Higher Degree by Research Supervisors
Each Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student will be assigned a principal supervisor and one or more co-supervisors and/or associate supervisor(s).
To be appointed as principal supervisors or co-supervisor, it is mandatory for Curtin staff to be registered on the Register of Supervisors and renew this registration every four year.
The minimum supervisor contribution percentages allocation is 10% and all allocation must be in 5% increments. With exception to the mentoring supervision arrangements, the main supervisor must always have the highest number allocation as they are administratively responsible for the student. For this reason, a 50-50% split between principal and co-supervisor is not permissible.
For an academic staff member with teaching and administrative duties, a supervisory load of no more than 5 Equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) is recommended. Depending on the discipline area and mode of supervision, a higher load can be assigned to a staff member who has a strong record of successful supervisions and timely completions.
Supervisory team members should not have a perceived or actual conflict of interest with the HDR student and the thesis chair, and among themselves.
Supervisors are to ensure they have appropriate workload available prior to agreeing to supervise a student.
Three (3) major Levels of Supervisor
- Principal Supervisor (Must be a Registered Level 1 Supervisor)
- Co-Supervisor (Either a Registered Level 1 or Level 2 Supervisor)
- Associate supervisors (If applicable)
The principal supervisor has primary responsibility for the HDR student’s supervision and progression. The principal supervisor is to:
(a) ensure that supervisors (including themselves) remain actively engaged in supervision and facilitate opportunities for the supervisors to constructively discuss the student’s progress/progression;
(b) ensure that the HDR student has been provided with reasonable support to gain an appropriate understanding of their responsibilities and the expectations of the supervisors;
(c) provide guidance and advice, including in relation to ethics requirements, and ensure that the research is undertaken in accordance with the University’s policies, procedures, guidelines and processes, including applying for ethics clearance as required and annual reporting of research progress;
(d) discuss with the student the scope of the research topic, planning of the research program and ensuring required resources and funding is available;
(e) provide academic support, including constructive and timely feedback, guidance and evaluate progress;
(f) maintain regular contact with the HDR student as dictated by the research program;
(g) monitor performance of the HDR student and address potential issues or problems as early as possible within the University framework;
(h) oversee all necessary administration with regard to milestones;
(i) ensure that the DGR (AD, R&D) is informed of progress and any issues with regard to supervision;
(j) provide support and constructive advice, including on funding, publishing and networking, and in pursuing additional opportunities related to the HDR training experience;
(k) where practical, facilitate opportunities to interact with the wider academic community nationally or internationally;
(l) provide constructive and timely advice about the design and preparation of thesis material and submission of final thesis; and
(m) provide career advice as appropriate.
A co-supervisor is to:
(a) maintain an awareness of the project scope and progression;
(b) provide academic support, including constructive and timely feedback, guidance and evaluate progress;
(c) attend supervision meetings regarding students’ progress as required; and
(d) act in place of the principal supervisor when required.
External co-supervisors and external associate supervisors
A person employed at another higher education provider or a research institution affiliated with Curtin University (e.g., hospitals, medical research institutes and industry partners), who is research active, may be appointed as an external co-supervisor. The responsibilities of the external co-supervisor are equivalent to those of a co-supervisor.
External associate supervisors may be appointed to provide essential supplementary expertise to support a principal supervisor. This expertise is typically specialised assistance in an area or a specific aspect of the HDR student’s course.
The DGR (AD, R&D) and Chair of CMGSC may approve the appointment of an external co-supervisor or associate supervisor, provided the individual has:
- obtained a research degree at the level at which they intend to supervise or above or have recognised equivalent specialist experience; and
- a current active involvement in research and attributes that will contribute to the success of the student’s HDR course.
This appointment may be for a specific period or for an HDR student’s course.
An external associate supervisor cannot at any time act as principal supervisor or Thesis Chair.
As a HDR student, you should establish some guidelines with your supervisor on how frequently you will hold formal meetings, how they will be initiated, and what records will be kept. You should be able to seek advice from your supervisor when you have problems in your research program. Many candidates find it best to present both the problem and potential solutions and discuss these, rather than solely relying on the supervisor to provide a solution.
Tips to optimise your meetings:
- Establish regular meetings with your principle supervisor (each fortnight or month), and prepare relevant written material.
- Take notes during the meeting and create a list of outcomes so that you and your principle supervisor are clear about the objectives that have been achieved as well as outlining a focus for following meetings.
- Set up the next meeting before you depart, as this will allow your principle supervisor time to consider the agreed focus for the next meeting and to read any material you may have presented.
- Create a timeline for your research and thesis completion. This plan should ensure you will be able to meet your Milestone requirements.
1. To be eligible for entry into Register of Supervisors as a Level 1 Supervisor, a Curtin staff member should meet all of the following criteria:
- has obtained a doctoral degree or have recognised equivalent experience;
- has been substantially involved in the supervision of a doctoral student (at any university) who has submitted their thesis for examination;
- has a current active involvement in research, as demonstrated by at least one relevant publication/output in the last three years;
- has completed Curtin University’s Research Integrity Training; and
- has developed and maintained good supervisory skills and knowledge of Curtin’s statutes, rules, policies, procedures and guidelines as they pertain to HDR courses through completing (i) two HDR professional development workshops or seminars or (ii) a formal HDR induction training program within the prior twelve-month period approved by the Research Office at Curtin.
2. To be eligible for entry into Register of Supervisors as a Level 2 Supervisor, a Curtin staff member should meet all of the following criteria:
a. has obtained a research masters degree or have recognised equivalent experience;
b. has a current active involvement in research, as demonstrated by at least one relevant publication/output in the last three years;
c. has completed Curtin University’s Research Integrity Training; and
d. has developed and maintained good supervisory skills and knowledge of Curtin’s statutes, rules, policies, procedures and guidelines as they pertain to HDR course through completing (i) two HDR professional development workshops or seminars or (ii) a formal HDR induction training program within the prior twelve-month period approved by the Research Office at Curtin.
3. Renewal of Register of Supervisor
To be eligible for renewal as a Level 1 Supervisor, supervisors must have met all following conditions during their prior period of registration:
a. have been involved in the supervision of a HDR student who has been approved to graduate or has graduated;
b. have acted as the Thesis Chair for a HDR student who has been approved to graduate or has graduated; and
c. have maintained their Research Integrity training.
Supervisors who meet these conditions will have their registration automatically renewed for a five-year period. Supervisors who do not meet all conditions will be required to meet the conditions as set out in 1.
To be eligible for renewal as a Level 2 supervisor, supervisors will have met all following conditions during their prior period of registration:
a. have been involved in the supervision of a HDR student who has been approved to graduate or has graduated; and
b. have maintained their Research Integrity training.
To apply as a new Registered Supervisor (Level 2 and 1 only), renewing or updating application, please click this link.
To apply as an Associate Supervisor, please submit ‘Registration of a University Associate for the Purposes of Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Students‘ form to the Curtin Malaysia Graduate Studies.
A staff member may be removed from the Register of Supervisors by ADVCRE based on the recommendation of (i) their Line Manager, (ii) Head of School, (iii) DGR/AD, R&D or (iv) Chair of CMGSC. Grounds for such a recommendation are as follows:
• The staff member is no longer meets the eligibility criteria
• The individual has been disciplined by the University for academic or research misconduct;
•The individual has not carried out their supervisory duties satisfactorily; or
•The individual has a workload or work-plan that does not permit further supervision duties.
The full list of registered supervisors can be found at Register of Supervisors page.
For further information, you may refer to the following documents: