Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) applications

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) gives you the opportunity to develop specialised research skills and gain systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of knowledge.

PhD students graduate with specialised cognitive, technical and research skills in their chosen discipline. They are able to independently and methodically:

  • generate original knowledge and understanding to make a substantial contribution to a discipline
  • 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.

Prior to candidature confirmation, you will engage in coursework to prepare you for conceptualising and contextualising your research, and for undertaking research in an ethical manner.

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

You may report your doctoral research by way of a thesis, a creative project with exegesis, or a thematic set of scholarly publications with exegesis.

Entry requirements

You may apply for entry for a PhD if you satisfy one of the following:

  • Masters by coursework degree with minor thesis, requiring average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (above 70% VU standard).
  • Masters by research degree, or demonstrated exceptional ability during partial completion of a research project in a Masters by research degree.
  • 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), may apply for entry into a PhD through the alternative pathway PhD (Integrated).

English language requirements

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

  • Completion of a qualification where English was the primary language of instruction and assessment, and undertaken in a predominantly English-speaking context (within the last two years).
  • 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 examination methods not listed in this table.

Tuition fees

Domestic students

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


The Commonwealth Government will normally cover the cost of your tuition through Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset places. However, you may incur additional fees in some circumstances.

PhD (Integrated)

Year 1: The first year of this program is normally full fee paying. You may access the FEE HELP scheme to defer payment. You may also be eligible for a Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset place.

Years 2-4: The Commonwealth Government will normally cover the remaining cost of your tuition through Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset places. However, you may incur additional fees in some circumstances.

International students

Your tuition fees will vary depending on your chosen field of research, but are typically in the range of A$11,000 - A$14,500 per semester.

International student fees are listed on the individual course pages.

Find out more about your funding options, or contact us if you have any questions.

Scholarships for graduate researchers

Victoria University offers a range of domestic and international graduate research scholarships, providing funding to cover the cost of your tuition and/or a living allowance (stipend) to assist you throughout your study.

Scholarships are not available for the first year of the PhD (Integrated).

Early exit award

You will be eligible to exit early with a Master of Research Practice if you entered the PhD (Integrated) via the alternative pathway, and after your first year one of the following applies to you:

  • have achieved a pass mark (50% or above in all Year 1 units)
  • have not fulfilled the hurdle requirement (70% average across the coursework units and 70% in your first year thesis)
  • you do not wish to proceed to years 2-4.