The following information is for Kirby Institute staff who are currently supervising students or plan to supervise students in the future.

Prior to entering a supervisory arrangement with a student, you should consider the following:

  • your work load (six is the maximum number of postgraduate students you are allowed)
  • co-supervision arrangements
    • the supervisory team can adequately cover the needs of the student
  • physical and financial resource availability
  • clearly defined project
  • capacity of the student
    • language capacity (it is strongly recommended not to waive any English language requirements)
    • additional training needs, eg course work requirements, writing skills workshops
  • supervisor-staff compatibility.

It is a requirement that prospective supervisors have an interview with applicants, prior to an offer of admission being made to the applicant. The format of the interview is not mandated so supervisors can determine the most appropriate method for each circumstance. A review of work written in English by the applicant prior to agreeing to supervise is strongly recommended. It may be appropriate to set a written task for the applicant if prior evidence of academic writing is not available.

The UNSW graduate research school provide guidelines and policy for supervision.

You can find information about Supervisors APRs and Nomination of examiners on this website.


Annual Progress reviews (APR)

In many ways, the APR is not just to check on the achievements of the students, but to ensure that the student-supervisor team is functioning and facilitating progress. If you have any concerns about your student’s progress it is expected that you will have discussed these with the student prior to the APR and that these concerns will be documented in the APR paper work. You may want to discuss sensitive issues with the postgraduate coordinator prior to the APR.


Nomination of examiners

Two examiners and one reserve are appointed for all PhD, Masters and MPhil theses at UNSW.

You should start discussing potential examiners with your student about six months prior to expected submission. Students are allowed to state any objections to potential examiners. Some supervisors find it useful to provide the student with a list of 6 – 10 examiners and ask the student if they have an objection to any of those on the list. The final choice of examiners should not be disclosed to the student.

The justification for Nomination of Examiners must include the following:

  1. The career stage of the examiner or years of experience in the field.
  2. The examiner’s research expertise and their standing in the field, e.g. publications, citations.
  3. The aspects of the thesis that the examiner is qualified to assess.
  4. The examiner’s experience in  HDR supervision and HDR examination.
  5. Be external to UNSW and its affiliated organisations, e.g. the Garvan Insititute.
  6. Have no conflicts of interest with the student, supervisor or any co-supervisors, e.g. no co-authored publications or co-investigator grants in the last five years.

Once your student lodges an ‘Intention to submit’, you will be sent a ‘Notification of Examiners’ form from the Graduate Research School. This must be completed and forwarded to the postgraduate coordinator at least 3 weeks before the student submits their thesis.