Annual Review - FAQs for students

Do I need to complete the annual review this year?

If you have been sent emails to your Deakin student email address about having to do the annual review, then you are expected to complete the review within the time specified.

This includes:

  • candidates who are currently on intermission
  • candidates who have taken some period/s of intermission since the last annual review
  • candidates who have submitted their notification of intention to submit

All HDR candidates who started after 1 January 2010 and who are entering their second calendar year of candidature (full- or part-time) have to do the review. The reviews are done close to the anniversary date of commencement in the second and subsequent years of candidature.

All HDR candidates who commenced prior to January 2010 are required to complete the annual review in the third Quarter of the year.

The only HDR candidates who are NOT required to complete the annual review are:

  • candidates whose thesis has been lodged with the Examinations Officer for examination on or before the closing of this review period
  • candidates who are revising their thesis for resubmission
  • candidates who have been on an approved continuous intermission for a full year prior to the reporting period

If you think you meet one of the criteria for not needing to complete the annual review please contact a HDR Adviser via email or 03 5227 3492 to clarify whether or not you are required to complete the review.

I have been on intermission for a long period. Do I still need to complete the review?

Yes, you are still required to complete the annual review. It is only candidates who have been on an approved continuous intermission for the full year prior to the review period who are not required to complete the review.

You are being asked to report on the PAST year so you will be focussing on the tasks you accomplished prior to or following your intermission, as well as your revised timeline for once you resume candidature.

Use the review as a good opportunity to revise your timeline for completion in light of your intermission and plan for the coming year and your return to candidature.

My thesis is close to submission. Do I still need to complete the review?

Yes. Unless your thesis is submitted to the Examinations Officer before the close of the online system for this review period, you are still required to complete the review.

I don't know my user name or password so how can I log-in?

  1. Go to:
  2. Select one of the following options:
    • If you have previously set up your Deakin student email account but have forgotten your username and/or password select the option "Forgotten your username or password?".
    • If you have never previously set up your Deakin student email account select the option "Activate your student account".
  3. Once you have agreed to the conditions of use you will be directed to a page which asks for a series of details to confirm your identity. Complete and click on the "Submit" button.
  4. Ensure that you make a note of your username and that you print out the randomly generated password that you are allocated. Passwords are case specific so unless you type it perfectly it will not be recognised.
  5. You will need to wait at least an hour after obtaining your password before accessing any areas of the Deakin website that require this information as it takes a short while for the Deakin computer system to process your new password.

I obtained a new password but still can't log-in.

There are several possible answers to this question so you will need to consider which one applies to you:

  • You need to wait for at least one hour after changing your password before you try to access the system as it takes a short while for the Deakin computer system to process your new password.
  • You have mis-typed your user name or password (ensure that the caps lock is not on, that you haven't typed a letter when it should be a numeral – such as the number zero and the letter 'O' or the number one and the letter 'l').
  • The computer browser you are using does not support the online annual review system. You will need to install the Mozilla browser which is the official Deakin University web browser. Refer to Q23 on how to install Mozilla.
  • You are a Deakin staff member as well as a HDR candidate and you are using your staff internet access details when you need to use your student user name and password. Refer to Q4 to find out how to obtain your student username and password.

I am a Deakin staff member as well as a Deakin HDR student and I can't log-in.

You have to use your Deakin student log-in details to access the annual review system. Your staff details are not recognised by the annual review system because it is in your capacity as a student that you are required to complete the review. Please refer to Q3 for information on obtaining your student username and password if you have not already done this.

How can I plan for the review?

Discuss the topics covered by the review with your supervisor well in advance. Prepare a realistic research plan. We recommend you use the template plan (XLSX, 13.9 KB) . Check that someone from your supervision panel is going to be available during the review period to key the Supervisor's section.

What questions are in the review?

