Becoming an effective researcher
Being an effective researcher means that you have planned your studies, have clear motivations for pursuing a graduate research degree and are aware of career outcomes. Your motivations can change, so be flexible and realistic with your goals.
- Plan your study
- Set realistic study goals (eg progress meetings, draft and chapter deadlines, submission date, etc). You and your supervisors formalise expectations to support your goals by completing the Supervisory Agreement when you start your degree and during your candidature as needed.
- Motivate yourself! Find out what works for you and use it to your best advantage
- Manage your time effectively. Again, figure out something that works with your schedule and keeps you on track
- Your research support team is there to help! Talk to your supervisors and your peers, get involved in student clubs
- Sign up for student newsletters
- Participate in student seminars and symposiums
- Do courses and programs that help you with academic writing, research, or professional development
- Seek out reading groups, paper writing groups or thesis writing groups
- Be aware of professional opportunities that reflect your career goals
- Be flexible. Know that your motivation and energy can change and will probably fluctuate over the course of your degree
- Register for ORCID, an internationally recognised registry that helps you to establish and maintain your scholarly identity. Visit this University Libguide for more information.
Key milestone dates
All graduate researchers are required to undertake a review of their progress at key milestones.
You can view your key milestone date including expected thesis submission date, supervisors and other candidature details on the landing page when you log into my.unimelb and click on the Graduate Research tab on the top of the screen.
If you take a leave of absence, or change your study rate between full time and part time candidature, your review dates and expected thesis submission date will change accordingly.
Some graduate researchers may be required to complete additional progress review forms, for example Australia Award supported students (formerly AusAID).
If you are undertaking a jointly-awarded degree with another University you are expected to meet the standard milestones as set out below. This will usually be through the completion of the relevant University of Melbourne forms. The head of department may decide that a process completed at the partner institution meets a University of Melbourne requirement (eg confirmation). In this case you must still read and accept the University of Melbourne’s Enrolment Terms and Conditions every calendar year, regardless of where you are based during that year.
The standard milestones are outlined below.
|PhD / Doctoral student||MRes / MPhil student|
|Pre-confirmation||6 months||3 months|
|Confirmation||1 year (1 year, 6 months if ≥75 credit points of mandatory coursework)||6 months|
|Progress review||2 years||1 year|
|Progress review||3 years||1 year, 6 months|
|PhD student / Doctoral student||MRes / MPhil student|
|Pre-confirmation||1 year||6 months|
|Confirmation||2 years||1 year|
|Progress review||3 years||2 years|
|Progress review||4 years|
|Progress review||5 years||3 years|
|Progress review||6 years|
For more information concerning progress reviews, candidature milestones and expected submission dates, see Being a candidate.
Courses to support you
- For courses and workshops to help you get the most our of your degree and prepare you for your career, go to the Graduate Research professional development and training webpage.