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Doctor of Philosophy

Overview

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an internationally recognised graduate research program that will enable you to become an independent researcher. 

With the guidance of an advisory team, you will undertake a research project and produce an 80,000-word thesis and complete an oral examination.

A PhD will take you 3 to 4 years to complete full time and is intended to develop advanced research skills and knowledge in your chosen field.

Your research project will be developed with advice from your advisors and allow you to develop discipline and broader research skills and knowledge.

The thesis is a substantial document that makes an original contribution to the field of research. In some circumstances your thesis may involve an alternate format.

You will need a strong academic background and you may need to submit a research proposal and other documents to support your application. About 1,000 PhD candidates join UQ each year researching a wide range of topics.

Research areas

UQ is one of Australia’s top research-intensive universities. Our research addresses national and global cultural, environmental, economic and social challenges.

UQ continually builds on its reputation in key research impact areas of national and international significance.

Learn more about UQ's research impact

Location
Gatton, Herston, St Lucia
Duration
3 to 4 years full-time (or part-time equivalent)
Start Semester
Research Quarter 1 (1 Jan, 2022), Research Quarter 2 (1 Apr, 2022), Research Quarter 3 (1 Jul, 2022), Research Quarter 4 (1 Oct, 2022)
Program Code
7501
AQF
Level 10
Location
Gatton, Herston, St Lucia
Duration
3 to 4 years full-time
Start Semester
Research Quarter 1 (1 Jan, 2022), Research Quarter 2 (1 Apr, 2022), Research Quarter 3 (1 Jul, 2022), Research Quarter 4 (1 Oct, 2022)
Semester dates for 2023 are yet to be confirmed
Program Code
7501
CRICOS Code
0100213
0100214
AQF
Level 10

Program highlights

Program highlights

  • Be inspired and challenged to explore new ideas and develop greater understanding of complex questions with leading researchers.
  • Access premier resources including one of Australia’s largest libraries, with more than 2 million physical resources and 116,800+ journal subscriptions.
  • Foster and improve your skills through the Career Development Framework, created with industry.
  • Learn from researchers whose work addresses national and global cultural, environmental, economic and social challenges.

32 in the world

CWTS Leiden Ranking 2021

54 in the world

Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020

Supervision

You have to find and contact a thesis supervisor before you apply

This supervisor will support, guide and mentor you through your research, and can introduce you to professional networks that will start your career.

3-Minute Thesis

The showcase event for research candidates is the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT). 

3MT is held each spring.

Learn more about the 3MT

A UQ HDR student presents her research on stage during the Three-Minute Thesis competition.

Career development

UQ offers a range of development opportunities via the Career Development Framework (CDF) to help you develop portable skills for any career or industry.

Learn more about the CDF

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Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements

You have to prove you are prepared for PhD study. You do this by showing you:

  • have completed some research experience
  • have completed an approved university degree and
  • can meet the English language requirements.

Approved degrees

An approved degree needs to be:

  • in an area relevant to your proposed PhD project and
  • completed no more than 10 years ago.

You need one of the following approved degrees to apply for a PhD:

  • Master of Philosophy (or another research master’s degree); or
  • Bachelor’s degree from an approved university with at least honours class IIA or equivalent; or
  • Coursework master’s degree with an overall grade point average of 5.65 on the 7-point UQ scale which includes relevant research experience, approved by the dean; or
  • Postgraduate degree (at least one year full-time or equivalent) with an overall grade point average of 5 on the 7-point UQ scale, together with demonstrated research experience equivalent to honours class IIA will be considered on a case-by-case basis; or
  • Bachelor’s degree plus at least 2 years of relevant research experience, including research publications.

Additional application information

Applications must be lodged via the online application portal. There is no application fee for research higher degree programs. Ensure you have all the required documents prepared when you submit your application.

Minimum English language proficiency requirements apply, please refer to the English proficiency policy.

Student visas

International students who are accepted into full-time study in the Doctor of Philosophy are eligible to apply for an Australian Student visa (subclass 500).

This program has two CRICOS codes:

  • 0100213 – Architecture, creative arts, education, health, information technology, management and commerce, mathematical sciences, social and cultural studies
  • 0100214 – Agriculture and environmental studies, dentistry, engineering, human movement, medical studies, natural and physical sciences, pharmacy, psychology, veterinary science

Discuss your proposed project with us to determine which CRICOS code is most relevant for your visa application.

