General information for current postgraduate students

William Brant

Information for postgraduates

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Administration Centre

The HDR Administration Centre can assist you with a range of administrative processes, including candidature management, upgrades and transfers and thesis submission. For further information, please visit the HDR Administration Centre website

Requirements for PhD and Masters students

All PhD and Masters students are required to create and maintain an individual progress plan. The progress plan is an Excel template that can now be downloaded via MyUni.

The purpose of a progress plan is to align and manage expectations about what is required to achieve the award of your degree. All students are responsible for creating their own progress plan within 4 months of commencement, reviewing it twice yearly (once as preparation for your progress review), and resubmitting the plan if any material changes are made. You should meet with and discuss your draft progress plan with your supervisor prior to submitting the plan to them for endorsement via the MyUni portal. Your supervisor will be able to provide you support and detail around the milestones and what is required. These documents provide instructions on Faculty Milestones and on using the progress plan template.

Head of school signature

All forms regarding scholarships or any aspect of your candidature that ask for a Head of School/Department signature are to be signed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies who acts for the Head of School in postgraduate matters.

All forms requiring a signature should be brought to the Front Office. Administrative staff will arrange the necessary signatures.

Resources provided by the school of chemistry

Postgraduates have free access to the following facilities for research purposes:

  • Printers
  • Photocopying
  • Phones
  • Facsimile
  • Mailbox
  • Paper, toner, printers etc as required for research and production of thesis.
  • Scitech Library
  • Swipe card access to School 24 hrs day (subject to obeying Safety Regulations)
  • Common room with microwave and general facilities (Room 147)
  • Lockable areas (office/locker) for personal belongings
  • Basic glassware, equipment, chemicals and instrument access required for research
  • Email account
  • Internet access (research only – usage monitored)
  • Access to shared personal computers for basic word-processing and accessing email/internet
  • Laboratory space, workstations, office space as appropriate


Most scholarships provide funding for 7 semesters for PhD and 4 semesters for a MSc.

Please note conditions associated with your scholarship regarding full-time study, sick-leave, employment, suspensions, working away from the University of Sydney. If you are unsure how a change in circumstance may affect your scholarship, please check directly with the Scholarships Office.

Check our Scholarship page for currently available scholarships.

Those who have been offered a 3 year scholarship with the possibility of renewal for a further 6 months will need to apply for the 6 month extension about 2 months before your scholarship is due to expire. If you are a local student, please see the sample letter which outlines what you need to write to request an extension of your scholarship. Full information on scholarship extensions can be found at the Scholarships website (see Forms at the end of the Scholarships webpage). Once you and your supervisor have signed it, please bring it to the Administration Manager in room 206 who will arrange for the Director of Postgraduate Studies signature and will then fax it to the Scholarships Office. You should let her know if you prefer to walk it over yourself.

If you are an international student, then you need to complete an Application for extension of research scholarship form available from the International Office website.

Extensions | suspensions | leave of absence

Extensions and suspensions are granted by semester only - shorter periods are not allowed. Leave of absence can be granted for up to 2 months - this does not affect the latest date for thesis submission.

Extensions are not automatic. All applications will be reviewed in the context of Annual Progress forms.

Candidates should note the conditions associated with their scholarship, including any allowances, sick leave, maternity leave etc.


There are two series of School research seminars held during the semester and students are expected to attend an average of one research seminar per week throughout the academic year:

  • the "School Seminar" series is held at 11am on Wednesdays and Fridays, and
  • a postgraduate/postdoctoral seminar series held on Mondays at 4pm. This is the session at which you will be presenting your seminars.

The Sydney University Chemical Society lectures are also held once a month on Wednesdays from 5pm.

ALL seminars will be advertised a week prior to the seminar and further reminder emails will be sent to you on the day. The full year’s program is kept up-to-date on the School’s Seminar website.

This site can also be checked to see what seminar slots are still available for when it comes time to give your seminar. You should book your time through in the Front Office.

Other travel | Conference travel grants

RACI Graduate Student Travel Award
The RACI has introduced a set of Graduate Student Travel Awards to allow student members of the Institute to travel professionally from their home institution. There will be up to 15 such awards of up to $2,000 in any 12 month period starting on July 1 every year.

RACI Jim O'Donnell International Conference Travel Grants
These grants fund attendance at a major international conference for students presenting one oral paper. Closing date for applications is 30 April each year. Membership details and details on the conference travel grants are available at the RACI web site and in Chemistry in Australia. One award is given for conferences held between 1 January and 30 June. A second award is given for conferences held between 1 July and 31 December.

School of Chemistry Le Fevre International Conference Travel Grant
Available to an outstanding female postgraduate student in the School to attend a major international conference and present a paper or poster dealing with her research. Closing: 31 March annually for conferences held between 1 July – 30 June in following calendar year. Amount: maximum of $2,500.

Insurance cover for travel and for research work carried out off-campus

This student travel form must be completed by students who are travelling within Australia or overseas on University business, no matter for how short a period, and by students who are carrying out research work at locations outside of the University. The Head of School's approval must be obtained before the travel/research work in order to be covered by the University's Travel, Student Personal Accident and Public Liability Insurance Policies.

In regard to Travel Insurance, the Maximum Duration of any trip covered by the policy is 365 days. Persons taking trips of more than 180 days must email details to the Audit & Risk Management Office 10 days prior to departure. The Insurance Officer can be contacted on 9351-4127 (phone); 9351-5868 (fax); (email). Travel insurance provided by The University of Sydney does not cover: accompanying spouse and family (children); any associated holiday or personal travel. It is the traveller's responsibility to arrange their own insurance coverage for these purposes.

This form must be completed when carrying out research off-campus as many institutions, such as the Australian Synchrotron, do not provide insurance coverage nor indemnity for visiting students carrying out research there.

Once this Insurance form has been completed and signed by the student and supervisor, it should be dropped down to Dimetra Skondras-Silva in the Front Office for the Head of School's signature. Once so signed, a copy of the form will be placed on file and the original returned to the student. This form should be taken with students on their travels as should a copy of the University's travel insurance advice, available from the Student Travel Insurance website.

Only travel/research that is required for the degree and that has been authorised by the Head of School will be covered.

Details of the benefits of the policy and exclusions as well as other relevant information can be obtained from the Risk Management Student Travel Insurance website.


DR SPOC is a representative council of postgraduate chemistry students, who look after the interests of students within the School. This is done by posting a representative on each of the School Committees, and holding regular meetings to discuss any issues that could affect the way postgraduate students work, or their working environment.

DR SPOC acts as a liaison between the people in charge, such that students can approach the committee with any problem or suggestion they might have, in case they don't feel comfortable raising the issue by themselves.

SUPRA : Sydney university postgraduate representative association

SUPRA aims:

  • to provide postgraduate students with greater access to all of SUPRA's important resources
  • to enhance awareness of SUPRA's roles and functions.
  • to facilitate postgraduate student involvement in SUPRA's activities.

After your degree - Funding for postdoctoral fellowships

Click here for some possible sources of funding for a postdoctoral position.

Where to get help and advice

In general, meetings are documented but can be kept confidential if requested.

If you need advice from someone not in Chemistry, then the Counselling Service can usually assist.

Contact person

Associate Professor Chris McErlean

Postgraduate Coordinator

School of Chemistry

Room 518A

Telephone: +61 2 9351 3970


 Chris McErlean