PhD in Australia – Your Complete Guide

Apart from providing a multi-cultural living experience and the highest living standards in the world, Australia provides one of the best research experiences for students pursuing a PhD degree. With world-recognized university reputation and highly advanced laboratories, Australia has one of the highest PhD completion rates, as well as a number of scholarship options for international students.

PhD degrees in Australia

A Doctorate degree in Australia is the highest qualification on the Australian Qualifications Framework. PhD can be undertaken across all disciplines in top universities of Australia. Also, there are many unique PhD programs in Australia, from Marine Biology at the Great Barrier Reef to Anthropology at Uluru.

PhDs in Australia are usually research-based and, while they may contain other aspects, the focus of the studies is on working towards your doctoral thesis.

In general, a PhD begins with a literature review that collects, analyses, and summarises the current research published on your chosen subject. This then provides the basis for designing, implementing, and analyzing your own research that you’ll write about for your thesis. Throughout, you’ll have the support of at least one expert supervisor.

Individual Doctoral Studies 

It is the most chosen study route by doctoral students. It is based on research carried out under the supervision of a professor and involves a thesis or dissertation that has to be produced at the end of the doctoral studies. You can complete this type of research at a university, a non-university research facility, or a company. In any case, a professor will supervise you and a thesis advisory committee may or may not be essential depending on the university norms.

Structured Ph.D. Programs

In this route, a doctoral student will be supervised by a professor and will attend courses, lectures, and seminars together with other doctoral students. In such PhD programs, a team of advisors in form of a thesis advisory committee offers regular and intense supervision to students. A structured interdisciplinary curriculum is to be followed which helps improving academic, scientific, and other soft skills.

Length of PhD in Australia

A full-time PhD in Australia usually takes three years. Some students might take longer, but this generally depends on their registration and funding arrangements.

Part-time PhDs in Australia can take up to six years, but this route isn’t available to international students.

Cost of PhD in Australia

According to the Australian Government, fees to study a PhD in Australia range from A$18,000 to A$42,000 per year. Besides, the cost of living in Australia varies depending on the location and lifestyle, but the Australian Government estimates that students will require at least AUD $21,041 (USD $14,400) for each year of their course. This is the amount (1st year tuition fee + 1 year living cost) that students should show in their bank accounts in order to successfully apply for a student visa.

Assessment and examination for award of PhD degree

In Australia, students are required to submit a written thesis summarising their findings and the evidence at the end of their PhD. The Thesis document is around 100,000 words in length. Students are not required to undergo a viva voice in Australia, which is an assessed oral exam in defense of their research topic, method, and results. Instead, students are assessed solely on their thesis.

Application Process for PhD in Australia

Step 1: Check whether you meet minimum eligibility requirements

Check the Program & Course website to ensure that you meet the academic requirements for the institution where you wish to study a doctorate in Australia. All students, whether domestic or international, must also meet the minimum marks for exams required to study in Australia.

Step 2: Draft a Research Proposal

The research proposal, submitted along with the application, outlines your intended research or explains your ideas in detail. It is fine to change or drift away from your original ideas after you have enrolled in your program.

Step 3: Find a supervisor

Search potential supervisors and go through their research expertise, published works, and contact details.

Step 4: University pre-application requirements

Most universities will ask applicants to identify and secure the support of a potential supervisor before they proceed to apply. However, some universities may not ask for this and instead ask applicants to submit a short description of their proposed area of research.

Step 5: Joint or Dual/Cotutelle PhD Proposal

To commence the Joint or Dual Award PhD application process, you may need to complete a proposal, which you will submit to potential supervisors as part of the pre-application process.

Step 6: Apply

If you have secured the support of a potential supervisor, you may check deadlines for Australian universities and apply. You will need to nominate three referees to support your application.

Step 7: Receive an outcome

Applications usually take between 6-8 weeks to assess, or longer if you are applying for a scholarship. All communications, including application outcomes, are sent to your email account.

PhD Application deadlines in Australia

A PhD in Australia can start at any point in the academic year. This means that there isn’t normally a strict deadline for applications. Universities may prefer students to submit in time for the start of a term, but this isn’t always the case. Remember that, even if there isn’t a deadline, the application will still take time. As a general rule, you should apply at least five months before you hope to start your PhD.

PhD Funding in Australia

The Australian Government and the Australian Universities provide a large number of scholarships to international students. There’s a good chance that you won’t pay your full international fees as a PhD student in Australia. This is because funding is readily available from various sources, including Studentships from Australian Universities, Endeavour scholarships, and research training programs. Many of these are specifically designed to attract students.

Australian universities will often have their own studentships and funded PhD places available for excellent students. Some institutions may also have specific funding opportunities for international students.

Endeavor Scholarships are an international funding scheme run by the Australian Government. They provide up to AUD $272,500 for up to four years of PhD research, including support for fees, maintenance and travel.

Research training program funding is available for domestic and international PhD students in Australia. Places are awarded by participating universities according to eligibility criteria set by the Government.

Family visa norms in Australia

If you are coming to Australia to study, you are eligible to bring your family members with you. You can either include them on your original student visa application or you can apply for their visas once you have started your course in Australia so that they can join you. Spouses, partners, and unmarried children under the age of 18 are eligible for dependent visas. If the student is studying for a master’s degree (coursework or research) or a doctorate degree the partner will have full and unlimited work rights. The duration and validity of a dependent spouse visa will be usually the same as the student visa.

Can I work in Australia part-time during my studies?

Students can carry out paid work for up to 40 hours per fortnight whilst researching for a PhD in Australia. No restriction is applied to employment during holiday periods.

Can I stay and work in Australia after my PhD?

An Australian PhD can be a route into longer term employment and residency in Australia, provided you can find a job related to your skills and expertise. To help students with this Australia offers a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485). This allows PhD graduates to remain in the country for up to four years, subject to certain conditions.

How can “Road to Abroad” help you?

We provide the best PhD Assistance across the globe. We provide the right guidance and support needed to complete the tedious and time-consuming PhD admission process. Our flawless track record and very high success rate have fulfilled the dreams of many students who aspire to gain a doctoral degree. We will help you secure a fully-funded PhD position and help you in all the steps from application to immigration. For more information, visit our PhD Consultation Page.

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