Supervisors can be added to your team as your research begins to take on a sharper focus or shifts. Changes may need to be made where supervisors leave the University or otherwise become unavailable.

We are committed to ensuring that you get the most appropriate supervision, and of the highest quality, for the duration of your candidature.

If a member of your supervisory team is going to be absent from the University for more than six weeks (or ceases to fulfill their supervisory duties) the Dean or Head of School (or their nominee) must immediately nominate an alternative supervisory arrangement.

These arrangements must be done in consultation with you and approved by the School of Graduate Research (SGR).

Some other circumstances when a change of supervisor may be required are:

  • There is a change in your research topic (especially when a transfer to another program or school is involved) or it is determined that a perspective from another discipline is required.
  • There has been a sudden loss of funding (usually related to the research project).
  • There is a conflict or incompatibility in the supervisor/candidate working relationship.

Occasionally circumstances arise where you need to change the direction of your research, especially if you have encountered difficulties with resources or with your research question.

Typically a change in topic will involve a change of supervision, and possibly a transfer of program.

Wherever possible you should first talk to your supervisory team or with your School’s Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Coordinator:

  • If the change in direction is relatively minor, this can be taken care of in your next milestone.
  • However, if there is a fundamental change in direction, the case will have to be documented through your HDR Coordinator and sent to SGR for approval.

A change in your topic will not lead to an automatic extension of your milestone or maximum completion dates. You will need to discuss the implications of your change in topic to your research plan with your supervisors.

International candidates from sanctioned countries

If you are an international candidate from a sanctioned country and wish to make a change in your research topic, you will need to submit a copy of your research proposal or confirmation of candidature documents for SGR consideration. The SGR will ascertain whether the transfer or change in topic would involve a breach of these sanction laws.

For more information about Australian sanctions laws, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

If you would like to change your supervisory arrangements, you must submit a change of supervisor form (PDF 164KB). Please refer to section 4 of the Supervision arrangements process for more information.

You may request a support person, such as a student rights officer or other nominee of the RMIT University Student Union to attend a meeting to discuss a change of supervision arrangements if a potential grievance is involved.