MGA Advocacy – Back to Basics: Graduate Research Progress Management Procedures

A closer look at the policy that covers milestone extensions for research students.

COVID lockdowns caused significant stress and delays for research students and many have contacted the MGA advocates about needing extensions for milestones.

Failing a milestone can result in termination of candidature. This is why it is important to know that applications for extensions for milestones can be made under Section 4 of the ‘Procedures’.  

Click here to see the Graduate Research Progress Management Procedures Policy.

The Procedures apply to all formal milestones, namely:

  • Confirmation due at the 12-month mark;
  • Mid-Candidature Review due at the 24-month mark; and 
  • The Pre-Submission Seminar due at 36 months.  

The Procedures do not apply to faculty-specific reviews (such as 3- or 6-month reviews).  

What is the purpose of milestone reviews?

The rationale for having milestone reviews is so that Monash University can ascertain a student’s academic progress in a peer-review setting. Milestones involve an oral presentation (usually open to the public), an interview and a written submission. It is meant to be a rigorous process so that students can work on their presentation skills, as well as defend their research. 

Once a milestone review is completed, the panel of expert members provide written feedback. There are two possible outcomes. Pass (satisfactory progress) or a recommendation of unsatisfactory progress. The latter is not an automatic fail, as students will usually get three months to improve their performance. 

I don’t feel like I am on track. What can I do?

There is a Milestone Extension Form which needs to be submitted at least 5 working days prior to the milestone date. Extensions of up to 12 weeks are contemplated by the Procedures and they may be extended in exceptional circumstances. 

An extension of a milestone means subsequent milestones are also extended, as is the thesis submission date.

The Procedures also deal with applications to transfer research degrees, extensions of candidature and the management of unsatisfactory progress outside of milestones.

How can an MGA advocate help?

The MGA advocates encourage students to come to us with concerns about their milestones. No one should attempt a milestone if they feel, or their supervisors have indicated, they may fail. 

We can help guide you through your situation, no matter how big or small. This is a free service. The MGA is independent from the University and all matters discussed with an advocate are confidential.