HDR Candidature and COVID-19

Specific information for HDR students and supervisors.


Many of you are understandably concerned about how research, candidature, scholarships and visas will be affected by the current situation. We hope the following advice will be useful for helping you understand how best to manage research candidature during these difficult and uncertain times.

Please contact the GRS if you need our assistance at any time and please continue to refer to the UWA COVID-19 FAQ page for up-to-date advice and external links to general COVID-19 information.

Contact the GRS

The GRS aim is to provide continuous service no matter where we are located.

You can reach the GRS via email: [email protected]

In addition you are welcome to contact Dr Sudarsan Krishnaswamy (GRS Candidature Manager) or Professor Imelda Whelehan (GRS Dean) if we can assist you.

GRS Staff Contact Details


Please develop a contingency plan for your research in conjunction with your supervisors, to determine what activities can continue under a range of potential scenarios in the short, medium and long term. Your supervisors can refer to the Researchers FAQ available on the UWA Staff intranet

Some students will be able to modify their research plans, for example by changing from face to face interviews to online interviews. Human Research Ethics Office have advised that if you are in this situation you should submit an amendment to the Human Ethics Office.

Please document everything carefully as your records may be required for insurance claims in the future.

Candidature and scholarships

New measures have been introduced to assist HDR students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. These measures will operate during the COVID-19 period until further notice. The measures recognise the varied pressures that HDR students are facing in the current environment and provide extra flexibility and options for the management of candidature and those scholarships under the control of the University.

Details of each measure and how to apply are provided below.


  • All students. Applications for extension of candidature will continue to be considered case by case, and delays because of COVID-19 will be assessed sympathetically.
  • International students. You may now apply to suspend enrolment or change to part-time enrolment. As always, we advise that you seek advice about implications for your visa. Home Affairs provide information on study and staying in Australia.
  • To apply for an extension of candidature submit an Application for Extension form
  • To apply for a suspension submit an Application for Suspension form
  • To apply for part-time enrolment submit an Application for Variation of Enrolment form

Tuition Fees

  • Students who were enrolled at 1.03.20 and are in receipt of Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Tuition Fees Offsets or Scholarships for International Research Fees (SIRF) may now apply for extensions of those scholarships to up to 4.5 years (Doctorates) or 2.5 years (Masters).
  • International students whose tuition fees are sponsored externally, and whose sponsorships have expired and cannot be extended, may apply for fee relief – assessment will be case by case. 
  • International students who pay full tuition fees and have either reached the end of their designated course length or demonstrate financial hardship, may apply for fee relief – assessment will be case by case.   
  • To apply for an extension of your International Tuition Fees scholarship submit an Application for Extension form    
  • To apply for fee relief submit either your Annual Progress Report, if it is due, or an Interim Report form, with a detailed Completion Plan; an outline of how your progress has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions; a statement and demonstration of your financial hardship; and a clear indication of the period for which you are requesting fee relief.

Living Allowances (Stipends)

  • International and domestic students in receipt of Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend Scholarships and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA and UPAIS) may now
    • Change to part-time enrolment and continue to receive a stipend part-time for reasons related to COVID-19
    • Apply for paid sick leave on the basis of caring responsibilities, in addition to the existing criterion of personal illness
    • Apply for up to two extensions of up to three months each, on the basis of demonstrated delays to candidature caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that were documented and reported at the time. This is in addition to the existing extension provision of six months for those scholarships.
  • Students in receipt of stipends that are not under the control of the University have different options, and where possible the GRS will assist students in discussion with sponsors.
  • To apply for part-time enrolment submit an Application for Variation of Enrolment form
  • To apply for sick leave submit an Application for Leave form
  • To apply for an extension of your stipend submit an Application for Extension form

Candidature suspensions

If you and your supervisors determine that it is best for you to suspend candidature and/or scholarships for the time being please apply to do so in the usual way. While on suspension you will retain remote access to your Pheme login, which provides access to the UWA Library, IT support and other resources.

Suspension advice

Working from home

If you and/or your supervisors are working off campus please check the GRS advice about Remote Supervision and discuss in detail with your supervisors a plan for maintenance of regular contact.

Remote Supervision Plan

Returning to campus - Awareness and induction module

All HDR students who are planning to return to campus, or have already done so, need to complete the UWA COVID-19 Awareness and Induction (a short video which will help you stay safe).

UWA COVID-19 Awareness and Induction Module

When you complete the module you will receive an email notification of completion, which should be forwarded to your coordinating supervisor.  

When working on campus, physical distancing and hygiene measures must be maintained. All OH&S requirements in relation to COVID-19 need to be met, along with normal practice for a safe working environment.


Please see the UWA COVID-19 latest information for advice about travel.

You can find interstate and international travel advice here. Students travelling to UWA can advice here.


The GRS are determining how flexible visa arrangements will be in the next few months, and we will update you when we have this information. In the meantime, if you have any concerns about visa extensions please contact the GRS as soon as possible. Students who need a visa extension may require a new CoE, and the GRS Candidature team can provide advice about this process.

Online resources

The Graduate Education Officers provide a wide range of resources to support you through candidature. Many of these resources are suitable for the online environment and many others are currently being adapted for the online space. While all resources are accessible from the relevant webpages, which are easily accessed from the Current Students splashpage, we've also summarised on the Resources and Training page a range of resources you can access online.

Online resources

Wellbeing & social connections

Supporting you to maintain your wellbeing is always important to the GRS, never more than during these difficult times.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to the support available to you.

For UWA students, UWA’s counselling service continues to operate with distance counselling. You can book a triage appointment on 6488 2423. In a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If your crisis is life-threatening, contact 000. The UWA Supporting you during COVID-19 page also summarises a range of additional support available to you.

For UWA staff, PeopleSense appointments are available by phone and Skype. Additional advice is provided on the staff intranet.

An important component of wellbeing is social connection and while we need to maintain physical distance from each other at this time, there is the opportunity to connect in other ways.

The Graduate Education Officers are available for one-on-one appointments by phone, email or MS Teams. If you wish to connect with other HDR students, email Dr Jo Edmondston who will provide you with details of the GRS Online Connect group which meets every second Tuesday.


Some students are reporting accommodation difficulties as share houses and room rental arrangements break down due to concerns about COVID 19. Student Wellbeing have set up a dedicated contact email for students experiencing accommodation difficulties.

Criminal record screening

For all students applying for a Criminal Record Screening (CRS) Card from the WA Health Department please note that you now need to provide an email address. To minimise the risk of COVID-19, CRS cards will no longer be sent through the mail but will be sent to this email address. A copy of the card will be emailed with a message confirming clearance has been confirmed.