Fieldwork or Off Campus Data Collection Information for HDR Students and Supervisors

Fieldwork or off campus data collection is required for many doctoral or Masters research students in UNSW Arts & Social Sciences.

The following information is provided for students and supervisors and outlines the requirements and recommendations prior to and during the undertaking of fieldwork.


Supervisors need to confirm that students have appraised the guidelines and have sought additional information if required for managing any particular risks associated with the fieldwork or off campus data collection – as per the below.


Students must read the UNSW Fieldwork Guidelines (HS406) which is located at UNSW Health and Safety.

Please pay particular attention to the sections on ‘Procedures’, ‘Personal Safety Considerations’ and ‘Hazards and Accidents’.

Students must be familiar with the relevant legislation noted within those guidelines.

Students must also ensure that any risks associated with the activity have been identified and assessed by the supervisor* responsible and that the measures used to control such risks are effective and adequate.

It is UNSW Arts & Social Sciences procedure that all arrangements related to fieldwork are discussed with and approved by your supervisor.

*In this context, supervisor means supervisor of HDR student.

Variation to candidature

If you are working away for less than a semester you are required to fill in a variation to candidature form for ‘Applying for External Work’. You are able to nominate the dates.

If you are undertaking fieldwork for a whole semester please follow the instructions below:

  • Overseas fieldwork: you must complete a variation to candidature for the relevant semesters which is to be approved by supervisors and PGCs.
  • Domestic fieldwork for which you will be located off campus: you must complete a variation to candidature for the relevant semesters which is to be approved by supervisors and PGCs.
  • For local fieldwork: please seek advice from UNSW Research.

Assessing risk

The activities associated with fieldwork must be assessed for risk.

Low risk

Discuss the risk level with your supervisor. If it is decided that your fieldwork or off campus data collection will be low risk (e.g. working in archives in another city), then you will not need to complete the Risk Management Form (HS017). This should be noted on the Fieldwork Plan and Authorisation Form (HS018).

Other students

All other students must complete the following risk management forms which are located under 'Risk Management' on the UNSW Health and Safety website:

Travel forms

As a UNSW HDR student, if you are using Arts & Social Sciences funding then you are travelling on UNSW business.

As such, you will need to follow the UNSW Travel Policies and Procedures when booking your travel.

Please refer to the following documents which can be found at UNSW MyTravel:

Students are encouraged to read the Student Travel Insurance FAQs on the UNSW Finance website.

If you are undertaking fieldwork in a country other than Australia, please be sure to check on relevant visa needs and refer to the Australian Government Travel Advisory and Consular Assistance Service.

If you are undertaking fieldwork in areas that may have semi-autonomous status please make contact with local cultural authorities before travelling.