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Admission information

The University of Wollongong offers a range of HDR degree options for graduates. The doctoral program includes the PhD, PhD (Integrated) and professional doctorate degrees. We also offer the new research training pathway, the Master of Research MRes. The PhD (Integrated) is a four year program comprising one year of coursework (with a qualifying grade) and three years thesis.

View the Master of Research (MRes) handbook

Entry requirements

The University of Wollongong offers a range of HDR degree options for graduates. The doctoral program includes the PhD, PhD (Integrated) and professional doctorate degrees. We also offer the new research training pathway, the Master of Research. The PhD (Integrated) is a four year program comprising one year of coursework (with a qualifying grade) and three years thesis.

PhD and Professional doctorates

The entry to these degrees is based on a demonstrated capacity to undertake significant research in the proposed field. This means that you should have completed advanced coursework in a relevant field of study; initial research training in appropriate methods; and a research project resulting in a written report or comparable output.

Research ability may be demonstrated in a variety of ways:

  • An Australian honours degree (an undergraduate degree plus an additional year of supervised research). To apply for a research masters degree, the minimum standard for the honours year is typically honours 2:1.
  • A research masters degree with at least 2/3 of the degree comprising a thesis.
  • A UOW Masters of Research training pathway degree (or equivalent at other Australian Universities). The minimum  standard is typically a WAM of 75.
  • A coursework masters degree or graduate diploma which includes a research project or thesis of 10,000 to 20,000 words with a minimum WAM of 70%( or GPA of 3.5 out of 4), and research methodology units.
  • Relevant postgraduate research experience.
  • One or more independently peer-reviewed journal articles, publications, or conference papers.
  • Professional reporting or prior learning.
  • Research related awards or prizes.
  • Other evidence of research ability.

PhD (Integrated)

Entry to this degree requires  a minimum of four years of study at degree level, either a four-year bachelor degree, or a bachelor degree plus masters by coursework, with a minimum credit average of 65% (or GPA 3.0 out of 4.0), or equivalent. Note that the 48cp of coursework in the first year of the degree is intended to build disciplinary knowledge and research capacity. A credit average (65%) plus a minimum of 65% in nominated research training subjects is needed for candidates to progress to the thesis component of this degree.

Master of Research (and Bachelor of Research)

Entry to these degrees require a 3 or 4 year undergraduate or coursework Master degree with a minimum WAM of 65% (or GPA of 3 out of 4).

Master of Philosophy

For this degree any of the measures of research ability outlined for the PhD are acceptable, however the minimum standard for an Australian honours degree is 2:2 honours or a WAM of 60% (or a GPA of 2.8 out of 4) for a coursework masters’ degree. For all research degree applications you must provide demonstrated evidence of such achievements, which have been independently assessed. You should also include details on the nature of your research ability, such as the length and content of the program or research, with particular attention to the standard of any research component. If the evidence includes publications or reports with several authors, you should describe the contribution you have made to the paper. An interview may be requested to discuss this and other matters. The University will assess each case on its merits.


Types of Higher Research Degrees

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 

HDR Research by Distance Learning

Many HDR students have responsibilities or financial restrictions which prevent them moving to a UOW campus.

The HDR distance learning option allows candidates to undertake HDR studies in their preferred location in Australia or overseas.

Enrolment is open to both domestic and international candidates for full- or part-time study.

International candidates based overseas do not need an Australian study visa so are eligible to undertake HDR studies part-time, an option not available for onshore students (Australia based) international students.

Candidates maintain communications with their supervisor by electronic means.

Criteria for distance learning HDR study:

  • Suitable only for research projects that do not require physical access to facilities based at UOW campuses
  • Only HDR degree without coursework requirements are eligible. Hence only applications for the PhD or MPhil (with advance standing for the coursework)
  • Existing on campus students can apply to transfer to distance learning mode, on approval from their supervisor, HPS, and the GRS

For further details please contact Tim Marchant.

Application Process

Applications for Postgraduate Research

Please follow the steps below, and do not hesitate to contact Future students if you have any questions.

