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Show Good Cause for Research Students


The University requires that all HDR students have a Progress Review (PR) in the form of an interview at least once in a 12-month period. You are required to create a progress plan within 3 months of commencement of candidature, or 6 months for part time HDR students. You are responsible for maintaining this progress plan in consultation with your supervisor. If you receive an Unsatisfactory outcome from the Progress Review, the Faculty may ask you to show good cause as to why you should be permitted to continue the candidature. If you receive a rating of Unsatisfactory Progress at two consecutive progress reviews, you are likely to be asked to show good cause. The Faculty may also ask you to show good cause on the recommendation by the Head of School or the Postgraduate Research Coordinator, or if you do not submit your thesis for examination by the latest possible date to do so.


What do I write to Show Good Cause?

Structure your response letter by responding to the reasons given by the Faculty in determining your Unsatisfactory progress outcome. Explain any issues you experienced that delayed or prevented you from achieving your tasks or milestones. Alternatively, you may want to explain why you believe that your progress is satisfactory, and you will successfully complete your candidature on time. Your response may describe health or supervisory issues, but try to detail everything you believe the Faculty should know about in considering if you have shown good cause. A show cause response must also include a detailed plan of how your research will get back on track. E.g. if health issues were a concern, you need to explain your treatment plan and you may be able to include a letter of support from your doctor. Include your revised progress plan.

Possible outcomes to your response are: ‘Shown Good Cause’ and permitted to continue; ‘Not Shown Good Cause’ and your candidature is terminated; or the Faculty may determine that you have ‘Not Shown Good Cause’ but will allow you to continue with conditions. In some cases, the Faculty may also allow you to continue, but offer a transfer to a Master of Philosophy to allow you to complete your research degree at an earlier stage.

For more information on the show cause process for HDR students, refer to the ‘Show Cause & Exclusion for HDR Candidates’ section of SUPRA’s HDR Guide.


Can I appeal against termination?

You have a right to appeal against termination or any Show Cause outcome. The appeal procedure and the relevant policy and deadline should be included in the decision letter. Note an outcome of termination does not mean you are no longer enrolled. Until your appeal is decided you are expected to continue your research, and under the usual supervisory arrangements where possible.



As an HDR student, it is expected you understand progression obligations as per the Progress Planning and Review for HDR Students Policy 2015 and the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011.

You can also clarify the show cause policy and procedures for HDR students with your supervisor or the University’s Higher Degree Research Administration Centre (HDRAC).

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