Core Component of the Structured Program (CCSP)

The Core Component of the Structured Program (CCSP) is the first major progress milestone you will complete following candidature commencement; it is due by no later than six months, or half-time equivalent, from your start date in candidature.

The primary purpose of the CCSP is to ensure that you have formulated a research proposal that is both academically rigorous and of a scope that is appropriate for timely submission of your thesis (namely within 3 years and 6 months for PhDs or 18-24 months for Master by Research).  In defining your research proposal, you will address, in partnership with your supervisors, a range of financial, resource, intellectual property, ethical, data, research integrity and authorship considerations.

In addition, you will formulate your CaRST development plan, discuss possibilities for the completion of a research internship during your program and document your agreed 'expectations for supervision'.

Key requirements:

  • Preparation of a research proposal utilising the research proposal template.
  • The research proposal will include a literature review and will be a minimum of 3000 – 4000 words (Master/Doctorate) and a maximum of 5000 words.
  • Presentation of a seminar to the School/Discipline is not compulsory for CCSP submissions from 1/1/24.
  • Early CCSP completion (4-5 months from candidature commencement) is encouraged.
  • Inclusion of an independent discipline expert in the assessment of the CCSP is encouraged, but is not compulsory.
  • Before commencing the CCSP

    1. Login to MyAdelaide and check the following:
      • Are your personal details (e.g. address and contact details) correct? Update them if necessary.
      • Are your supervisors and their roles and percentages of responsibility accurately recorded?  ONLY your official principal supervisor will be able to approve your CCSP (your co-supervisor(s) will have view only access), therefore, it is essential that you advise the Adelaide Graduate Research School of any changes by completing the change of supervisor details form before you access the CCSP form and commence the review process;
      • Are your candidature details (e.g. research topic, attendance status) accurately recorded? If any changes are required, you will need to complete and submit the relevant form to the Adelaide Graduate Research School.
    2. Obtain your Open Research and Contributor ID (ORCiD) and upload it into Aurora.
    3. Complete the pre-reading and online course for the Conduct of Research.
    4. Complete your research proposal, relevant training and other project considerations:
      • Complete your research proposal on the relevant faculty template (see research proposal templates section below).
      • Present a school seminar on your proposed research proposal (where required by your School).
      • Estimate the total costs of your research (in addition to basic infrastructure support).
      • Obtain Animal, Human and/or Gene Technology ethics clearances and clearance numbers if applicable for your proposed research. Note that if your clearances are not required or received in time for the submission of your CCSP you will need to nominate an expected ethics clearance date. An ethics milestone will then be added to your student record and followed up after your CCSP has been completed.
      • Complete Animal Ethics training, if applicable, and obtain the required certificate of completion.
      • Complete any required Hazard training and record the date(s) of training undertaken.
      • Intellectual Property (IP):
        • If your project is being carried out for or with others outside of the University, obtain copies of any relevant agreements with these organisations.
        • Obtain details of any external organisation you are employed by that might reasonably have an interest in the IP developed for the project or in the confidential information.
        • Refer to the FAQs below for assistance in completing the IP section of the CCS.
      • Determine if you will require access to any restricted data/materials.
      • Prepare a Data Management plan on the approved template (unless you are undertaking theoretical research in Pure Mathematics).
      • Familiarise yourself with the University’s Research Data and Primary Materials policy.
      • Consider your level of access to minimum resources which are necessary for your project as listed in the form.
      • Identify whether the School can provide a funding allocation to support the ancillary costs of your research per annum (e.g. conference travel) and record the amount.
      • Consider any major items of equipment/facilities that you will require access to, whether internal or external to the University, and the required frequency of access.
      • Discuss authorship of any publications arising from your research with your supervisors and any external parties and document your Authorship agreement. (Please note that the Expectations in Supervision Form you completed during your induction will also need to be uploaded with the CCSP).
      • Read the University’s Plagiarism policy.


