Chapter 4: Enrolment and confirmation of candidature
4.10 Upgrading from a Masters Degree to PhD Candidature
A research Masters candidate may apply to upgrade to PhD candidature after a minimum enrolment period of 9 months full-time or 18 months part-time of masters candidature. Except in exceptional circumstances, the transfer should occur before 24 months of full-time equivalent candidature has elapsed.
Candidates contemplating an upgrade must allow approximately two months for the upgrading process, a point to be noted especially by candidates approaching the time limit for Master's candidature. Candidates should discuss a potential upgrade with their supervisors in the first instance, then the graduate co-ordinator to make the necessary arrangements.
NB: Candidates converting from Masters to part-time PhD candidature need to know the attendance requirements of doctoral candidates (please refer to the PhD application form).
To start, candidates fill in a 'Confirmation of Candidature for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy or Upgrade From Masters to PhD' form available at Monash Research Graduate School (MRGS) or located at: www.mrgs.monash.edu.au/research/students/confirmation.html
The School follows the following procedure when recommending a candidate to upgrade:
A panel recommends, declines or postpones an upgrade
The panel comprises at least three members:
Graduate co-ordinator, or nominee (convenor);
Candidate's supervisor or supervisors;
One other academic member of the staff conversant with the general area of research but not directly involved with the candidate's specific project (this third member may be drawn either from within the School/Faculty or from outside), or
A PhD research candidate who is advances in candidature (not compulsory).
In addition to the Graduate Coordinator at least one member of the panel must be a fully accredited supervisor;
At least one other member other than the supervisor be an expert in the area;
It is recommended that a person from another discipline be invited to sit on the panel;
PhD panels should be advertised internally and be open to any interested staff or students.
The panel bases its recommendation on:
- The candidate's oral presentation
- The candidate's written submission of 7000 - 10 000 words, which includes a timetable for the completion of the research degree, by the candidate; and
- One completed chapter of the thesis
The candidate's written case for upgrading will provide details on the proposed research, research progress to date, a bibliography of the works consulted and provide a timetable for completion of each phase of the research program. Copies are submitted to each panel member.
The candidate's oral presentation may be made either before or after the written statement is submitted. Members of the panel are in attendance. The oral presentation will usually be in the form of a School seminar, open to the public but the panel may accept an alternative format such as an in-depth interview if circumstances warrant.
After the candidate has made an oral presentation and submitted the written statement, the panel meets to consider its decision. The panel writes a report with its recommendations for the upgrade and comments on the candidate's progress to date. The Faculty of Arts expects that the report gives feedback to the candidate on how to proceed with their research. Normally the panel's recommendation will be made known to the candidate within one month.
Accordingly, this submission is a substantial document that reflects the time already devoted to the work. The candidate is expected to define precisely the focus, methods and limits of the research and to place it in the context of related scholarly literature. Also, the candidate explains how the Master's work would be altered to reflect its new status as doctoral research - not only does the doctoral degree require a thesis of greater length, but also the test of a 'significant contribution to knowledge' is more stringent. Candidates need to keep this in mind when formulating their submission.
Masters candidates who have completed the above procedure within their School complete a PhD application form, which is available from the Arts Research Graduate School or online at: www.mrgs.monash.edu.au/research/programs/admis.html
All the documentation for the upgrade, including the Panel Report, plus the PhD application form are forwarded to the Arts Research Graduate School ( ARGS ). The Faculty's Associate Dean (Graduate Research) will not endorse any School recommendation unless the documentation, including transcripts, is complete. If approved by ARGS, the recommendation for upgrade will then be forwarded to the MRGS.