Victoria University’s world-leading researchers are available to supervise graduate students on their way to becoming the next generation of research-qualified professionals.

Undertaking a research degree at VU is a great way to enhance your career. You'll develop advanced skills in research, critical thinking and problem-solving.

VU's completion rates are among the highest in Australia – and our graduate researchers value the expert supervision and training they receive.

There are a range of options available for funding your research degree.

When to apply

You can apply for a research degree at any time throughout the year. Offers are made for the next available semester depending on your application date.

Applications for admission to a research program to be considered for a semester 2/2019 place are closed.

2020 application for admission closing dates are as follows:

Semester 1, 2020 Semester 2, 2020
Domestic: 31 October 2019 Domestic: 31 May 2020
International: 30 September 2019 International: 30 April 2020

Once you submit your application, it can take up to 6 weeks to receive an outcome as the Institute must determine supervision availability and that your research is aligned to one or more of our research focus areas.

How to apply for a research degree

International students

  • Masters by Research: Build on skills and knowledge from your undergraduate degree.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and PhD (Integrated): There are two possible pathways to a PhD at VU, the standard pathway PhD and the alternative pathway PhD (Integrated), to conduct research that leads to new knowledge or re-interprets existing ideas, theories and approaches.

Domestic students

We offer three Master of Research courses with varying durations and coursework requirements. Your area's research institute will decide which course is the best match for your current qualifications and discipline background. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) courses have an 'Integrated' option to pathway into PhD study.

The Institute for Health & Sport specialises in sport, business, medical, social and policy research:

The Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities incorporates a broad range of disciplines, including arts, education, engineering, law, science and economics:

You will need to meet the minimum academic entry requirements for admission. You will also need to demonstrate a capacity to undertake significant research in your chosen field.

If your previous qualifications are from an overseas institution, your application will be assessed for equivalence to Australian Higher Education Degrees.

Academic requirements

Degree name Minimum entry requirements

Master of Research

(domestic applicants only)

Master of Research Practice (1 year effective full-time)

  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor Honours degree (or equivalent) in the same discipline with an average grade of Distinction (or equivalent).

OR

  • Completion of an Australian Graduate Diploma (or equivalent) in the same discipline with an average grade of Distinction (or equivalent).

Master of Research (1.5 year effective full-time)

  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in the same discipline with an average grade of Distinction (or equivalent) in the final year.

OR

  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor Honours degree (or equivalent) in a different discipline with an average grade of Distinction (or equivalent).

Master of Applied Research (2 years effective full-time)

  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in any discipline with an average grade of Distinction (or equivalent) in the final year.

Masters by Research (2 years effective full time)

(international applicants only)

  • A three or four-year bachelor degree with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (above 70% VU standard) in the final year

OR

  • Other equivalent qualification or professional experience demonstrating a capacity to undertake a Masters by Research.
Doctor of Philosophy
  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor Honours Degree (AQF8), or equivalent, in a similar discipline to the proposed research with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (70% or above on the Victoria University grading scale) for the final year.

OR

  • Completion of an Australian Masters degree (AQF9), or equivalent, in a similar discipline and undertaken by a combination of coursework and a thesis with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (70% or above on the Victoria University grading scale). The output produced from the thesis must have been undertaken solely by the applicant and examined externally to the supervisory/advisory team, but this need not be external to the University where they completed the degree.

OR

  • Completion of an Australian Masters research degree (AQF9), or equivalent in a similar discipline with average grades of at least H2A/distinction (70% or above on the Victoria University grading scale).

OR

  • Completion of an equivalent combination of academic and research achievements such as relevant industry experience, research experience evidenced by peer review publications or the completion of a high-level research project in a similar discipline to the proposed research deemed to be equivalent to any of the above entry requirements.
Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)
  • Completion of an Australian Bachelor Honours Degree (AQF8), or equivalent, in a different discipline to the proposed research with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (70% or above on the Victoria University grading scale) for the final year.

