As a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student, you will undertake 3 performance appraisals in the course of your research thesis. The University of Queensland calls these ‘milestones’. The 3 milestones are Confirmation, Mid-Candidature Review, and Thesis Review. Each milestone takes place at a set time in your candidature. See HDR milestone timelines.

Your next milestone due date is visible in your student portal and it is your responsibility to monitor and meet your milestone commitments. If you have questions or are having any trouble preparing for your milestones, reach out to your advisory team, the Research and Research Training (RRT) Advisor in your discipline, the School’s Director of Research Training, or your School’s HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au.

Purpose

Milestones help you to write the best possible HDR thesis and to finish it on time. Performance appraisals test whether your research project continues to be viable and whether you are employing an appropriate method. Milestones assist you in refining your project design and your arguments. They encourage you to work steadily on your research thesis instead of leaving all the writing to the last minute. Your milestone is also a chance for you to reflect appropriately on the professional development that you could do before your next milestone or the submission of your thesis.

Process

To organise your milestone, see the Graduate School’s website ‘How to organise a milestone’. You should begin this process at least two months before your milestone is due.

Your milestone committee will consist of your advisory team, the discipline’s RRT Advisor as Chair and, at Confirmation, an additional staff-member or honorary member of the School. With your committee, arrange a suitable date, time, and venue for your milestone. You are encouraged to arrange milestones to fit into your discipline’s seminar series and your RRT Advisor can help with this.

Each milestone will consist of 3 components: written work, an oral presentation, and an interview. Some milestones will require that you deliver a public presentation of your research. For specific requirements for each milestone, see the sections below: Confirmation, Mid-Candidature Review, and Thesis Review. On the basis of your milestone components, committee members will decide whether or not you meet the milestone’s specific performance criteria. You will be told the outcome of your milestone in a letter from your milestone committee.

If you do not meet the performance criteria for a given milestone, the letter from your committee will advise what you need to do in order to pass and you will be given a date when the milestone will run again. You will need to submit an online request for a milestone extension through your student portal. Upload the feedback letter from your milestone committee as evidence that you need more time for research related reasons.

Once you attain your milestone, you will need to submit an online request for attainment of milestone through your student portal. Upload the feedback letter from your milestone committee as evidence that you have passed.

If you have questions about the milestone process or milestone extensions, talk to your HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au. If you have questions about the academic expectations and content of your milestone materials or what to expect in your milestone interview, it is best to discuss this with your advisory team or RRT Advisor.

Consult the information below detailing Confirmation, Mid-Candidature Review, and Thesis Review. Know that once you pass your Thesis Review, you are expected to submit your thesis for examination within 3 months if you are doing a PhD full-time or within 6 weeks if you are doing an MPhil full-time. If you are enrolled part-time, you are expected to submit your PhD thesis 6 months after thesis review or your MPhil thesis 3 months after thesis review. See the Graduate School’s website on preparing your thesis for submission and examination.

Confirmation

The first milestone is confirmation. Full-time HDR students are expected to attain their confirmation milestone within 6 months of commencement if doing an MPhil, or within 12 months of commencement if doing a PhD. See HDR milestone timelines for part-time variations and additional information.

Prior to this milestone you must complete the Research Integrity Module and register for an ORCID.

Obtain your principal advisor’s approval of the following documents and then email the documents to the members of your milestone committee and cc: hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au at least 14 days before your milestone meeting:

  1. Your HDR portfolio with all sections filled in
  2. A thesis chapter of at least 5000 words for a PhD or 2500 words for an MPhil

At the same time, send the HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au a title, an abstract and a suitable image for the web to list your milestone presentation on the School's events page.

As part of your confirmation, you will give a public seminar of 30 minutes (20 minutes for the paper and 10 minutes for questions). Afterwards your milestone committee will interview you for at least 15 minutes. The members of this milestone committee are your HDR supervisors, the discipline’s RRT Advisor and another staff-member or honorary member of the School, so there are at least four people on your confirmation milestone committee.

In order to attain your confirmation, you need to demonstrate to the committee members that you meet all of the following performance-criteria: 

  1. You have a sharply defined research project with clear parameters.
  2. Your proposal is viable within the scope of a PhD or MPhil.
  3. Your method is appropriate for realising your project.
  4. You are engaging with current scholarly debates pertaining to your field of research.
  5. Your project has logically developed since your commencement.
  6. You have a high-quality draft of at least 1 thesis-chapter of no less than 5000 (PhD) or 2500 (MPhil) words.
  7. You are appropriately considering your training needs in research-related and generic skills.