You will need to answer the following questions in the review:

  • Confirmation of the candidate's personal details and Field of Research (FOR) and Socio-Economic Objectives (SEO) codes for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • Outline of work completed to date
  • Specific achievements such as skill development, professional development such as workshops etc. (Please note that details of any publications you have contributed to should be sent to your faculty research administrator.)
  • Any difficulties experienced during the period since commencing candidature or the last annual review
  • Detailed plan of the full remainder of candidature with milestones to be completed each month. (NOTE: your plan can be attached to your annual review in any file format and does not need to be re-typed. A template plan (XLSX, 13.9 KB) is available.

The review calculates how much of your candidature you have completed compared to the target completion times for the degree.

Please discuss the following questions with your supervision team and answer the following:

  1. Have you been provided with all the facilities and resources that you need to complete your research work? Are there currently any impediments to your progress?
  2. Compared to what you will require, how much of your data (or other sources) have you collected? (percentage, comment)
  3. How much of your data has been analysed? (percentage, comment)
  4. How much of your thesis or exegesis has been written? Please complete the table below:
  5. Chapter title Not started First draft Second draft Final draft
    Creative comment (if applicable)     
  6. When do you expect to submit your thesis?
  7. If your target submission date is significantly beyond 36 months (PhD) of equivalent full-time candidature, or 24 months (masters) do you feel you need additional support? If so, please specify (examples could include facilities, software, data analysis, editing, writing skills etc.
    • (Please note that requesting such support is no guarantee that the university will be able to provide it, but it will help us if we know what you feel you need.)
    • If your target date is approaching or beyond your maximum completion date, you need to be aware that you will have to apply for an extension of candidature. Extensions are only granted if you can demonstrate that you are making very good progress towards completion.
  8. Is your supervisor going on study leave or extended leave of any sort before 31 December 2014? If so, what arrangements have been made for your supervision while they are away?
  9. If you have concerns about your progress, would you like to hold a review meeting? A meeting would aim to identify problems or concerns which you might be experiencing, and provide broad expertise to try and resolve these issues. It would usually involve you, your supervisors, an HDR coordinator, and one or more people from outside your School or research centre.
  10. Are there any concerns that you want to raise confidentially? If so, you can send an email to the Executive Officer, Higher Degrees by Research, Deakin Research, Grant Michie.
  11. Any specific Occupational Health and Safety matters you wish to raise?
  12. Average hours of paid employment per week (if any)


It is strongly recommended that you have a clear understanding of the examination process. This includes:

Can I save my answers half way through, or log back in and change my answers later?

You can save your answers prior to submitting the form by clicking on the SAVE button.

If you click on 'Submit Section 1' button but HAVE NOT completed all questions you will receive the following message: "WARNING INCOMPLETE REVIEW: You have not completed all of the questions in this section of the annual review. The questions you have completed have been SAVED so that you are able to log in and complete the remainder of your responses at another time."

You will need to return to this section and answer all remaining questions before you are able to successfully submit your review. This will need to be done before the review closing date. Only once you have completed all remaining questions and clicked on the 'Submit Section 1' button again will your review be finalised.

You can log in as many times as you want during the review period and add additional comments, further details etc. Your supervisor/s will receive an email notifying him/her that you have updated the section so that they are able to log back in and read any revisions you have made.

My supervisor details are wrong in the annual review. What should I do?

The information shown on the annual review system was the most up-to-date information regarding your candidature that Deakin Research had at the time the review commenced. If your supervision panel is incorrect, it means that either:

a.) A 'Change of Supervisor Recommendation' form was only recently submitted so the change is not reflected in the information shown in the annual review system. There is NOT a live link between Deakin Research data and the annual review system so information will not update automatically.


b.) Deakin Research has not received a 'Change of Supervisor Recommendation' form for changes to your panel. To make changes to your supervision panel you will need to arrange completion of the form with your supervisor. The 'Change of Supervisor Recommendation' form can be found on our forms and guidelines page. You can also contact a HDR Adviser on 03 5227 3492 to discuss this.

My principal supervisor has changed. Will the new supervisor have access?

If the person who is now your Principal Supervisor is already showing on your supervision panel as associate supervisor, they will automatically be able to access the review system. All Deakin staff listed on your panel are automatically able to access your review.

