Completing each milestone within the milestone window indicates that you are on track to a successful, timely submission for examination.

The three milestones are:

Information about the specific requirements and milestone windows for each milestone can be found on the individual milestone pages and in Part B of the Supporting HDR progress process. Information that is relevant for all milestones can be found below.

Each milestone has a window within which it must be completed. You can check the specific timing of each milestone in section 15 of the Higher Degrees by Research Policy.

The window is calculated using equivalent full-time study load (EFTSL) to ensure that all candidates have the same amount of time to present the milestone, regardless of their study load or if they have changed between full-time and part-time load.

The last day of the window is usually referred to as your milestone ‘due date,’ however this is a little misleading, as you should be planning to present your milestone well before the last possible day!

It is expected that you discuss the timing of your milestones with your supervisory team when you are developing your research plan at the start of your candidature, and discuss and update your plan regularly to take any changes to your candidature and/or research into consideration. This will help you to ensure that you remain on track with your research and able to complete each milestone (and ultimately your submission for examination) within the optimal timeframe.

Each milestone requires you to present your research to a milestone review panel and your research community.

The presentations take a minimum of 20 minutes, with additional time for questions from both your review panel and the wider audience. You will need to check the specific expectations for each milestone for your discipline with your supervisory team, as it can be different depending on the milestone you are presenting.

Your milestone review panel will have a maximum of four members, as set out in section 5 of the Supporting HDR progress process.

The Chair of your review panel will be an experienced, research active supervisor within your school, while the independent panel member will be an RMIT supervisor with knowledge in your area of research or methodology who is independent of your research. Your review panel will provide you with feedback on your research to date and advice and guidance on the future direction of your research. This will be recorded on your milestone review form, which is your record of your formal progress review.

Members of the audience may also provide insights and advice to you after your presentation, however this will not be a part of your formal progress review.

Your milestone review panel is required to finalise your milestone review form and formal feedback within one week of your presentation. The form and your research proposal (Confirmation of Candidature ) or summary documentation (Second and Third milestone reviews) and updated research plan are then submitted to the SGR for review and approval.

The SGR convenes regular milestone approval meetings, at which at least two academics will review your documentation and the recommendation of your milestone review panel. If there are any issues with the documentation (e.g. ethics approval is not clear or the feedback is deemed insufficient), the documentation will be returned to your panel for clarification before the official outcome notification is sent to you.

Once your documentation has been reviewed by the SGR, your milestone outcome will be approved and you will receive an official outcome notification and a copy of your milestone review form via your student email address.

There are two possible outcomes for each milestone:

Milestone achieved

This outcome indicates that you have successfully met the requirements of the milestone and your research is on track. Your milestone review panel may indicate that you have some amendments that you have to complete; if this is specified in the feedback on your milestone review form, you will need to work with your supervisory team to address the recommendations within a reasonable time frame.

Milestone not achieved

This outcome indicates that you have not met the requirements of the milestone and that major amendments are required to your documentation for you meet requirements.

If you receive an outcome of milestone not achieved, your candidature will be placed at risk of unsatisfactory progress and you will be invited to participate in an at risk meeting with your senior supervisor and HDR Coordinator. At the meeting, you will discuss your current progress and the support that you require to meet requirements of your milestone. You will also develop a detailed action plan to assist you get back on track with your research and complete your milestone.

If you do not complete your milestone within four weeks of the end of the milestone window, your candidature will be placed at risk of unsatisfactory performance and you will be invited to participate in an at risk meeting with your senior supervisor and HDR Coordinator.

At the meeting, you will discuss your current progress and the support that you require to meet requirements of your milestone. You will also develop a detailed action plan to assist you get back on track with your research and complete your milestone.