Advice & Advocacy FAQ

General FAQs

The Monash Graduate Association Inc. (MGA) is the representative body for all research and coursework graduate students enrolled through Monash University’s Victorian campuses.

MGA is an incorporated association pursuant to the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic). The MGA is a recognised association under Monash University Statutes and receives a very small portion of the funding collected by Monash University called the ‘student services and amenities fee’ (SSAF). The MGA enters into a funding agreement with Monash University, whose responsibility it is to ensure associations meet the legislative requirements under the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act 2011.

The MGA is able to provide independent, free and confidential advice to all graduate students.

The service is provided at no charge to the student.

Any Monash graduate student can access MGA services. A graduate student is a student enrolled in a course of study leading to an award of graduate certificate, graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, masters degree, professional doctorate or doctor of philosophy. Former students may also access MGA services for a period of six months post enrolment.

All graduate students at Monash University have rights in regard to the quality of their education and the way that they are treated by their faculty, the University and other students. The role of the MGA Advocate is to help graduate students navigate their way through the policies and procedures of the University and provide information and/or advice on any study related matter, whether academic or administrative. It is entirely up to each individual student to decide whether to act on advice provided. The MGA does not have any coercive powers and as such cannot compel the University to act in a particular way. The MGA does not provide advice or advocacy in cases involving equity issues or harassment or bullying.  In these cases, the MGA will refer the students to the appropriate body.

The Advocate deals with most cases, however during peak times may be assisted by case workers. Consultations can take place face-to-face at either the MGA Clayton or Caulfield offices or by telephone or email. In complex cases, the Advocate will usually prepare a detailed letter(s) of advice to each student outlining their options.

A grievance by or against a student can be a daunting prospect. Students are encouraged to access the assistance of MGA at any stage. The sooner advice is sought, the better.

Examples of areas where students may encounter problems include:

  • supervision;
  • assessment;
  • intellectual property;
  • authorship;
  • formal grievances;
  • course quality;
  • fee disputes;
  • academic progress proceedings;
  • discipline proceedings.

The MGA cannot assist in the following circumstances:

  • in matters unrelated to your graduate study;
  • where the internal decision making process of the University has been exhausted;
  • where students contact the Victorian Ombudsman after internal University proceedings have concluded;
  • while the matter is still in the negotiation or informal stage the Advocate does not usually attend meetings with lecturers or supervisors although suggestions may be made to the student about how to approach the matter;
  • in the event that a relationship of trust cannot be achieved between the Advocate and student, the Advocate has the discretion to cease to act for that student;
  • MGA resources are limited and if the Advocate cannot meet a level of service expected by a student then the Advocate may refer the student elsewhere and/or cease to act;
  • in matters involving conflict of interest.

Complaints about the handling of a case should be addressed to the MGA Executive Officer: Jennifer Reeder.

Yes. MPA adheres to Victorian privacy principles which are embodied in the Monash University Policies and privacy laws.

Student case information is treated as confidential and will only be disclosed to third parties at the student’s request or with the student’s consent. In the event that the Advocate or case worker hold a reasonable apprehension that the student is at serious risk of harming him/herself or a danger to others then the matter will be disclosed to the relevant authority without any prior warning to the student.

Anonymous examples of student issues may be used by MPA for training or lobbying purposes. If the Advocate is unavailable and a student needs to see another caseworker, then this caseworker will have access to the Advocate’s file. The file will include a brief summary of the student’s matter and any advice given. The file may also include medical reports.

Files will be kept in the office of the Advocate or case worker concerned. Email communications are accessed by password. An individual student may request to see the notes on their case or obtain a copy of their file.

Exclusion FAQs

This means that you will be, or have been, discontinued from your current course by your faculty, and you will cease to be a student at Monash.

This can vary. Exclusion is often for 1 year, but it can be longer, even permanent. This will be specifically stated on your Notice of Decision letter.

Generally, once the time allowed for making an appeal expires or, if an appeal is made and the decision to exclude is upheld, from the time the decision is made. Under exceptional circumstances, if a discipline panel judges that it is necessary to do so, an exclusion can take effect immediately from when the decision is made.

Yes, this is possible. The process is different depending on whether you have been excluded due to unsatisfactory academic progress or due to a discipline matter. Speak to an MGA Advocate for assistance with this.

For unsatisfactory academic progress, please click here

For discipline matters, please click here

You have 20 working days from the Notice of Decision to lodge an appeal.

Yes, you can. In fact, if you intend to appeal, you should. If your appeal is successful, you will not have missed any class time.

