Graduate research

Professor Mikel Duke
Professor Mikel Duke

Victoria University has world leading researchers available to supervise graduate researchers to become the next generation of research-qualified professionals.

Undertaking a research degree at VU is a great way to enhance your career. You will develop advanced skills in research, critical thinking and problem-solving. We have completion rates amongst the highest in the country, and our graduate researchers value the quality research supervision and research training we provide.

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

Application dates

Without a scholarship

An application for a research degree that is not dependent upon a scholarship can be made at any time throughout the year.

With a scholarship

Applicants for a research degree who would also like to apply for a main round graduate research scholarship are required to apply for a scholarship first.  These are available for application each year in August to September for International students and September to October for Domestic Students and include government schemes APA and IPRS.  

In addition to these scholarships there are a range of other options for funding your research degree available throughout the year.

How to apply for a research degree

Step 1: Select a degree

Select one of our degrees by research and become part of a team committed to innovative research that provides real benefits to the community, informs teaching and learning, and is recognised in Australia and overseas.

  • Masters by Research: build on skills and knowledge from an undergraduate degree.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): conduct research that leads to new knowledge or re-interprets existing ideas, theories and approaches.
  • Professional Doctorates: focus on issues in a particular profession and develop your ability to conduct independent research that makes an original contribution to improving practice.

Step 2: Meet minimum academic entry requirements

For admission into a higher degree by research at Victoria University, you will need to meet the minimum entry requirement and demonstrate a capacity to undertake significant research in the proposed field. Please note that the qualifications which you base your application on will be assessed for equivalence to Australian Higher Education Degrees if obtained from an overseas institution.

Academic requirements

Degree Name Minimum Entry Requirements
Master by Research
  • 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
  • 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).
Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)

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. 

Doctor of Business Administration
  • A Master of Business degree or its equivalent with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (70% VU standard)

AND

  • Have completed at least two years appropriate work experience
Doctor of Education (Australian residents only)
  • A four-year Bachelor of Education with honours at H1 (80 -100% VU standard) or H2A (70 - 79% VU standard) honours level

OR

  • A Master of Education by coursework degree with minor thesis with average grades of at least H2A/Distinction (above 70% VU standard)

OR

  • An acceptable alternative Masters qualification

AND

  • Significant professional experience of at least three years

For details on Australian comparability of your overseas qualification(s), please refer to 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 (Listening19, 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 methods of examination not listed in this table.

If you have 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.

Step 3: Identify a supervisor (and align your research interests with ours)

Applicants for a research degree are required to identify a potential research supervisor (you are required to nominate this supervisor in Step 4).  Supervisors are active researchers working within VU's institutes, research centres or college-based research projects who will provide guidance and support throughout your research study.  

It is important to identify a supervisor that shares the same interest in your research topic. Please note that colleges reserve the right to confirm supervision.

It is also strongly recommended that you align your their research interest with the university’s Research Focus Areas

Identifying a supervisor

Applicants are advised to read the information available on the VU website related to the research groups, projects and activities of University's institutes, research centres and colleges.

This will assist you with:

  • identifying a potential research supervisor
  • aligning your research interests with the University's Research Focus Areas

The names of individual supervisors, their discipline areas and the colleges they work within are also available on the VU Registered Supervisor list.

College based research

Institutes & research centres

Step 4: Prepare your Research Proposal

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

  • Title of the research proposal
  • Name and College of your nominated supervisor (on the title page)
  • Aims and field or research
  • Significance of the research
  • Methodology and research techniques
  • Facilities and equipment required

Please note that the initial proposal is for the purposes of providing 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 also suggest a project linked to your and their interests.

Step 5: Submit your application

Applications for higher degrees by research are accepted throughout the year, but the commencement times are February – March and July- August each year. Submit your application as early as possible to allow time for it to be processed and other arrangements finalised.

Applicant status Application process
Australian residents

Submit your completed A125 - Apply for a research degree form and all required documentation (including Academic Transcripts, Qualification Certificates, Research Proposal, an up-to-date CV and Academic References) to apply.research@vu.edu.au

If your application is successful, you will receive a formal Letter of Offer sent via email by the Graduate Research Centre. All domestic research applicants will be considered for an Australian government funded place under the Research Training (RTS) Scheme. Please then proceed to Step 6.

International applicants

Submit your application via the Victoria University International application page.

If your application is successful, you will receive a formal Letter of Offer sent by VU International and you should then proceed to Step 6.
For other general enquiry about the international application process such as visa, student health cover and eCOE, please visit the University’s international application page.

Please be aware of the specified 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 but would like to transfer to VU, you may be eligible for admission with advanced candidature. For more details on how to apply, please refer to the Advanced Candidature section on the Candidature page.

Step 6: Enrolment and commencement

Enrolment and commencement generally occurs in February-March and July-August each year.

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 send the applicant a Letter of Offer, which will include the fees (and/or details of any agreed fee scholarship arrangements), the date enrolment must occur by 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 by Research

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

Doctor of Philosophy

For PhD applicants, initial admission is to the pre-candidature phase, which usually continues for up to 12 months (effective full-time) of 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) of their PhD studies. More information on the PhD coursework units may be found here.

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)

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

If you 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, you will be eligible to graduate with a Master of Research Practice exit award.

The duration of the PhD (Integrated) is normally 4 years and initial research work undertaken in Year 1 is normally expected to be incorporated into the PhD project and thesis. 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. 

Professional Doctorate

All Professional Doctorate applicants are required to complete the enrolment and start your studies according to the usual term of the University, which will be in Feb or July each year.

For Professional Doctorate applicants, initial admission is to the coursework component of the degree and progression to the research phase of the degree is subject to your satisfactory performance in the coursework. The standard duration for a Professional Doctorate is 3 years EFT while the maximum duration should not exceed 4 years.

Contact us

For information on the application process, please send your enquiry to apply.research@vu.edu.au