You must maintain a record of any impact on progress during your candidature to support any future candidature changes.

This template will help guide you to keep a detailed record of any specific impacts, or delays, to your candidature (related to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise). Please include a copy of this impact record when applying for leave or extensions to your maximum submission date and/or scholarship.

Requesting candidature changes

Changes to candidature requests are lodged online via myGriffith > My program > My candidate centre. In most cases you will need to complete part of the request via a PDF form, this is best done using Adobe Reader. (Available free from Adobe.)

Who approves?

Approvers are listed in the  Schedule of Responsibilities. Unless otherwise stated requests automatically workflow to the required approvers for consideration. You can track the progress of your request at anytime via myGriffith > My program > Track my requests.


HDR candidates are eligible to apply for different kinds of leave during candidature. With the exception of recreation leave, being on leave means your candidature is ‘paused’, so your minimum and maximum submission dates will be adjusted and your access to resources such as supervisor/s, office space, library and computers, will be suspended. Once you have exceeded your original maximum submission date, you will not be entitled to leave.  Applications for leave beyond the maximum period of candidature are not approved.

Retrospective leave and leave within the first six months of candidature, will not normally be approved.

You must nominate the dates on which the period of leave will commence and finish.

International candidates

Student visa holders are not permitted to take leave, except in compassionate or compelling circumstances. Griffith International will review your application for leave to ensure that student visa conditions are not breached.

Scholarship holders

For most leave types, your stipend will be suspended during leave. A leave request should be submitted at least two weeks prior to your leave commencement so there is enough time to suspend payment.  Once you return from leave you must notify the scholarships office to get payments reactivated. Your scholarship will normally be extended by the duration of your leave. Not all scholarship conditions are the same, so you must check the leave entitlements for your scholarship.

  • Up to 365 days
  • Up to an additional 365 days (special leave of absence at the discretion of the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School)

Professional doctorates and specialist research masters degree programs: Normally leave for the entire trimester is necessary, as these programs are bound by the Student Administration Policy with respect to adding or withdrawing from courses.

Up to 12 weeks over your whole research degree is available

  • For periods in excess of 10 continuous working days
  • You will need to show a medical certificate specifying duration
  • Claims must be made within 30 days of the end of period of illness.

Maternity leave: A pregnant candidate may be granted maternity leave of up to 52 weeks.

  • For periods commencing no earlier than 20 weeks before the medically certified expected date of birth
  • Finishing no later than 52 weeks after the period of leave commenced
  • Upon presentation of medical certificate specifying expected date of birth of child.

Paternity leave: A candidate who is father of or who accepts responsibility for the care and maintenance of a newly-born or adopted child, may be granted an unbroken period of up to 5 days paternity leave.

  • For periods commencing from one week before the medically certified expected date of birth or certified date of adoption, to five weeks after the birth or date of adoption
  • Upon presentation of medical certificate specifying expected date of birth of child or certified date of adoption.

Adoption leave: A primary care provider of an adopted child may be granted an unbroken period of up to 52 weeks adoption leave.

  • Appropriate evidence of adoption will be required
  • Entitlement to leave ceases if the child is five years of age or more.

Full time candidates are eligible for 20 days of recreation leave each year. Part time candidates are eligible for 10 days of recreation leave each year.

This leave is accrued on a pro-rata basis in the first year of candidature, according to your commencement date.

You are encouraged to take your recreation leave annually, under verbal agreement with your principal supervisor. Accruals expire on 31 December each year.

Self help videos for candidates


You can apply to change your supervision arrangements at any time throughout your candidature. Where supervision is tied to a particular project, as with an industry scholarship for example, special approval will be required.

As a matter of courtesy, you and your proposed new supervisors are asked to discuss your intentions with your current supervisors. Where you are reluctant to discuss potential supervision changes with your current supervisors please raise the matter with the Head of Element or delegate (HDR Convenor), or the Dean (Research).

