These terms and conditions apply to:
- RTP Stipend Scholarships (RSS)
- RTP Fees Offset Scholarship – Domestic or International
- RMIT International Tuition Fee Scholarship (RITFS)
- RMIT Research Stipend Scholarships (RRSS)
- Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarships (VCPS)
- College Research Stipend Scholarship (CRSS)
- College Research International Tuition Fee Scholarship (CRITFS)
- All RMIT scholarships that reference these terms and conditions.
RMIT University reserves the right to adjust these terms and conditions at any time and will notify all scholarship holders in writing of any adjustments.
For definitions of terms see the glossary.
Research scholarships at RMIT are awarded to applicants through an exceptionally competitive merit based process.
Presently there are two types of research scholarships. These are stipend and fees offset scholarships. Details of scholarship inclusions are listed in the table below:
with fees offset place
includes scholarship allowance
|RTP Stipend Scholarships (RSS)||
RMIT Research Stipend Scholarship (RRSS) e.g.:
Scholarships, RMIT PhD
International Scholarships RMIT Research
ATN LATAM Research Scholarships
|Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarships (VCPS)||
|College Research Stipend Scholarship (CRSS)||
RTP Fees Offset place
|RMIT International Tuition Fee Scholarship||
|College Fees Offset place (International candidates)||
2.1. Research Training Program (RTP) funded Scholarships
2.1.1. The Federal Government’s Research Training Program (RTP) replaced the Research Training Scheme (RTS) from 1 January 2017. It provides funding for stipend scholarships with associated allowances and fee offset scholarships.
2.1.2. RTP Stipend Scholarships provide a living allowance, or stipend, which is paid to recipients on a fortnightly basis. The duration of this scholarship is three years with a possible extension of six months for PhD candidates and two years for Masters by Research candidates.
2.1.3. RTP Fees Offset Scholarships cover the cost associated with the enrolment in the program and do not directly provide funds to candidates.
RTP fees offset scholarships for domestic candidates provide support for the place in the research program for the advertised duration of the research program. These scholarships are automatically provided to all domestic applicants for admission and admission and scholarship.
RTP International tuition fees offset scholarships cover the cost of applicable international tuition fees. The duration of this scholarship is three years with a possible extension of six months for PhD candidates and two years for Masters by Research candidates.
2.1.4. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is also provided to candidates awarded an RTP scholarship and who hold an international student visa. The OSHC is made available through the University’s preferred provider Medibank private and may be either single, couple or family cover. The scholarship provides OSHC for the duration of the student visa.
2.1.5. RTP Allowances such as relocation costs, paid sick leave and parental leave allowances are detailed in section 9 of this document.
2.2. RMIT funded Scholarships
2.2.1. Stipend scholarships, fees offset scholarships and allowances are also provided to research candidates on the basis of these terms and conditions.
2.3. School and College Funded Scholarships
2.3.1. These terms and conditions apply to all research scholarships awarded through RMIT’s research scholarship rounds. These terms and conditions will apply where your scholarship is made available through School or College funds and this document has been nominated as the applicable terms and conditions. Points of difference in terms of value and applicable terms and conditions will be made clear to recipients by the provider of the Scholarship.
Applicants for an RMIT research scholarship must,
- meet the entry requirements for a graduate research program at RMIT University; or
- be currently enrolled in a graduate research program at RMIT
3.1 Competitive Selection
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a competitive selection process that ranks applicants according to their academic achievement, research outputs and relevant professional experience.
Priority is given to applicants who,
- have achieved a high distinction in the final two years of the qualifying program(s). At RMIT a grade of high distinction represents an academic achievement of 80% or higher
- may be considered by RMIT as having an equivalent level of academic attainment, taking into account previous study, relevant work experience, research publications and other research experience
- are or will be enrolled and primarily based at an RMIT Australian campus
- Applicants for the VCPS must not have undertaken prior higher degree by research candidature in the last three years
It is expected that international applicants will provide evidence of English language proficiency and meet the English language requirements by the required date as advertised as part of the scholarship round for which they are applying.