 

Mid-candidature review

The second milestone is the mid-candidature review. Full-time HDR students are expected to undertake their mid-candidature review within 6 months of confirmation if doing an MPhil, or within 12 months of confirmation if doing a PhD. See HDR milestone timelines for part-time variations and additional information.

Prior to this milestone you must obtain your principal advisor’s approval of the following documents and then email the documents to the members of your milestone committee and the School’s HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au at least 14 days before your milestone meeting:

  1. Your HDR portfolio with all sections filled in
  2. A thesis chapter of at least 5000 words for a PhD or 2500 words for an MPhil that is different from the chapter that you submitted for your confirmation
  3. The draft of your thesis as it currently stands as one consolidated Word document

At the same time, send the HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au a title, an abstract and a suitable image for the web to list your milestone presentation on the School's events page.

This milestone requires you to give a second public seminar of 30 minutes (20 minutes for the paper and 10 minutes for questions). Afterwards you will have an interview of at least 15 minutes. The members of your milestone committee are your HDR supervisors and the Discipline’s RRT Advisor.  

In order to attain your mid-candidature review you need to demonstrate to the committee members that you meet all of the following performance-criteria:

  1. You continue to have a sharply defined research project with clear parameters.
  2. Your project remains viable within the scope of a PhD or MPhil.
  3. Your method remains appropriate for realising your project.
  4. You continue to engage with currently scholarly debates pertaining to your field of research.
  5. Your project has logically developed since your confirmation.
  6. You have a high-quality draft of at least 2 thesis-chapters of no less than 5000 (PhD) or 2500 (MPhil) words each.
  7. You have a rough draft of at least 30 percent of your thesis.
  8. You continue appropriately to consider your training needs in research-related and generic skills.

 

Thesis review

The third and final milestone is the thesis review. Full-time HDR students are expected to undertake thesis review within 6 months of mid-candidature review if doing an MPhil, or within 12 months of mid-candidature review if doing a PhD. See HDR milestone timelines for part-time variations and additional information.

Prior to this milestone you must obtain your principal advisor’s approval of the following documents and then email the documents to the members of your milestone committee and the School’s HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au at least 14 days before your milestone meeting:

  1. Your HDR portfolio with all sections filled in
  2. A thesis chapter of at least 5000 words for a PhD or 2500 words for an MPhil that is different from the ones that you submitted as part of your first two milestones
  3. The draft of your thesis as it currently stands as one consolidated Word document.

For the thesis review you are required to give a presentation of 10 minutes about your HDR thesis to your milestone committee. This committee consists of your HDR supervisors and the Discipline’s RRT advisor. The chair of this committee may invite other school-members to join it. After your presentation committee-members will interview you for at least 30 minutes.

In discussion with your advisory team, you may chose to give a public presentation as part of this milestone. If you decide to do so, please send the HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au a title, an abstract and a suitable image for the web to list your milestone presentation on the School's events page at least 14 days before your planned presentation.

You will attain your thesis review milestone if you demonstrate to this milestone committee that you meet all of the following performance-criteria:

  1. Your thesis meets the standard for a PhD or MPhil.
  2. Your thesis clearly engages with current scholarly debates pertaining to its field of research and contributes to such debates.
  3. Your project has logically developed since your mid-candidature review.
  4. You have a complete or near-complete draft of the whole thesis.
  5. You are clearly going to submit within 3 months, if you are doing a PhD on a full-time basis, or within 6 weeks, if your thesis is an MPhil.
  6. You continue appropriately to consider your training needs in research-related and generic skills.

Important: Once you pass your thesis review, you are expected to submit your thesis for examination within 3 months if you are doing a PhD full-time or within 6 weeks if you are doing an MPhil full-time. If you are enrolled part-time, you are expected to submit your PhD thesis 6 months after thesis review or your MPhil thesis 3 months after thesis review.

See the Graduate School’s website on preparing your thesis for submission and examination.

 

Information and resources

 

Contact

For further information, contact the HDR Liaison Officer (HLO) hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au