Annual Review - FAQs for supervisors

What is the annual review?

The annual review is a record of all HDR students' progress for the past year. Students are required to report on any period of study between their last review/confirmation of candidature and the present. Ongoing enrolment and continuation of local and international government scholarships (where applicable) and Commonwealth government compliance are dependent upon a satisfactory annual review. The review is conducted solely online. Paper reviews are only available for students with disabilities.

When is the annual review held? Is there a deadline?

HDR students who commenced after 1 January 2010 have their confirmation of candidature as their first annual review, and then subsequent annual reviews on the anniversary of their commencement date (taking into account any intermission taken). Supervisors and students will be emailed when their reviews are due.

  • Students have four weeks in order to complete their review
  • Supervisors have a two-week period to complete their review.
  • Head of Academic Units have a two-week period to complete their review

It is strongly recommended that all parties begin their sections as early as possible.

If you are not able to complete your section in a timely manner, it is essential that you delegate or share the task. Scholarships, sponsorships and Commonwealth legislation covering international students all require evidence of satisfactory progress, and students with incomplete annual reviews will be at risk. Please contact a HDR Adviser via email or 03 5227 1090 if you or your student requires an extension.

Do all of my HDR candidates have to complete the annual review?

All of your HDR students have to complete an annual review, but unless they all started on the same date, their reviews will be due at different times of the year. You are only required to complete a review for the student/s listed in the email that you receive.

What information have my candidates been given about the review?

Students receive detailed information about the annual review via email when their review opens. Students are emailed two reminders during the review period if they have not already accessed the system.

Please encourage your students to check their email regularly and remind them to complete the review by the deadline to avoid any penalties.

What questions is the candidate asked the review?

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

Student Details

  • Confirmation of your candidature details

Research Codes

  • Confirmation of Field of Research (FOR) and Socio-Economic Objectives (SEO) codes for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Thesis Details

  • Confirmation of thesis title
  • Provide evidence of thesis/exegesis written to date.
  • When do you expect to submit your thesis?

Project Progress

  • Outline of work completed to date
  • Outline of work still to be completed
  • Provide an outline of the specific achievements since the last review


  • Does your project require Human or Animal ethics approval?

Student Comments

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

  • Are there currently any impediments to your progress?
    If there any concerns that you want to raise confidentially we encourage you to discuss these with your HDR Coordinator.
  • Any specific Occupational Health and Safety matters you wish to raise?
  • Average hours of paid employment per week (if any)
  • Have you reviewed your individual learning plan? This may or may not be applicable to you.

How do I as a supervisor access the annual review?

The online annual review is accessed through the Candidature Review System which can be accessed via the HDR online forms, systems and apps page. You will be asked to enter your staff username and password. Once you have entered these details you will enter the online annual review landing page from which you will be able to view the reviews currently active. You may also view your students' past reviews if they were completed in the system or in the previous annual review system. You will only be able to complete the review once the student has completed their section.

I have different supervisor roles (principal and associate). What do I have to do?

If you are a student’s principal/executive supervisor, you are required to review your student's report and complete the questions in the sections highlighted with an ‘!’.

If you have not already discussed the annual review with your student, we recommend that you do as early as possible. Supervisors are asked to provide honest comments on their student's progress. Where problems have been experienced outline any action that has been taken or proposed action to be taken. Also ensure that your student's plan accurately represents their progress to date and provides a detailed timeline for completion.

What if I am going to be away during the review period?

If you are the principal/executive supervisor of an HDR student and are going to be away during the review period, you may wish to consider your responses to your section ahead of time.

Topics covered in this section are:

  • Research Codes –FoR and SEO codes
  • Thesis Details – thesis title, approval of thesis/exegesis to date, likely submission date
  • Supervisor Engagement – level of engagement with student
  • Supervisor Response – is the student progressing satisfactorily, any leave being taken and what arrangements will be put in place?

If the student also has an associate/co-supervisor, you may wish to discuss the above topics and have the associate/co-supervisor key responses into the online system on your behalf if you are unable to complete comments during the annual review period. The annual review can be accessed online from anywhere in the world.

Can I complete my comments in Section 2 before my candidate has completed their comments?

No, you are not able to complete your section until your student has completed their section. You will receive an automated email from the system when your section is open. Although you cannot complete your section, you can view the student section at any time from the date the review opens to the student. We strongly recommend you discuss your student's progress fully with them prior to making your comments in the review to avoid surprises.

An automated email will be sent to your student to inform them that you have entered your comments and that the system is awaiting their response. The student response section is not compulsory. If the student doesn’t respond by the due date, this section will close and the Head of Academic Unit may complete their section.

One of my candidates is missing from the annual review. Why?

Only students required to complete the annual review are given access to the system. Students whose reviews are not yet due for completion will not be listed in the system.

If your student has a disability, they may have elected to complete the review in an alternative way, and their name will not be listed in the online system. If you think that your student has been missed for any reason, please contact a HDR Adviser via email.

Whom do I contact if I have any questions about the annual review?

Navigating the annual review system, access issues or procedural questions

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