Your Supervisory Team

Your main contact throughout your candidature will be with your supervisors, who will be your key advisors and guides throughout.

Prior to enrolment you should approach staff members who would be suitable to supervise the kind of project you are interested in. You can locate potential supervisors on school websites – or contact the relevant Head of School or Sub-Dean for HDR students in the school/Faculty that you wish to enrol in. University policy is that each candidate has a Supervisory Team made up of a Principal Supervisor, who must be a Charles Sturt staff member, and at least one Co-supervisor, whom can be internal or external to Charles Sturt. You will have regular contact with your Supervisory Team throughout your candidature and it is recommended that this contact be made prior to enrolment and within your initial days as a student to discuss expectations.

Typically, principal supervisors are located in Schools, Faculties and/or Research Centres of the University.

Working with your Supervisors

During your candidature your supervisory team has overall responsibility for overseeing, guiding and monitoring your progress. Numerous models and strategies exist for developing a successful HDR candidate - supervisor relationship. Your supervisory team will have the expertise and experience in the best model of supervisory relationship for you, given your background, research focus and personality.

Changes to Supervisory Team

At some stage in your candidature, you may be faced with changes to your supervisory team.

  • This may occur due to changes in your own needs and expectations, or because supervisors change roles or in some cases leave the University. Charles Sturt takes this process seriously and a change in the supervisory team, will be approved only after substantial consultation between the student, supervisory team and the relevant Faculty Sub Dean.
  • If you experience a change to your Supervisory Team there are a range of supports in place to assist you through this process, these include from the other members of your team, from the Faculty Sub Dean and from the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies.

Supervisory Team Responsibilities

The Principal Supervisor is accountable to the Faculty Sub-Dean for advising and monitoring the progress of a candidate and leading the supervisory team. The Principal Supervisor has final responsibility for the decisions made by the supervisory team.


From time to time problems may arise in the supervisory process and relationship, and its important you are aware of who to discuss these concerns with and the steps towards resolving these problems.

Below are extracts from the regulations about dispute resolution and grievance procedures as they relate to HDR candidates.

  • Scope

    These procedures apply to any situation where there is a significant concern in relation to the research degree that is not covered by other procedures. The concern could be related to the Principal Supervisor, a Co-supervisor, or both; the provision of resources; or any other matter of concern.

  • Concerns

    The concerns that are covered by these procedures include, but are not limited to:

    • a Supervisor who does not appear to have appropriate knowledge of a candidate's research area;
    • a Supervisor who fails to provide appropriate support for, or interest in, a candidate's work;
    • a Supervisor who fails to carry out necessary administrative responsibilities in an appropriate time;
    • a conflict between a candidate and a Supervisor over the direction in which the research should proceed;
    • a conflict between the candidate and the Supervisor regarding the authorship of a paper flowing from the research;
    • a candidate who believes that the Supervisor is requiring the candidate to carry out work that is not related to the research;
    • a Supervisor who frustrates a candidate's efforts;
    • a personality conflict between a candidate and a Supervisor;
    • a candidate who believes that he/she is not being provided with an appropriate level of physical resources.
  • Procedures

    If a candidate has a concern that needs to be dealt with, the following course of action should be taken: a) attempt initially to resolve the concern with the Supervisor. If the candidate does not believe that this is possible, or appropriate, the candidate may wish to progress the matter to the next step. b) discuss the concern with the Head of School, with the Faculty Sub-Dean for Graduate Studies, or with the Dean of the Faculty.

  • Complaints, Grievances & Appeals

    If the procedures above fail to remedy the concern, a complaint may be lodged with the University Ombudsman. The University/s Complaints Management Policy and Procedures detail the policy basis and procedures for involving the University Ombudsman.

    These Policy and Procedures also apply to grievances which fall into any of the following categories.

  • Academic Judgements

    A student who is aggrieved by a decision of the University which is taken by a person or body of the University exercising an authority under the regulations and rules of the University, based essentially upon a question of academic judgement, may appeal against that decision.

  • Discrimination

    A student who is aggrieved by a decision of the University or by action taken by the University which the student believes has or will result in him or her being treated less favourably than another student or students in the same or similar circumstances, may: a) have his or her complaint, problem or concern mediated; or b) lodge a formal grievance under the University's Complaints Policy and Procedures on the grounds of discrimination in respect of that decision or action. A student who invokes this clause in respect of a decision of the University is not prevented from exercising his or her rights of appeal against that decision.

  • Harassment

    A student who is subject to uninvited and unwelcomed behaviour by a person exercising an authority under the regulations or a student of the University, which interferes with the student's right to study or live in a non-threatening environment, may: a) have his or her complaint, problem or concern mediated; or b) lodge a formal grievance under the University's Complaints Policy and Procedures on the grounds of harassment in respect of that behaviour.

  • Appeals

    Students can appeal decisions.  Details about processes can be found in the administration manual.