    5. Consider Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST)

    • Complete the Skills and Plan sections of CaRST Online:
    • Ensure your completed CaRST activities are up to date in CaRST Online. We recommend that students spread their activities/hours across candidature; therefore, at the CCSP students are only expected to have completed approximately 20 hours for a PhD or 15 hours for a Masters to be considered on track.*
    • Save a current PDF of your completed CaRST Progress Summary, dated within 1 week of when your CCSP form is submitted (navigate to the ‘Review’ page in CaRST Online, click the ‘Generate PDF’ button, and save as PDF). If any sections are incomplete, you will be required to revise and resubmit before your CCSP can be processed. View a completed CaRST Progress Summary.                                                             
  • How to complete the CCSP

    Step 1 - Student

    • At least three weeks in advance of the required completion date for your CCSP, organise a mutually convenient time to meet with your supervisory panel to:
    • Review your research proposal and the associated funding, ethics, IP, data management and resource needs.
    • Review your Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) Skills Assessment, Development Plan, and record of CaRST activities completed to date in CaRST Online.
    • Review your progress since you started in candidature.
    • Work through the list of items 1-5 above under 'Before Commencing the CCSP'.
    • Following (or during) your meeting with your supervisors, complete all the student sections of the online form ensuring that all information provided is accurate and correct.
    • Submit the form to your principal supervisor for consideration at least two weeks prior to the due date.

    Step 2 - Principal Supervisor

    • After the student section has been completed you will receive an email prompt requesting you to complete the principal supervisor section of the CCSP.
    • Review the information provided, make comments in response on behalf of your supervisory panel and provide an assessment of the student’s level of progress relative to the standards and timeframe for completion of the degree.
    • If there is any further information or changes required, you can return the form to the student for amendment and include comments outlining the changes required.  The student will then be able to edit the CCSP form and resubmit it to you as principal supervisor for further review.
    • You will be asked to nominate a school approver to authorise the completed CCSP on behalf of the School.  This will normally be the postgraduate coordinator (PGC), however, where the PGC is a member of your supervisory panel, another authorised school approver will be selected.

    Step 3 - Co-Supervisor/External Supervisor

    View only access to the CCSP is available for co- and external supervisors as the principal supervisor is responsible for entering and submitting an assessment of the form on behalf of the supervisory panel.   Once the student has submitted their CCSP, co- and external supervisors will be able to view the form by logging in via the button below.

    Step 4 - School Approver, HDR Convenor and Adelaide Graduate Research School

    • The form will advance to the nominated school approver to review your progress and your supervisor’s recommendation on behalf of the school.
    • After the school approver has certified the form on behalf of the School, it will either go directly to the HDR convenor if there is no IP component, or to the Adelaide Graduate Research School if there is an IP component.
    • Where there is an IP component, following review by the Adelaide Graduate Research School the form will advance to the HDR convenor for your faculty.
    • The HDR convenor will review your progress together with your principal supervisor’s and school approver’s recommendations.
    • Once the HDR convenor has certified the form on behalf of your faculty, it will then be forwarded to the Adelaide Graduate Research School for final processing.
    • Your completed CCSP form will be examined by staff in the Adelaide Graduate Research School and any issues identified will be pursued at the appropriate level.
    • At the first opportunity, Adelaide Graduate Research School staff will advise you and your supervisors of the outcome of your CCSP via email.
  • Tracking progress of the CCSP

    • After submitting your portion of the CCSP to your principal supervisor in the recommended timeframe, ensure you regularly log back into your CCSP dashboard to track the progress of approvals by your principal supervisor and the school approver.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your principal supervisor and school approver action the form and submit it to the Adelaide Graduate Research School prior to the due date.
    • If your CCSP has not been actioned within the recommended timeframe by your principal supervisor please follow up with them to request that they review and action the form.
    • If there are circumstances that will affect your ability (or your school’s) to complete and lodge the CCSP by the due date, ensure that you discuss the situation with your principal supervisor and request that they apply for an extension on your behalf by emailing the Adelaide Graduate Research School. The email should detail the length of extension sought (typically one month) and the reasons for the request.
  • Research proposal templates

    Please download and complete the Research Proposal Template.

    Note: the faculty specific research proposal templates below have been superseded (their use will be accepted for CCSPs submitted prior to 31/12/23):

  • CCSP workflow

  • When is my CCSP due?

