Annual Review

The annual review of progress is an appraisal of your progress by both you and your supervisory panel due every year on 31 October.

  • What is the annual review of progress?

    The annual review is intended to be an open and frank appraisal of your rate of progress by both you and your supervisory panel. The Review is due every year on 31 October and serves several purposes. It:

    • ensures that you highlight your achievements during the preceding year so that you can clearly see the progress you have made both in your research and your professional development (it is common for students to underestimate their progress and the review process can provide some useful reassurance);
    • provides you with an opportunity to formally set goals with your whole supervisory panel for the next stage of your project and in the next stage of your professional development;
    •  is an important tool for identifying any problems that may be occurring in your candidature so that they can be documented and resolved. Documentation is very important, as any problems you report on your annual review form (which were beyond your control and have negatively affected your progress) will be taken into consideration if you submit an application for a candidature or scholarship extension in the future.  If you are unable to raise a problem(s) at the School level, you can submit a confidential statement for the attention of the Dean of Graduate Studies;
    • provides an opportunity to review and renegotiate your access to resources and facilities;
    • provides an opportunity to review ethics requirements and a prompt to provide any necessary clearances to the Graduate Centre;
    • provides an opportunity to review your supervisory arrangements, including the frequency and usefulness of meetings; and
    • serves to ensure that your postgraduate coordinator, the head of school and the Dean of Graduate Studies are kept fully informed of your progress.

    Satisfactory completion of the annual review and other candidature milestones where applicable, is a pre-requisite for re-enrolment and scholarship continuation into the following year.

    Who is required to complete an annual review?
    As a research student who is actively enrolled or on approved leave of absence, you are required to participate in an annual review of progress every year, unless one of the following applies:

    • You first enrolled in the year of the review;
    • You submitted your thesis for examination prior to 31 October;
    • Your candidature lapsed prior to 31 October;
    • You have been advised to complete a pre-submission review in place of an annual review of progress;
    • You have been granted an exemption on medical grounds.
  • Before commencing your annual review

    Login to Access Adelaide 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 annual review (your co-supervisor(s) will have view only access), therefore, it is essential that you advise the Graduate Centre of any changes by completing the change of supervisor details form before you access the annual review 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 Graduate Centre.
    • If there are extenuating circumstances that will affect your ability to complete and lodge the annual review by 31 October, ensure that you discuss the situation with your principal supervisor and request that he or she apply for an extension on your behalf by emailing the Graduate Centre. The email should detail the length of extension sought (typically one month) and the reasons for the request.
  • How to complete the annual review

    Step 1 – Student

    • Well in advance of the required completion date for your annual review, organise a mutually convenient time to meet with your supervisory panel to:
      • Review your progress during the previous twelve months or since you started in candidature;
      • Discuss and establish a plan of work and set academic and Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) milestones or goals for the next twelve months;
      • Review your ethics, IP, resource and supervision needs; and
      • Identify any concerns/problems/grievances that may have interrupted/delayed your progress and their impact on your progress in terms of the number of research days lost.
    • Make a second later appointment to discuss your progress with the person nominated by your principal supervisor to authorise the completed annual review on behalf of your School (the 'school approver'). approver will normally be your postgraduate coordinator, however, if your PGC is a supervisor, it will be another senior academic from within your school which your principal supervisor will select from a pre-approved list
    • Following (or during) your meeting with your supervisors, complete all sections of the online form when prompted ensuring that all information provided is accurate and correct.  You will be required to:
      • Confirm your personal details and supervisory panel details are correct.
      • Describe work completed during the review period.
      • Upload a Gantt chart or completion plan.
      • Detail any industry engagement that occurred during the year of review, including the name and URL of the organisation, the dates and type of engagement (placement or internship, supervision, mentoring, financial or in-kind contribution, collaborator or other).
      • Provide clearance numbers of ethics approvals already provided to the Adelaide Graduate Centre, and upload copies of any clearance documents not previously provided.
      • Consider whether your research involves any hazards (e.g. chemical, plant, equipment, biological, radiation etc.).
      • Provide titles of intellectual property contracts and/or agreements previously supplied to the Adelaide Graduate Centre, and upload copies of any contracts and/or agreement documents not previously provided.
      • Consider whether the agreed resources and facilities defined in the minimum resources proforma in your core component of the structured program (CCSP) have been provided since your last annual review/completion of your CCSP if this is your first review since enrolment.
      • Total any leave of absence days you have taken in the reporting period.
      • Detail any unavoidable delays, problems and/or grievances experienced during the review period.
      • Upload a current PDF of your CaRST Progress Summary dated within 1 week of when your Annual Review form is submitted (navigate to the ‘Review’ page in CaRST Online, click the ‘Generate PDF’ button, and save as PDF), enter your total recognised credits, and provide a reflection on development activities completed since the previous milestone review and future development goals.
    • Certify the form and submit to your principal supervisor for comment.

