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Extension of candidature

Please note: in February 2021 a new digital system, Research Education Candidature System (RECS) was launched to allow HDR candidates to manage many administrative tasks that were previously the responsibility of HDRAC or Sydney Student. Some of our information regarding these processes might be outdated. We are currently in the process of updating it.

If you have difficulties with RECS contact HDRAC for assistance.

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If your final stage is not going as well as you like, and your submission date is approaching too quickly, you may need an extension. Candidates can apply for an extension of up to one year’s Equivalent Full-Time Study Load (EFTSL) (i.e. four research periods of full-time enrolment). You need to apply for an extension within 6 months of your latest completion date. However, University policy makes it clear that HDR candidates don’t have an automatic entitlement to an extension.

Extensions beyond the maximum allowable time may be approved by your associate dean, but only in exceptional circumstances. An application for an extension is more likely to be approved if you can show good academic progress early in your candidature and if you have the support of your lead supervisor (i.e. if they think you would complete your thesis if granted an extension). If extenuating circumstances such as illness, injury or misadventure have impacted your research completion time, you should include them in your request to extend candidature. You should also include any issues with your research, such as equipment, data, change in supervisors etc. It’s important that you also document and discuss these issues during your Progress Review.


If you have been impacted by COVID-19 you may be granted an extension for one research period on the submission deadline if you need it. The University recommends HDR students who are close to submission make extension requests, and for those who have some way to go until completion to wait until closer to your completion date to assess the impact COVID-19 has had.

If you do not have the support of your lead supervisor for an extension, or your associate dean has denied your application for extension, seek assistance from SUPRA.

For information on candidature time limits and research periods see Leave from HDR studies.

Relevant policies

University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011

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