Major Review

For most of you, the major review of progress is the second major progress milestone you will complete in your research degree.

The major review is a pivotal point in candidature at which your supervisors and school will assess whether you have the skills, aptitude and ability to complete your degree within the expected timeframe; their assessment will determine what happens next.

Those students who successfully complete the major review will be confirmed in candidature. Some students may need additional time to achieve confirmation, in which case an extended major review of progress is undertaken, and for others an alternative program of study may prove more suitable.

  • Before commencing your major review

    1. Login to Access Adelaide and check the following:
      • Are your personal 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 major 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 major 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.
    2. Project progress updates
      • Prepare a report on your research progress to date (around one page of text).
      • Update your completion plan Gantt chart templates.
    3. Consider Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST)
      • Save a PDF of your CaRST progress summary, available from CaRST online, and reflect on your CaRST progress to date.
  • How to complete the major review

    Step 1 – Student

    •  Prior to the meeting with the candidature confirmation review committee, and at least three weeks in advance of the required completion date for your major review, work through items 1-3 above and complete the student sections of the form, including uploading documents as required.
    • Your principal supervisor will complete the online form on behalf of your supervisory committee and will nominate the members of the candidature confirmation review committee (which will normally, at minimum, comprise your supervisors and the postgraduate coordinator).  A time for you to meet with the committee will be arranged (it is possible that you will be asked to assist with arranging the meeting and venue).  At the meeting you and the committee will:
      • Review your research progress and planned research direction.
      • Review your Gantt chart or completion plan detailing the timelines for your research from candidature commencement to thesis submission.
      • Review your Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) summary.
      • Review your professional relationships with your supervisor(s) to ensure your mutual expectations are aligned.
      • Discuss any required oral presentation.
      • Discuss any problems or issues that have (or may) impact on your productivity.
    • The chair of the candidature confirmation review committee, usually your PGC, will complete the online form and make a recommendation.  You will receive an email prompt to review the committee’s comments and submit the form for further processing.

    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 major review.
    • Review the information they have provided, make and provide an assessment of your student’s level of progress relative to the standards and timeframe for completion of their 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 major review form and resubmit it to you as principal supervisor for further review.
    • You will be asked to nominate the members of the candidature confirmation review committee, who will normally comprise, at a minimum, all of the student’s supervisors together with the postgraduate coordinator (PGC) as the chair.  Note that if the PGC is a member of the student’s supervisory panel, you will need to nominate another authorised school approver to chair the candidature confirmation Review committee and complete the online assessment on behalf of the School.
    • You will also be able to propose a date for the meeting of the candidature confirmation review committee within your section of the form.

    Step 3 - Co-supervisor/external supervisor

    • Once the principal supervisor has submitted the major review the student’s co-supervisors, external supervisors and/or any other committee members nominated by the principal supervisor will be able to view the form by logging in via the button below.  Note that this access is view only – you will have the opportunity to provide your assessment of the student’s progress during the candidature confirmation review committee meeting.

    Step 4 - Candidature confirmation review committee meeting

    • At this stage, the candidature confirmation review committee meeting is held to discuss the student’s progress.  Meeting attendees comprise the student, their supervisory panel, the chair as nominated by the principal supervisor (usually the postgraduate coordinator), and any other committee members nominated by the principal supervisor.
    • Following this, the chair will complete their section of the form based on the outcomes of the meeting.

    Step 5 - Chair of the candidature confirmation review committee, HDR convenor, Dean of Graduate Studies and Graduate Centre

    • The form will now advance to the nominated chair of the candidature confirmation review committee.
    • After the Chair has entered the assessment of the candidature confirmation review committee and certified the form on behalf of the School, it will be returned to the student to review the assessment and submit the form for further processing.
    • If the student did not indicate they were CaRST exempt, the form will now go to the AGC CaRST team for review
    • If the committee recommended confirmation of candidature, the form will now go to the Graduate Centre for final processing
    • If the committee recommended an option other than confirmation of candidature, the form will now go to the HDR convenor to review the student’s progress together with the principal supervisor’s and chair’s recommendations on behalf of the faculty, it will then be forwarded to Dean of Graduate Studies for review before it goes to the Graduate Centre for final processing.
    • The completed major review form will be examined by staff in the Graduate Centre and any issues identified will be pursued at the appropriate level.
    • At the first opportunity, Graduate Centre staff will advise the student, supervisors and any other members of the candidature confirmation review committee of the outcome of the major review via email.
  • Tracking progress of the major review

    • After submitting your portion of the major review to your principal supervisor and meeting with the candidature confirmation review committee, ensure you regularly log back into your major review dashboard to track the progress of submissions by your principal supervisor and the chair of the candidature confirmation review committee.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your principal supervisor and chair action the form and submit it to the Graduate Centre prior to the due date for the major review.
    •  If your major review 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 major review by the due date, 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 Adelaide Graduate Centre. The email should detail the length of extension sought (typically one month) and the reasons for the request.
  • Extended major review of progress

    If there are concerns about your progress your committee may recommend that your provisional candidature is extended.  This is usually for a period of 3 to 6 months and you will be given specific milestones to complete during this time.  At the end of this period an extended major review form must be submitted to the Graduate Centre.  Further information on this process is outlined in the Research Student Handbook.

    Extended major review of progress form - doctorate
    Extended major review of progress form - masters

  • Gantt chart and completion plan templates

    Gantt chart template
    Please download the most appropriate MS excel template for your needs.

    Note. You will need to save the file in PDF format once completed in order to upload it in the online form.

    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

  • Major review workflow

  • When is my major review due?

    Your major review is due 12 months (or half-time equivalent) from the commencement of your candidature

  • Why do I have to complete the major review?

    The primary purpose of the major review is to assess your progress against both the quality and quantity of work required for completion of your degree within the required timeframe (namely, your capacity to achieve thesis submission within three to three and a half years if you are a doctoral candidate, or, eighteen months to two years if you’re are a Master by Research candidate.)

    The major review provides an opportunity to identify, document and plan to resolve any problems or issues which are beyond your control that have the potential to impact on your ability to complete the degree within the required timeframe, together with any areas in which you may require additional support or training.

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

    No; the due date for your major review will be extended by any approved leave of absence. You will need to complete it on your return to candidature.

  • I am having problems with my supervisor(s) but I don’t feel comfortable raising them on the major review 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 major review form by the due date. What should I do?

    If, for reasons beyond your control, you are unable to complete the major review by the due date, you should request that your principal supervisor e-mail 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.


  • My principal supervisor is on leave when my major review 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 major 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 postgraduate coordinator email the Graduate Centre to request an extension for your major 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 your principal supervisor from leave).

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

    If your major 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 major 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.