Faculty of Arts guidelines for doctoral candidates and review panel members
A mid-candidature review is required for all doctoral candidates who commenced their candidature from 1 January 2007 including:
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Creative writing)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Music Composition)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Music Performance)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Theatre Performance)
Candidates pursuing a doctorate under the following arrangements are EXEMPT from this requirement:
- Staff PhD
- dual-award or cotutelle programs
The purpose of the Mid-Candidature Review is to:
- review progress towards the work plan developed for confirmation of candidature and ensure the candidate is "on track" for a timely completion;
- allow candidates a platform on which to receive useful insights and feedback on their progress and research direction from a panel of experienced academics;
- Check that the candidate is developing the appropriate thesis structure, writing and presentation skills required and that original research is being conducted by the candidate in an ethical manner;
- identify additional support structures or programs which may assist with the development of a high quality research project and thesis;
- identify and remedy any difficulties that may impede successful completion of the research project; and
further enhance presentation skills.
The mid-candidature presentation and review must take place between 21 and 27 months of effective full time enrolment following commencement of candidature. Where candidates have transferred from masters to doctoral candidature, the masters candidature is included in this period.
PhD candidates will be contact by the Research Graduate School well in advance of their expected Mid-Candidature Review. The review requirements, due-date and relevant forms will be provided to the candidate at this time. Candidates are, however, encouraged to begin discussing the requirement with their supervisor/s once they have successfully confirmed their PhD candidature.
Note: candidates who commenced their PhD between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009 are to complete their Mid-Candidature Review between 24 and 30 months of effective full time enrolment following commencement of candidature, as per the policy in the place at the time of enrolment.
The candidate’s academic unit must make arrangements for the candidate to make a public presentation at a departmental seminar and/or viva voce. Most departments and schools run regular research seminar programs or presentation opportunities for their students and/or staff and it is recommended that these events are considered an appropriate forum for the mid-candidature presentations.
The candidate’s presentation should be at least 20 minutes in duration and members of the review panel must be in attendance. The oral presentation should explore at least one aspect of research undertaken to date and note anticipated future directions of the research program. The presentation will normally be followed by time for questions from members of the audience and feedback from the review panel in a closed session.
The written submission must be provided for distribution to the review panel one week prior to the scheduled mid- candidature review presentation.
A written paper which demonstrates progress by the candidate since confirmation of candidature must be submitted to the review panel. For candidates in the Faculty of Arts, this paper must be comprised of 25,000 – 35,000 words of fully drafted thesis material. It must demonstrate the contribution to knowledge at this stage of the project through preliminary findings and an evolved argument; it must not be an extended version of the confirmation paper, and as such would not normally consist of an extended introduction or methods sections. It may consist of fully drafted sections of the thesis that show the preliminary contribution to the field.
In addition, a progress report must be submitted by the candidate to the review panel. The report should be a minimum of 1000 words and must include the following:
- a summary of the research project, the proposed thesis structure (chapter by chapter) and the position of the presented element of the research within project;
- the timetable for completing the research report/thesis as developed at confirmation of candidature, a detailed statement of progress towards this work plan and any actual or proposed variations to it;
- identification of any perceived difficulties that are currently or could impede the completion of the project according to the work plan and suggestions to overcome these difficulties.
The Review Panel
Composition of the review panel
The review panel must comprise at least three members and include the main supervisor and another staff member with experience in research training. The convenor of the panel should be a senior member of Monash academic staff (but not a supervisor of the candidate) who has extensive experience in supervising doctoral candidates. This will normally be the School Graduate Coordinator or nominee.
Whilst it is preferable that the same review panel oversees the three milestone events for each candidature, ie confirmation of candidature, mid-candidature review and pre-submission seminar, it is acknowledged that this may be difficult to achieve. It is recommended that one member from a previous panel, other than the supervisor, should be involved with subsequent events.
Role of the review panel
The review panel must discuss the written submissions and oral presentation with the candidate, providing feedback to the candidate on the content and delivery of the presentation and the research work plan. This may include advice regarding the candidate's application to the project, the level of initiative shown, the progress made to date and the attainment of the goals set in the original work plan, including skill development and participation in seminars, conference and other programs.
The panel should also make any appropriate recommendations to assist the progress of the candidate and, if any specific problems are identified, determine appropriate actions to address these. The panel should also allocate responsibilities to implement these actions.
The convenor of the panel is required to complete a short mid-candidature review report which must be provided to the candidate as soon as possible following the review. The candidate must be given the opportunity to discuss this report with the convenor if they so wish.
The report must be kept on record within the academic unit and also submitted to the Arts Research Graduate School in order for the milestone to be recorded on the candidate’s record.