Research student milestones

One of the requirements of all HDR students across the university is to submit regular reporting milestones. These reporting requirements are integral to ensuring that students maintain satisfactory progress towards completing their thesis, and also allowing academic and administrative staff to quickly identify when issues arise so they can be handled appropriately. Reports are submitted through ISIS, instructions on how to action this can be found in Quick Guide for Students on the HDR Milestones eForm support page.

Please note that not completing your milestones as required may result in a suspension of scholarship payments.

HDR milestone calendar

Progress Milestones              DueRequirement
Research Integrity Training3 months after commencementCompletion of the Research Integrity Training program and completion of the Research Integrity test as part of the Milestone eform
Annual Plan3-6 months after commencement, then annuallyResearch plan for the coming year.  Your College Administration will inform you of the requirements
Annual Report  
Doctoral Students9 -12 months after commencement, then annually


Report of research activities during the past year.

Master of Philosophy6 -9 months after commencement, then annually

Thesis Proposal Review

For candidates beginning 2024, this milestone will be the 'Confirmation of Candidature’.

Doctoral Students9 -12 months after commencement, with the first Annual ReportA detailed thesis proposal, literature review and plan for the next year.  Your College Administration will inform you of the requirements.
Master of Philosophy6 -9 months after commencement, with the first Annual Report
Oral Presentation3 months before thesis submission.  Note that the milestone is assigned when you first enrol and is set for 6 months before the maximum submission date (as calculated at that time) to allow sufficient time to organise and prepare for the presentation.One hour public presentation of your research material plus question time.
Notification of Intent to Submit2-3 months before thesis submission.  Note that the milestone is assigned when you first enrol. Complete this milestone only when you are prepared to submit.A notification of your intent to submit including; any changes to thesis details, changes to working thesis format, and applications for Thesis Access Restrictions.

Annual plan

The first Annual Plan is due three months after commencement, and in subsequent years at the same time as the Annual Report.

Student Administration in your College will advise you of the requirements specific to your College, but in general the Annual Plan should outline what you intend to undertake in the following 12 months, with sufficient detail to allow your supervisory panel and the Delegated Authority to assess the appropriateness and feasibility of the plan.

Annual report

Students are required to report annually on the work they have completed for the degree, and current progress. The Annual Report also provides an opportunity for you to flag any personal, academic or technical problems which may impact on your research and its timely completion.

The Chair of your supervisory panel comments on your progress and you should be given the opportunity to meet and discuss his/her comments. In addition, the Head of your Department and the Delegated Authority endorse the report and may comment.

Annual progress should be assessed against the previous Annual Plan.

If you have significant academic issues that you wish to discuss outside of your academic area, you may contact the Dean of Students.

Research integrity training

Research Integrity Training was introduced for graduate research students commencing from 2009. The Research Integrity Training must be successfully completed before you can submit any subsequent milestone. This training program has been developed by the ANU Office of Research Integrity. Your College will be able to provide you with further information.

Thesis proposal review

The Thesis Proposal Review should be completed before undertaking any fieldwork (if fieldwork is applicable to your program).

Depending on the requirements of your area, your review paper might state the subject of your proposed research, the methodology to be employed, an analysis of the relevant literature on this topic, describe how your proposed research will make an original contribution to the study of this subject and where relevant outline the fieldwork required for your research program.

All members of your supervisory panel are expected to attend your Thesis Proposal Review presentation.

Oral presentation

This milestone is compulsory for research students who commenced from 1 January 2008. Students who commenced before this date are encouraged to undertake this milestone.

The Oral Presentation is expected to take place about 3 months before your intended thesis submission date. The milestone is assigned when you first enrol, and is scheduled for 6 months before your maximum submission date as calculated at that time. The due date may need to be amended later to take account of any program variations that have occurred during your candidature. The presentation will be advertised within the University and your supervisory panel will attend to make an evaluation for their written report.

You will be expected to demonstrate your:

  • independent command of the material;
  • ability to communicate clearly and concisely the analysis of the material and findings; and
  • ability to respond appropriately to constructive comment and criticism.

You will be given a copy of the written report and a copy will be placed on your official University file. Completion of the milestone will be recorded on the Student System.

If your panel has serious concerns about whether you have complied with the University's rules and policies relating to candidature or whether the work will meet the standards for your degree, it will have the discretion to provide a special report to the relevant ANU College Dean.

The preparation of graduate research students for public presentation will occur throughout their candidature with similar, though less formal, presentations at different stages of your training. Specific training for and experience in preparing for presentation will be given by your ANU College.

The presentation format will allow one hour for your presentation, plus question time. The presentation is to include the major objectives, content, results, and conclusions of the work. One month prior to the presentation you will be required to submit a 2-5 page summary of your material to your supervisory panel.

It should be noted that submission and examination of your thesis is independent of the oral presentation, and the report of your panel will not be provided to your thesis examiners.

Notification of Intent to Submit your Thesis

The Notification of Intent to Submit milestone should be completed 2-3 months prior to your intended submission date. This eForm allows you to: 

  • update your thesis title, abstract and intended date of submission
  • upload a table of contents for your thesis
  • apply for a change of thesis format
  • suggest examiners who you believe should or should not examine your thesis, and
  • request that access to your thesis is restricted.

Before completing this milestone you must talk to your Primary Supervisor and discuss your planned thesis submission date, thesis title, abstract, thesis format, confidential material and Thesis Access Restriction