Request Course Conversion' form, you can apply to:
- transfer from a masters degree to a PhD
- transfer to another research degree (not a PhD)
- transfer from a PhD to a master degree
If you already had started a form previously, please return to the form by clicking the green button below:
Return to already started form
If you need to create a new form, please click on the blue button below:
My Application is approved - what's next?
How much time do I have before I have to submit my thesis after I transfer?
A transfer from one graduate research degree to another is considered a continuation of your studies from the initial enrolment date when you started your previous research degree.
Any candidature time you have already completed in your current degree will be credited to your new degree, and the amount of candidature that you have already completed will be taken off the expected course duration of the degree that you are transferring to.
The expected course duration is:
- PhD and Doctorate: 3 years (part time 6 years)
- MPhil and Masters by Research: 18 months (part time 3 years).
If you have completed more than the expected course duration of the degree that you are transferring to, but less than the maximum course duration, you may be granted an extension to your candidature up to the maximum course duration.
The maximum course duration is:
- PhD and Doctorate: 4 years (part time 8 years)
- MPhil and Masters by Research: 2 years (part time 4 years)
Please note: If you commenced but not reached 2 years full time equivalent prior to 1 March 2020, the maximum course duration for a masters will be 2.5 years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A conversion from PhD or doctorate to masters is not recommended for graduate researchers who have consumed more than 2 years full time equivalent candidature in their PhD.
If you are a graduate researcher who falls into this category, and you have consumed candidature beyond the maximum course duration for a masters degree an additional approval step must be completed:
- If you confirmed on or before 31 December 2017, approval for lapsed candidature must be attached to the conversion request.
- If you confirmed on or after 1 January 2018 and you have had less than 3.5 years (full-time equivalent) approval from the Late Submission Panel for late submission must be attached to the request.
- If you confirmed on or after 1 January 2018 and you have had more than 3.3 years of enrolment (full-time equivalent) or are unable to complete within 3.5 years (full-time equivalent) approval from the Academic Board President for a waiver of maximum submission date must be attached to the request.
If you have completed more than the maximum course duration of the degree that you are transferring to, your Advisory Committee will need to assist you in gaining approval for lapsed candidature, late submission or approval from the Academic Board President for a waiver to course duration requirements.
Changes to supervision
If your transfer to a new course means new supervisor arrangements, you should discuss with your new supervisory team what you and your supervisors’ roles and responsibilities are. It is good to have a clear understanding of what is expected of you, and what you should expect from your advisory committee (including your supervisors). We recommend that you read our Working with my supervisors page, and use the Supervisory Agreement as part of your discussions.
Visa and scholarship holders
If you are a student visa or scholarship holder, you will need to review your visa or scholarship conditions before you apply. For more information refer to Changing courses and Scholarship terms and conditions.