There are several types of research-based degrees available at Australian universities but the way you apply and the way you will study are both very different from the taught programmes at Bachelor or Masters level.

A PhD stands for a ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ and a is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities.  In order to be awarded a PhD you will usually be required to produce original research and make a significant contribution to knowledge in your subject area.  In Australia, like most countries, a PhD is a research based degree, as opposed to a ‘taught’ degree where there is a defined programme structure of taught units. Having said this a PhD does usually follow the structure outlined below:

  • Literature review – an overview of the published academic papers, articles and books written in the areas relevant to your research.
  • Original research – conduct your research and compile your results
  • Forming a thesis – forming the arguments based on your  ideas & research results
  • Writing up a thesis – pulling together your results, ideas and insights into a formal dissertation.
  • Defending your thesis – this is usually a ‘viva voce’ (an oral exam)

The application process is very different from other programmes and the process is based around your academic credentials and your proposed research project.  To apply for a PhD you will usually be expected to have completed a relevant Bachelor’s degree and usually a Master’s degree.  When applying you will need to demonstrate this level of prior study along with the required English Language proficiency.  You will also need to identify and articulate your research interests and proposed research topic, usually in the form of a research proposal.

As important as your research proposal is identifying potential supervisors, or academics working in Australian Universities.  This can involve lots of work going through the research sections on websites and the publications of individual Faculty to find a good match between a potential supervisor’s current research and your research areas.  Once you have identified any potential supervisors you will need to contact them to discuss the possible opportunities of working with them.  You should clearly explain your research interests with a brief proposal or expression of interest outlining your research interests, why you are qualified and why you particularly want to work with them.  It is important that you start a dialogue with potential supervisors as they will often give feedback on ways to adjust your proposal or they may recommend colleagues.  This step of the process may involve some extended communications and discussion about the opportunity and refining your proposal.  Once a suitable supervisor has agreed to support you, then you can submit a formal application to go alongside the agreed research proposal, as well as all other documents including transcripts, certificates and references.  It is also possible that you will be required to attend for an interview, but this is not always the case.

Getting the right supervisor is key, you will work very closely with the person for the next 3-4 years, and they can help get you accepted, increase the chance of funding and share connections so investing in personal contact with the right person is key to a successful application and will likely improve your experience of a PhD significantly as well.

UniversityResearch pagesPHD applicants
Austalian National UniversityLinkLink
Australian Catholic UniversityLinkLink
Bond UniversityLinkLink
Central Queensland UniversityLinkLink
Curtin UniversityLinkLink
Deakin UniversityLinkLink
Griffith UniversityLinkLink
James Cook UniversityLinkLink
La Trobe UniversityLinkLink
Macquarie UniversityLinkLink
Monash UniversityLinkLink
Murdoch UniversityLinkLink
Queensland University of TechnologyLinkLink
RMIT UniversityLinkLink
Swinburne University of TechnologyLinkLink
University of AdelaideLinkLink
University of CanberraLinkLink
University of MelbourneLinkLink
UNSW SydneyLinkLink
University of NewcastleLinkLink
University of QueenslandLinkLink
University of SydneyLinkLink
University of TasmaniaLinkLink
University of Technology, SydneyLinkLink
University of Western AustraliaLinkLink
Victoria UniversityLinkLink

Planning to study PhD or research degree in Australia? Please contact One Education to get more information and free counselling on your study options. Our service is completely free of charge.
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