HDR Handbook & Guide

HDR Handbook & Guide

Handbook & Guide for candidates and supervisors

This Higher Degree Research (HDR) Handbook and Guide contains information of relevance to candidates and supervisors interested in, enrolled in or involved in any of Macquarie University’s research training or higher degree research programs.

The topics listed below are linked to the most up to date information maintained on webpages; most usually information at MQ’s website. The list of topics and links is not exhaustive and some of the links may lead you to search for other information contained on our webpages and elsewhere. We encourage you to explore those links.

Furthermore, your search for information may well lead you to questions you cannot find the answer to through these links. By all means contact us at the Office of Higher Degree Research Training and Partnerships (OHDRTP) or get in touch with relevant Faculty contacts to ask questions. In the meantime, we hope you will look through the topics listed in this Handbook and Guide to find the likely answers to your questions.

Explore Higher Degree Research Degrees

A research degree is a postgraduate degree completed by research alone and leads to either a Master or Doctoral degree award. The work involved is largely undertaken independently and the study is supervised by at least two supervisors.

Information about Macquarie's research degrees can be found at:

Admission requirements and how to apply

Information about the entry requirements for Macquarie's research degrees, including the minimum requirement for admission and other entry requirements can be found at:

Information about seeking academic advice and how to apply for a research degree can be found at:

HDR Fees and funding opportunities

Macquarie University has a range of research scholarships available for HDR candidates. Information about research scholarships can be found at:

Information about the costs associated with Macquarie's research degrees is available at: Fees and Costs

Obligations of HDR candidates

Candidates in HDR programs at Macquarie University are required assume responsibility for the four points below. Failure to meet responsibilities may result in a review of progress.


(a) Work in collaboration with all supervisors to produce a thesis which fulfills course requirements and is presented in a form consistent with the policies of the University.

(b) Undertake research activity as agreed with your Principal Supervisor and Supervisory Panel.


(a)     Become familiar with the HDR rules and expectations as set out in the Degree Rules , the Higher Degree Research Handbook and Guide for Candidates and Supervisors and associated faculty and departmental publications.

(b)    Note that participation in both the Central Commencement Program and Faculty Commencement programs is mandatory for all HDR candidates.


HDR candidates are responsible for:

(a)    becoming an autonomous researcher who can make independent judgments about their research, drawing on guidance from your Supervisory Panel

(b)    being proactive in setting up meetings with your Supervisory Panel and individual supervisors (either face to face, or using electronic media)

(c)     completing all required induction and training courses as soon as possible

(d)    assisting the Principal Supervisor to secure all necessary Ethics approvals

(e)     attending regular formal and informal reviews of progress with supervisors

(f)      providing formal progress reports as required, through your Principal Supervisor, at periods specified by the University

(g)     research quality and practices, safety, and personal ethical responsibility

(h)    developing a research budget in consultation with your Principal Supervisor

(i)      acquiring information about relevant research funding schemes

(j)      submitting a thesis that fulfills the degree requirements in the form agreed with the Supervisory Panel and within the period of candidature.

(k)     obtaining an awareness of the authorship and co-authorship conventions of your discipline, and implementing as appropriate

(l)      adhering to the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research .

(m)  actively participating in the research life of the Department and the Faculty.


(a)     Ensure awareness of, and implement as necessary, complaint resolution procedures for research related issues.

Failure to meet responsibilities may result in a review of progress.

HDR Candidature Lifecycle

A Higher Degree Research (HDR) program at Macquarie is a pathway to a career as a researcher in both academia and industry. In addition to managing your candidature and understanding your requirements as a researcher, it is important that you complete any compulsory programs and take advantage of Macquarie's range of face-to-face courses and online training resources to leverage your degree to enable you to reach your future goals.

Compulsory Commencement Programs

New candidates in research degrees must complete two Commencement Programs in their first year of study: a University-wide introduction called the “Central Commencement Program” (CCP), and a Faculty-specific “Faculty Commencement Program” (FCP). MRes students have a separate CCP.

For International Students, additional Orientation programs are run to help get you acquainted with studying in Australia and life at Macquarie.

HDR Supervision

Supervision is the most important support offered by the University to research candidates. The University aims to develop a rich campus-wide and off-campus culture of reflective research supervision founded on mutual respect and co-operation that values and fosters the HDR candidate experience.

Information relating to HDR Supervision can be found at:

Research Integrity & Research Misconduct Management

At Macquarie University, we are committed to the highest standards of research integrity.

We expect researchers to manage and conduct their research with the utmost professionalism and with respect and regard for humans, animals and the environment, irrespective of their funding situation, research area, experience or working arrangement.

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Australia has strict rules on conducting research. Therefore, it is very important that one of the first things you do is to read the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

The Macquarie University Code is based on the Australian code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. You must read and understand the code.

Ethics Clearance

The University is required by law to ensure that all research with human participants and animals and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) must meet the ethical and safety requirements of the relevant guidelines and legislation.

You should consult the Animal Ethics Committee, Human Research Ethics Committees and Institutional Biosafety Committee web pages to determine whether your research is subject to the respective guidelines, legislation and review processes.

Further information is available on the Ethics at MQ webpage. Please consult with your MQ supervisor also.

Working with Children Check (WWCC)

If your research involves working with children under the age of 18 years, you are required to undergo a working with children check. There is currently no fee for this and you must apply online. Further details are available through the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.

Learning Skills Support

HDR Learning Skills provides a range of support and training to equip research candidates with essential research skills. Candidates have access to a range of face-to-face courses and online training resources covering areas such as preparing a thesis, writing for publication, presenting at conferences, using software to handle qualitative or quantitative data, and managing a research project. Our aim is that research candidates at Macquarie University are well resourced, well supported and well informed in order to complete and present their research happily, on time and to the highest quality standard.

Further information can be found at:

Managing HDR candidature

During the HDR candidature life-cycle, candidates may need to make changes to their candidature or complete compulsory reporting. Information about  managing these changes and requirements can be found at:

Campus life

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