If you are a higher degree by research candidate (HDR) which includes a masters degree or the degree of Doctor of Philosophy the MPA recommends that you become familiar with the Masters or Doctoral Handbooks. These handbooks provide an essential guide to all aspects of your candidature at Monash University.
Graduate Research Services (GRS) is the administrative branch of Monash University responsible for higher research degree students.
The MPA recommends that all higher degree research students peruse the Code of Practice for Supervision of doctoral and research master's candidates found in chapter 5 of the relevant handbook. Your rights and responsibilities as a higher degree research postgraduate are contained in that Code.
From the time you enrol it is a good idea to:
- Set up an appropriate consultation schedule with your supervisor.
- Ascertain any planned leave or prolonged absence that the supervisor may be contemplating from the University.
- If your supervisor is contemplating extended leave set up interim supervision arrangements, or ensure you can communicate by email/skype.
- It is also a good idea to ask what commitments your supervisor has to other projects including research / teaching / supervision as this may impact on their ability to meet with you at regular intervals.
- Treat your first meeting as an interview. Be frank about your expectations and the level of guidance you anticipate.
- Every department has a postgraduate coordinator whose job it is to liaise with research students. Find out the person's name and feel free to ask any questions about the day to day conduct of your candidature.
You are obliged to reach certain milestones in your candidature within certain time frames. Be mindful of these.
MPA case examples
The MPA deals with a variety of complaints related to candidature including:
- lack of feedback from their supervisor causing delays
- lack of communication with their supervisor usually caused by an indaquate meeting schedule
- lack of expert knowledge in the student’s particular area of research
- imbalance of power between student and supervisor causing the student to feel intimidated and sometimes leading to lack of progress
- lack of proper induction processes causing the student to feel isolated and not being aware of what facilities, funding or resources may be available to students
- lack of mentoring by the supervisor causing the student to lose opportunities to present at conferences or meet with industry peers
- lack of explanation of intellectual property rights and authorship norms causing clashes about who should be named as author on publications.
What to do if things go wrong
It is always a good idea to first discuss the matter with the supervisor. Sometimes it helps to liaise with the postgraduate coordinator. The Head of Department may also be contacted. As a general rule the MPA has found that most problems can be resolved at an informal level. In the event that this is not possible then the University has in place grievance procedures. See grievance.
Research progress can become an issue.
More information - Advice & advocacy
The staff of the Monash Postgraduate Association (MPA) provide confidential advice on supervision issues and any other difficulties you may be experiencing as a postgraduate student at Monash.
The best way to contact one of our Advocates is by via email. For those postgraduates located off-campus or studying via distance education, advice can be provided by email, and supported by phone calls (funded by the MPA).
Clayton - firstname.lastname@example.org
Caulfield - email@example.com