Research Supervision Policy

Fact box


This policy outlines the expectations, roles and duties related to supervision of Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates and postgraduate research students at Alphacrucis College (AC).


All delivery sites of the College


All HDR candidates and postgraduate research students require a supervisor (or supervisors) to guide them in independent research. The relationship between the candidate/student and supervisor(s) is expected to be professional and effective. A candidate/student is only admitted into a course when the supervisory expertise, study environment and training resources are adequate for the research activity.

Candidate/Student Roles and Responsibilities

The candidate/student undertaking research has the following responsibilities:

  • read, understand and abide by the AC policies and procedures related to research;
  • abide by the AC Code of Conduct;
  • communicate with and submit material to the principal supervisor within the mutually agreed timeframes;
  • participate in the process of keeping clear and accurate records of supervision meetings;
  • consider carefully and respectfully feedback provided by the supervisor(s);
  • submit final research according to AC policies.

If the student wishes to discuss any concerns about progress of supervision in confidence, s/he may directly contact the Program Director (or Head of School, if appropriate).

Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities

The principal supervisor has the following duties:

  • wherever possible, remain as principal supervisor for the duration of candidature;
  • provide constructive feedback and support to the candidate/student on formulating a research question, accessing appropriate methodology and resources, maintaining a schedule and acquiring necessary ethics approvals which will produce an examinable research work within the accepted time frame;
  • schedule regular meetings and provide timely feedback on the scope, quality, and presentation of work required;
  • keep clear and accurate records of all supervision meetings;
  • provide an annual progress report of the candidate/student to the Program Director;
  • advise the candidate/student on any additional skills training s/he may require (such as mechanics of writing);
  • assist the HDR candidate in preparing for confirmation of candidature;
  • identify shortcomings in any aspect of the research and provide written and oral feedback for improvements;
  • notify the Program Director if the candidate/student is not meeting expected progress goals;
  • assist the candidate/student in understanding the relevant AC policies and procedures;
  • organise alternate supervisory arrangements and inform the Program Director if absent for more than four weeks in a semester;
  • provide or recommend appropriate mentoring opportunities for the candidate/student, including advice on conference presentations and publishing;
  • where applicable, identify and recommend external examiners to the Program Director;
  • where applicable, mark the completed project in a timely manner.

Associate Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities

HDR candidates must have a secondary associate supervisor in addition to the principal supervisor. The associate supervisor has the following duties:

  • assist the principal supervisor and candidate in progress toward the production of an examinable thesis within the normal period of candidature;
  • provide continuity of advice during periods of absence by the principal advisor;
  • provide input regarding application for confirmation of candidature and progress checks;
  • perform additional duties as negotiated with the Program Director, principal supervisor and/or candidate.

Eligibility Criteria for Principal Supervisor

Principal supervisors must:

  • be employed or contracted by AC;
  • for HDR candidates, hold a completed doctoral degree;
  • for coursework students, hold a completed N+1 degree or equivalent professional qualifications;
  • for doctorates be research active as per the Research and Scholarship Policy;
  • be current in required professional development..

Eligibility Criteria for Associate Supervisor

Associate supervisors must:

  • have relevant qualification and/or experience to inform the HDR candidate’s research;
  • have appropriate time availability to perform the duties as associate supervisor;
  • have completed the required training in research supervision.

First-Time HDR Supervisors

Faculty members who have no prior experience with HDR supervision are expected to serve associate supervisor under the mentorship of an experienced principal supervisor at least once before they are eligible to be a principal supervisor on their own.

In the event that this is not possible (for example if a mentor is not available within the relevant discipline), a first-time supervisor may apply in writing to the HDR Program Director to be considered for eligibility as principal supervisor, stating reasons for this consideration. These reasons may include one or more of the following:

  • significant experience with principal supervision of research projects within coursework degrees;
  • substantive participation in supervision training;
  • demonstrable ongoing mentorship relationship with an internal or external senior academic (who can be outside of the person’s discipline).

Conflict of Interest

In the event of a conflict of interest, the Program Director will intervene to provide a satisfactory solution (such as appointing an alternative supervisor).


AC adopts the principles embodied in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research for the attribution of authorship in research publications.  Agreement should be reached between the HDR candidate and the supervisor(s) concerning authorship of publications and acknowledgment during, and after, the candidature. There should be open and mutual recognition of the HDR candidate's and the supervisor's contribution on all published work arising from the project. Co-authorship is appropriate when the candidate and supervisor have both made a substantial contribution.

Responsible for implementation

Program Director

Key stakeholders

All staff and postgraduate research students


Research Supervision Appointment Procedure

Appointment of research supervisors

  1. Prior to admission or subject enrolment, the candidate/student is to approach possible supervisor(s) based on the research topic and the supervisor’s area of expertise.
  2. Supervision arrangements for coursework research projects are confirmed by the Program Director; HDR principal supervisors are confirmed at confirmation of candidature.

The relevant Dean of Faculty is responsible for implementing allocation of supervision time in the faculty member’s workload.