Victoria University’s world-leading researchers are available to supervise graduate researchers 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 will develop advanced skills in research, critical thinking and problem-solving. Our completion rates are among the highest in Australia, 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.

When to apply

Applications for a research degree can be made at any time throughout the year. Offers will be made for the next available semester dependent on the date of application.

If you would also like to apply for a main round graduate research scholarship, you will need to apply for the scholarship first.

How to apply for a research degree

Select a suitable study level:

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

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 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 the PhD (Integrated) course.

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.

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.

Supervisors are active researchers working within VU's institutes, research centres or college-based research groups. They provide guidance and support throughout your research. As part of your application (step 4), you will need to nominate a supervisor.

It is important to identify a supervisor that shares an interest in your research topic. Your research interest should also align with one or more of our research focus areas.

Please note that colleges reserve the right to confirm supervision.

Identifying a supervisor

We recommend that you read about the research groups, projects and activities of our institutes, centres and colleges.

This will help you to:

  • identify a potential research supervisor
  • ensure your research interests align with ours.

College based research

Institutes & research centres

 

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:

  • title of your research proposal
  • name and college 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.

 

Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year.

Applicant status Application process
Australian residents

Submit your application to apply.research@vu.edu.au.

Please ensure you include your:

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 Program (RTP). Please then proceed to Step 6.

International applicants

Submit your application through Victoria University International.

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.

 

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 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 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 (EFT) 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 (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.

Professional Doctorate

Professional Doctorate applicants need to enrol and commence study according to the University semester start dates, in February or July each year.

Initial admission is to the coursework component of your degree, with progression to the research phase subject to satisfactory performance.

Standard duration for a Professional Doctorate is 3 years effective full-time (EFT), not exceeding 4 years EFT.

 

Contact us

For more information on the application process, please email apply.research@vu.edu.au.