OR

  • Completion of an Australian Masters degree (AQF9), or equivalent, undertaken by coursework in any discipline, not including a thesis, with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (70% or above on the Victoria University grading scale).

OR

  • Completion of an equivalent combination of academic and research achievements such as relevant industry experience, research experience evidenced by peer review publications or the completion of a high-level research project, in a different discipline to the proposed research, deemed to be equivalent to any of the above entry requirements.

OR

  • Any of the Admission Requirements as listed in the PhD.

For details on Australian equivalency of your overseas qualification(s), please see the  international academic requirements for a higher degree by research.

English Language Requirements

English language examination method Result
IELTS (academic module): Overall score (no band less than) 6.5 (6.0)
TOEFL Internet: Test score 79 (Listening 19, Speaking 19, Reading 18, Writing 22)
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Overall score (with 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 examination methods not listed in this table.

If you completed a qualification where English was the primary language of instruction, you may be eligible for an English language exemption. Check our guide to English language requirements to find out if you qualify for an exemption.

Field of Research (FoR) code

Before you submit your application, you are required to nominate a priority FoR which most closely aligns with your area of research. You may only select one code from the following list:

  • 0102 – Applied Mathematics
  • 0601 – Biochemistry & Cell Biology
  • 0602 – Ecology
  • 0801 – Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing
  • 0805 – Distributed Computing
  • 0806 – Information Systems
  • 0904 – Chemical Engineering
  • 0905 – Civil Engineering
  • 0906 – Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • 0908 – Food Sciences
  • 0913 – Mechanical Engineering
  • 1106 – Human Movement and Sports Science
  • 1107 – Immunology
  • 1110 – Nursing
  • 1116 – Medical Physiology
  • 1117 – Public Health and Health Services
  • 1301– Education Systems
  • 1302 – Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • 1303 – Specialist Studies in Education
  • 1402 – Applied Economics
  • 1503 – Business and Management
  • 1506 – Tourism
  • 1602 – Criminology
  • 1608 – Sociology
  • 1701 – Psychology
  • 1801 – Law
  • 2002 – Cultural Studies
  • 2103 – Historical Studies

Applicants must include the FoR code in their research proposal (Step 4: Prepare your research proposal).

Identifying a supervisor

Supervisors are active researchers working within VU's institutes and research centres. They provide guidance and support throughout your research.

It is important to identify a supervisor that shares an interest in your research topic.

Refer to the find a researcher webpage to search for a supervisor and their contact details.

You must contact a supervisor and receive in principle approval for your research project. If you do not receive a response from a potential supervisor within 2 weeks of emailing, please proceed to submit your application, including email evidence of contact made. The institutes reserve the right to confirm supervision.

Please note, if you do not nominate a potential supervisor and provide a Field of Research Code, your application will not be considered.

The admissions team does not provide assistance to applicants seeking to find a supervisor.

All graduate research applicants are required to prepare a research proposal for submission. Your research proposal should be 1-2 pages (typed, A4), and include the:

  • Nominated Field of Research code
  • title of your research proposal
  • name and Institute of your nominated supervisor (on the title page)
  • aims and field of research
  • significance of the research
  • methodology and research techniques
  • facilities and equipment required.

This initial proposal gives us an understanding of your research interests. Study in the early stages of your research degree may lead to changes. In some cases, your supervisor(s) may suggest a project linked with both of your interests.

You can submit an application any time throughout the year. There are graduate research intakes twice a year.

Applicant status Application process
Australian residents

Submit your application to [email protected]

Please ensure you include your:

  • completed A125 Apply for research (domestic students only) form
  • academic transcripts
  • qualification certificates
  • research proposal – including supervisor's name and priority FoR (as above)
  • 200-word personal statement – include your reasons for wanting to undertake this research, and your academic path or trajectory
  • up-to-date CV
  • two written academic references – letters from previous lecturers or supervisors, including their titles, institutions and contact details (no template available)
  • evidence of correspondence with VU registered academics – in which you seek in-principal support of supervision (include any responses).

