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Discipline of Psychiatry
Level 4, Eleanor Harrald Building
Royal Adelaide Hospital
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005


2012 Postgraduate Research Information

General Information

It should be noted that "higher degrees" in these pages means higher degrees by research, such as the Master of Clinical Science or the PhD.  These degrees do NOT act as professional qualifications in Australia.  Graduates with a basic medical degree who wish to specialise in Psychiatry should consult the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists for information about training opportunities and programs.

Members of staff who are qualified to act as Principal supervisors for higher degrees in the Discipline of Psychiatry are shown below.  Other staff members, affiliates and clinical title holders may act as Co-Supervisors.  A list of research areas and projects of most interest to staff members can be found at:  Research Themes, and specific projects can be found at the Research Groups page.  Details of Supervisors can be found at Staff.

Choice of research topic and supervisor
Research can be undertaken in any area where the candidate is appropriately qualified and the Discipline of Psychiatry can provide adequate resources, including supervision. The Department of Education Training (DEST)  has determined that a PhD is to be completed in 3 years and a Master's degree in two years of fulltime work. This requires candidates to plan their course of study carefully in order to complete their postgraduate training successfully.

Guidelines are provided by the University of Adelaide's "Research Student Handbook" which defines standards to be achieved with each degree.  This is continuously revised, and is available both in hard copy and via the Internet at However, most up-to-date research topics can be found under Research Themes.

In the Research Student Handbook, Doctoral Degrees are defined as having "the objective to produce graduates with the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality.  By the end of his/her candidature, the student ought to be capable of conceiving, designing and carrying to completion a research program without supervision.  The PhD student should uncover new knowledge by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories, or the innovative reinterpretation of known data and established ideas".

Master Degrees by research are defined as having "the objective of training students in research methodology and techniques and in their critical evaluation (appropriate to their field of study).  Students are also trained in the application of such methodology by conducting a specified program of research under appropriate supervision."

All students upon enrolment will be provided with information about the School of Medicine policies and Research Proposal Proforma documents, and Principal Supervisors will provide copies to Associate Supervisors if required.  In the first year of candidature, critical reviews of student progress should be conducted by the Supervisor at least every three months.

The principal role of the Postgraduate Coordinator in the Discipline of Psychiatry is to provide support for postgraduate students and their supervisors and to act as their representative at the regular staff meetings in the Discipline.  Formal assessment of the progress of individual students is the responsibility of each student's supervisors.

The Postgraduate Coordinator reviews each candidate's progress annually, in October.  Information about the form and documentation of these Annual Reviews of Progress will be sent out by the Adelaide Graduate Centre.

Students and prospective students should note the large amount of information available through the Adelaide Graduate Centre website.  In particular its Research Education and Development Program (RED) for enrolled postgraduate students provides a wealth of useful workshops.  Many of these are available online, via MyUni.

Financial resources available to support research conducted by postgraduate students are limited.  Therefore it is important for students to ensure that their project can be completed with the budget available to them.  In order to ensure that adequate budget planning has been undertaken, as part of the Research Proposal, each postgraduate student submits a budget for the proposed research.

A Research Proposal consisting of a literature review (3000-5000 words plus reference list) and research plan (rationale, proposed studies, available collaborations and equipment, significance, timetable) should be prepared within the first 3 months of candidature.  Adoption of the Gantt Chart by all FHS candidates (new and existing) is now required.  This will guide planning of all aspects of productivity from the beginning of candidature and throughout, and to monitor progress at the time of reviews.  Examples of Gantt charts are available in the 2008 Research Student Handbook (Appendix 7).

WITHIN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS (FTE) OF CANDIDATURE:  the research proposal will be formally presented to a review panel consisting of

  • the candidate's supervisors (2 + academics, either both on Psychiatry staff, or one staff and one an affiliate/title holder in Psychiatry, or from another academic unit)
  • PGC or deputy in case of unavoidable absence
  • 1-2 independent experts invited by the PGC

Students will (a) precirculate the proposal to the review panel, a week before the presentation, and (b) speak about the proposal and answer questions.  This presentation and discussion will last a maximum of 45minutes.

Then the student will leave and the above review panel will decide whether the candidature should be confirmed, terminated, or a specified remedial program undergone in specified time frame, with requested extension of probationary period.

Core Component of Structured Program (CCSP) forms can then be submitted to the Graduate Centre.  It is expected that evidence of approval by the relevant ethics committee will accompany this form, as well as the Research Proposal.

1.  We expect every student to present a seminar to the regular Discipline of Psychiatry Research Forum.  Notices will be sent to all academic staff, title holders, and other postgraduate students.  Students and their supervisors should also invite others familiar with the field of study, to attend.  The presentation should include the Research Proposal and preliminary findings.

2.  Graduate Centre needs Major Review documents completed;  it is only now that candidature can officially be confirmed.  Until then is a period of probation.

The Major Review will recommend confirmation of candidature, the extension of the provisional status, or conversion to the appropriate Master (if the student is enrolled in a PhD).  Candidates who are granted an extension of their provisional status at Major Review time will undergo an "extended" Major Review.  The extended Major Review will recommend confirmation of candidature, conversion to the appropriate Master, or termination of candidature only:  No further extensions of the provisional status will be permitted.

For further information contact:

Professor Bernhard Baune, Head of Discipline,
Email:  Bernhard Baune