    Step 2 – Supervisors and school approver

    Following your progress review meeting, your supervisory panel will discuss and review your progress.

    • On receipt of your submitted annual review, your principal supervisor will review the information you have provided, make comments in response on behalf of your supervisory panel and provide an assessment of your level of progress relative to the standards and timeframe for completion of your degree.
    • The principal supervisor will be asked to nominate a ‘school approver’ from a pre-approved list to authorise the completed annual review on behalf of the School.  The principal supervisor will select the relevant postgraduate coordinator, except, where the PGC is a supervisor, in which case an alternate school approver who is a senior academic staff member will be selected from the pre-approved list.
    • Once the principal supervisor has completed the supervisor sections on the annual review, all other supervisor(s) on your panel will be requested to confirm the accuracy of the information and assessment provided by your principal supervisor. Please note: co and external supervisors will have one week only to provide their assessment. After this time, if no response has been recorded, the form will be forwarded on to the nominated school approver for review;
    • Next, the form will advance to the nominated school approver to review your progress and your supervisors’ recommendations on behalf of the School;
    • After certifying the form on behalf of the school, the school approver will authorise the form’s return to you for final review prior to submission to the Graduate Centre.

    Step 3 - Student review

      • On receipt of email notification that your completed annual review form containing supervisory comments and your school’s assessment of your progress is ready for viewing, access and review the annual review form in its entirety
      • Following review, you will be prompted to agree with the school’s assessment of your progress (including, if applicable, any milestones/tasks that have been set for you to complete during a period of conditional re-enrolment).
      • If you disagree with the school’s assessment or wish to report any complaints or grievances that you have been unable to resolve within your school, you will be able to upload a confidential report for the attention of the Dean of Graduate Studies.  If you attach such a report, it will not be visible to your supervisors, PGC or head of school.
      • Authorise the submission of your annual review to the Graduate Centre prior to the due date
  • Tracking progress of the annual review

    • After submitting your portion of the annual review to your principal supervisor in the recommended timeframe, ensure you regularly log back into your annual review dashboard/form to track the progress of approvals by your supervisors and the school approver
    • If your annual review has not been actioned within the recommended timeframe or, within ~one week of being sent to an approver, please follow up with them to request that they review and action the form.
    • Ensure that your annual review is on track to be returned to you for final review and submission to the Graduate Centre prior to 31 October.
    • If you will be unable to submit prior to the due date, it is your responsibility to prompt your principal supervisor to request an extension (normally for one month) on your behalf. 
  • Gantt chart and completion plan templates

    Please download the most appropriate MS excel template for your needs:

    3 year Gantt chart
    4 year Gantt chart
    5 year Gantt chart
    6 year Gantt chart

    Note. All templates are password protected. This means you have some limited editing privileges, including the ability to add and delete rows without a password.

    Completion plan
    You may choose to use a completion plan. The Graduate Centre has made an example plan available.

    Completion plan example

  • Annual review of progress timeline and workflow

  • Why do I have to complete an annual review?

    The annual review facilitates the formal discussion and evaluation of your progress whilst providing you with an opportunity to discuss your future research goals and any problems you may be experiencing with your supervisors and postgraduate coordinator or head of school. The information detailed in your annual review form is reviewed by the Graduate Centre and the Dean of Graduate Studies to establish that your progress in the preceding year has been satisfactory and that your enrolment (and any scholarship payments) should continue. It is also an opportunity for you to request (confidentially), the Dean’s involvement in the resolution of any problems or concerns you may have that cannot be settled at the local level.