    Your CCSP is due six months (or half-time equivalent) from the commencement of your candidature. You can view the due date for your CCSP in your online CCSP dashboard or in the research candidature section in MyAdelaide.

  • Why do I have to complete the CCSP?

    The primary purpose of the CCSP is to ensure that you have formulated a research proposal that is both academically rigorous and of a scope which is appropriate for completion within the timeframe of your degree. In defining your research proposal you will address, in partnership with your supervisors, a range of financial, resource, intellectual property, ethical and authorship considerations relevant to your proposed research.

  • Do I have to complete a CCSP if I am on leave of absence?

    No; the due date for your CCSP will be extended by any approved leave of absence.  You do not need to undertake the CCSP while you are on leave but you will need to complete it on your return to candidature.

  • An independent discipline expert is involved in my CCSP review. How can they access the CCSP form and provide input on progress?

    Anyone outside of your supervisory panel and your Postgraduate Coordinator will be unable to access the online CCSP form.  If an independent discipline expert is involved in your review and you need to share the form with them, please copy and paste the form contents into a word document and then attach this to an email, together with the documents that you uploaded to the form (e.g., your research proposal, Gantt chart etc).  This should be done at the same time as you are submitting your CCSP to your supervisors for review.  The discipline expert can then contribute to the progress review discussion, with their feedback to be incorporated into the School’s evaluation.

  • I am having problems with my supervisor(s) but I don’t feel comfortable raising them on the Core Component of the Structured Program form, or within my Discipline. What should I do?

    You can seek the advice of the Dean of Graduate Studies at any time by emailing the Dean of Graduate Studies.

    You can also talk about problems you are having with the Education Welfare Officers (EWOs); the EWOs are independent advocates who can provide you with confidential advice and assistance in dealing with complaints and grievances (telephone 8313 5430 or email

    Student life counselling support is available to all enrolled students seeking to address issues that may be affecting their study and life; the service is free and confidential.

  • I am not able to complete my CCSP form by the due date. What should I do?

    If, for reasons beyond your control, you are unable to complete the CCSP by the due date, you should request that your principal supervisor email the Adelaide Graduate Research School to request an extension on your behalf. The reasons for the extension and the length of the extension (typically one month) must be specified.

  • Do I have to complete the CCSP in one go?

    No.  You can complete some of the form and then save it as a draft for later.  Just remember to return and submit it so your supervisor can complete their section of the form.

  • My principal supervisor is on leave when my CCSP is due and will be unable to approve my form. What should I do?

    As the form is online, your supervisor will be able to access it from anywhere and at any time up until the due date. However, if he or she is on leave and unavailable to approve your review, options include:

    Where the leave is for a short period (less than one month)

    • Ensuring that your CCSP is submitted in plenty of time so that the supervisor will have the opportunity to approve the review before or after they return from leave and still be within the due date.
    • Requesting that your postgraduate coordinator email the Adelaide Graduate Research School to request an extension for your CCSP.

    Where the leave is for a longer period (exceeding one month)

    Completing a change of supervisor form to amend your supervision panel (if this is a temporary change, another form may be completed to reinstate the original panel following return of your principal supervisor from leave).

  • What happens if my CCSP form is submitted after the due date?

    If your CCSP form arrives late and you have not organised an extension with the Adelaide Graduate Research School your candidature and any scholarship payments may be suspended.

  • What happens if my candidature is suspended?

    Suspension means that you are no longer enrolled as a student. If your candidature is suspended you will not be entitled to any of the rights and privileges associated with an active candidature, including supervision, insurance, access to libraries, laboratories and other University buildings and access to University computer facilities. If you are a scholarship holder, your payments will be suspended. A record of the suspension will be placed on your academic transcript and you will not be permitted to submit your thesis for examination.

  • How can I arrange to have my candidature reinstated if I am suspended?

    To reinstate a suspended candidature and any scholarship payments, you will need to lodge your completed CCSP form (within twelve months of the suspension date) and pay any fees due. Please note that any scholarship payments you would have received during the period of suspension had you been an active candidate are forfeited.  For assistance contact the Adelaide Graduate Research School.

  • Where can I find out more about intellectual property (IP)?

    Please visit the intellectual property and embargo page for answers to frequently asked questions.