Policy Academic Governance HDR Progress Support Procedure

HDR Progress Support Procedure

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This procedure addresses the Unsatisfactory Progress section of the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements, and has been developed to support and manage the progress of a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate whose current performance is of concern with a view to improving the candidate’s progress in a manner that is constructive and transparent.


This procedure applies to candidates for the HDR courses offered by James Cook University (the University) and to staff involved in supervision, administration and management of HDR candidates.

This procedure does not apply to candidates where progress concerns are not resolved – refer to the HDR Under Review Procedure.


Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Policy Glossary in the Learning and Teaching domain of the University Policy Library, and in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.


1. Where a candidate’s progress is of concern, the HDR Progress Support Decision Tree should be consulted to determine whether this Procedure or the HDR Under Review Procedure should be activated.

2. HDR Progress Support may be activated for reasons including, but not limited to:

2.1 challenges affecting progress are identified by a candidate or their advisors

2.2 a milestone is overdue without an approved extension for the first time in the candidature

2.3 a HDR Progress Report records an outcome of ‘Progress Requires Review’ for the first time in the candidature

2.4 an outcome of ‘Conceded Pass’ is recorded in a HDR Progress Report

2.5 a candidate regularly fails to attend scheduled meetings or adequately attend to research requirements of their advisory panel over a period up to 3 months

3. HDR Progress Support requests may be initiated by an Associate Dean, Research Education (ADRE), a member of the Advisory Panel, a HDR candidate, or the Graduate Research School (GRS) at any time after enrolment and prior to conferral.

4. Progress Support may be taken for periods of up to three (3) months with a maximum of two (2) periods (aggregated) during candidature.

5. The Advisory Panel will work with the HDR candidate to determine a course of action, with specific conditions or outcomes to be achieved over a period of up to three months. The Advisory Panel, the HDR candidate and others as relevant must meet to discuss the reasons for the activation of HDR Progress Support as well as the strategies for overcoming concerns for all parties involved.

6. HDR Progress Support must be documented using the HDR Progress Support Form. HDR Progress Support comprises three parts: Activation of Progress Support, Development of the Progress Management Plan, and Progress Support Review and Outcome.

7. A Progress Management Plan must be developed and agreed by the HDR candidate and the Advisory Panel within fifteen (15) University working days of activation of HDR Progress Support. The plan should be documented on the  HDR Progress Support Form under Part B: Development of the Progress Support Plan, and must be approved by the ADRE.

8. Failure to develop an approved Progress Management Plan within the stipulated timeframe may result in the candidate being placed under review in accordance with the HDR Under Review Procedure.

9. At the end of each period of HDR Progress Support, the Advisory Panel and the HDR candidate must meet to assess the HDR candidate’s progress in relation to the agreed conditions and record their assessment of the HDR candidate’s progress on the HDR Progress Support Form under Part C: Progress Support Review and Outcome.

10. The ADRE (or nominee) must make one of the following determinations:

10.1 that the candidate has met the conditions in their Progress Management Plan and the candidature be continued; or

10.2 that the candidate has partially met the conditions in their Progress Management Plan and the candidate either undertakes a further period of HDR Progress Support (unless the maximum number of support periods have been exhausted) or is placed Under Review; or

10.3 that the candidate has failed to meet the conditions in their Progress Management Plan and that the candidature be placed Under Review in accordance with the HDR Under Review Procedure.

11. On completion of this process, the HDR Progress Support Form should be forwarded to the GRS for noting.

12. A HDR candidate who has been placed on HDR Progress Support will remain enrolled and is subject to all conditions and policies applicable to an enrolled student, including continued receipt of any stipend of fee-offset scholarships that have been awarded, and liability for all tuition and other fees required by the University.

Related policy instruments

HDR Requirements

HDR Under Review Procedure

HDR Progress Support Decision Tree

HDR Progress Support Form




NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domain Research Education

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date


23-1 29/05/2023 19/06/2023 Major Review. Manager, Graduate Research School
21-1 12/12/2020 01/01/2021 Procedure Established. Dr Helen Titchener
Keywords Under Review, Progress Support
Contact person Dean, Graduate Research