Currently enrolled candidates applying for a scholarship or candidates transferring to RMIT from another institution must have at least 24months (or part time equivalent) for PhD and 12 months for Masters by research candidature remaining from the commencement of the scholarship.
4.1. Specific restrictions
4.1.1. Specific restrictions apply to the following scholarships:
a) RSS - an applicant must not previously have held a Commonwealth-funded postgraduate research scholarship unless it was terminated within six months of the scholarship’s payments commencing;
b) an applicant must not have previously held an RMIT funded scholarship and voluntarily relinquished this;
c) VCPS - an applicant cannot have undertaken any prior higher degree by research candidature in the last 3 years.
4.1.2. The following restrictions apply to the allocation of all scholarships through an RMIT research scholarship round:
a) if undertaking a research masters, a scholarship applicant must not hold a research doctorate or a research masters or an equivalent research qualification;
b) if undertaking a research doctorate, a scholarship applicant must not hold a research doctorate or an equivalent research qualification unless they are an Australian and New Zealand citizens undertaking a second PhD in which case they are eligible for the RTP Fee Offset scholarship only.
All scholarship awardees are not able to have the commencement of their scholarship deferred into the next calendar year. All scholarship awardees must enrol and commence their RMIT program in the year that the scholarship award was made.
All scholarship awardees are expected to maintain their enrolment in their HDR program at RMIT.
All scholarship awardees are expected to make satisfactory progress throughout their program.
Scholarship awardees must not be in receipt of an equivalent award, stipend scholarship or salary providing a benefit greater than 75% of the RSS full-time rate to undertake the HDR. Income unrelated to the student’s course of study or income received for the student’s course of study but not for the purposes of supporting general living costs is not to be taken into account.
To be eligible for a RTP Fees Offset a student must not be receiving an equivalent award or scholarship from the Commonwealth designed to offset HDR fees.
Failure to meet these conditions of award may result in the suspension or cancellation of the scholarship.
All scholarship awardees are expected to be enrolled on a full time basis.
RMIT may approve a part-time stipend scholarship for a candidate only if they are able to demonstrate that they meet the grounds on which part time stipends can be made available, as detailed in section 6.1 of this document.
International candidates must additionally meet any conditions attached to their student visa before they may be considered for a part-time stipend scholarship.
6.1.1. having primary carer responsibilities for a pre-school child; or
6.1.2. having primary carer responsibilities for school aged children as a sole parent with limited access to outside support; or
6.1.3. having primary carer responsibilities for an invalid or disabled spouse, child or parent; or
6.1.4. having a medical condition, which limits the capacity to undertake full-time study (this must be supported by medical certification from a qualified healthcare practitioner).
In considering applications for a part-time scholarship, RMIT must be satisfied that the applicant’s circumstances are such that it would not be reasonable to expect the candidate to study on a full-time basis. Part-time scholarships are not available to applicants seeking to undertake paid employment on a full-time, or on a substantial part-time basis, and recipients are subject to the same restrictions on employment as full-time scholarship holders.
A candidate who has a part-time stipend scholarship may revert to full-time study at any time with the permission of RMIT. RMIT may also require part-time scholarship holders to convert to full-time if the exceptional circumstances that made them eligible for a part-time scholarship no longer apply.
Stipends for part-time scholarships are not tax exempt.
RMIT is responsible for the research scholarship application, selection and offer processes and must make information about the processes, policies and conditions of scholarship readily and publicly available.
7.1.1. RMIT conducts a competitive selections process for awarding research scholarships.
7.1.2. Applications for research scholarships must be submitted in the form approved and by the date determined by RMIT.
7.2. Selection policy
7.2.1. RMIT must maintain a research scholarship selection policy which accords with these terms and conditions and the fairness requirements in Subdivision 19-D of Part 2-1 of the Act. RMIT must select candidates for a research scholarship in accordance with the policy.