There are a number of requirements you must satisfy before a visa is granted, including the genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement.

Learn more about student visas

Research experience

You need to demonstrate some research experience to be accepted into a PhD. If you can show you have planned and written a research project with some independence, you have enough experience to apply.

We will consider a combination of research projects from academia or industry, and also creative works and criticism.

Find out what we accept as relevant research experience

Additional entry requirements

Many departments will have additional entry requirements and may request documents to support your application, such as a research proposal. You should discuss these additional requirements with your potential thesis supervisor.

English language requirements

There are a few ways you can meet our English language requirements. If you sit a test, the following scores are needed for PhD admission:

TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum additional scores
IELTS (clinical projects)7.07.0 in every sub-band
IELTS (all other disciplines)6.56.0 in every sub-band
TOEFL (paper-based)5705.0 in TWE (written), and 54 in reading & listening
TOEFL (internet-based)8721 in written, 19 in reading, listening & speaking

Read our English language requirements

Scholarships

There are several types of PhD scholarship:

  • tuition fee scholarship: this covers the fees charged by UQ for PhD study
  • living stipend scholarship: this is a fortnightly payment (or stipend) to support your daily expenses
  • top-up scholarship: may be provided by external organisations, supervisors, or philanthropic donations. When awarded, they provide an additional payment on top of a living stipend scholarship. They cannot be held without a living stipend scholarship.

Each year, we award more than 600 scholarships to attract and support the highest quality higher degree by research applicants.

University scholarships

Other scholarships

Throughout the year we advertise a range of other research scholarships, including top-up scholarships, travel grants and external scholarships, including:

How to apply for a scholarship

You can apply for many scholarships using the same form as your PhD application. External scholarships might have different ways to apply. 

Our Scholarships website explains how to apply for each scholarship. If you are applying for a non-UQ scholarship, outcome dates may vary.

View all HDR scholarships

    Fees and costs

    Research costs

    The department you enrol with will meet all necessary costs for your project, including:

    • resource and facility costs: at UQ, which may include other organisations in Australia or overseas
    • travel costs: to complete fieldwork, collect data, or to visit libraries or other repositories
    • coursework costs: for courses studied outside the department
    • relevant training: in particular methodologies or techniques.

    How to apply

    Before you apply

    1. Check your eligibility

    Check your eligibility by reviewing the entry requirements for UQ's Higher Degrees by Research.

    2. Approach a potential supervisor

    Identify a researcher with relevant expertise and get agreement to support your PhD and project.

    Many departments will require additional information to make a decision around your motivation, understanding, commitment, and financial support required.

    They may request documents to support your application, such as a research proposal. You should discuss these additional requirements with your potential thesis supervisor.

    3. Gather your documents

    You will need to compile the necessary documents. We will accept scanned copies of original documents, but you will have to keep all original documents for the duration of your studies.

    Upload all documents as PDFs and name your files like this: LASTNAME_firstname_document-name.pdf

    If any of your documents is in a language other than English, you will need to send both the original document and an official translation.

    Send the following documents with your application:

    Academic curriculum vitae (CV)/résumé

    An academic CV assists us to determine your readiness to commence a higher degree by research. For the purposes of this application, your academic CV should be current (i.e. no more than 6 months old) and include information under the following headings:

    Personal details

    Include:

    • your full name
    • your contact details (phone number, email address, city and country of residence)
    • nationality
    • languages spoken and proficiency level for each
    • your ORCID ID or other research output identifier (such as Google Scholar) if you have one (see the ORCID ID and research identifiers information provided by UQ Library).

    As the purpose of this academic CV is to determine your academic suitability for a higher degree by research program at UQ and your competitiveness against other applicants, we only require information that is of direct relevance to our decision-making processes. With this in mind, please do not include the following in your academic CV:

    • photographs/head shot
    • marital status
    • driver’s license
    • date of birth/age
    • hobbies and interests.
    Educational qualifications and academic awards

    List each of your formal educational qualifications in reverse chronological order (i.e. with the most recent formal educational qualification listed first). For each qualification, include:

    • the commencing and end dates (month and year) for the qualification
    • the full title of the qualification (e.g. Bachelor of Arts instead of B.A.)
    • the institution attended and the enrolling school/administrative unit
    • the city and country where the institution is located
    • your Grade Point Average (GPA) for the overall qualification
    • any academic achievement awards (e.g. Dean’s awards, subject prizes, University medals, thesis prizes etc.) received for the qualification
    • if a research thesis was part of the qualification, include the title and word length of your dissertation.

