Enrol for the first time as a research student

During enrolment and the period immediately following, we will formalise your details of candidature. Once formal enrolment is finalised, your College will arrange:

  • approval of the program commencement date
  • determination of program details
  • appointment of the supervisory panel (chair/supervisors/advisors) in accordance with the Research Awards Rules
  • determination of coursework requirements, and whether these are examinable progress requirements or necessary adjuncts
  • determination of the location and durations of fieldwork if known/applicable.

Research topic

Your research topic, or the working title for your thesis, is normally determined when your supervisory panel is being appointed. This may change during your candidature, and these changes are often identified in the Annual Report milestone process. Changes are recorded in the Student System, and appear on ISIS.

Supervisory panel (PhD only)

Until the Chair of the Panel or Primary Supervisor is appointed, the Delegated Authority, or a provisional supervisor appointed by the Delegated Authority, will oversee your candidature. Typically:

  • within one month of your commencement a Chair of the Panel is appointed
  • within three months of commencement a Primary Supervisor is appointed
  • within three months of commencement the remainder of the panel is appointed.

Supervisory panel membership (PhD only)

PhD students are supervised by a supervisory panel, rather than one single supervisor.

The University has a Supervision in Higher Degrees by Research Code of Practice which you should read, along with the Guidelines for Supervision and Candidature of Doctoral Research Students.

A Chair of the Panel is appointed. This person assumes primary responsibility for your supervision, and acts as the convener of your supervisory panel. Other members of your panel may be appointed as supervisors or advisors. Typically:

  • if you have one supervisor, that person would be the Chair of the Panel, and at least two advisors would be appointed
  • if you have two supervisors, one would be appointed Chair of the Panel and at least one advisor would be appointed
  • if three or more supervisors are appointed, one would be appointed Chair of the Panel

At least one supervisor, and if practicable, the Chair of the Panel, 'must be a member of the academic staff of the University employed by the University full-time or part-time on at least a 50 per cent basis'.

It is possible, if necessary, for the Delegated Authority to appoint as Chair of the Panel an academic staff member who is employed by the University on less than a 50 per cent basis. The Delegated Authority may appoint as a supervisor or as Chair of the Panel a person holding full or adjunct academic status, an Emeritus Professor or Emeritus Fellow of the University, or a person with recognised honorary academic status within the University.

The appointment of a supervisor or Chair of the Panel of persons not in the categories above must be approved by your College Dean.

External supervisors

If your research topic requires it, your College Dean can appoint an external supervisor with particular expertise that is not available within the University.


Advisers are appointed by the Delegated Authority to provide you with access to further expertise and wider academic contacts.

Supervisory panel (professional doctorate)

The supervisory panel membership for professional doctorate students is as described above, however the supervisory panel is to be confirmed within one month (or earlier) of the start of the thesis component of the program.

Supervisory Panel (MPhil)

Appointment of the supervisory panel for an MPhil candidature follows the same process as above however the panel consists of one or more supervisors. An external co-supervisor may be appointed as described above.

Coursework in research degrees

Commencing from 1 January 2010 all research degrees will be costed at the course level not the program level. If you were to enrol in coursework as described below, the research unit value would be reduced by the number of coursework units to be undertaken and your fees may be affected. You may find that your fees will be greater or less than the indicative fee you were quoted in your offer letter.

  • Progress Requirements: If the coursework is a progress requirement of your degree program you must complete the courses successfully in order to remain in the program. Some programs require the successful completion of a number of coursework courses (Part A) before permitting candidates to undertake the research component (Part B) of the degree.
  • Necessary Adjuncts: Approval may be granted for you to take a course or courses as a necessary adjunct to your research program. The course must be directly related to your research and provide you with some additional preparation in your discipline area, or allow you to gain some relevant language skills. A necessary adjunct is not a progress requirement, but you would be advised of the expectations of you in the course. A necessary adjunct would normally be undertaken in the first year or so of your candidature.

Care must be taken to ensure that the coursework you need to take is offered in the same or a subsequent semester to your commencing semester.

Step 1
Finalise acceptance

Your enrolment cannot take place prior to the completion of any conditions listed in your offer.  After you have accepted your offer enrolment instructions will be emailed to you.

If you are in Australia and haven't received the email containing your password after your welcome email, please contact the ANU IT Services team on 02 6125 4321. Follow the prompts (2, 2, 2) to the password reset team, and then commence your enrolment after you have reset your password.

If you are not currently in Australia and haven't received the email containing your password after your welcome email, please log a ticket through the ANU Service community support form and they will contact you directly to provide a new password.

Step 2
Enrolment documents

The following documents will be included in your enrolment instructions for completion. Please submit forms to Student Central prior to your commencement.

  • Notification of Commencement form
  • Bank Account / Financial Distribution Details form - scholarship recipients only

You must also demonstrate your citizenship status by providing a copy of one of the following documents.

Domestic students

  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of Australian citizenship
  • Passport

International students

  • Passport
  • Visa

You must have a visa permitting you to study in Australia prior to enrolling in your program. Information on study visa options and conditions can be found at the Department of Home Affairs (formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) website. If your visa is not granted before your nominated commencement date, contact Student Central about deferring.

Step 3
Student system login

You will receive a welcome email once you accept your offer of admission.  This includes your student ID number. A second email will follow containing your password. 

If you are not currently in Australia and haven't received the email containing your password after your welcome email, please log a ticket through the ANU Service community support form and they will contact you directly to provide a new password.

ISIS (Interactive Student Information System) is your online student hub. Here you manage your program, manage your milestones, update your personal details and will be issued invoices to pay your fees after you commence. ISIS gives you immediate, at-your-fingertips access to your academic and administrative pathway.  You need to complete the Task Wizard in ISIS to progress to view your enrolment and program details.

If you are required to complete compulsory coursework units as part of your program, you will need to complete an enrolment change eForm. This can be found in Main Menu (compass in top-right hand corner of screen) > Navigation > ISIS > Degree Management > Manage my Degree.

You will need to click next to begin the process once you reach the landing page.

Resources to help

Use the contact details to request an alternative format.

Step 4
Get your student card

Once your enrolment is complete you can collect your student card. You will need to present photo ID to obtain your student card.

Please liaise with your Administrator to arrange building access after acquiring your Student Card (if required).