Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about research projects, see if it's answered here!

  • Are there any pre-requisites? When should I do a research subject?

    Research projects are designed to be taken towards the end of your degree, after you have completed any subjects which may provide knowledge or skills relevant to your proposed research.

    There are no prerequisites, however students require permission from the Subject Coordinator. Coordinator approval can be sought via submission of an application form.

    For a 12.5 or 25 point research project – a weighted average of 70% or above is recommended.
    For a 50 point research project – a weighted average of 75% or above is recommended.

  • Can I do more than one research subject?

    Yes, if deemed appropriate during consultation with an OEP Academic Advisor and/or the Research Subject Coordinator. However, it is not possible to repeat the same subject.

    In general, up to 25 percent of your study program can be in research subjects; in other words, 25 points of a 100 point degree, and 50 points of a 200 point degree.

  • What is the minimum sized research subject that I need to do to qualify for a PhD?

    Applicants for graduate research degrees at the University of Melbourne who have not completed a 4 year Honours degree with a 75% average will require the equivalent of a minimum 25 point research project at a 4th year undergraduate or a masters level.

    Further information can be found on the University of Melbourne Future Students webpage.

    Students are advised to seek specific information from any other Universities directly.

  • Can I do a group research project?

    Group projects are not permitted. Although it is possible that one supervisor may have several students working on a related topic – for example, a large interdisciplinary research project might provide opportunities for a few students to work on different aspects of the central issue - research projects must be clearly distinguished and all research processes and assessment tasks must be undertaken individually.

  • Is it better to do a Research Subject over one semester or two?

    This depends on your individual circumstances and you can discuss this with your Academic Advisor or the Subject Coordinator. (Book an appointment here)

    In general, students should anticipate spending about 10-12 hours on average per week for every 12.5 points they are enrolled in.

    Two semester subjects do allow more time to recover from any setbacks that may occur, particularly in projects with a practical component e.g. fieldwork.

  • Can I do an Internship subject in the same semester as a Research Subject?

    In theory this is possible, but in practice we advise against it. The demands of both are quite different than regular subjects in terms of time, organisation required (both before and during enrolment) and assessment tasks.

  • Can I enrol myself in a research subject?

    No. Students must first submit an application, which is then assessed by the Subject Coordinator. If your application is successful, you will be advised by email of the steps you need to take to complete enrolment.

  • Can I withdraw from a research subject?

    Students can withdraw themselves from research subjects via their study plans, but need to be aware of the key dates regarding subject withdrawal:

    Census date: Students who withdraw before the census date will incur no financial or academic penalty.

    Last date to withdraw: student who withdraw after Census, but before the last date to withdraw, will be financially liable for the subject, and a ‘WD’ grade will appear on their transcript for that subject. Students are not able to withdraw after this date.

    Students in two semester subjects can withdraw from the second semester of enrolment prior to the second Census date. A ‘WD’ for withdrawn will be recorded against first semester of the subject. The second semester will be removed from your study plan and you will be able to take another subject in that semester. Students will be liable for the fees for the first semester of the subject.

    You can find these key dates in the Handbook entry for each subject.

  • Do research subjects have regularly scheduled classes?

    Rather than attend regular lectures and tutorials, students work independently to undertake the research program that they have planned in consultation with academic (and where relevant, industry) supervisors.

    Supervisors assist and guide the academic development and implementation of the research. Students should arrange regular meetings throughout semester with supervisors to review progress.

    A workshop at the start of the semester provides skills development and academic support for the research experience.

  • Is there an LMS site for research subjects?

    Yes. There is a single merged LMS page for all OEP research subjects. Students will be automatically added to the page.

  • What do I do if I have no money to cover the cost of research?

    Projects without funding are very unlikely to be approved. Any changes to a project must be approved by the subject coordinator, not the supervisor.

    Project budgets should be addressed and resolved, in consultation with supervisors, before proposals and applications are submitted to the Subject Coordinator.

  • Who can be an academic supervisor?
    • Academic staff, preferably from the University of Melbourne.
    • Academic staff from other universities where the same expertise is not available at the University of Melbourne.
    • Casual supervision by suitably qualified academics who may not be currently working in a University is possible. Discuss with the Subject Coordinator.
  • What is the role of the academic supervisor?

    Before commencement in the subject:

    • Advice, support and comments/feedback on a draft proposal.
    • Signing of application form to indicate willingness to supervise, obtaining approval for supervision of your project and its budget from their Head of Department.

