PhD In Australia

The number of students starting a PhD in Australia has been increasing for a number of years. However, if you’re
interested in studying a PhD in Australia it is important to note that the process of applying for a PhD in Australia is slightly different from the process in other countries and it involves working with potential academic supervisors early on in the process of your application. 

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in studying a PhD in Australia.

Pre-application for a PhD in Australia

Potential PhD students in Australia need to have an excellent academic record and those with a 1st class undergraduate degree or a very high upper second class undergraduate degree will have the necessary academic record to apply for a PhD research position. Once an applicant has established that they have the necessary academic record they should see which academics in universities in Australia would be a good fit for their field of study. This can be done by searching through publications and research areas to see if the academic is interested in the same topics as they are. Potential PhD students should make initial contact with a potential supervising academic outlining what they wish to research into. In the initial contact, the PhD applicant should also include an outline of relevant experience, qualifications and any academic publications they have had. At this point the applicant could also include a brief research proposal

Find a postgraduate program in AUSTRALIA

Application process in Australia

Once a PhD applicant has made contact with a supervisor, they will discuss the applicant’s research proposal further and they will either agree to support the application or will recommend another colleague. Alternatively they could decline to support the application altogether – but in this scenario they will hopefully be able to suggest ways that the student could improve or amend their research proposal in order to get it accepted. If an applicant does not know which academic to ask to supervise but is interested in an individual university then they should make contact directly to the university through an expression of interest, And the university will then direct them to any appropriate academics. 

Admissions process in Australia

Once the student has an academic supervisor who has agreed to support the PhD application they will need to make a formal application. This will need an excellent research proposal that links the study area with the interest areas of the academic supervisor. This is the main part of the application for the PhD, and the university being applied to will offer guidance on writing the research proposal. Potential PhD students in Australia also need to gather documents providing information such as grade transcripts, English language skills, and a CV. If the applicant is an international student institutions may require passports or proof that the PhD student is a Genuine Temporary Entrant, Some universities and departments require potential PhD students to attend interviews and others do not. 

Study methods in Australia

Part-time PhD students will have to prove that they can fit in their studies and complete their research within the time limits set by the university. In Australia, only domestic students are usually able to undertake their PhD on a part-time basis and international students would not gain a student visa with a part-time place. The vast majority of PhD students in Australia are researching full-time on-campus. 

Fees for a PhD in Australia

Students from Australia and New Zealand or those students with permanent residency visas for Australia will often have their tuition fees paid for by the Australia Government through their Research Training Program (RTP). Very few international students will qualify for the RTP, but it is always worth checking as some countries with historic or modern links with Australia qualify. Students apply via their university for the RTP. Most international PhD students will have to pay the full tuition fees by self-funding or with scholarships

Funding your PhD in Australia

The Australian Government also offers a stipend for PhD students to live on while they research as part of the RTP. If your research qualifies for the RTP and you come from a qualifying country or are considered a domestic student, then you will also qualify for the stipend. There are also significant scholarships available in Australia that are advertised through the department or university and are sponsored by the university. International students are usually recommended to find funding from scholarships from outside of their university in Australia or their home country. 

PhD duration

If a PhD student has taken funding for the tuition fees and the stipend to pay for living costs while they study, then they need to complete their PhD within four years, but it usually takes three years. Part-time PhD students are unusual, because of the funding issues, but they will be expected to complete their PhD in no more than six years. Some PhD students complete their research within two years, but this is very unusual.

International PhD students' visas

In Australia, international PhD students no longer have a specific research student visa and must now apply for the standard student visa like all other students. A student visa lasts for five years in Australia, so international PhD students can apply as early as possible as this is longer than the three to four years that students will take to complete their research. 

Number of PhD students in Australia

The number of PhD students has increased over recent years as this table illustrates.


Sources: 1 & 2 

Find a postgraduate program in AUSTRALIA

Related Articles

Studying A Masters In Australia

Top Universities In Australia

International Students In Australia

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries

Register with Postgrad.com

  • Exclusive bursaries
  • Open day alerts
  • Latest PG news
Register Now!