    Making the most of the annual review describes how to get the most out of the review process and is recommended reading for all students.

  • Do I have to complete an annual review form if I enrolled this year?

    If your candidature commenced this year, you do not need to complete an annual review.

  • I have been on leave of absence since I completed my last annual Review. Do I still need to complete an annual review this year?

    Yes. Even if you have made no progress towards your degree for twelve months, the annual review provides an opportunity for you to confirm your intention to return to study and the planned timeframe for the completion of your thesis with your supervisors. If you do not complete the annual review by the due date, it will be assumed that you do not intend to continue with your research program and your candidature will be suspended.

  • I am having problems with my supervisor(s) but I don’t feel comfortable raising them on the annual review form, or within my discipline. What should I do?

    Once your online annual review has been signed off by your supervisors and postgraduate coordinator/head of school, it will be returned to you for final review and submission.  Prior to submitting the online form, you will have the opportunity to raise problems by attaching a confidential written report for the attention of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

    Note that at any time, you can 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.


  • Will I still be re-enrolled for next year if I am in bad financial standing with the University?

    If you owe money to the University e.g. for tuition fees or library fines, your re-enrolment may be jeopardised. The Graduate Centre will contact you separately if this is the case. You are strongly advised to settle any debts or enter into a payment plan with the University by 31 October. Also note that students will not be permitted to graduate from the University or to receive an official academic transcript until all monies owing have been paid.

  • I am not able to complete my annual review form by 31 October. What should I do?

    If, for reasons beyond your control, you are unable to complete the annual review by the due date, you should request that your principal supervisor email the Graduate Centre to request an extension on your behalf. The reasons for the extension and the length of the extension, normally one month, must be specified.

  • One of my supervisors is on leave when my annual review is due and will be unable to approve my annual review form. What should I do?

    All of your supervisors are requested to approve your annual review. As the form is online, they will be able to do so from anywhere and at any time up until the due date. However, if one of your supervisors 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 annual review 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 principal supervisor email Graduate Centre to request an extension for your annual review.
    • Co and external supervisors will have one week only to provide their assessment. After this time, if no response has been recorded, the form will be forwarded on to the nominated school approver for review

    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 the original supervisor from leave).

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

    If your annual review form arrives late and you have not organised an extension with the Graduate Centre 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 annual review 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 forfeit.

  • HDR Forum presentation highlights

    Dear all

    We want to thank everyone who was able to attend the HDR lunchtime chat about the Annual Review, and for those who have shown interest in the session; it was wonderful to see over 145 students zoom in. While we did record the session upon watching it back we were not satisfied with the quality enough to pass this along. Instead, we have included highlights from the presentation below and prepared answers to all of the questions asked at the forum:  

    • We recommend all students check Access Adelaide for their supervisor and milestone details. Please ensure these are correct before proceeding with completing your Annual Review.
    • You are not required to complete the Annual Review 2020 if:
      • You are due to complete a Pre-Submission Review within 3 months of the Annual Review due date or if you have previously completed a Pre-Submission Review.  
      • Your candidature commenced in 2020.
    • If you require an extension to the due date of your Annual Review, please discuss this with your Principal Supervisor as they will need to request this on your behalf.
    • There is space in the form to record general academic delays as well as COVID specific delays (through the COVID Impact Log). Please ensure you record any days lost in the last 12 months as this will be referred to at a later date if you request an extension to candidature or scholarship.
    • CaRST - You will need to enter the hours and upload your development plan, which includes all details. You are now asked to enter your total recognised credits. You will still need to attach a recent CaRST Progress Summary and provide a reflection on your recent development activities and future development goals.
    • Where possible we recommend meeting with your Postgraduate Coordinator separately to your supervisors.