If your supervisor leaves/resigns from the University, you will need to appoint a replacement supervisor.

Please familiarise yourself with the supervision guidelines.

Supervision guidelines


If your progress has been delayed by factors beyond your control you may apply for an extension to your maximum submission date of up to six months. Further extensions beyond this period are not normally granted unless the circumstances are exceptional. A leave of absence or special leave of absence will not be approved once an extension to your maximum submission date has been granted.

Your application must:

  • Outline the circumstances leading to the request
  • Provide a detailed assessment of the work remaining to be completed
  • Provide a timetable for completion of the work
  • Provide a projected date for submission of your thesis.

Masters (Research)

The below Masters (Research) programs specify the due date for thesis submission in accordance with the trimester of enrolment for the final dissertation course. If you are not able to submit your thesis by the course-specified date, you should consult with the Program Director regarding an extension to your submission date. If this extension goes into the next trimester you will also need to apply for an extension to maximum submission date.

  • Master of Arts Research
  • Master of Education and Professional Research Studies
  • Master of Medical Research
  • Master of Science

Your Research Training Program (RTP) Domestic Fee Offset entitlement expires on your maximum submission date. Beyond this date, the Commonwealth government funding ceases, and the cost of maintaining the candidature is borne by the Element. While the University does not at present charge tuition fees for domestic candidates in these situations, the policy is under continuous review and may change at any time.

If your thesis is not submitted by the due date, and you do not have an in-progress or approved extension your candidature will lapse.

However if you are in the final write up stage of your research, you may submit your thesis within a maximum period of three years from the lapse date, or by the maximum period for completing the program in accordance with the Student Administration Policy, whichever is sooner.  This is subject to any conditions imposed by the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School. You may continue to undertake research and writing of your thesis, however, as a lapsed candidate normal privileges such as office space, lab access, library and computer access etc., are suspended. You will continue to access your supervisory team, however, the nature and frequency of this access will be at the discretion of your supervisor/s and enrolling element. You may access the library as a member of the public.

Once your thesis is ready for examination, you will complete and submit the Application to Submit Thesis under Lapse of Candidature Regulations form to Griffith Graduate Research School. All candidature milestones and requirements (e.g. publication requirement) must have been completed for the application to be considered. Approval to submit your thesis may be subject to any conditions imposed by the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School including a minimum period of re-enrolment. Where your candidature has been cancelled due to unpaid tuition fees, failure to re-enrol, or failure to meet other candidature requirements, you will not be approved to submit as a lapsed candidate.

If the period since the lapsed date is greater than three years or the maximum period for completing the program in accordance with the Student Administration Policy, you will need to lodge a new application for admission to the HDR program. Any application for admission will be subject to admission and enrolment requirements.

In addition to the requirement to submit the thesis for examination by the specified maximum submission date, candidates enrolled in a masters by research or professional doctorate program must also adhere to the maximum period for completing a program in accordance with the Student Administration Policy. For candidates admitted on or after 1 January 2016, the maximum period for completion of the program is 4 years for Masters (Research) programs and 8 years for Professional Doctorate programs. This period refers to elapsed calendar years starting from the date of admission to the program and is inclusive or periods of leave and discontinuation.

An extension to the maximum period of up to one year may be granted by the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School upon lodgement of either an application for extension to the maximum submission date, or an application to submit the thesis as a lapsed candidate.


Check whether the conditions of your scholarship provide for an extension. Make your request at least one month before the expiry date of your scholarship.

You will need to provide the following supporting documentation:

  • A schedule for completion of your research and submission of your thesis including detailed monthly targets indicating progress to submission. Please see an example template for a Detailed Completion Plan.
  • The new date for submission of your thesis.
  • Advice regarding the status of your Thesis and Candidature Review Milestone. Usually this must be completed before receiving a scholarship extension.
  • A report outlining the reason for the request, which must relate to either:
    • problems encountered with your research rather than personal reasons. Provide specific detail about why and when your research was delayed or prolonged; or
    • the undertaking of an industry placement, research internship or professional practice activity approved by the Dean GGRS as part of the HDR program.


