A Register of Supervisors of Higher Degree Research (HDR) Students is maintained to provide clarity about the roles and expectations of supervisors and to promote a culture of best practice in supervision at UWA.

National standards governing research training in Australia require supervisors to be adequately qualified to supervise (normally holding a doctoral degree or having equivalent research experience).

All staff of the university, and all adjunct, honorary, emeritus and external supervisors must be on the Register in order to be eligible to be approved as designated supervisors of HDR students.


    In addition to eligibility requirements in the table below, all supervisors are eligible for registration provided they meet the following criteria:

    • Agree to undertake supervision in accordance with the University's relevant policies and guidelines; and
    • Have the support of their Head of School (HoS) to undertake supervision; and
    • Have undertaken a minimum of one supervisor professional development activity in the last 2 years; and
    • Is research active. At UWA, 'research active' for the purposes of supervision, is defined as having produced at least two peer-reviewed publications or equivalent research outputs per four-year period.

    A person is not eligible to supervise HDR students if they are enrolled in a HDR degree at this or any other university.

    Supervisor levels

    Four levels and two sub-categories of registration are recognised, based on experience, and employment status as shown in the Table below. All levels carry appropriate professional development requirements. Level 0 is Practitioner Supervisor and includes staff, adjunct, honorary, emeritus or external supervisors who have non-traditional research outputs or other skills related to the practice of the discipline.







    Staff or external supervisor who has knowledge/skills essential to student's project but is not otherwise qualified for Level 1.

    May be industry advisor, Indigenous elder or bring other practical skills to the project. May not meet definition of 'research active'.

    External supervisor (if not UWA staff)

    Co-supervisor (if UWA staff or adjunct)

    Can only join a team with at least two supervisors at Level 1 and above.

    May transfer to Level 1 if obtains AQF10 qualification or equivalent research experience and is UWA staff or adjunct, honorary or emeritus, has completed supervisor development within last year and has support of HoS and Dean GRS.



    UWA staff, adjuncts, honorary or emeritus new to HDR supervision who have not yet supervised a research masters or doctoral student to completion.

    Co-supervisor only

    After a minimum of one year as Co-supervisor of a student to completion.

    (In exceptional circumstances a Head of School may recommend that a Level 1 supervisor without a completion be upgraded to Level 2 on the basis of equivalent experience, and with the guarantee this will involve additional PD, the appointment of a mentor in the School and annual review.)



    UWA staff* who have experience of supervision and have supervised at least one research masters or doctoral student through to completion.

    Includes selected adjuncts (not members of staff at another University) who have been approved by Board GRS to take Level 2 responsibilities (eg. as members of a medical research institute).

    Principal, Coordinating, Co-supervisor

    Advisory panel member

    Graduate Research Coordinator (UWA staff only)

    Viva Chair (separate application process)

    Recommendation of HoS to Dean GRS.



    Adjunct or Emeritus staff who have experience of supervision and have supervised at least one research masters or doctoral student through to completion.




    UWA staff* with extensive supervision experience and a track record of successful, timely completions. Regularly chairs vivas, Mentor to junior supervisors and/or takes leadership role with reference to school research culture.

    Principal, Coordinating, Co-supervisor

    Advisory panel member

    Graduate Research Coordinator

    Viva Chair (separate application process)




    Adjunct or Emeritus staff (not members of staff at another university) with extensive supervision experience and a track record of successful, timely completions.


    Principal supervisor

    Advisory panel member

    Viva Chair (separate application process)


    *UWA staff who become emeritus or adjunct during a student's candidature are permitted to continue as a Principal supervisor until completion of ongoing candidates.


    Supervisor roles

    There are four roles for supervisors - Principal, Coordinating, Co-supervisor and External and the table below indicates which can be fulfilled by supervisors in each category.


