2. Find a Supervisor

2. Find a Supervisor

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Step 1: Entry requirements Step 2: Find a supervisor Step 3: Research proposal Step 4: Scholarships Step 5: Submit Step 6: Review Offer and Accept

Find a Supervisor

The next step in the application process is for each prospective candidate to find a senior researcher to support your candidacy who is also interested in your research question.

In some cases departments will advertise for research candidates to explore a particular topic. If this is normal in your area you will need to make an application for the position and outline your current research interest and experience. In other departments it is more usual to make an appointment with a potential supervisor to discuss your research question.

Macquarie University has a searchable HDR supervisor database. You can browse it to find staff who are have completed mandatory training in HDR Supervision. This means they may be eligible to supervise. You can search the Macquarie University Research Portal here for potential supervisors.

MQ staff have to meet a number of criteria every time they are appointed as an HDR Supervisor. If you make contact with a staff member it's important to ask if they are eligible to supervise the research degree you are hoping to do.

Search the HDR supervisor database.

Tip: In order to narrow down supervisor search, type the discipline or area of interest.

If you are unfamiliar with the academic staff of the university, you should look carefully at the biographies, research grants and research publications of staff in your interest area. This initial conversation is not an application for enrolment, nor is it an agreement by the university to undertake the project with you.

The academic who talks with you will ask you a series of questions like:

  • What is your research interest?
  • What experience have you had with research in the past?
  • Why do you want to undertake a higher degree by research?

These questions will help establish the suitability of the question, the appropriateness of your research background and if that academic can supervise the project. At this stage it may be suggested:

  • You work your research question into a ‘Topic’ and a ‘Project Description’ which will form the basis of your application for candidacy.
  • You undertake a Master of Research or other award if your previous research experience is not sufficient for your proposed research.
  • You continue your conversation about candidacy with another academic more suited.
  • Or you think more seriously about the scope and nature of your proposed research, undertake some reading surrounding the topic, and then return later for another discussion.

Please note: Finding a potential supervisor is not a prerequisite to acceptance or non-acceptance into an HDR degree at Macquarie University. The decision rests with the relevant academic unit (School or Department) including their research priorities and the allocation of staffing resources, not the preferences of any individual staff member. This decision will be made when your application is assessed.

Prospective Principal Supervisor

Prospective students will often make contact with academic staff to initiate conversations regarding candidacy. At the meeting you should ask the potential student about their research background and interests and consider the suitability of their research plans for a higher degree.

You should provide advice on whether the potential student has a background suitable for HDR, if their topic is manageable and unique, if you have capacity and related research interest to take them on, if someone else in the department is more suitable, if there are any departmental pre-application requirements (such as research methods preparation), and the timelines for application through OHDRTP and scholarship opportunities.

The discussion with the candidate should also include an exploration of possible associate and/or adjunct supervisors. Please note that it is the responsibility of the Dean of Faculty to appoint supervisors and individual supervisors can only make recommendations to the candidate and not firm promises.

Content owner: HDR Resarch Training and Partnerships Last updated: 18 Apr 2019 11:27am

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