Changes can be made to the title of your thesis at anytime up to submission, this is considered a minor change.

Major changes

This is considered changes in the direction of the research that require a topic change. You will need to provide:

  • A detailed explanation of the circumstances leading to the change
  • A new research proposal.

Before confirmation: Where a major change of topic is approved pre-confirmation, the Dean (Research) may determine that your confirmation be postponed for up to a maximum of six months.

After confirmation: Where a major change of topic is approved post-confirmation, the Dean (Research) may require you to repeat confirmation for the new research topic.

If the change involves any new supervisory arrangements or a change in element this must be lodged separately. The Dean (Research) will assess whether the element is able to support your candidature in terms of resources, facilities etc.


Short-term period of study away from the University

You will need to apply for any period of time spent away from the University to ensure the necessary insurance coverage is in place. You will remain enrolled/active during short term study away. Purposes include:

  • field work
  • data collection
  • conference attendance

For field work and data collection, please attach a statement addressing:

  • Availability of adequate resources
  • A schedule of contact with your supervisor
  • Details of a local supervisor who has agreed to assist.

Please note, study away periods greater than 12 months will be considered candidature located away from the University (Remote Candidature) and require a different approval process.

Travel overseas

Griffith University has suspended all international travel as of 06/03/2020. Visit the travel website for the latest information.

When planning an overseas trip, check the latest travel advice issued by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before you a request to study away. Study away will not normally be approved for travel to countries under a ‘do not travel’ or ‘reconsider your need to travel’ warning. In exceptional cases candidates may make a case for approval, for consideration by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic).

If you are travelling overseas you must register your journey through International SOS’s MyTrips portal. For further information (including insurance, International SOS and the MyTrips user guide) please see the before you go website.

If you are approved for overseas travel you may be able to claim an IEIS grant via Go global.


Changing your study status to part time or full time may impact your due dates for milestones,  thesis submission, and the availability of resources and facilities. In consultation with your supervisor/s, you should put together a revised schedule of completion.

Once you are passed your maximum submission date and have been granted an extension of candidature, your attendance status cannot be changed.

You can apply for a change of attendance up to the first day of teaching of trimester 1 or 2 or for a future trimester if this date has already passed.

Candidates enrolled in these programs are bound by the Student Administration Policy with respect to adding or withdrawing from courses.

NB: this does not apply to the candidates enrolled in an MPhil.

Changing your attendance status may mean your scholarship is terminated or suspended.  Scholarship holders should contact us before changing their attendance status.

The conditions of student visas do not permit international candidates to change their enrolment status to part-time except in compassionate or other compelling circumstances.

An application to change attendance status from an international candidate will be processed in consultation with Griffith International to ensure that student visa conditions are not contravened.


Candidature located away from the University

If you wish to complete your research program located away from the University (remotely), you must apply for approval. Your application will need to include the following detailed information:

  • The resources and facilities available at the location to support the research program (for example, library facilities, computing)
  • A schedule of contact indicating the frequency and medium of communication between you and your supervisor/s
  • A program of visits to the University (including frequency and duration), for face-to-face interaction with the University supervisors
  • Details of a qualified person at the location who has agreed to act as a local associate supervisor
  • Progress made during candidature and the work remaining to be completed
  • Your commitment to participate in the research culture of the University.

The Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School may approve a transfer to remote candidature only where there is a high likelihood of success.


In most cases you will be enrolled in the element in which your primary administrative principal supervisor is based.

If your supervisor transfers to a new element or you change your primary administrative supervisor to one in another element, you will need to submit an Element Transfer request.

You are encouraged to advise your current supervisors of any action you have taken.

Concurrent enrolment

The University expects that candidates will be enrolled only in their higher degree by research program. However, if additional studies are required to enhance or supplement your research, you may apply for Concurrent Enrolment.