    As part of your application, please submit academic transcripts and degree certificates for each educational qualification you list.

    Please do not include:

    • high school qualifications
    • the individual subjects/courses undertaken throughout your qualifications or the grades awarded for these
    • training courses/professional development activities not resulting in a formal qualification.
    Professional affiliations and memberships

    List any professional/disciplinary associations or committees that you a member of and include:

    • the commencing and end date (in years) for the affiliation/membership
    • the name of the professional association or committee
    • your membership type (e.g. student member, affiliate member, full member etc.) or role (e.g. committee member, secretary, president etc.).
    Employment history

    List each of your previous employment roles in reverse chronological order (i.e. with the most recent/current employment listed first) and include:

    • the commencing and end dates (month and year) for the employment
    • the title of each position
    • the name of the employing organisation, the city, and country where you were based
    • your main duties or accountabilities in that role, providing detailed information on any research-related activities
    • any achievements during that role that are relevant to your proposed field of research.
    Other research experience

    List any voluntary, unpaid, or extra-curricular research-related projects or experiences you have undertaken (e.g. summer research projects, internships etc.) and include:

    • the commencing and end dates (month and year) of the experience
    • the name of the organisation, the city, and country where you were based
    • your main duties or accountabilities in that role, providing detailed information on any research-related activities
    • any achievements during that role that are relevant to your proposed field of research.
    Research outputs

    In reverse chronological order (i.e. the most recent output first) list your research outputs, including for example research published or accepted for publication, research reports, and research by creative practice.

    If needed, use sub-headings to separate refereed journal articles, published conference proceedings, edited book chapters, books, creative works, industry reports, invited papers, patents, media commentary, conference presentations and posters, invited talks etc. If applicable, use additional sub-headings to indicate if outputs are published, accepted for publication (but not yet in print), or (submitted but) under review.

    Do not include any outputs/publications that are ‘in preparation’.

    For all research outputs, include:

    • the output/publication reference using an official bibliographical style (such as Turabian/Chicago, APA, Harvard), including listing all authors in the order that they appear in the work with your name in bold
    • the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), PubMed Identifier (PMID), International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or URL where applicable
    • any metrics and/or measures of esteem relevant to the output and your discipline (see the metrics information provided by UQ Library for more information), for example:
      • the standing of the journal or conference and the impact of the work (e.g. impact factors, citations and other metrics indicators)
      • relevant indicators of national or international significance
      • rejection rates for the outlet etc.
    • a brief statement (maximum 50 words) outlining your specific contribution to any multi-authored outputs/publications, including:
      • how much of the original research you were responsible for (i.e. what was your role in the conception and design of the project and how involved were you in the analysis and interpretation of the research data on which the publication is based?)
      • the extent to which you authored the paper.
    Research grants and relevant awards

    Include only those research grants and relevant awards that you have received at the time of making your application (i.e. do not list grants or awards that you applied for and did not receive or are awaiting a decision on). For each research grant/award, include:

    • the name of the granting/awarding body and the country in which they are based
    • the name of the grant/award
    • the year(s) in which the grant was active or the year in which the award was made
    • the amount of the research grant/award
    • if relevant (e.g. for research grants), the title of your application.

    Applicants from creative and professional-based disciplines may also include non-research grants and awards related to their creative or professional practice.

    Research achievements relative to opportunity (optional)

    In recognition of the diverse personal and professional pathways that applicants have experienced, you are invited to provide information (maximum 200 words) to contextualise your research outputs and achievements, relative to the opportunities that you have had to participate in research-related activities.