If your application is successful, you will receive a formal Letter of Offer sent via email by the Office for Researcher Training, Quality and Integrity. All domestic research applicants will be considered for an Australian government funded place under the Research Training Program (RTP). Please then proceed to Step 6.

International applicants

Submit your application through Victoria University International.

  • academic transcripts
  • qualification certificates
  • research proposal – including supervisor's name and priority FoR (as above)
  • 200-word personal statement – include your reasons for wanting to undertake this research, and your academic path or trajectory
  • up-to-date CV
  • two written academic references – letters from previous lecturers or supervisors, including their titles, institutions and contact details (no template available)
  • evidence of correspondence with VU registered academics – in which you seek in-principal support of supervision (include any responses).

If your application is successful, you will receive a formal Letter of Offer sent by VU International. Please then proceed to Step 6.

Please be aware of the relevant deadlines for off-shore and on-shore applications.

Admission with Advanced Candidature

If you are currently enrolled in a higher degree by research with another institution, and would like to transfer to VU, you may be eligible for admission with advanced candidature. See more information on applying for advanced candidature.

Masters Degrees and PhD Integrated successful applicants must enrol and commence for semester 1, 2020 on 3 February 2020.

PhD successful applicants must enrol and commence for semester 1, 2020 on 17 February 2020.

Applicant status Enrolment
Australian residents If you are offered a place in a higher degree by research, please follow the instructions on your Letter of Offer to accept your offer and arrange your enrolment.
International applicants

Victoria University International will you a Letter of Offer, which will include the fees (and/or details of any agreed fee scholarship arrangements), enrolment deadline, and overseas student health cover details.

If you are offered a place in a higher degree by research you will be contacted to arrange your enrolment.

Please be aware of the deadlines for the acceptance of the offer.

Master of Research

For domestic Master of Research applicants, initial admission is to the pre-candidature phase, which usually continues for the first 6 months effective full-time (EFT) enrolment.

Standard duration for:

  • Master of Research Practice is 1 year (EFT)
  • Master of Research is 1.5 years (EFT)
  • Master of Applied Research is 2 years (EFT)

Your candidature must be approved before you become an official candidate for the degree. Your ongoing enrolment is also provisional until your candidature is approved.

International applicants

For international Masters by Research applicants, initial admission is to the pre-candidature phase, which usually continues for the first 6 months effective full time (EFT) enrolment. Standard duration for this course is 2 years (EFT).

Your candidature must be approved before you become an official candidate for the degree. Your ongoing enrolment is also provisional until your candidature is approved.

Doctor of Philosophy

For PhD applicants, initial admission is to the pre-candidature phase, which usually continues for 6-9 months effective full-time (EFT) enrolment. Standard duration for a Doctor of Philosophy is 3 years EFT, while the maximum duration should not exceed 4 years.

Your candidature must be approved before you become an official candidate for the degree in which you are enrolled. Your ongoing enrolment is also provisional until your candidature is approved.

You will be required to enrol in and complete two (2) core coursework units in the first semester (effective full-time). Find out more about our PhD coursework units.

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)

For PhD (Integrated) applicants, initial admission is to the Year 1 program of intensive research training with minor thesis. If you meet the requirements to progress to Years 2-4, at the conclusion of Year 1 you will proceed to the pre-candidature phase of the PhD with a fast track to candidature confirmation. This includes intensive mode delivery of the core PhD coursework unit, Conceptualising and Contextualising Research early in Year 2.

The duration of the PhD (Integrated) is normally 4 years. Your PhD project and thesis should incorporate the initial research work undertaken in Year 1. Your candidature must be approved before you become an official candidate in your degree. Your ongoing enrolment is also provisional on approval of candidature.

If you entered the PhD (Integrated) via the alternative pathway, you will be eligible to exit early with a Master of Research Practice after Year One if you:

  • 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.

Find a supervisor

Find a researcher
Search for VU researchers by name or provide keywords e.g. areas of expertise, publications, projects.