Doctor of Philosophy

A Doctor of Philosophy provides students with the opportunity to develop a systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning and specialised research skills for the advancement of learning and/or for professional practice. Graduates of a Doctor of Philosophy have expert, specialised cognitive, technical and research skills in their  discipline area to independently and systematically:

  • engage in critical reflection, synthesis and evaluation
  • develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge
  • disseminate and promote new insight to peers and the community
  • generate original knowledge and understanding to make a substantial contribution to a discipline

Prior to candidature being confirmed, all students at Victoria University in a Doctor of Philosophy undertake some coursework that prepares them for conceptualising, contextualising  and undertaking their research in an ethical manner. Doctor of Philosophy candidates report on their doctoral research by way of a thesis, a creative project with exegesis, or a thematic set of scholarly publications with exegesis.

There are two possible pathways to a PhD at VU: the standard pathway PhD and the alternative pathway, called the PhD (Integrated).

On this page

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the PhD are:

  • Masters by coursework degree, with minor thesis, with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (above 70% VU standard).

OR

  • Masters by research degree, or demonstrated exceptional ability during partial completion of a research project in a Masters by research degree.

OR

  • Four year bachelor degree with honours, or an honours degree at H1 or H2A honours level, incorporating initial research training and a minor thesis (above 70% VU standard).

In addition to the above, applicants who have a Masters degree undertaken entirely by coursework, with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (above 70% VU standard), can now apply for entry into a PhD through the alternative pathway (PhD Integrated).

English language requirements

All applicants for both pathways must demonstrate competency in English sufficient to work at doctoral level by providing evidence of one or more of the following:

  • completion of a  a qualification where English was the primary language of instruction
  • and assessment, and undertaken in a predominantly English-speaking context
  • an overall band score of not less than 6.5 in an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with no individual band score below 6.0 or equivalent in another university sanctioned English language assessment (see table below).
  • demonstrated competence in English equivalent to above.
English language examination method Result
IELTS (Academic Module): Overall score (no band less than) 6.5 (6.0)
TOEFL Internet: Overall score (section score no less than) 79 (Listening 19, Speaking 19, Reading 18, Writing 22)
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Overall score (no section score less than): 58-64 (50)
University of Cambridge - Advanced (CAE): Total score of 58
VU English - University Preparation UPP (Postgraduate) Achieved
English Language School in Sydney (ELSIS) - EAP 2 (advanced) A grade

In some circumstances we will accept test results from other methods of examination not listed in this table.

Choose the right degree for you

Discipline area PhD PhD (Integrated)
Business and Management UPBB UPBA
Creative Arts UPAC UPCA
Economics UPBE UPEA
Education UPEE UPDA
Engineering UPNE UPGA
Food Sciences and Technology UPHF UPFA
Human Movement UPSH UPHA
Information and Mathematical Sciences UPNI UPIA
Law UPLL UPLA
Medical and Biological Sciences UPHM UPMA
Nursing and Midwifery UPHN UPNA
Psychology UPAP UPPA
Science UPNS UPOA
Society and Culture UPAS UPSA
Sport and Recreation UPSS UPRA

Thesis format

Victoria University recognises three thesis formats for the reporting of our Doctor of Philosophy degrees:

  • Traditional thesis – in this format the thesis (60,000 - 100,000 words) is presented as a single monograph that contains a series of interlinked chapters reporting on the research
  • Thesis by creative project – in this format the thesis is presented as creative work (creative component) and an accompanying critical reflective written work (exegesis or analytical written component). For more information, download the Guidelines on Thesis by Creative Project at VU (PDF, 135 KB)
  • Thesis by publication – in this format the thesis is presented as a number of high quality publications together with framing, linking and concluding material. For more information, download the Guidelines on Thesis By Publication at VU (PDF, 78 KB)

Course costs

International students

Tuition fees for an international student studying a PhD in both pathways vary between programs dependent on the field but are typically in the range of A$11,000 - A$14,500 per semester.

Fees for international students are listed under Course essentials on the individual course page.

Domestic students

If you are residing in Australia and are an Australian citizen; Australian permanent resident; or New Zealand citizen, the following applies to you.

Doctor of Philosophy

Through the award of a Research Training Scheme (RTS) place, tuition fees are normally funded by the Commonwealth Government. However, fees may be charged in some circumstances.

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)

Year 1:  The first year of this program is normally full fee paying. The Fee (HELP) Scheme may be accessed to defer payment of this fee.  You may also be eligible for a Research Training Scheme (RTS) place as a domestic student.

Years 2-4: If you are residing in Australia and are an Australian citizen; Australian permanent resident; or New Zealand citizen, the following applies to you: Through the award of a Research Training Scheme (RTS) place, tuition fees are normally funded by the Commonwealth Government. However, fees may be charged in some circumstances. 

Find out about more options for funding your research degree.

Scholarships & support

Victoria University offers graduate research scholarships for tuition fees and a living allowance (stipend) to assist graduate research students with the costs of their study. Scholarships are not available for the first year of the PhD (Integrated).

Exit degree

Candidates who enter the Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) via the alternative pathway and after Year One achieve a pass mark of 50% or above in all Year 1 units, but do not fulfil the hurdle requirement (70% average across the coursework units and 70% in the Year 1 thesis) or do not wish to proceed to years 2-4, will be eligible to graduate with a Master of Research Practice exit award.

How to apply

Follow the six steps to applying for a research degree

Contact us

If you require further information please contact the Graduate Research Centre or the College relevant to your area of study.