Period of candidature, study load and annual leave
We want you to enjoy your research journey, we also want you to complete on time and move onto the next step in your academic or professional career. For this reason, there are three annual candidature milestones which provide a timeframe and structure for completing your degree.
Whether you’re studying part-time or full-time for a Masters by Research or a PhD there are set minimum and maximum periods in which you need to complete your research. You will be supported to achieve the optimum submission date and manage your workload through annual milestone reviews and regular supervision meetings over your candidature.
Duration of candidature is set out in section 2 of the Higher Degrees by Research Policy.
Your candidature is calculated from your research commencement date. This date will therefore determine your milestone and maximum completion dates. You can check these dates in your myRMIT or, if you think there is an error with your dates, you can manually calculate your consumed candidature and milestone and maximum completion dates.
If you are a PhD candidate, you should aim to submit 0.5 EFTSL (6 months full-time or 12 months part-time) before your maximum completion date (the final date that you can submit your thesis or project for examination). This is sometimes referred to as your optimal submission date. This leaves at least six months of candidature to deal with unexpected events such as illness, or problems with your data or project.
You will be considered to have expended your candidature, if you:
- do not submit your thesis/project by your maximum completion date
- have not received approval for an extension by this time
- have an approved extension but have failed to submit by the time of your extension end date.
If you exceed your maximum duration, your enrolment will be cancelled by RMIT for exceeding the maximum duration of your program.
If you are transferring to RMIT from a similar degree at another university, the duration of your candidature at RMIT will be the maximum period of candidature for the particular degree, less your period of enrolment at the other university.
For example, if you have spent one year studying full-time at another university undertaking a PhD, and then transfer to a PhD at RMIT, your balance of candidature at RMIT (that is the maximum time that you can spend prior to submission) is three years.
Domestic candidates will be asked when to indicate whether you wish to study full-time or part-time when you apply for admission.
International candidates on a student visa in Australia are required by ESOS legislation to enrol full time. You can seek to change your enrolment to part-time only under compassionate or compelling circumstances.
We recommend that a full-time research candidate spends at least four days per week and a part-time candidate should average at least two days per week on their research throughout the year.
If you wish to enrol part-time (or change your status from full to part-time) due to employment responsibilities you must provide evidence concerning how you will meet the required time commitment of two days per week.
We strongly recommend against attempting to combine full-time employment with full-time study.
The academic year for RMIT research degree candidates is defined as a period of 48 weeks with 4 weeks annual leave.
It is important to take a period of annual leave each year and we encourage you to use University services (i.e. gym, health and other student services) to develop a healthy research/life balance that is sustainable over the long-haul of a research degree.
Annual leave does not result in any change to your enrolment or duration of candidature, or have any impact on your milestone due dates, unlike a formal leave of absence.
You should get your Senior Supervisor’s agreement before going on leave to ensure that your candidature will not be affected and also notify your School HDR Administrator.
It may become necessary during your candidature to cancel your enrolment. This can occur for a range of reasons, and you may wish to consider this option if you require more than 12 months of leave of absence during your candidature or if you have reached your final submission date and are not yet ready to submit for examination.
It is important that you formally cancel your enrolment rather than discontinue by failing to enrol, as you will continue to consume candidature up to your cancellation date. This consumed candidature will be taken into consideration if you resume your research at RMIT, or transfer to another institution.