Meeting expectations

My responsibilities

Your responsibilities are as follows:

  • Be self-directed in your learning and research. The Getting started pages on the Graduate Research Hub will help you to become familiar with your course, make a successful start to your research, and maintain practicable timelines for the completion of your research and thesis.
  • Make good progress. Agree on a work plan with your supervisors and stick to it. Complete the Supervisory Agreement with your supervisors as part of your plan towards completion to formalise the expectations they have and those that you have throughout your candidature. You should meet deadlines and keep to your time commitments. Remember, if you are full time you should spend on average 40 hours per week on your studies, and 20 hours per week if you are part-time.
  • Be proactive and discuss any issues – good or bad – with your supervisors as soon as they arise.
  • Resolve issues early. Keep your supervisors informed on obstacles to and delays in progress. Serious concerns, such as ethical or wellbeing issues, should be raised in an appropriate, positive, and respectful manner.
  • When seeking feedback from supervisors, provide written work in sufficient time to allow detailed review before your agreed deadlines.
  • Be accessible to a reasonable extent via email and other online tools or in person, should contact be needed outside of the agreed meeting schedule.
  • Conduct your research ethically and responsibly.
  • Discuss and agree with your supervisors on issues such as intellectual property and authorship for your project.
  • Understand the codes of conduct expected of staff and students, and help to make the University a safe and supportive environment for everyone. For more information read the Student Charter and Respect at the University.
  • Look after yourself! Manage your health and wellbeing. A research degree is a big undertaking, so make sure you look after your physical and mental health. There are many support services including, the University's Counselling and Psychological Services, the Safer Communities program, the Managing difficulties and hardships during candidature page.
  • If you are unable to work on your research for a period of time, you should appropriately use your leave entitlements, after discussion with and approval by the supervision team.
  • Stay informed. Important information is communicated to you via your University email account and my.unimelb. Make sure your contact details are kept up to date and check your email regularly – at least twice per week.

For more information on University policies related to graduate research visit the University of Melbourne Policy Library.

There are additional expectations and information regarding jointly awarded PhDs. Please refer to the Being a joint PhD candidate page.

The University’s responsibilities

The University also has responsibilities to ensure you are able to meet the expectations of your degree. You can expect the University to provide:

See Working with my supervisors for more information.

What can I expect to get out of my course?

With a strong focus on developing academic leadership and increasing independence, we encourage you to be creative and innovative in your research, and to develop a wide range of advanced and transferable skills. This is a responsibility shared between you, your supervisors and other University staff.

Graduate attributes

The University expects its doctoral graduates to develop the following attributes throughout their studies:

  • An advanced ability to initiate research and to formulate viable research questions
  • A demonstrated capacity to design, conduct and report sustained and original research
  • The capacity to contextualise research within an international corpus of specialist knowledge
  • An advanced ability to evaluate and synthesize research based and scholarly literature
  • An advanced understanding of key disciplinary and multi-disciplinary norms and perspectives relevant to the field
  • Highly developed problem solving abilities and flexibility of approach
  • The ability to analyse critically within and across a changing disciplinary environment
  • The capacity to disseminate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication to a variety of audiences
  • A capacity to cooperate with and respect the contributions of fellow researchers and scholars
  • A profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship
  • An advanced facility in the management of information, including the application of computer systems and software where appropriate to the candidate's field of study
  • An understanding of the relevance and value of their research to national and international communities of scholars and collaborators
  • An awareness where appropriate of issues related to intellectual property management and the commercialisation of innovation
  • An ability to formulate applications to relevant agencies, such as funding bodies and ethics committees.