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Doctoral Internship Guidelines

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The University provides opportunities for its Doctor of Philosophy and Professional Doctorate candidates to undertake industry internships.  Doctoral Internships are intended to provide doctoral candidates with a practical research training experience in order to secure knowledge outcomes that are both transferable and relevant.

(2) These Guidelines set out the eligibility, requirements and processes relating to Commonwealth Research Training Program industry internships.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(3) Words in these Guidelines have the meaning set out in the Definitions (Academic) Policy.  In addition, the following definitions apply:

  1. Doctoral Internship means an internship undertaken by a Doctor of Philosophy or Professional Doctorate student which meets the requirements set out in these Guidelines and the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 Cth).
  2. Doctoral Internship Agreement means an agreement as set out in Section 5 below.
  3. Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Day means:
    1. the number of hours in a standard working day for the industry associated with the Research End-User; or
    2. if there is no standard working day, 7.6 hours.
  4. Research End-User means an individual, community or organisation external to academia that will directly use or directly benefit from the output, outcome or results of the research, including businesses, governments, non-governmental organisations, communities and community organisations.  Other higher education providers, their affiliates, controlled entities or subsidiaries of a higher education provider, or their equivalent are not Research End-Users.
  5. Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship stipend means a stipend funded by the Australian government which provides support for the general living costs of Higher Degree students through an annual stipend.
  6. Suspension means, for a candidate in receipt of a RTP Scholarship stipend, a period approved by the University during which the candidate is not receiving the scholarship stipend.
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Section 3 - Candidate Eligibility

(4) To be eligible to undertake a Doctoral Internship, the candidate must:

  1. be enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy or Professional Doctorate award with the University;
  2. have achieved Confirmation of Candidature;
  3. have made satisfactory progress in their program and be up to date with all project milestones;
  4. have the internship organised and a Doctoral Internship Agreement made within:
    1. for full-time students, 18 months of course commencement
    2. part-time candidates, 36 months of course commencement
  5. have the permission of their supervisors to undertake the internship;
  6. not have undertaken a previous Doctoral Internship; and
  7. comply with any other requirements specified by the University from time to time.

(5) Candidates can be:

  1. domestic or international students; and
  2. studying part-time or full-time.

(6) International candidates are responsible for seeking independent advice from the Department of Home Affairs regarding the impact of undertaking an internship on their student visa.

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Section 4 - Requirements

(7) The Doctoral Internship must:

  1. be related to the candidate’s area of research;
  2. be for a minimum of three calendar months in duration,
  3. comprise at least 60 FTE days of engagement in research and development activities undertaken by the candidate.

(8) Doctoral Internships can be:

  1. undertaken on-site with the Research End-User, on-campus or online; and
  2. undertaken part-time or full-time.
  3. paid or unpaid.

(9) Subject to the criteria of the Doctoral Internship Agreement and the Research End-User, an internship may be undertaken as a block of time (continuous and full-time) or on a part-time basis (for example two days per week).

(10) Candidates must obtain formal approval from the Dean, Graduate Studies prior to committing to a Doctoral Internship.

(11) Candidates wishing to engage in a Doctoral Internship with a Research End-User located outside of Australia, or an entity of a foreign government located within Australia, must seek advice from the Graduate School prior to commencing discussions with the potential international Research End-User.

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Section 5 - Doctoral Internship Agreements

(12) A written Doctoral Internship Agreement signed by the University, the Research End-User and the candidate is required for all Doctoral Internships.

(13) The Doctoral Internship Agreement must specify:

  1. the research and development activities to be undertaken by the candidate with the Research End-User; and
  2. the duration of the Doctoral Internship.

(14) A Doctoral Internship Agreement is still required for Doctoral Internship undertaken by a candidate at the same place as their on-going employment.

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Section 6 - 6 - Undertaking a Doctoral Internship

Internship Management

(15) Doctoral Internships can form part of a candidate’s enrolment or can be undertaken during a period of leave of absence/interruption of their candidature. 

(16) If the Doctoral Internship forms part of their enrolment, the candidate may have their period of candidature extended by the equivalent period of the internship, up to a maximum of 60 FTE Days.

(17) Candidates undertaking an unpaid Doctoral Internship are covered by the University's travel, personal accident, public liability and professional indemnity protections provided:

  1. the Doctoral Internship has been approved by the University; and
  2. the candidate remains enrolled in their doctoral program for the duration of the internship.

(18) For paid Doctoral Internships, the Research End-User is responsible for maintaining public liability insurance and workers compensation insurance for the candidate.

(19) Unless specified within the individual Doctoral Internship Agreement, candidates are responsible for any travel, accommodation and other costs associated with undertaking a Doctoral Internship.

(20) The Research End-User is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

(21) Supervisors must maintain contact with candidates undertaking Doctoral Internships.


(22) Southern Cross University scholarship are governed by the University's Higher Degree Research Scholarships Policy and the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships Policy.

(23) Candidates who are in receipt of a RTP Scholarship stipend and undertake:

  1. an unpaid Doctoral Internship as part of their enrolment, will receive an extension to their RTP scholarship for the equivalent period of the internship (maximum 60 FTE Days).
  2. a paid Doctoral Internship, will have their existing stipend suspended for the duration of the internship.
  3. a part-time paid Doctoral Internship and the number of hours the candidate is renumerated for falls within the working allowances stipulated by the respective scholarship policy, may be permitted to continue to receive the RTP stipend and the Research End-User funding simultaneously.
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Section 7 - Supporting Information

(24) Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships Policy

(25) Rules - Student Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct Rules

(26) Complaints Policy - Students and Members of the Public

(27) Higher Degree Research Scholarships Policy

(28) Intellectual Property Rights Policy

(29) Enterprise Risk Management Policy

(30) Work Health and Safety Policy