    During the subject:

    • Regular meetings (averaging one hour per fortnight) throughout to support the conduct of research, analysis of literature and research materials, reading and commenting on drafts.
    • Consideration of resources required to conduct the research, including discussion of a project budget and possible provision of funds or other resources to support the research.
    • Provision of confirmed, available academics with relevant expertise to act as examiners to the subject coordinator.
  • Who can be an industry supervisor?

    Individuals in an organisation with whom you collaborate to develop the project: they should have:

    • Relevant skills and knowledge to support the project.
    • Access to information and key contacts in the organisation for which they work.
    • Knowledge of appropriate occupational health and safety advice and access to resources like workspaces if it is agreed that a student will spend some time in the office of the industry partner.
  • What is the role of the industry supervisor?
    • Contribute to development and, where appropriate, conduct of the project.
    • Provide access to data, and other required resources as discussed at the proposal development stage
    • Provide induction and relevant occupational health and safety support when onsite within the organisation or when conducting fieldwork in relation to the topic.
    • Discuss and agree to sign relevant legal paperwork including agreements pertaining to intellectual property and copyright.
    • Work with the academic supervisor to shape any reporting or publication requirements into tasks which can also be assessed as part of the assessment requirements for the student’s subject.
  • What is the difference between research projects and industry research subjects?

    Research and industry based subjects both require that students have an academic supervisor, that the assessment tasks are set by the academic supervisor in accordance with the handbook, and that students attend workshops led by the Subject Coordinator.

    Additional requirements for industry research projects are as follows:

    • The research topic must be of mutual interest to the industry, the academic supervisor and the student.
    • Ideally, industry partners, academic supervisors and students will all meet at least once before or very early in the research process.
    • Students must facilitate the relationships between the industry and the academic supervisors where there is not a pre-existing relationship.
    • Legal paperwork is required to establish agreements between the industry and the University on matters of intellectual property and copyright, and to ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act (2009).
  • Can I do an industry-based research subject in my workplace?

    Yes. You should ensure that:

    • Appropriate legal paperwork is completed.
    • Employers make time available for you to do the work associated with your research.
    • Appropriate industry and academic supervision is in place.
  • When should the legal paperwork be finalised for an industry research project?

    After a proposal has been accepted, but before commencement of the semester in which the student is enrolled in an industry-based subject. Further information about legal paperwork can be found here.

  • What are the benefits of an industry research subject?
    • Experience in a developing a collaborative research project.
    • Establishing industry contacts.
    • Experience in providing research as a consultant.
    • Enhancing skills in developing research questions, applying appropriate methodologies and analytical frameworks to interesting problems in real world contexts.
  • Are there any challenges or risks with an industry research subject?
    • Establishing clear expectations of all parties at the commencement of the project is important, especially in relation to the scope of the project, assessment and other writing tasks and deadlines.
    • Clear identification of required resources is crucial. Ensure that promised data is available on time, that equipment and resources for undertaking research are available prior to commencement.
    • Research projects can change as they progress. In industry-based projects it is important that changes to the research direction, methods or assessment tasks are discussed in detail with all parties. Changes cannot occur to assessment requirements after semester has commenced.
    • Any changes to research plans must ensure that the student can complete required assessment tasks in line with subject deadlines.
    • There is a risk that an industry partner might withdraw from a project. Both academic supervisors and the subject coordinator will provide support as required. It is anticipated that careful preparation at the proposal stage greatly reduces the risk of this situation occurring.
  • Do ethics, risk assessment and insurance compliance regulations apply to research subjects?

    Yes. Please see the University Ethics Policy.

    All ethics applications must be submitted through the faculty of the lead supervisor. Supervisors must ensure the research is compliant with ethics requirements and must support the application process.

    For information on risk assessment you will need to contact the Faculty of your supervisor.

    Insurance and overseas travel information is available from the University Safety Office.

    The Subject Coordinator may discuss proposed assessments with supervisors to ensure they meet handbook requirements.

  • Who assesses any additional assessment tasks?

    The supervisor and/or one other academic. The supervisor advises the subject coordinator of an appropriate examiner  (based on the complexity and time involved for the additional task). For example, an additional academic examiner is appropriate if the task is theoretically complex, involves considerable time and/or has a significant influence on the nature and shape of the final project.

    Presentations must be assessed by two academics.