Higher degree research (HDR) students

The following coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs are for Higher Degree Research (HDR) students. For more general information, please see the UOW COVID-19 response page. 

If you have any HDR-related questions not answered here, please contact the Graduate Research School  via +61 2 4221 5452 or graduate-research-school@uow.edu.au.


The Research and Innovation Division (RaID) team, together with Faculties/AIIM and Workplace Health and Safety, have prepared Guidelines for undertaking essential research during current stay-at-home orders (PDF). Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with these guidelines.

Please contact your supervisor to discuss what this means for you. Your supervisor has additional details from their Faculty on how essential research is being managed.

Please also document the impact of COVID disruptions on your project, using the HDR candidate contingency plan.


For leave of absence, thesis submissions, and other candidature changes, please endeavour to submit all requests to the Graduate Research School one week prior to census date in order to account for processing time. The Leave of Absence Application form is available online. For other enrolment variations and enquiries, please contact the Graduate Research School via +61 2 4221 5452 or graduate-research-school@uow.edu.au.

Requests for candidature extensions, fee waivers, and scholarship extensions will be assessed consistent with existing policies, and based on exceptional circumstances. Make sure you have documented the coronavirus (COVID-19) related disruptions in detail, and have developed a suitable, documented contingency plan to minimise the impact together with your supervisors.

These written records will be important evidence should you need to apply for an extension to your scholarship of candidature later. Record all details related to your research progress in your Annual Progress Report (APR). The APR is your formal record of progress and will be taken into consideration for any future candidature extension requests.

New commencing HDR Students with a coursework requirement have the option of enrolling in a remote mode and commencing their studies via the University’s Learning Management System (LMS). Students should contact their supervisor to discuss this option and seek their approval. Please contact the Graduate Research School via +61 2 4221 5452 or graduate-research-school@uow.edu.au if you wish to enrol remotely or if you have any questions. 

If you wish to defer your offer, you will need to email a request to futurestudents@uow.edu.au

If you have planned fieldwork that may be significantly delayed by coronavirus (COVID-19) disruptions, you may have the option to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) to minimise the impact on your progress. If you intend to do so, you may complete the Application for Leave of Absence form and apply for an LOA one week prior to census date.

Laboratory work is being assessed on a case by case basis.

Supervisors and their students are expected to develop a research plan and make decisions about lab work and experiments as part of that plan.

Research may continue, depending on the circumstances and providing that hygiene practice and current physical distancing measures are exercised.

Please contact your supervisor to discuss your options.

HDR students and supervisors should decide on a preferred method of communication and meetings. This must include ways of maintaining a reasonable distance from others (the recommended minimum distance is 1.5 metres).

Consider using videoconferencing tools such as Zoom, Webex or Adobe Connect for meetings and collaboration. All staff members have free access to Zoom, Webex and Adobe Connect. The IT Working and Teaching Remotely FAQs has more information about how to get started with these tools.

Please note: students do not have access to video conferencing scheduling on Webex using their UOW login. Once a meeting is setup, supervisors should share the details with their students. Meeting minutes and work in progress can be stored in a collaborative space such as Google drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Students could also use tools like Trello or OneNote to maintain their notes. 

IHMRI is continuing to put in place measures to minimise the impact on staff and researchers during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For further information, please contact IHRMI.

The HDR training seminar series is currently delivered remotely. Seminar recordings are made available online via the Moodle site: Graduate Research Student Resource and Information.

The Graduate Research School remains in operation. Please be aware that GRS is currently experiencing a peak workload period leading up to the census date. Please contact the Graduate Research School via +61 2 4221 5452 or graduate-research-school@uow.edu.au. Forms, policies and resources are available through the Graduate Research School page.

UOW provides on-line teaching delivery and the GRS has adapted the HDR seminar series to online engaged learning environments. In addition, a range of online training modules are available to support your continuing learning and development.

For those early in their candidature, this timing is perfect for you to complete the Introduction to Research Integrity and Ethics training modules.

Students at a later stage of candidature may enrol in the online Epigeum Research Skills Masters Program to develop career-ready, transferrable skills covering topics such as communication, problem solving, teamwork, and entrepreneurship.

Given the uncertain times we are experiencing, it is important that we remain adaptable and resilient. Please get in touch with your supervisors as soon as possible to discuss strategies to minimise the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) disruptions, including plans for how you can continue data collection/fieldwork, conduct literature reviews, carry out data analysis, prepare manuscripts, or undertake professional development.

Although the changing circumstances may require us to physically distance ourselves from each other and to learn remotely, you are able to stay connected with your supervisors and research groups via innovative collaboration tools. UOW supports the use of Webex and Zoom platforms to keep regular contact and run meetings with your supervisors and colleagues. Guidelines for using these tools are available.

It is easy to become disoriented and at times discouraged during difficult times. Read 5 tips for maintaining resilience on UOW’s ‘The Stand’ where colleagues from the School of Psychology offer expert guidance on how to stay calm, resilient, and motivated through these challenging times.

Working from home, reading and critiquing papers:

Research Writing: How to do a Literature Review