7.3. Offer process
7.3.1. RMIT will only offer a candidate a research scholarship as a result of:
- an application lodged as part of a competitive selection process; or
- RMIT agreeing to continue a research scholarship for a candidate who is already in receipt of a research scholarship and is transferring from another university under section 9.5 of these terms and conditions.
7.3.2. RMIT will offer a research scholarship to a candidate in writing and advise the candidate in writing of the assistance to which they are entitled and the terms and conditions of the research scholarship.
All domestic research scholarship recipients are allocated an RTP fee offset place.
The duration of a full-time stipend scholarship is three years for a candidate undertaking research doctorate studies, and two years for a candidate undertaking research masters studies. Part-time duration is six years for research doctorate studies and four years for research masters studies.
The duration of a stipend scholarship will be reduced by any periods of study undertaken:
a) towards the degree prior to the commencement of candidature; or
b) towards the degree during suspension of the stipend scholarship (unless the study was undertaken overseas as part of a Commonwealth Government financially supported international postgraduate research scholarship or award; or
c) previously while receiving an Australian postgraduate coursework award.
The duration of a stipend scholarship will be increased by any periods of paid sick leave greater than 10 days, or parental leave approved by RMIT.
RMIT may also approve an extension to the duration of a stipend scholarship for a research doctorate candidate of up to six months full time or part time equivalent, provided the candidate is making satisfactory academic progress and the grounds for the extension relate to the study and are beyond the control of the candidate. RMIT cannot approve extensions to the duration of a stipend scholarship for a research masters candidate.
If a part-time stipend scholarship is converted to full-time then the period of time that the candidate has been in receipt of the stipend scholarship, immediately prior to the conversion, will be halved for the purpose of determining the remaining duration of the stipend scholarship.
If a full-time research scholarship is converted to a part-time research scholarship then the period of time that the candidate has been in receipt of the stipend scholarship, immediately prior to the conversion, will be doubled for the purpose of determining the remaining duration of the stipend scholarship.
If a candidate submits their thesis prior to the end of the stipend scholarship, stipend payments will cease from the day on which the candidate submits their thesis. Candidates in creative disciplines who need to complete a creative component as part of their final submission will take receipt stipend payments until this component of their submission is complete.
9.1.1. Each year, RMIT must pay each candidate the full value of their stipend scholarship unless that candidate has commenced late, suspended the scholarship, or it has been terminated. Where a candidate is not enrolled over the full period of the year, because of a late commencement or periods of suspension, RMIT must pay at least the proportion of the annual stipend for the period in which study is undertaken for that year.
9.1.2. RMIT must make fortnightly payments to candidates in respect of their annual stipend. Payments must be made directly to candidates. To avoid doubt, payment into an account in the candidate’s name with an Australian bank (as defined in the Corporations Act 2001) is considered to be a payment directly to the candidate.
9.1.3. If, in the opinion of RMIT, a candidate has been overpaid any part of a stipend (either through the failure of the candidate to comply with these terms and conditions or for any other reason whatsoever), the candidate shall repay the full amount of the overpayment, without deduction, within thirty days of being requested to do so by RMIT.
9.2. Scholarship value
9.2.1. The annual amount for a stipend scholarship or VCPS scholarship is available here
9.2.2. The full-time research scholarship stipend rate for any particular year is determined by RMIT in accordance with the annual rates published by the Commonwealth government.
9.2.3. Fees related to visas and renewal of visas, and any fees not covered by the above OSHC policy, will not be covered by these scholarship.
9.3. Scholarship allowances for stipend recipients
Scholarship allowances are provided for RMIT centrally funded, or government funded (RTP) stipend scholarships. Candidates in receipt of a college or school stipend scholarship will be notified in their offer letter if their scholarship includes any additional allowance/s.
