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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 and original contribution to the field of research.

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, 2020), Research Quarter 2 (1 Apr, 2020), Research Quarter 3 (1 Jul, 2020), Research Quarter 4 (1 Oct, 2020)
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, 2020), Research Quarter 2 (1 Apr, 2020), Research Quarter 3 (1 Jul, 2020), Research Quarter 4 (1 Oct, 2020)
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.

31 in the world

CWTS Leiden Ranking

54 in the world

Academic Ranking of World Universities

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.

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

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

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 CV/résumé

    Your academic CV should include the following headings:

    • Personal details
      Include your full name and contact details.
    • Educational qualifications and professional affiliations
      Include the full title of the qualification, the institution attended and the year awarded.
    • Employment history
      In chronological order, starting with your current position and specifying dates of employment. Include the title of each position, name of employer, main duties or responsibilities, and achievements relevant to your proposed field of research. Make sure you include details of any research-related positions or projects.
    • Research publications
      Include articles published or accepted for publication. Mark the three most significant publications with an asterisk. Specify the publication details, your contribution as an author to multi-authored publications, plus the standing of the journal or conference.
    • Description of most significant publications
      Include a short description (200 words each maximum) for each of the three asterisked publications. Explain their significance in the field and why they have made an important contribution. All publications should use an official referencing style (such as Chicago, APA or Harvard).
    • Research grants
      Only include awarded grants.
    • Academic referees
      Include the name and contact details (address, telephone and email) of two referees. If possible, include a senior person (preferably your supervisor or the head of organisational unit) closely associated with your current research work.

    You don't need to include marital status, photographs, driver’s license, hobbies and interests.

    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