    • The workflow of the form is as follows:
      • You will complete your details and sections of the forms and submit to your Principal Supervisor (Submission 1)
      • Your Principal Supervisor will complete their sections and submit the form to your Co and/or External Supervisors
      • Co and/or External Supervisors will have 2 weeks to enter their assessment – they are unable to add comments throughout the form but can add a comment at the end of the form
      • The nominated School Approver will then review the form and enter their assessment before the form is returned to you
      • When the form comes back to you, you will be able to review all of the information and choose whether to attach a confidential letter to the Dean of Graduate Studies. This letter is to bring to the Dean’s attention any concerns or grievances you have about your candidature. This letter is not visible to any of the other form approvers and will only be seen by select staff in the Graduate Centre and the Dean of Graduate Studies. It is not the same as making a formal complaint.
      • You will then submit the form to the Graduate Centre (Submission 2) by the due date of 31 October 2020.  Once you have completed the second submission, your milestone will be put “in progress” and no further action is required on your part.
    • The Graduate Centre staff read each annual review form carefully and prioritise responding to those reviews where progress or supervision concerns have been identified.   We work through the forms as quickly as we can and will contact you individually if required but don’t be concerned if you don’t receive confirmation of your annual review completion for some time, with some 1200 forms due on the same date, it may take a while to get to your form!
  • HDR Forum questions and answers



    • When is the Annual Review due?

    The Annual Review 2020 due date is 31 October 2020

    • I understand I have to submit the form twice, once to my supervisors and the second time to the Graduate Centre. Which one of these counts as the official submission?

    The second (final) submission of your form is counted as the official submission date of the document. This must be done by 31 October. We recommend submitting your forms to your Principal Supervisor mid-September so it can move through the approval process and be returned to you in time for submission prior to 31 October.

    The first submission of your form is the point at which you pass the form on to your Principal Supervisor for the initial review. This submission should be made by mid-September to allow for time to meet with your panel and School Approver (most often your Postgraduate Coordinator) to discuss your progress and plan for the next 12 months. Once the Principal Supervisor has entered their comments and submitted their section of the form it will move through to your Co/External Supervisors. These supervisors will have 2 calendar weeks to enter a comment on your review before it is moved through to the School Approver. Once the School Approver has submitted their review the form will be returned to you for the second and final submission. It is at this stage that the form will be put “in progress”.

    Annual Review of Progress Timeline and Workflow

    View full size workflow image.

    Download a PDF of the annual review workflow.

    • I am planning to submit by thesis on or prior to 31 October – do I need to do the Annual Review?

    If your thesis submission is delayed you will be required to complete the Annual Review of Progress so discuss a contingency plan with your supervisors, an extension to the due date of the Annual Review may be appropriate.

    • I submitted my review form but have not seen the approval

    Due to the high volume of forms to be read carefully there will be a delay in approvals.

    • Do you have to organise a meeting/presentation with your supervisors?

    We recommend contacting both your Principal Supervisor and Postgraduate Coordinator to discuss how they would like to conduct your Annual Review. This is a good opportunity to meet with your supervision panel in one session to discuss your progress over the last 12 months as well as how you will spend the next 12 months of candidature.


    • My major review will be due this month, do I still need to do the Annual Review?

    Yes, one meeting with supervisors should suffice for both reviews.  The Major Review should concentrate on your progress and project planning and the Annual Review on documenting any delays since commencement of candidature. You can copy and paste from the Major Review of Progress form, document any delays to candidature since commencing your candidature in detail. There are questions included in the Annual Review that are not included in the Major Review:

    • Documenting delays in progress – it is important to note any delays in progress you have encountered in the last 12 months. This information will later by used if you request an extension to your candidature or scholarship.
    • Once the form has been assessed by your supervision panel and School Approver you will be given the opportunity to attach a confidential letter to the Dean of Graduate Studies. This letter will not be visible to anyone else who has reviewed the form and will only be seen by a select number of Graduate Centre staff and the Dean of Graduate Studies. This option should be utilised if you have concerns you are not comfortable discussing with, or do not feel have been resolved by your supervisors. This is also an option if you would like to make the Graduate Centre aware of an issue or situation that you have encountered.
    • My major review was approved by postgraduate one month ago but the status still under review by CARST. Do I need to fill and submit the annual review form? 