9.4. Relocation allowance
Candidates may be eligible for a relocation allowance, in addition to the annual stipend, for the cost of relocating themselves, their spouse and dependents to a new place of residence where this is necessary to enable the candidate to undertake the HDR. Relocation expenses may be reimbursed up to AU$515 per adult and AU$255 per dependent child. The maximum amount of relocation and travel expenses will be AU$1,540 per candidate. For candidates relocating their place of residence to take up their scholarship, the following payments will be made upon presentation of relevant receipts:
a) Travel expenses up to a maximum amount equivalent to the economy class of candidate airfare for the scholarship holder, spouse and any dependents from their place of domicile to the new city; or
b) Travel by car, for which they will receive a per kilometre allowance as determined by RMIT’s Use of Personal Vehicles Policy up to the equivalent airfare costs. Candidates cannot claim for accommodation or meal costs if they elect to travel by car; and
Claims for the relocation allowance should be made no later than six months after enrolment in the research program.
For scholarship holders who are relocating within Victoria, the relocation allowance is only payable where they are relocating from an area a minimum of 200 km outside of the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Applicants who already reside in Melbourne or relocate to Melbourne prior to being offered their scholarship with RMIT will not be eligible to receive the relocation allowance.
Candidates are entitled to receive paid sick/carer’s leave, of up to a total of 12 weeks during the duration of the stipend scholarship, for periods of illness or carer’s leave where the candidate has taken an approved leave of absence from RMIT.
Sick leave is available to candidates who may have a medical condition that makes them unable to undertake study for a period of time. Carer’s leave is available to candidates who have primary carer responsibilities for an invalid or disabled spouse, child or parent for a period of time.
A medical/carer’s certificate must be provided by the candidate to RMIT stating that the student is not able to perform their regular duties for the period of leave. This paid leave extends the length of the scholarship.
- Candidates due to give birth, who have completed 12 months of their stipend scholarship, are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks paid maternity leave over the duration of the scholarship. Subject to the usual practice of RMIT, paid leave may also be approved if the candidate has adopted a child.
- Candidates who are partners of women giving birth during a research scholarship and who have completed 12 months of their research scholarship may be entitled to a maximum of 3 weeks of paid parental leave over the duration of the scholarship. Subject to the usual practice of RMIT, paid leave may also be approved if the candidate has adopted a child. For further information refer to the Higher degrees by research candidature policy.
This paid parental leave extends the length of the scholarship.
Scholarship holders must notify the SGR of all approved leave of absences, before the leave of absence occurs. This will ensure scholarship payments are suspended in a timely manner or the correct paid leave entitlements are applied to the duration of the scholarship.
9.6. Research support allowance - VCPS
9.6.1. VCPS recipients may be eligible to receive a research support allowance of up to
$5,000 per annum for the duration of the scholarship to support research activities. The allowance will be paid for costs directly associated with the HDR (including but not limited to travel to conduct fieldwork/ attend conferences or workshops, and the purchase of specialised equipment). Any travel undertaken must be booked in accordance with RMIT Travel Policy. Reimbursement for all other claims will be made upon providing original receipts. This allowance is managed via the school where the scholarship holder is enrolled.
A scholarship holder will promptly notify RMIT of any change in circumstances which may affect eligibility to continue to receive any scholarship entitlements, including, but not limited to:
a) any proposed change to student load (fulltime/ part-time)
b) failure to maintain enrolment at the University
c) the receipt of an equivalent award or scholarship to the value of greater than 75% of the 2018 stipend scholarship base rate
d) the receipt of an income, directly related to their research topic (such as being employed as a research assistant) which has a value greater than 75% of the 2018 stipend scholarship base rate.
10.1. Leave of absence
10.1.1. Candidates may apply to RMIT for a leave of absence while in receipt of a scholarship. The approval for leave will be at the discretion of RMIT.
10.1.2. If the proposed leave of absence is to commence after the first six months of tenure and is of less than twelve months’ duration, a School and College may, at its discretion, approve the leave.
10.1.3. If the proposed leave of absence is to commence within the first six months of tenure or if the accumulated period of suspension(s) is of more than twelve months’ duration, the candidate must follow the process outlined in the Leave of absence process. Application for leave of absence must be submitted to the School of Graduate Research at least one month prior to the proposed date of the leave.
