Guidelines for PhD confirmation

What is 'confirmation' and the 'confirmation seminar'?

Candidates should consult the Melbourne School of Graduate Research (MSGR) website for information regarding preparing for PhD confirmation.

For confirmation of candidature, a student is required within 12 months of full-time enrolment (24 months part-time) to prepare a written proposal that demonstrates a clearly defined, coherent and feasible research project and that demonstrates knowledge of the area and an ability to proceed at a level appropriate to PhD. The proposal is circulated to a Confirmation Committee, and then presented at a public seminar at which the committee are present.

Following the seminar, the Confirmation Committee determines whether candidature is confirmed, or whether further work is required before confirmation, or whether the student will be asked to withdraw or convert to a Masters Degree.

How does the confirmation process work?

Steps in the confirmation process

  1. The supervisor is responsible for organising the Confirmation Committee, which consists of at least three staff members from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, one of whom is the Chair.
  2. The supervisor consults with the committee members and with the candidate to organize the date of the seminar.
  3. The seminar may be promoted within Melbourne Graduate School of Education with the assistance of the supervisor.
  4. The written proposal is normally expected to be 8,000 words. It should cover the focus or aim of the thesis; relevant literature and background; scope and methodology of the proposed project; and an indication of the work to date, leading to feasible steps of proceeding.
  5. At the Confirmation Seminar, the Chair introduces the candidate and outlines the process that will be followed for the presentation.
  6. The candidate will normally speak to their proposal for around 20 minutes, and will allow around 30 minutes for questions and comment.
  7. Following this, the Chair closes the public part of the meeting. The candidate is asked to withdraw.
  8. The committee confers to decide whether it will be recommended that the candidate be confirmed; or be given an extension of probationary candidature; or be recommended to terminate or to convert to a Masters degree. It decides also what feedback and advice is to be given to the candidate.
  9. The candidate is recalled and advised by the committee of the decision and their advice, and given an opportunity to ask or answer further questions.
  10. The Confirmation Report is signed by the committee members and the candidate, and is to be submitted to Level 9, Queensberry St along with the required attachments.