    Yes, if you have the Annual Review Milestone in Access Adelaide, the Annual Review should focus on delays to candidature, you can copy and paste and use the same attachments from the Major Review into the Annual Review.  CaRST currently have a delay due to staff changes.

    • Can you just reconfirm the timings around waiving the annual review if pre-submission is within how many months FTE?

    If you have previously completed a Pre-Submission Review or if it is due between 1/8/2020 to 1/2/2021, the Annual Review 2020 will be waived.


    • If we have already been given a COVID-19 extension, do we need to reiterate the same impacts of COVID-19 as mentioned before in the scholarship extension application?

    You can attach the Covid-19 impact Statement used in the Scholarship extension to the Annual Review of Progress for use in any future Candidature Extension if required.

    • Will we still be able to apply for the COVID-19 extension?

    There is no cut-off date for applications – you can apply for the Scholarship and/or candidature extension any time until expiry of your scholarship/Candidature. It is extremely important that you maintain your Impact Log and include any impact in your Major/Annual Reviews. Applications should be submitted based on the demonstrated impacts of COVID-19 on your research after 16 March 2020 and not on the basis of any anticipated future impact.

    • Is this the last window to apply for the COVID-19 extension?

    No, you can still apply for an extension due to the impact of COVID-19.


    • When can I request a candidature or scholarship extension based off the days lost in my Annual Reviews?

    Up to 3 months before the Scholarship expiry date, you should include delays from all annual reviews completed before the scholarship expiry.

    • I have already got covid-19 scholarship extension. Do I need to report it in the annual review progress form?

    Yes, you may need to apply for an extension to candidature in the future

    • l have delays and they have slightly impacted me now but they will definitely impact me in the near future. How do l state that in my annual review considering we should not list future dates

    You can document future delays in the 2021 Annual Review of Progress, or if your candidature is due to expire before then you can email a new COVID-19 delay log to the Graduate Centre in 2021.


    • If you have completed CaRST requirements, do you still need to complete this section? What details do you provide in that case?

    You should still complete the CaRST section even if you have now completed the CaRST program.  Please enter the total recognised credits (if you have completed the program this will be 120 for PhD and 60 for Masters students), and in the second field a reflection on your experience with the CaRST program.  Remember even if you have officially met the requirements of the CaRST program, you are encouraged to continue your professional development throughout candidature and beyond.


    • My PhD is funded by an external organisation (as full scholarship), and I have an external co-supervisor from the organisation, for my whole PhD program. Does it count as industry engagement?

    Yes this is an industry engagement, please record this against the Financial and Supervision questions in the Industry Engagement section of the form. Any engagement that you have with industry that is related to your paid employment with that organisation should not be included in this section


    • I am wanting to upgrade my candidature to a PhD/transfer to Masters, do I need to do this prior to my Annual Review?

    If you are eligible to upgrade your candidature then you should do so before the Annual Review of, when you commence the online review the Program will be locked into the form.  An extension to the due date for the Annual Review may be required you should ask your Supervisor to email the Graduate Centre to request any extension.

    • Do I have to submit my upgrade/transfer forms to the Graduate Centre myself or can my Supervisor do it?

    We recommend all forms be emailed to the Graduate Centre. As long as all of the endorsements are included any party involved can submit the forms.


    • What dates will the University be closed for over Christmas

    The close down is from 18 December until 8 January.

    • If the university is shutting down for the period, will that be considered an annual leave for HDR students automatically, or do we need to formally apply for the leave? Is it mandatory to be on leave during the shut-down period?

    Although taking Annual Leave during this period is not mandatory, it is recommended as there may not be access to resources as per normal. It would be best to discuss this with your Principal Supervisor.

    • Is it possible to defer this year annual leave to next year, as many students couldn’t use it this year?

    All students should aim to take their full 4 weeks of annual leave every calendar year.  While the holidays taken may not be what you had planned due to Australia's border closure it is still important for your physical, emotional and academic wellbeing to take time off away from your research.  As the University will be shut from 18 December 2020 until 11 January 2021 it is suggested that may be a good time to use annual leave.  The AGC strongly recommends that students do not travel overseas at this time as the international borders are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future and it may not be possible to return to Australia.