10.1.4. The end date of the research scholarship will be extended for any periods of leave approved by RMIT.
10.1.5. As candidates are not enrolled while on a leave of absence they should not undertake their research during this period. Periods of study undertaken towards the degree during a leave of absence will be deducted from the maximum period of its tenure.
10.2. Suspension of a stipend scholarship
10.2.1. If for any reason a candidate becomes ineligible for their stipend scholarship they may apply for a suspension of their stipend payments. Applications should be made in writing, a month before the proposed commencement of the suspension, to the SGR: email@example.com
10.2.2. Suspension of stipend payments does not extend the duration of the stipend scholarship.
10.3. Transfer to/from another university
10.3.1. In relation to program transfers the continuation of any stipend scholarship is at the discretion of the university the candidate is transferring to and will always be subject to the new university having sufficient funding for the award.
10.3.2. By approving a transfer to, or within, RMIT by an RTP Scholarship recipient, RMIT commits to providing the equivalent RTP Scholarship at RMIT rates for the remaining standard duration of the scholarship in the new program (less any scholarship already consumed in candidature). Request for any exceptions may be considered for approval by the ADVC, RT&D.
10.3.3. Domestic applicants intending to transfer their candidature to RMIT will be awarded a domestic RTP fee offset scholarship.
10.3.4. International applicants who hold an RTP stipend scholarship at another university and are intending to transfer their candidature to RMIT may be considered for an international RTP fee offset scholarship to cover the cost of applicable tuition fees.
10.3.5. Candidates transferring to a new program within RMIT may also transfer any remaining RMIT or RTP scholarship they may hold to the new program.
10.3.6. RMIT-funded stipend scholarships cannot be transferred to another university.
10.3.7. Candidates may request the transfer of their RTP stipend scholarship to another university. RTP scholarship support provided through RMIT will cease on cancellation of enrolment at RMIT. RMIT will supply details of the RTP support already provided to the candidate to the new university, with the candidate’s consent. The rates and support provided by the new university may vary within parameters permitted in section 1.6 of the Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines (Research) 2017.
10.4. Conversion of degrees
10.4.1. Candidates who upgrade from a research master’s degree to a research doctorate degree will have their scholarship extended to the standard duration of a PhD scholarship. Conversely candidates who downgrade from a research doctorate to a research masters will have their scholarship reduced to the standard duration of a research masters scholarship.
10.4.2. The maximum duration of a converted research scholarship becomes that for the new research degree minus periods of study undertaken towards the related degree prior to the conversion.
10.5.1. RMIT permits domestic stipend scholarship holders to undertake a limited amount of part-time paid employment which is unrelated to their research topic. The University recommends that candidates enrolled in a higher degree by research on a full-time basis do not undertake more than eight hours of paid employment per week during normal working hours (9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday). Anything over and above these hours must be approved by the senior supervisor/joint supervisor and Dean/Head of School.
10.5.2. International candidates with a student visa who are receiving a stipend scholarship may undertake work unrelated to their course requirements:
a) consistent with the conditions of the student visa; and
b) by obtaining the approval of RMIT prior to undertaking such work.
c) RMIT may not approve a candidate undertaking work unless it is satisfied that the work will not interfere with the candidate’s study for their HDR. If the senior supervisor/ joint supervisor determines that the amount of part-time employment has become detrimental to the candidate’s studies, this fact should be included in the next documented review of academic progress.
10.5.3. Work commitments cannot be accepted as grounds for an extension of the duration of the research scholarship.
10.5.4. Remuneration from salary directly related to your research topic should not be greater than 75% of the current stipend scholarship full-time base rate as published on the SGR website.
10.5.5. Income for employment which is unrelated to the course of study is not subject to the above conditions.
10.6. Research at other organisations and overseas
10.6.1. RMIT may give approval for a scholarship holder to conduct substantial amounts of research at an organisation outside the higher education sector, but such approval will not normally be granted in the first six months of the scholarship unless the candidate is subject to a Collaborative Research Training Agreement. In such cases RMIT must provide adequate support, supervision and training.
