Follow the below steps to apply* for a research degree as a domestic or international research student.
*The steps listed on this page are a guide and applicable to most courses. Please also check if there are any faculty-specific requirements.
To be eligible to pursue postgraduate research study you will need previous research experience and a high academic record. You need to have undertaken a significant research project or thesis in your previous university-level studies.
This could be the equivalent of:
English language requirements depend on the course, your country of origin and educational background. Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency.
To apply for a PhD, you need to demonstrate sufficient prior research experience and capability. In most cases, you will have either:
In most cases, to apply for a master’s by research or a Master of Philosophy, you need to have one of the following:
If you’re interested in a Joint PhD program, you need to follow the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) application steps 1-3. In addition, your proposed supervisor will need to complete a proposal to negotiate a student agreement form. If accepted, you will also be required to sign an individual student agreement. After your student agreement is finalised, you will then be sent an application form for the Joint PhD program.
Please refer to the University's Dual and Joint Degree Policy for full policy details.
Download our Joint PhD programs factsheet (pdf, 116KB) to learn more.
Before you submit an application you must first secure a supervisor. Carefully consider the subject of your research project and start to develop a research proposal to provide to potential academic supervisors. Your initial proposal will likely evolve, however, it is important to clearly explain your ideas about your research, show why your research is noteworthy and how it aligns with your proposed supervisor’s own research.
Check out these guidelines on how to write a research proposal for a strong PhD application.
You can search for supervisors’ contact details via their academic profile, or you can search for supervisors and projects by discipline, keywords, and research themes. Our faculty and research centre websites are also good places to start.
To support your enquiry, send an email describing your academic background and research experience, the topic you'd like to research and how your research project aligns with the work of your proposed supervisor. You must include your resume/CV, academic transcripts for all degrees and your initial research proposal. Please check your HDR course page on Sydney Courses for specific faculty requirements.
We have one of the largest research scholarships schemes in Australia. Scholarships can be a big help in funding your research or helping you with living costs while you do your research. Some scholarships are specific to a research project or discipline, and many are assessed on academic merit and research potential. Search for a scholarship.
When you submit your course application you can elect to be automatically considered for the Research Training Program stipend. The stipend is competitively awarded and is based on academic merit and research potential.
For domestic students, you do not pay tuition fees as this is covered by the government Research Training Program fee offset. For international students, tuition fees are applicable. If you are an international student and are awarded RTP, this will cover your tuition fees and provide a stipend. Please note: there are limited places available in the Research Training Program for international students, and these are highly competitive.
Depending on your research project, many PhD students also work part-time to fund their study, similar to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students.
Postgraduate research degree applications are open all year round, with most research intakes starting in Research Period 2 (March) and Research Period 3 (July). However, to be considered for the RTP stipend you will need to submit your application by these dates. You can still submit your course application past the RTP deadline but you will not receive a stipend outcome until the next round of RTP rankings.
Please check your course page on Sydney Courses for the research periods your faculty offers. We recommend applying as early as possible prior to your intended start date, and you will also need to discuss your start date with your supervisor.
International students are recommended to factor in the Department of Home Affairs visa processing times when considering a likely start date for their HDR course.
When you have secured a supervisor, you will discuss and refine the project together. Once your research proposal is finalised, gather all the essential documents that you will need to submit with your application:
If you are an international student, you will also need:
Our frequently asked questions provide further information on our HDR courses and the application process.
You will need to pass health and security checks if your research involves fieldwork in the New South Wales hospital and education systems. The course page details explain what admission criteria you need to satisfy to get into the course.
You may also need to apply for approval from the Animal Ethics and/or Human Research Ethics Committee.
*Please also refer to your faculty for additional admission requirements, or variations in the application process, which may apply.