You will need to provide a detailed plan demonstrating how you will manage the increased workload and submit your thesis by your maximum submission date. Extensions to candidature will not be granted on the grounds of inclusion of additional courses.

If you wish to pursue another program of study at this or another university during your candidature, approval of the Dean, Griffith Graduate Research School must be obtained.  If you are planning to undertake another program at Griffith, approval by the Dean (Learning and Teaching) is also required and conditions as per the Student Administration Policy apply.

This does not stop you from undertaking English language tuition or participating in academic development programs including thesis writing workshops.

A Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy candidate may undertake postgraduate coursework at Griffith University in addition to the requirements of their higher degree by research program.

The limits of concurrent enrolment are:

  • PhD: up to 40 CP
  • MPhil: up to 20 CP

Candidates may

1. Audit a postgraduate course (no approval required)

Auditing a course does not require formal approval. Instead, consult your principal supervisor and make arrangements directly with the relevant course convenor. You cannot undertake assessments or examinations in audited courses.

2. Enrol in a postgraduate course (approval required)

If you enrol in a course you will be required to complete the assessment and examinations as per the course outline. Any results of examinations from such coursework won’t be considered in the final assessment for your higher degree by research program, but will be recorded on your academic transcript.

To gain approval for concurrent enrolment of a restricted course you must also have the approval of the relevant Course Convenor. You will need to check the enrolment details on the program catalogue to ensure you meet any prerequisites for the course. If concurrent course enrolment is approved, you will not be charged additional fees.

Program changes

Possible program changes

How program changes affect submission dates

Program upgrade during confirmation

Program upgrade outside confirmation

Requirements for other program changes


It is important to inform us when you withdraw from candidature as it can affect your funding, visa validity and more. You may request to withdraw from candidature at any time providing at least two weeks’ notice of your intended withdrawal date. A notation of the date of withdrawal will be placed on your academic transcript.

Domestic candidates (Australian/New Zealand citizens, permanent residents) who fail to advise formally that they have withdrawn, will continue to consume their entitlement (i.e., the funded time available for candidature) under the Australian Government Research Training Program. This period may be taken into consideration for future research training program entitlement if the candidate applies for another higher degree by research program within three years.

International candidates are advised to inform Griffith International staff of their intention to withdraw so that action may be taken with respect to their visa. If you are entitled to a refund of fees, you will need to apply. Please refer to the Fees and Charges Policy.

To prevent an overpayment of stipend payments, scholarship holders should advise us of their intended withdrawal date by emailing This advice must be received no less than two weeks prior to pay day. If, for any reason, an overpayment of stipend occurs, a candidate will be required to repay the overpayment.


A termination of candidature process can be initiated at any time, for:

  • failure to make satisfactory progress
  • being unable to meet any candidature requirements
  • failure to maintain regular contact with supervisor/s
  • failure to satisfactorily complete the coursework component of the degree
  • not complying with any other condition imposed by the Dean, GGRS or Dean (Research)
  • being involved in academic misconduct.

Candidature may only be terminated after a reasonable attempt has been made by the supervisor/s and the Dean (Research) to ensure a candidate has been:

  • clearly warned of shortcomings in performing the research and/or in meeting candidature requirements
  • advised of ways to remedy these shortcomings
  • given an opportunity to respond to these warnings.

Candidates will be notified of the intention to terminate candidature and will be given the opportunity to respond.

On receiving a recommendation from a Dean (Research), the Dean, GGRS will determine whether the candidature be terminated, or whether that candidature may continue. If the Dean, GGRS decides candidature may continue they may prescribe special conditions that must be fulfilled. For example, in the case of a Doctoral candidate, the candidate may be offered admission to one of the University's Masters Degree (Research) programs rather than termination of candidature.

Termination of candidature is noted on academic transcripts. Candidates have the right to appeal against a decision to terminate candidature.