Can’t make it to one of our on campus orientation sessions? Get the gist of it all here! It covers everything you need to know about being a graduate research student.
First things first
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Personalise your student calendar by subscribing to our graduate student calendar feeds – you can also add your timetable and other useful information. See how in our guide to GoogleApps calendars.
Now you’ve done that, have a read through this page to find out all you need to know about being a grad student at Monash University! We’ll cover both the facilities and services available to you, and give you more information about the research journey.
Facilities and services
Before you even set foot on campus, you will need to work out how you’re going to get here. If you plan to drive, you will need to purchase a parking permit which will allow you to park on any of the campuses during (and yes, you will get fined if you don’t have one). Alternatively all campuses have paid casual parking, but this can quickly cost more than a permit. If cost is an issue, consider buying a carpooling permit – you’ll save money, the environment, and make new friends!
Let’s start with the basics, that is, a place to work. Hopefully, you have been accommodated in your department. If not, or if you are a Distance Education graduate student and visiting a campus, there are central graduate student-specific study spaces available on your campus.
Towards the end of your degree, if you need a quieter place to work, consider applying for a desk in the PhD Hub on Clayton Campus or one of the HDR writing rooms on Caulfield.
Software, email accounts & IT support
It’s important to make sure you’re connected to the Monash IT network, so you’ll need to get your username and password set up. Once you have your Monash account, you can log into the university-wide intranet portal, called my.monash.
If you need any help setting up your computer in your new study space, or require internet access or a printer connected, contact eSolutions. As a Monash University student, you also have access to a range of software that is provided free of charge or at a reduced price.
While you are likely to be provided with a staff-like email account (firstname.lastname@example.org), it is important to check your student email account regularly, as this is the way in which the University will communicate with you about administrative matters.
Alternatively, you can set up mail forwarding from your student account to your staff-like account.
If you haven’t been in a library for a while, you’ll definitely need some help familiarising yourself with the search systems, resources and library services available to graduate research students today.
The library runs programs and drop-in sessions or you can make an appointment with your subject librarian, who can help you find and use discipline-specific information. Graduate research students have unlimited borrowing rights, and can make use of the document delivery service which can locate and deliver material that is only available from external libraries. You can also obtain a CAVAL card, which allows you to borrow from other university libraries.
International student orientation
Student advisers from Campus Community Division run compulsory orientation sessions for newly arriving international research students. The International Student Essential Information sessions cover topics such as accommodation and living in Melbourne, Australian culture, health cover, tax matters and more. Click here for details.
We run seminars on all four Victorian campuses and at off-campus locations – you are welcome to attend any seminar on any campus.
Social events and staying informed
After all that intellectual stimulation you can debrief and share experiences with other graduates students at the MGA social events, such as free lunches and monthly social nights. You can also connect with fellow graduate students through our Facebook page and group to see what the MGA is up to.
The research journey
It’s hard enough to live on a scholarship income but it’s even harder to live without one at all. If you’ve missed out on a scholarship you can always apply in the next round.
If your research involves using biohazards or human or animal participants, you will need to seek ethics approval before you start connecting electrodes to brains or even conducting surveys or interviews.
For statistical advice, email one of the statistical consultants, who can ensure that the statistical analysis you have in mind is a good fit with your planned research.
Learning and Language Support
Stuck for words? The University has some great online resources about planning and writing a thesis that are worth a look. Want to speak to someone? Make an online or in-person appointment with a Learning and Language Adviser who can provide advice about academic writing.
It’s important to properly reference and cite other people’s work used in your thesis. Plagiarism, even when unintended, is taken very seriously and the consequences can be severe.
Aaah supervision! What can we say? It can make or break a PhD. At Monash there is a Graduate Research Supervision Policy that sets out what you can expect from your supervisor and school, and what they will expect from you.
You need to make sure you keep your supervisor relationship healthy and happy. Whatever you do, don’t let the situation deteriorate without acting. Things can sometimes look bad, but there’s almost always a solution. If you do find yourself in need of some confidential advice, make an appointment with one of the MGA advocates.
Just a brief word about intellectual property. If your research requires you to sign a deed of assignment or any other document that affects or restricts the ownership or use of your work, you should seek advice from one of the MGA advocates before signing.
If you’re planning to present at a conference or undertake fieldwork, have a look at the information provided for Studying Away in the Handbook for Doctoral Degrees. You may be eligible for some kind of travel grant or support – every little bit helps!
Confirmation of candidature
All first year PhD candidates need to work towards the formal confirmation of candidature that will take place around the nine month to one year mark. Talk to your supervisor about what this involves so that you are properly prepared when the big day arrives.
Once you are over the confirmation of candidature hurdle, there will be a Progress Review to ensure you are staying on track, and a Final Review held a few months prior to the submission of your thesis. Both the Progress Review and the Final Review are now formal hurdles and must be satisfied in order to progress.
All doctoral candidates are required to re-enrol annually. To assist candidates in meeting this requirement, the University sends information and instructions about online re-enrolment procedures, including the closing date for re-enrolment, to candidates via their Monash University student email accounts towards the end of each year.
Please remember to enrol on time – there are fines for late enrolments and it’s really no fun when it happens!
We know you’ve only just started but if you’re producing quality results, then your supervisor might get you working on a paper for publication. This will usually be a joint publication with your supervisor and possibly other staff and students. Have a chat with your supervisor at the beginning of the process to find out how the authorship will work. It’s good practice for everyone to have an agreed position on this from the outset.
Monash Graduate Research Office
The Monash Graduate Research Office is the administrative arm that sits over all research training and deals with enrolments, scholarships and candidature-related processes like intermissions, extensions and examinations. Contact the Monash Graduate Research Office staff if you have any questions about how it all works.
Advice & advocacy
Finally, if you need some advice or advocacy, drop into one of the MGA offices to speak with the MGA staff or make an appointment to see one of the MGA advocates to help get you back on track.