Creating a strategy for success

A multi-year research project such as a PhD or MPhil is a huge undertaking. It’s important to develop an action plan to stay on track.

When you commence your HDR candidature at Macquarie University, you will have a date for thesis submission, which you and your supervisor should use to plot out your milestones.

The plan should take into account:

  • the duration of your degree
  • the specific requirements of your discipline
  • the requirements of your scholarship (if applicable).

Every thesis is different, so it's important to craft an action plan that works for you. To see what an action plan looks like, take a look at the samples below.

You should review the information on supervising candidates when developing your candidature management action plan with your supervisor.

Note: Candidates enrolled in a Bachelor of Philosophy or Master of Research do not need an action plan like the samples below, as their programs are already structured.

Commencement

  • Final draft of the research proposal and timeline completed
  • Central commencement program completed at the earliest opportunity
  • Faculty commencement program completed at the earliest opportunity
  • International orientation (for international candidates) completed at the earliest opportunity

3 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Final research proposal confirmed
  • Completion of commencement report (Faculty)
  • Ethics committee application submitted

6 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

(No Leave of Absence permitted before this point)

  • Formal Faculty Review and Confirmation of Candidature (Process determined by faculty)
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details (sent by HDRO)
  • Thesis completion timetable finalised
  • Publication and financial expenditure plan finalised
  • Design of research methodology completed
  • Ethics committee application approved
  • Data collection commenced

12 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Completion of Annual Report and MUSEQ-R
  • SCHOLARSHIP HOLDER: No LOA/Scholarship suspension normally permitted in the first year
  • Main Literature Review or equivalent completed
  • Data collection underway
  • Commencement of data analysis
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details (sent by HDRO)
  • Thesis completion timetable revised

18 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Data analysis underway
  • Preparation of early draft chapters/papers
  • Postgraduate Research Fund application submitted

24 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Completion of Annual Report and MUSEQ-R
  • Data collection complete
  • Data Analysis near complete
  • Continuation of draft chapters
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details (sent by HDRO)
  • Thesis completion timetable revised

30 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Literature Review or equivalent updated
  • Final chapters/papers in progress for supervisor approval
  • Preliminary discussion about examiners between candidate and supervisor
  • Appointment of examiners form to be submitted three months prior to submission
  • Pre-submission review (by faculty)

36 months - full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Submission of Completion report (Faculty)
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details (sent by HDRO)
  • Submission of Thesis by due date
  • Candidate completes MUSEQ-R

6 months – full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Completion of Centralised Commencement Program
  • Completion of Faculty Commencement Program
  • First draft of Research proposal submitted
  • Completion of Commencement report (Faculty)
  • Candidature confirmed by Faculty and HDRO
  • No Leave of Absence or Scholarship suspension permitted at this point
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details through eStudent
  • Thesis completion timetable developed

12 months - full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Completion of Annual Report and MUSEQ-R
  • No Scholarship suspension permitted up until this point
  • Main Literature Review or equivalent completed
  • Design of research methodology completed
  • Final draft of Research proposal approved
  • Ethics Committee application submitted and approved
  • Data collection commenced
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details through eStudent
  • Thesis completion timetable revised
  • First opportunity for PhD transfer application

18 months - full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Data Analysis completed
  • Final chapters/papers in progress for supervisor approval
  • Thesis completion timetable revised
  • Submission of Completion report (Faculty)
  • Candidate to check Research Student Profile details through eStudent
  • Final opportunity for PhD transfer application

24 months - full-time equivalent enrolment

  • Thesis examiners submitted for approval by HDRC
  • Submission of thesis by due date