Staying on track with your HDR program

HDR study is a rich and rewarding experience, but can also be a very challenging time in your life. Every HDR student needs some form of support to help them stay on track and manage life around their study.

When things get difficult, the worst thing you can do is stay silent. There are a number of areas around the ANU dedicated to helping students through a variety of issues. Take a look at some of the resources available and get in touch with the relevant area if you are struggling.


The Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA) Student Assistance Officers are professionally trained staff to assist you with any personal and academic matters. There is no charge for the service and confidentiality is assured. This is the place to head if you are a postgraduate student and need support with any aspect of your life, including:

  • Academic matters
  • Advocacy
  • Appealing examination outcomes
  • Budgeting
  • Centrelink
  • Communicating within your local area at ANU
  • Conflict resolution (academic, accommodation, etc.)
  • Difficulties with research supervision
  • Emotional matters
  • Fair treatment
  • Family difficulties
  • Financial difficulties
  • Housing and accommodation problems
  • Personal matters

ANU Counselling Centre

The ANU Counselling Centre offers a range of services and resources specifically for HDR students. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and high levels of stress are common in HDR students, and academia more broadly. In recognition of these concerns, ANU has developed a Mental Health Strategy which prioritises accessible mental health services. The Counselling Centre offers expert advice on mental health issues, as well as common HDR concerns such as:

  • Stresses in managing employment, family life and study
  • Concerns relating to supervision
  • Confidence issues regarding academic work and oral presentations
  • Motivation or procrastination problems
  • Being a mature age students
  • Adjustment to living in a new location
  • Stresses relating to fieldwork
  • Important life choices
  • Health concerns for self or a family member
  • Relationship issues

Guidance on the supervision relationship

If you feel your supervision relationship is becoming unproductive, you should seek guidance and advice as soon as possible. Supervision issues can range from simple miscommunications to authorship disputes and persistent bullying, which is not accepted at ANU. If you believe your supervisor has acted contrary to the Code of Conduct, there are a range of options available to you. These include:

  1. Ascertain whether you and your supervisor are both abiding by the ANU Code of Conduct and the ANU Guideline: higher degree by research - University, candidate and supervisor responsibilities;
  2. If you feel your supervisor is not abiding by these policies and guidelines, or is not performing their responsibilities, send them a polite email suggesting a meeting or some suggestions as to how the issue may be resolved;
  3. If you feel you cannot contact your supervisor directly about the issue, you can contact your HDR Convenor, another member of your supervisory panel, or a trusted staff member for advice;
  4. If the issue persists, contact your College Dean or Student Advisor;
  5. If you feel you need more confidential, impartial advice, contact the Dean of Students
  6. If you are not satisfied the issue has been resolved, the last point of contact for formal complaints is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Research Training).

If, after you have taken the above steps, you wish to make a formal complaint in relation to supervision, ANU has a clear procedure on student complaint resolution

Access and inclusion

Access and Inclusion is an educative hub on practices inclusive of disability within the Australian National University community.

Access and Inclusion aims to:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of disability issues with all students and staff;
  • Enable students with disability to participate fully in University life. 

Access and Inclusion aims to be at the forefront of disability services provision in higher education by using evidence-based practice that leverages the University's strength as one of Australia's leading universities.

ANU Ally Network & Queer* Department

ANU has an established Ally network of staff and students who strongly support the University in making this an environment where all people can safely work and study free of discrimination or harassment, particularly members of the GLBTIQQA community.

ANU also has an active Queer* Department and a Queer* House for all queer* students. 

Childcare on campus

There are several childcare options based on or near the ANU Campus:

ANU Campus facilities

ANU has a range of facilities and centres to make student life enjoyable.