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Progress Support Panels (PSPs) for HDR students

What is a Progress Support Panel (PSP)?

  • PSPs are part of Deakin University’s process for supporting HDR candidates who are “not making satisfactory progress in their research studies and who are at risk of not completing their degree within the prescribed time limit” (Schedule C: Progress support of ‘at risk’ HDR candidates).
  • A PSP will be put in place if recommended by your supervision team or a senior staff in the school or faculty. It is designed to provide you with extra support and guidance so you can progress with your research studies.

Who makes up the PSP?

  • The panel is established by the Associate Dean (Research) or Faculty HDR Coordinator. It is usually made up of one or more of your current supervisors, the Associate Head of School (Research) or the HDR Coordinator, and an experienced researcher from a related area (who could be from a different School).

How will I find out that a PSP is going to happen? What should I do?

  • You will receive an email/emailed letter from the Associate Dean (Research) or Faculty HDR Coordinator explaining why the university thinks your progress is unsatisfactory and asking you to attend the first PSP meeting.
  • Read the email/letter carefully, consider the points raised about your progress, and RSVP to the meeting. Consider meeting with a DUSA Advocate for support and advice.

What can I expect from my first PSP meeting?

At the initial meeting, the panel in discussion with you will:

  • Review your work;
  • Discuss your progress thus far;
  • Identify appropriate support that can be provided to you; and
  • Decide on the tasks you need to complete within a particular timeframe in order to progress satisfactorily.

What happens after my first PSP meeting?

You will receive a written record of the meeting via email. This will include details of the tasks you need to do within set timeframes. What happens next will depend on the extent of the issues identified by you and the Panel. Possible follow up actions may include:

  • Identifying support to be offered to you (e.g. skills development, workshops in writing, research methods, statistical analysis)
  • Working with current supervisors on specific tasks
  • Appointment of additional supervisor(s) for assistance with completing specific tasks
  • Scheduling of further PSP meetings to continue to review and support your progress.

What will the outcome of my PSP process be?

Possible outcomes may include:

  • Ending the PSP and resuming normal candidature (where evidence of satisfactory progress has been established)
  • An extended period of additional reporting by you and your supervisor (in addition to the normal review cycle)
  • A recommendation to the Research and Research Training Committee (RRTC) that you be transferred from Doctoral to Masters candidature
  • A recommendation to the RRTC that you be excluded from candidature.

How can DUSA advocates help me?

DUSA Advocates are professional, experienced staff who provide free, independent and confidential support regarding academic and personal matters to all Deakin students.

  • An Advocate can assist you to understand the PSP process, assess your situation, and provide you with support throughout the process.
  • An Advocate can assist you in face-to-face appointments, by phone and via email.
  • An Advocate can accompany you to your PSP meetings as your support person.
  • Advocates can also provide you with referrals to support services both within Deakin University and externally.

This handout includes information from Deakin University’s “Schedule C: Progress support of ‘at risk’ HDR candidates”. Schedule C is available at:


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