Information for Higher Degree by Research Candidates

Successfully completing a Higher Degree by Research can be a daunting process.

Unlike undergraduate degrees, the HDR experience entails high levels of self-reliance. The information and links provided in this section are intended to help you manage your candidature and reach a successful conclusion in a suitable span of time.


The primary means of communication between HDR students and the School is by email.

The School sends emails only to your UQ student email account, which is set up once you are enrolled. Please note that University Policy makes it your responsibility as a student to maintain and check this account, and that the School cannot accept responsibility for miscommunication arising from failure to check for emails sent to this account. For redirection of your UQ email to a nominated account, please consult Information Technology Services.

You can contact the School's HDR Liaison Officer, Diana Marsh, at

Change of Candidature

As an HDR student, you may find it necessary to make changes to the nature of your candidature. This could involve change in status from full to part time or vice versa, temporary leave of absence, addition of course work, and so on. Any such change should be discussed with your advisors and the School PostgraduateCoordinator.

Procedures and forms for change of candidature are available on the Graduate School website.

Milestones of Candidature

HDR Milestones of Candidature comprise a set of internal assessment processes (occurring roughly a year apart for full-time PhD candidates) that are intended to provide you a framework for completing your research project successfully and on time. They function both as a feedback mechanism and a quality-assurance tool for the University.

While the Milestones are generic across all Faculties, Divisions, Schools and Centres at UQ, specific implementations vary from one enrolling unit to another, as appropriate to the kind of research encountered in specific fields of study and disciplines and in relation to HDR programs with special formats (such as the School of Music's HDR programs in Performance and Composition).

Please review the School of Music HDR Milestones Policy and Procedures at the beginning of your candidature and as you prepare for each of your milestones. When you are ready to request attainment of the milestone, please download and complete the School of Music Milestone Review Form. When you and your advisory team have completed and signed that form, please send the form and the evidence supporting your case for attainment to for consideration by the School Postgraduate Coordinator.

For further information on the Milestones of Candidature in general (such as general expectations, timing, extensions and resubmissions), please go to:

Creative Collaboratorium and HDR Seminars

The School has a regular research seminar series that provides opportunities for HDR candidates and academic staff to share knowledge in a productive and supportive environment. Giving a presentation to this forum may be part of the evidence you provide for the attainment of a milestone. The series also includes specialist workshops, work-in-progress sessions, Three-Minute Thesis heats, guest lectures, and so on.

For more information about upcoming events, please review the HDR seminar series.

Recitals (HDR candidates in performance)

Recitals are scheduled as part of the School's Concert activities. In consultation with your advisory team, make arrangements for your recital at least three months prior to your proposed concert date to allow sufficient time for the School to schedule the concert and arrange for examiners.

Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT™)

Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland which challenges research higher degree students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

HDR candidates in the School are encouraged to take part: annual School heats in the competition are scheduled within the School's HDR Student and Staff seminar series.

Facilities and Support

The School provides a range of facilities during your candidature, including:

  • Practice Studios may be booked for up to 3 hours per day by HDR candidates in the field of Performance.
  • Office space is provided for HDR candidates (including provision of desktop computers) in Building 31B, subject to availability of desk space. Please contact the HDR Liaison Officer at to apply for office space.
  • The School of Music has a computer lab (including include score writing and sound production software) and a fully equipped recording studio attached to the Nickson Room for those students whose creative projects require it. Please contact the School Office at for further informatoin.
  • The School of Music provides scholarships to support candidates in their projects. In addition, all confirmed candidates can apply for research support of up to $1,500 (for PhD) or $750 (for MPhil) over the duration of their HDR candidature.