If your Principal Supervisor is new to your panel you will need to contact Deakin Research as your new Principal Supervisor will not be able to access the review. Please note that a new Principal Supervisor will only be given temporary access for the review period. The 'Change of Supervisor Recommendation' form will still need to be submitted and approved in order to formally make the change to your supervision arrangements. This can be found on the forms and guidelines page.

My principal supervisor is away. Can my associate supervisor access the review instead?

Any current Deakin staff members who are on your supervision panel already have access to the annual review system and are therefore able to key comments into Section 2 if required. They do not need to request special access.

I want to amend my thesis submission date but I can't make the date appear from the calendar.

After selecting the month and year from the drop down menus in the calendar, you must actually click on the date in the calendar. This should both close the calendar window and enter the date in the submission date field.

I am going to be away during the annual review. How will I complete my sections?

As you will have already received to your Deakin student email address the topics covered by the review ,you will be able to prepare well in advance for the review. Ensure that you discuss the review and the topics covered with your supervisor/s ahead of time if you are going to be away during the review period. As the annual review is conducted solely online you will be able to complete your review from anywhere in the world during the review period.

I already have a very detailed plan of my project. Do I need to re-type this into the review system?

No. If it is a straight forward word processed document you can paste it directly into the question in the review to which it relates. Alternatively, you are able to attach any type of file to the question concerning your plan for completion. Please state in the box near the attachment what type of file you are attaching (for example: Gantt chart, Excel spreadsheet). Please try to ensure that attachments are in standard software formats as not all users who will be making comments on your progress (Head of School, Dean etc) have access to specialised software.

Why is Section 3 (Candidate's response to Supervisor's comments) optional?

You do not have to respond to your supervisor's comments as you may have already discussed issues with your supervisor or you may not wish to comment. You will be emailed when Section 3 is ready to complete. If you wish to make a comment, you have seven days in which to do it. After seven days, Section 3 is automatically closed and review will progress to the Head of School. You will not be able to access Section 3 after this.

Why do I only have three weeks to access the online system?

After you and your supervisor have made comments, the Head of School and the Dean also need to make comments before your review is finalised. Your re-enrolment for the following year will not be authorised until all of these people have indicated that they are satisfied with the progress reflected in your review. Reviews need to be fully completed and signed off for candidature to continue.

Is there any penalty for late completion of the review?

Yes. You will be liable for a $200 late completion fee if your annual review is not completed by the given date. You may also face exclusion from your degree.

How do I re-enrol for the following year? Is it automatic?

Your re-enrolment for the following year is completed on your behalf by Deakin Research, dependent upon satisfactory completion of the annual review. You cannot re-enrol through Deakin Studies Online (DSO) or Student Connect.

If you have not been required to do the review, you will be automatically re-enrolled.

My supervisor has not completed his/her section of my review as yet. What should I do?

Don't leave contacting your supervisor until the last minute. Contact your Principal Supervisor. If you can't contact your Principal Supervisor contact any other Associate Supervisors you may have on your panel. Your Principal Supervisor may have arranged for one of your other supervisors to complete Section 2 (Supervisor's Comments) if they knew they were going to be unavailable. It is best to clarify this prior to the opening of the review.

Can I have a paper copy of the annual review?

The only candidates who are able to obtain paper copies of the annual review are candidates with disabilities. All other candidates are required to complete the review online without exception.

Why is my web browser freezing or not showing the annual review screen when I try to access the review system?

The web browser you are using may not support the annual review system. You will need to download Mozilla which is Deakin University's official web browser. The annual review system is designed to work optimally with Mozilla. It can be downloaded from the Deakin Software website.

Why does my browser only show me white space?

The web page has probably not loaded correctly. Right click on the white space and select "Reload" if you are using Mozilla or Netscape browsers. If you are using Internet Explorer select "Refresh".

Whom do I contact if I have further queries about the annual review?

If you are having trouble logging into the annual review system, you have queries about your password or an error message please contact:

If you have queries about the content of the review or whether you need to complete the review please contact:

Page custodian: Deakin Research
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