PhD students in Australia are under a lot of pressure to finish their degree 'on time' - but why? Mary-Helen Ward has just completed a PhD on the PhD in Australia at the University of Sydney. I read a draft of her impressive thesis and learned a lot myself about the system. I asked Mary-Helen if she would do a post to explain the dark arts of research student funding and this post is the result. I hope it makes the situation a bit clearer, for those in Australia at least.