10.6.2. Overseas research may be approved for up to twelve months if, in the reasonable opinion of RMIT, the research is essential for completion of a degree and if there is adequate supervision. In addition, the scholarship holder must remain enrolled at RMIT and any stipend is to be paid to an Australian bank account. At all other times the scholarship holders are to be located in Australia.
10.7. Termination of a research scholarship.
RMIT may terminate a research scholarship:
a) if the candidate ceases to meet the eligibility criteria specified in these terms and conditions, other than during a period in which the research scholarship has been suspended or during a period of leave in accordance with section 9.5 of these terms and conditions; or
b) when the candidate ceases to be a full-time candidate and approval has not been obtained from RMIT to hold the research scholarship on a part-time basis; or
c) when the candidate completes the course of study
d) if RMIT determines that the candidate is not carrying out their research in accordance with these terms and conditions; or
e) if the candidate has failed to maintain satisfactory academic progress, as outlined in the Supporting HDR progress process; or
f) the candidate has committed serious misconduct as defined in the Student conduct policy and processes, including, but not limited to the provision of false or misleading information in terms of section 10.8; or
g) within 2 weeks of the candidate submitting their thesis/project for examination, to the School of Graduate Research.
If a research scholarship is terminated, it cannot be re-activated unless the termination occurred in error.
10.8. Provision of false or misleading information
10.8.1. If RMIT knows or has reason to believe that a candidate in receipt of a research scholarship has provided false or misleading information to RMIT in relation to the research scholarship, RMIT must immediately:
a) re-assess the candidate’s entitlement to the research scholarship; and
b) if the scholarship is funded by the Commonwealth government, notify the Department of the suspected offence and provide a copy of the candidate’s application and any other relevant information requested by the Department.
10.9. Review of scholarship decisions
10.9.1. Current scholarship holders have the right to request a review of a decision made by RMIT in relation to the scholarship. In the event of a dispute arising, the candidate should first approach his or her research supervisor who will then direct the candidate through the appropriate channels within RMIT University.
10.9.2. The Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training and Development has the authority to review the decision made on the allocation of a scholarship, from applicants who consider that their application has been incorrectly assessed. A review can be made of the application assessment based on process issues but not against committee decisions or assessor ratings and comments.
10.10. Further information
These conditions are based on the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017.
All scholarships funded by the Australian Government and RMIT are administered by the School of Graduate Research. For further information contact the Admissions and Scholarships team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Act means the Commonwealth Higher Education Support Act 2003.
Department means the Australian Government's Department of Education and Training
Dependent for the purposes of relocation allowances, a dependent is defined as a person in respect of whom the scholarship awardee has assumed financial and/or legal responsibility and who moves residence with the scholarship awardee. A spouse who transfers employment to the city of the institution may be regarded as a dependent; a child continuing to reside at the former city and not intending to live on a permanent basis with the scholarship holder at the new location cannot be regarded as a dependent.
Doctoral degree has the meaning as described in the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Domestic student has the same meaning as defined in the Act.
Fees Offset place means a place in an HDR program in which the tuition fees are covered by the Commonwealth government, or by RMIT. They are available to both domestic and International candidates.
HDR means a higher degree by research. It can be a Research Doctorate or Masters by Research program for which at least two-thirds of the student load for the program will be devoted to research, research training and independent study.
Masters by Research has the meaning as described in the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Research Scholarships are defined as scholarships administered by the School of Graduate Research for HDR candidates RMIT and RMIT University mean the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
RPS means RMIT PhD Scholarship.
RPIS means RMIT PhD International Scholarships
RRMS means RMIT Research Masters Scholarship
RRSS - RMIT Research Stipend Scholarship
RTP means Research Training Program which was introduced by the Australian Government on 1 January 2017
RSS means RTP Stipend Scholarships
VCPS means Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship
Scholarship Entitlements means all payments and other benefits to which a scholarship awardee is entitled under the scholarship including but not limited to those payments set out in section 8 of these terms and conditions.
Terms and Conditions means the current RMIT University Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.