Approach a Supervisor and Academic Unit

Your first step is to determine your preferred field of study and find the faculty or academic unit that will best meet your requirements. You are encouraged to research our staff members to identify a potential supervisor who matches your area of interest. You may contact a potential supervisor to discuss your project prior to applying for admission.

Select a Research Topic and Prepare Your Research Proposal

You should discuss a broad plan for your research topic with the head of the academic unit, faculty head of postgraduate studies or your potential supervisor. You are required to nominate a working title at the beginning of your enrolment but may change this with the approval of the academic unit. Your thesis topic will become better defined as your research progresses.

All candidates must a research proposal summarising the project they would like to pursue. It is highly recommended that you discuss your research proposal with your potential supervisor before completing your HDR application.

If your potential supervisor is in the Faculties of AIIM, EIS, or SMAH, then your research proposal should be 1-2 pages in length and include introduction, research design/methodology, expected outcomes, and references.

If your potential supervisor is in the Faculties of BUS, LHA or SOC, then your research proposal should be 3-4 pages in length and include introduction, literature review, research design/methodology, expected outcomes, and references.

For assistance on writing a research proposal please click here.

NOTE that your research proposal must be written in your own words and may be checked for plagiarised material. 

Apply for Admission

Check and confirm the academic and documentary requirements required to apply for your degree of interest through CourseFinder.

Complete and submit your application for Higher Degree Research.

Please note that the postgraduate research application process is lengthy as each application is assessed by the relevant faculty. Turnaround times for a research application is 6–8 weeks.

Supporting Documentation

If your undergraduate studies were completed in a language other than English, or in a country where English is not the first language, you must also provide evidence of English proficiency (e.g. IELTS Test Report Form or TOEFL Official Score Report—not a student copy) For more information contact Future students on 1300 367 869.

Creative Arts applicants may be required to submit documentation or portfolio material. Further information is available from the School of Arts, English and Media

Certification of Documents

Original or certified copies of academic records, mark sheets or transcripts for studies previously undertaken must be provided. Certified English translations are also required for documents in another language. The transcript must show all subjects undertaken, grades and stages reached or qualifications gained.

For domestic applicants, a photocopied hardcopy document must be certified as a true copy of the original by:

  • An authorised officer in the admissions office at any tertiary institution
  • A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia or the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants, or the National Institute of Accountants or the Association of Taxation and Management Accountants or Registered Tax Agents
  • A bank branch manager (not in a bank travel centre)
  • A barrister, solicitor or patent attorney
  • A police officer of the rank of sergeant or above
  • A post office manager
  • A principal of an Australian high or primary school; or
  • A justice of the peace

The person certifying the photocopies must:

  • Write on the copy: “This appears to be a true copy of the original document sighted by me”, and
  • Sign the document and print your name, address, telephone number, profession/occupation, date verified; and
  • Affix the official stamp or seal of the verifier’s organisation on the copy, if the organisation has such a stamp.

My eQuals: Certified Digital Academic Documents

Where an applicant has had digital academic document(s) issued via My eQuals, they can submit links to these documents to UOW as part of their admissions application.

To submit My eQuals digital academic documents, please follow the below instructions:-

1. Generate a link to your My eQuals digital academic document(s) – do not nominate an expiry date
2. Paste the link into a Word document
3. If you added a PIN to the link, please ensure you note the PIN next to the link
4. Where you have more than one relevant My eQuals digital document to submit, provide a link for each, ensuring you label each link clearly
5. Save the Word document on your computer. Note: a document must not be bigger than 2 MB for undergraduate/postgraduate course applications and not bigger than 5 MB for HDR applications. Acceptable formats are: pdf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, jpg, jpeg, tif and tiff.
6. Upload the Word document to your UOW admissions application

Please only submit My eQuals digital documents according to the instructions outlined above. The My eQuals portal offers other options in which to share documents, however, those options are not recommended by UOW.

Click here to find out more about sharing My eQuals digital documents.


Find a supervisor/ Heads of Postgraduate Studies advice

Last reviewed: 11 March, 2019