    Min %

    Max %

    Principal Supervisor provides primary academic leadership in the supervision3080
    Coordinating Supervisor takes primary responsibility for the academic management of the student's candidature and ensuring that all administrative and reporting requirements of the supervision are met. This person must be an employee of UWA1070
    Principal and Coordinating Supervisor provides primary academic leadership in the supervision and takes primary responsibility for the academic management of the student's candidature, ensuring that all administrative and reporting requirements of the supervision are met.4080
    Co-supervisor will have specific expertise that is useful to the student's research program and will be available as an independent person from whom the student may seek advice during the course of the candidature. They will also serve as backup for the Principal and/or Coordinating Supervisor. This person need not be an employee of UWA but will be expected otherwise to hold adjunct, emeritus, or honorary status.1070
    Co-supervisor Research End-User (REU) is an Adjunct to the University and is based in industry or government, ie. not based in another university.1070
    External supervisor is an external supervisor based at another University. External supervision is provided by an individual who is not an employee of UWA and does not hold adjunct, emeritus, or honorary research fellow status at UWA. They will have specific expertise of relevance and use to the student's research program.1020
    External end user (ENDUSR) is an external supervisor that is based in industry or government.1020

    *At least 50% of supervision is expected to be provided by employee/s of this University and therefore total external supervision cannot exceed 50%. Any individual supervisor cannot bear any less that 10% of the supervisory load and any more than 80% of the supervisory load.

    Professional development requirements

    • All staff must undertake some professional development activity every two years to acquaint themselves with changes to policy and the University definition of best practice. 
    • Staff new to supervision or new to the University must undertake the UWA online induction module and ensure they have the knowledge of the Rules, policies and processes related to HDR candidature before completing registration
    • Level 1, 2 and 3 supervisors are required to refresh their knowledge and expertise at least every two years. In addition to induction modules, Levels 1 and 2 can
      1. Complete supervisor refresher module
      2. Complete at least two of the Supervising Doctoral Studies online modules
      3. Participate in a face-to-face supervision workshop
      4. Act as a guest presenter at a GRS or School supervision event
      5. Attend an external supervisor conference or related event (which is endorsed by Head of School or Dean GRS)

    In addition, Level 2 and 3 supervisors can meet biennial PD requirements by:

    • Acting as Graduate Research Coordinator for at least six months
    • Chairing at least two viva examinations (having completed Chair induction) annually

    Registration process

    • Staff including adjunct, honorary emeritus and external supervisors can apply to register or renew their status. Apply here via HDRhub. A support video describing how to apply is available here.
    • All applicants are required to provide a CV outlining research and supervisory and/or practical experience.
    • Supervisors who have not undertaken professional development in the past two years will be required to attend a supervisor induction, refresher or other professional development activity to be eligible for registration. The current Research Supervision Professional Development Program of activities can be found here.
    • The UWA Supervisor Register is maintained by the Graduate Research School.

    Registration renewal and upgrade

    • Renewal of registration, including application to maintain level of supervision, is required every four years and supervisors must have undertaken at least two professional development activities during each registration period.
    • Applications for upgrade from Level 1 to Level 2 or from Level 2 to Level 3 can occur at any time, using HDRhub.

    Suspension and removal of registration

    Registration may be suspended with respect to a supervisor taking on additional students, at the discretion of the Dean GRS where a staff member:

    • is no longer a member of staff, adjunct or honorary fellow of the University;
    • is no longer research active (excluding Supervisor Practitioner category);
    • fails to maintain professional development requirements; OR
    • fails to renew registration within 9 months of registration expiry.

    A supervisor may be removed from the register and required to cease supervision activities if they:

    The Dean of the Graduate Research School, in consultation with the Head of School, makes the final decision on suspension and deregistration matters.


    Supervisors who wish to appeal a suspension or deregistration can do so through the grievance procedure outlined in Part I, Section 45 of the Academic Agreement.

    Links to related rules, policies and guidelines

    For any queries regarding the Supervisor Register please email: [email protected]