This may be possible. Contact your faculty for advice. An alternative exit is an official exit point from an award course. This is often in the form of a lower award e.g. graduate diploma or graduate certificate.

No, this does not appear on your official academic transcript.

1. You can appeal the exclusion, but you must be aware that this may not succeed.

2. Consider that exclusion is not the end of the road, but rather a break from Monash and an opportunity to reflect and assess various options moving forward. You could potentially:

• Apply to study a different course (with a different faculty) at Monash.

• Apply to study at a different university, or TAFE.

• Take some time off from studying and focus on yourself. You could find work, travel, or take care of personal issues that may have affected your ability to study.

If you are excluded due to unsatisfactory academic progress and you have already paid the fees for the coming year, then you will be eligible to obtain a refund for those fees. This is because hearings for unsatisfactory academic progress are usually held at the start of the academic year, and they are based on your previous year’s results. However, you will not be able to receive a refund for units that you have already completed.

If you have been excluded due to a disciplinary matter and the census date has passed, you will not be eligible for a refund of your fees.

Refund applications at Monash are made online, click here to read more.

It may. To hold a valid student visa, you must be enrolled as a student with an accredited education provider. You should speak to Monash Connect for advice on this first. You should also contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Monash Connect Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

Yes, you can. An exclusion from Monash does not prevent you from applying to any other educational institution. The record of your exclusion stays with Monash and is not communicated to other education providers.

It is often (but not always) the case that students are excluded for a period of 12 months from the faculty with which they were studying. If this is the case for you, then you can apply to study a course with a different faculty and, if you are accepted, you could continue studying at Monash. You must still meet the eligibility criteria for this course, and your entire academic history (your grades, GPA, WAM, etc.) will be considered for your application. Contact Monash Connect for information on how to apply.

This can vary depending on the faculty, as they each have their own rules regarding re-admission. Generally, if you can show academic rehabilitation (for example, by studying a number of units in a similar course at another university), you may be able to return to your course at Monash. Before taking any such steps, you should contact your faculty to see if it is possible and, if so, what you should do to improve your chances.

Exclusions Appeal FAQs

This is a process whereby the University relooks at your case after you have been excluded from your Course and/or the University (with a potential to get a different outcome).

Students who have been excluded after an APC hearing which they attended are entitled to appeal. If you did not provide evidence to the hearing or did not attend the hearing in person you are not entitled to appeal the decision of the panel.

However, if you did not respond to your faculty’s Notice of Referral and Hearing, and you were excluded, you can appeal to the faculty dean. If the dean determines that your circumstances for not attending the hearing or providing evidence are exceptional, you may be granted a re-hearing.

The appeal goes to the University Exclusion Appeals Panel (EAP).

Your right to appeal is limited to one or all of the following grounds:

a) New evidence – this has to be information that was not reasonably available to you at the time of the hearing and must be such that it had the potential to change the outcome of the hearing. It has to be in the form of documentation such as medical certificate, police report or statutory declarations.

b) Procedural irregularity – this means a failure on the part of the University/faculty to comply with the academic progress procedures or the Monash University Academic Board Regulations. For example, if the committee was inquorate or you were not permitted to be accompanied or assisted by a support person at the hearing.

You have 20 working days from the time the decision to exclude you is made in which you can lodge your appeal.

You have 20 working days to lodge your appeal.

i) A completed Notice of Appeal Form

For the form, please: click here

ii) An appeal letter that explains your appeal in much detail. Speak to one of the MGA Advocates for assistance with this.

iii) Supporting documentation to substantiate your claims.

Email your appeal to the Secretary of the EAP. You will find the email address on the Notice of Decision your faculty sent to you.

It is not automatic that you will be granted an appeal. Once your appeal is received, it will be referred to an EAP member who will review it and decide whether to uphold the appeal or to dismiss it.

It is your right to appeal. However, consider that if you don’t meet the criteria for the grounds listed above, the likelihood of your appeal being dismissed is very high.

We can’t really answer that question. Every case is different.

Yes. Until the appeal process is complete you remain a student at Monash University.

If the EAP member determines that is there is NO sufficient evidence to establish your appeal, the appeal is dismissed. This decision is final. If your appeal is dismissed, the faculty’s decision to exclude you from your course and the University will stand starting from the date of the original APC Notice of Decision.

No. The decision to dismiss an appeal is final.

If the EAP member upholds your appeal, the matter will be referred back to your faculty to be heard by a new APC panel. Your faculty will communicate with you.

Looking for more information?

If you are wondering what is involved in being a committee member, or about the annual election process, browse through the following pages:
› Election Process FAQ
› Election Regulations