COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 22 October 2021, 8am (AEST)

Frequently Asked Questions for HDR Candidates

These should be read together with the information found on the JCU Covid-19 information page https://www.jcu.edu.au/covid-19-advice

Applying for or Commencing your HDR at JCU

It may be possible to enrol from any location, provided your project can be progressed AND completed from that location, given unknown time frame of border closures.  This might influence the project that you propose to undertake, but it also requires the approval of your advisory panel who must be in agreement to advise you remotely.

If you have a scholarship offer or plan to apply for a scholarship, please bear in mind that scholarships can only be paid into activated Australian bank accounts, which requires being onshore, or having been in Australia previously.  If you do not have an active Australian bank account, we will not be able to pay your scholarship.

For interstate travel details please see the Government website.

For international border arrangements please see the Government website.

Project progress

Firstly it is important to document in detail all of your delays.  You should do this using your regular twice yearly Progress Report.

Secondly, it is important to work with your advisors on developing a safety net or “Plan B.”

Covid-19 has been a dramatic reminder of the need to be able to accommodate rapidly changing external environments, whilst continuing to move forward towards major goals, specifically, graduating with your HDR! For example, in “Covid times” those doing research projects involving international travel, or data collection requiring close proximity to human participants will have found themselves unable to progress their project in the way that was originally planned.

In order to progress towards the goal of completing the project, it is clear that a well-considered “Plan B” or safety net is required.  The idea is that the alternative plan would allow completion in the original time frame, rather than having to apply for an extension which should not be considered a safety net, but rather, a last resort. See here for more information.

Advisors are welcome to contact susan.gasson@jcu.edu.au if you would like to discuss those plans further to the information available online.

There are two discussion boards on LearnJCU. The main board is called “Candidature, pandemic and the whole damn thing”, and is available via the content menu in our LearnJCU Organisation. This forum is for sharing experiences as we all work our way through this challenging time. Please share your pandemic hacks, any great online courses you have found, ways to stay healthy and fit while self-isolating, any clever ideas you have about working as a PhD or Masters candidate that you think others would like to know. Some of our HDR Ambassadors will be leading the discussions, but we are keen for all HDRs to be involved. We will post anything interesting that we find too. We are all in this together, and learning about how to do this as it unfolds. This discussion board is not the place to ask questions about the administrative aspects of your candidature. If you have a question like that, please send it to the GRS team at grs@jcu.edu.au and they will be able to help you privately.

There is also a discussion board especially for new HDR candidates, titled “Induction Chat”. Please join this discussion board to interact with other new HDR candidates, share ideas and ask questions. How are you settling in? How are your advisory meetings going under the new conditions imposed by the pandemic? Do you have a question for one of our HDR Ambassadors, who are HDR candidates who assist incoming candidates to settle in? Again, this is not the place to ask questions about the administration of your candidature. If you have questions of that nature, please send them to the GRS team at grs@jcu.edu.au

There is also a Teams community which has been established, entitled “Global Cohort” which acknowledges the geographically dispersed cohort and enables information to be shared.  If you do wish to join this group on Teams, please email grs@jcu.edu.au

For interstate travel details please see the Government website.

For international border arrangements please see the Home Affairs website

If it becomes apparent that there has been an impact on your progression due to COVID-19, please document this in your usual Progress Reporting which is required twice annually. This documentation can then be used to support an application if it becomes apparent that an extension to your candidature due date may be required.  A candidature extension can by applied for by using the HDR Variation of Candidature Procedure.

This is possible only in extenuating circumstances.  An application for scholarship extension can be prepared only after consultation with your College ADRE.  Evidence must be provided for how Covid-19 has impacted your progress, consideration of alternative approaches to submitting your thesis without the need for an extension (e.g. using existing datasets instead of doing additional fieldwork), and contingencies in place for potential future disruptions to the time frame for completion.

In 2021 requirement for an “external presentation” for the MCR can be any oral presentation of the research deemed appropriate by your college ADRE.

There are options for annual leave and sick leave. These options do not affect your scholarship payments or candidature dates. There is also the option of taking a leave of absence. This option does extend your candidature by the amount of leave taken, but also suspends your scholarship if you have one. Please note you will retain access to university facilities such as email, library etc if you take any of these options for leave. You can apply for leave by using a Variation of Candidature form. Please also refer to the HDR Variation of Candidature Procedure. If you are an international candidate we also recommend contacting the International Student Support team on internationalsupport@jcu.edu.au

No. Once your candidature is extended by JCU you will need to contact International Support to receive a revised Confirmation of Enrolment which should be used to support an application for a visa extension if required. Please contact internationalsupport@jcu.edu.au for further information.