Information for Future Research Students

Higher Degree Research

What is a research degree?

How does the Australian system differ to those elsewhere?

At UOW we offer three types of research degrees:

  • Doctoral degrees. Traditionally Australian Doctorates have followed the British model, comprising of independent study realised in a thesis, However recently, a number of universities including the University of Wollongong have also introduced Doctorates with formal coursework, where up to one third of the requirement may be a structured course of study.
  • Master of Philosophy (also called  Masters by Research), which is the equivalent of 18 month to two yearss of full time study depending on entry requirements and may include coursework as preparation for a thesis component.
  • Master of Research, this is an internationally recognised research training pathway degree that comprised advance research training and a substantial research project.

How does a postgraduate research degree compare to a postgraduate coursework degree?

Postgraduate research degree must include no more that one third of that degree as coursework.
Coursework postgraduate degrees may have all or the majority of their requirements met by the completion of coursework subjects in a particular discipline or professional area.

Types of research degrees available:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  • A PhD requires that candidates undertake in-depth research in order to make an original contribution to the body of knowledge in their chosen studies.

  • A PhD can lead to or enhance an academic career and is highly regarded by private and public sector employers. 

  • For full-time students the course length is usually between two to four years, and four to eight years for part-time students.

  • Graduates are eligible to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa (485), which allows them to live and work in Australia, for up to four years.

  • For further information about specific degrees search under faculties.

Doctor of Philosophy handbook entry
Doctor of Philosophy entry requirements

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) (PhD I)

The PhD (Integrated) is a four-year research degree which integrates a traditional three-year PhD thesis with one-year of coursework, comprising generic research training and discipline-specific content into a single degree.  

The coursework provides candidates with the opportunity to develop their research skills while allowing additional time to develop a detailed research topic, therefore providing greater certainty and better completion outcomes in the thesis.
The coursework also allows candidates to take individual subjects in a specific discipline area, thereby providing a deeper level of content from which to draw potential research themes.  International students intending to become university researchers and teachers in their home country will benefit from exposure to Australian teaching methods through the inclusion of these ‘taught’ coursework subjects.  

The PhD Integrated is therefore ideal for applicants who aspire to graduate with a PhD and who:

  • Want a flexible program which includes a selection of ‘taught’ subjects included in a specific discipline area of their interest;

  • Need further time and to develop a detailed research proposal; or

  • Need to develop their research training skills in order to demonstrate their capacity to undertake the major research thesis.

  • Graduates are eligible to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa (485), which allows them to live and work in Australia, for up to four years.

Supporting statement

Applicants for the PhD Integrated must provide either a supporting statement or a detailed research proposal outlining the area of intended future research and reason for wishing to enrol in a research program. Applicants are encouraged to contact the  Head of Postgraduate Studies (HPS) in their discipline area, to obtain advice relating to potential research topics and supervisors. The HPS will also provide advice on the style and content needed for their research proposal/statement.  HPS contact details can be found at:

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) handbook entry
Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) entry requirements

Master of Philosophy

A Masters of Philosophy is a research degree which:

  • Provides specialised research training for those preparing for careers in academia, government and industry; and to provide professionals with the means to increase their knowledge and upgrade their qualifications.

  • Is between one to two years in length for full time students, and two to four years for part-time students.

  • This degree has over 30 specialisations, tailored to suit each discipline area.

  • Graduates are eligible to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa (485), which allows them to live and work in Australia, for up to three years.

Master of Philosophy handbook entry
Master of Philosophy entry requirements

Master of Research (MRes)

The Master of Research is a research training pathway degree:

  • MRes is preparation for doctoral students
  • For full time students 2 years study
  • Domestic students enroll first in the BRes (48cp one year degree) and receive 48cp advance standing into the second year of the MRes
  • Graduates

Professional Doctorates

The University offers a number of professional doctorates in  the Faculties of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Social Sciences, and Science, Medicine and Health, and the Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong .

  • Professional doctorates prepares professional leaders with research experience in their chosen area of study.

  • A candidate for a professional doctorate usually enrols in a research subject comprising a thesis and undertakes an approved study which may include specified course and/or practical work and/or performance as recommended by the Head.

Professional Doctorates handbook entry 

Last reviewed: 2 June, 2017
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