    This section of the CV is optional and should only be included if you believe there are factors relevant to your research achievements that you would like the selection panels to know. Examples of factors include (but are not limited to):

    • study/career disruptions due to illness, caregiving, natural disasters etc.
    • non-linear academic or career progression, or a change in career direction
    • reduced ability to take up research-related opportunities (e.g. attend conferences) due to caregiving responsibilities.
    Academic referees

    Please provide us with two referees who can comment on your academic work. For each referee, include their:

    • honorific and name
    • role title
    • employing organisation and the city and country where they are located
    • contact details, including office address, telephone, fax and email (preferably an institutional, rather than private, email address)
    • an indication of the capacity in which you know this person (e.g. were they a lecturer or thesis supervisor, an employer, how long you’ve known them etc.). 

    If possible, please include at least one:

    • senior person (preferably your supervisor or the head of your organisational unit) closely associated with your current work, and
    • person who is not a member of your proposed advisory panel/supervisory team.
    Formatting and document specifications

    We recommend that you use the below formatting settings to improve the readability of your CV:

    • margins of at least 1.5 centimetres
    • single line spacing
    • no smaller than 12 point Times New Roman font (or equivalent)
    • left justify text (not full justify)
    • include your name and page number on each page
    • be consistent in your formatting and spelling throughout
    • limit the use of bold, underline, italics, and multiple font types.

    Please proofread your CV carefully before uploading it to your application.

    Save as a PDF and name your file: LASTNAME_firstname_CV.pdf

    There is no page limit to your academic CV – it can be as long as required to include the information requested here.

    Please include in your CV all the headings listed above – if you do not have any content to add for a particular heading please list ‘None to date’ under that heading.

    An academic CV for employment purposes within Australia would not include the information requested here outlining your three most significant publications or your research achievements relative to opportunity. It would, however, include information about professional and service activities undertaken and may include a summary of your relevant research/teaching interest areas and skill sets – this information is not required in the CV you submit here for application to an HDR program.

    Academic transcript

    This should show all study you have undertaken since secondary school, whether complete or incomplete, including the institution grading scale.

    An academic transcript can also be called an:

    • academic record
    • diploma supplement
    • statement of learning
    • record of achievement.
    Degree certificate

    A degree certificate is a legal document, imprinted with a university seal. It should state the name of your qualification and areas of study.

    Include all degree certificates (testamurs) for post-secondary study with your application. If you studied in China, you must provide a:

    • transcript
    • award certificate and
    • graduate statement/certificate.
    English language documents

    All applicants have to prove they can meet English language requirements. Any test scores have to be valid at your proposed commencement date.

      Passport

      Include a copy of the information page (with your photo) in your passport. This will verify your identity and ensure we can make offers correctly.

      References/letters of recommendation

      Include the contact details of two referees who will support your application. These referees will need to provide insight into your research experience.

      We will contact your referees for a report, but you will need to enter their details into the application form.

      Other documents

      Other documentation, originals or certified copies, may be required depending on your individual circumstances, for example:

      • evidence of change of name
      • proof of citizenship, if you are not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand by birth
      • previous research program information.

      If you don't provide us with all documents it will take us longer to process your application. Your start date might then be delayed, or you might miss an admission or scholarship deadline. 

      4. Apply online

      Once you have prepared your application and contacted a potential supervisor, use the online application form to apply. You can send an application at any time, but your application can only be assessed once your referees have responded to us, and all outstanding documents and school/institute endorsements have been received.

      Apply now

      Important dates

      The academic year for research students is divided into four research quarters (RQ).

      To commence byYou must apply by
      RQ 1: January30 September
      RQ 2: April31 December
      RQ 3: July31 March
      RQ 4: October30 June

      Candidates applying for a Student Visa or UQ scholarship may need to apply earlier. Make sure you check scholarship round application deadlines and outcome dates before applying.

      The agreed start date will be included on your Confirmation of Enrolment.

      Find out more about research quarter dates

      Important dates

      The academic year for research students is divided into four research quarters (RQ). You can start a PhD in any quarter, as long as the Census Date hasn't passed.

      To commence byYou must apply by
      RQ 1: January30 September
      RQ 2: April31 December
      RQ 3: July31 March
      RQ 4: October30 June

      Candidates applying for a UQ scholarship may need to apply earlier. Make sure you check scholarship round application deadlines and outcome dates before applying.

      The agreed start date will be included on your offer of admission.

      Find out more about research quarter dates

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants

      For support with applying - or if you have any questions about Uni - get in touch with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit.

      Contact the ATSIS Unit

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