Stage 1
Getting Started
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Your Candidature
All HDR candidates are required to conduct their research project within the candidature framework.
What do I need to do?


Welcome to your degree and to the next steps in your research career. As this degree is likely to be different from your previous degrees, it is important to familiarise yourself with the process and requirements. It is important that you, and your supervisors, understand what you need to do, including mandatory components. Make sure you use this early time in your degree to discuss and set expectations, as well as setting milestones for your research.

Below you can find the mandatory components, as well as helpful suggestions, for the activities and training to undertake in your first year. There is a lot to do as you get settled in, so we have broken it down into quarters for the first year. 

Attend HDR Welcome & Orientation
Attend your School and/or Faculty Induction
(please contact your School's Postgraduate Coordinator for details)
Complete the mandatory UNSW Research Integrity Online Training (UNSWRI)
Establish a regular meeting schedule with your supervisor
Discuss with your supervisor
Work with your Supervisor to refine your research topic, determine any gaps in your knowledge (informs literature review and research proposal) and learn about any other requirements (like human or animal ethics)
Discuss with your supervisor
Consider if you require ethics approval for your research project
Set milestones for Confirmation
If applicable, conduct preliminary investigations (this informs your Research Proposal)
Discuss with your supervisor
Get started on your Research Proposal and/or Literature Review
Complete coursework units, if required
Continue to work on your Research Proposal and/or Literature Review
Complete the mandatory Research Data Management online Training (RDMoT) and prepare a Research Data Management Plan if required
Attend the Research Progress Review Seminar
Complete coursework units, if required.
If conducting human or animal ethics, apply for Ethics Approval
Review your progress against goals and milestones set at 3 months, and define clear and realistic milestones for the next 12 months
Complete Confirmation Review
Complete coursework units, if required.
What do I need to know?


There are numerous policies, requirements, and conditions that you need to be aware of when doing your higher degree research. We understand that this can all be overwhelming as you start your degree, so we have tried to outline the key things you need to know. It is also good to discuss these things with your supervisors and clarify if there are any School or Faculty level requirements. While it is good to know all these policies, requirements, and conditions upfront, you may want to refer back to this page throughout your candidature.

How Confirmation of Candidature and Research Progress Reviews are conducted, and why they are important
How to prepare a Research Proposal and/or Literature Review
How to develop achievable, realistic milestones for your research project
UNSW HDR Academic Calendar
Responsible Conduct of Research
Research Integrity
Research Data Management
Where do I learn about Intellectual Property?
How do I handle authorship on a joint publication?
Where can I learn about Research Ethics?
Research Training Program Scholarships, University Postgraduate Awards, and Tuition Fee Scholarships
UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarships
Graduate Research Information System (GRIS)
UNSW Student Email
myUNSW (manage your personal and contact details)
UNSW Office365 (access to Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams etc)
Student Services & Amenities Fee (SSAF)
Conditions for Award of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Conditions for Award of Master by Research
Conditions for Award of Masters of Philosophy (MPhil)
Research Code of Conduct
Progress Review and Confirmation of Research Candidatures Procedure
Variation of Candidature Procedure (leave, extensions, fieldwork, changes to research area/supervision, transfers etc)
HDR Scholarships Policy
HDR Scholarships Procedure
UNSW Higher Degree by Research Graduate Attributes & Learning Outcomes
Student Fee Policy
What else is available?


Doing a Higher Degree by Research should be a great experience. Choosing to do your degree at UNSW means that you have the benefit of having many resources, training providers and support structures available to you to enhance your time here. Make sure you utilise the many opportunities and resources that we have across the whole of UNSW. We have tried to list as many services as we can, but it is always a good idea to ask your supervisors, Postgraduate Coordinator, academics or friends about other opportunities that may be available, especially those offered at the School or Faculty level.

Research Progress Review Seminar
UNSW 3 Minute Thesis Competition
"Shut Up and Write" weekly HDR writing group
Thesis Writing Boot Camp
Stats Central Courses
Research Technology Training
ResTech Drop-In Hour for UNSW researchers
Beginning to Teach for HDRs and ECRs
Other Learning and Teaching Resources for HDRs
Academic Skills Workshops
Book a consultation with an Academic Facilitator
Career Development Seminars
International Student Career Resources
Career Advice Consultations
HDR Wellbeing Workshops
HDR Counselling Resources
HDR Candidates' Teams Group
GRS will add you to this group once you enrol
UNSW Entrepreneurial HDR (eHDR) Program
UNSW Founders Program
Peter Farrell Cup
Founders New Wave for Women in Entrepreneurship
Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS)
Michael Crouch Innovation Centre
Support for Your Research
Publishing and Sharing Your Research
Managing and Evaluating Your Research
Smarthinking online support for writing
AGSM @ UNSW Business School Short Courses in leadership, communication and strategy
NIDA communication, presentation and leadership courses
iThinkWell free HDR resources for developing a Thesis Plan, managing your time, and developing a regular writing practice
The Thesis Whisperer online blog for researchers
Need help?


Doing your Higher Degree by Research is exciting, but it is also possible for it to be a stressful time. You are not in this adventure alone, and it is important to ask for help when you need it. While your supervisors and school should be a great support for you, it is important to remember that you can get support from other people. The University has numerous resources and support structures in place to help throughout your candidature. Some of the key contacts and support structures are below.

School Postgraduate Coordinators
Faculty Associate Deans (Research Training)
Graduate Research School Candidature Management Officers
Equitable Learning Services
Student Support Advisors
International Student Advisors
UNSW Health Service
UNSW Psychology and Wellness
UNSW Information Technology (IT) Services
UNSW Gendered Violence
Arc @ UNSW Student Organisation
Arc Postgraduate Council
Arc @ UNSW Legal and Advocacy Service
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Engaging & Knowledge Exchange
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Research Project & Skills