Admission

Back to the PhD Handbook Contents page

Admission Policy

The University’s Selection and Admission into Course Policy can be found in the Melbourne Policy Library.

PhD entry requirements

In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:

  • a four-year bachelor degree in a relevant discipline which includes a substantial research component equivalent to at least 25% of one year of full-time study and have achieved a minimum weighted average of 75% in the final year subjects or (University of Melbourne) equivalent;
    or
  • a masters degree in a relevant discipline which includes a substantial research component equivalent to at least 25% of one year of full-time study and achieved a minimum weighted average of 75% or (University of Melbourne) equivalent;
    or
  • a qualification and professional experience considered to be equivalent;
    and
  • a research proposal (except for applicants to the Melbourne Graduate School of Science; Melbourne Business School in the disciplines of Accounting, Economics, Finance, the Melbourne Institute; Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in the discipline of composition); and
  • a folio plan (for applicants to the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in the discipline of composition); and
  • referee reports (except for applicants who have graduated from the University of Melbourne within the last 5 years); and
  • the endorsement of a prospective supervisor (for applicants to the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Melbourne Graduate School of Science, Melbourne School of Engineering and the Melbourne School of Information).

English language requirements

Applicants must also meet the University's English language entry requirements.

Graduate course fees

International

The course fees for international students can be found on the University of Melbourne international fees page.

International candidates may apply for a range of scholarships, including full and part-fee remission of course fees. International candidates without a fee remission scholarship are charged tuition fees on a daily pro-rata basis.

Australian and New Zealand citizens and Australian Permanent Residents

The fees procedure for graduate research students is specified in the Fees and Charges for Research Training Scheme Places Procedure (MPF1211) in the Policy Library.
PhD degrees are currently offered on a Research Training Scheme (RTS) basis only. The RTS provides Commonwealth-funded Higher Degree Research (HDR) students with an 'entitlement' to a fee exemption for the duration of an accredited HDR degree. Funding is provided for a maximum of four years full-time (eight years part-time) for a PhD. The University may elect to impose fees.  For more information see the Australian Government's RTS website.

Student Services and Amenities Fee

The Australian Federal parliament passed legislation in 2012, allowing universities to charge students a Student Services and Amenities fee (SSAF). Graduate researchers enrolled in an RTS supported degree (Australian and New Zealand citizens and Australian Permanent Residents) are required to pay this fee annually to maintain their enrolment. The fee amount that is required to be paid will vary depending on enrolment across the full academic year (ie full or part-time enrolment and any planned periods of leave of absence). For more information, see the University's Student Services and Amenities Fee and the Australian Government's SSAF websites.

Residency requirement

All candidates are required to complete the equivalent of at least one-third advanced study and research at the University (unless studying at an approved outside institution). The Research Higher Degrees Committee will not approve entirely distance supervision or entirely on-line supervision for Graduate Research students. The minimum residency requirement may be waived only by the Chair of RHDC and only if the Chair is satisfied the following conditions apply:

  • exceptional circumstances exist that prevent the applicant from complying with the residency requirement
  • the applicant has a demonstrated professional background in the area of their proposed research; and
  • the applicant provides a plan for their regular attendance at the University that has been endorsed by their supervisors.

Referral of case to fulfil residency requirement

A case may be referred by completing the relevant section in the Assessment Form, or alternatively if the Assessment Form has already been assessed by MSGR by email to grad-info@unimelb.edu.au.

The written request to waive the residency requirement should provide:

  • A statement of reasons for the application including their demonstrated professional background in the area of the proposed research and
  • A detailed plan with a timetable stating how the residency requirement will be met by their regular attendance at the University and the
  • Signed support by the supervisor and head of department.

Applicants based at approved outside institutions

Candidates may be permitted to base their research entirely at certain approved research institutions. Candidates based at an outside institution must report on their progress to the RHD Committee through the department in which they are enrolled, and take part in graduate seminars and other activities, as required by the department.
Departments should refer to Appendix A, section F. Candidates based at outside institutions for the following:

Expected time commitment

A PhD program at the University of Melbourne is a demanding undertaking requiring performance to the full extent of the candidate's ability. It is therefore expected to be a full-time commitment (at least 40 hours per week) unless enrolment is part-time in which case the expected time commitment is at least 20 hours per week. In some instances, the candidate in consultation with their supervisors and head of department might determine that additional coursework subjects will assist in their PhD research program (refer to Enrolment in additional subjects, courses and degrees).

Employment restrictions

Employment or other activites must not impact on the time commitment the candidate makes to their course and must make satisfactory progress.   It is the responsibility of the candidate and supervisors to ensure that paid work will not jeopardise the completion of the degree of study in the time allowed. If a candidate is continuing in employment while enrolled, they must be free to pursue independent research consistent with the learning outcomes and graduate attributes of their course.  A university staff member who is accepted into a PhD, the research undertaken for the course needs to be separate for any specific research work they are directed to undertake in their employment at the university.  

 

Application procedures

For information on the current application process, requirements and links to faculty pages please visit Future Students.
Applicants for PhD candidature should contact their prospective faculty or graduate school and/or academic school or department prior to submitting a formal application. Each faculty or graduate school may have additional or differing entry requirements. The department's research activities and potential supervisors who are qualified and available to accept PhD candidates for supervision, will be considered as part of the department's selection process.
An applicant must meet the entry requirements and the application must be approved by the supervisors, head of department, dean of faculty and the Chair of the RHD Committee. The official letter of offer will contain advice on enrolment procedures (refer to Enrolment).

Joint department applicants

Cross-disciplinary research applicants may apply for joint enrolment in more than one department. Applicants should indicate this by listing each department/school on their application. Supervisors, heads of departments and deans of faculty in each proposed department/school must approve the application.

Applications for a jointly-awarded PhD program

Under the jointly-awarded PhD program candidates are supervised jointly by academics from the University of Melbourne and a nominated partner institution, spending at least 30% of the total time limit (or one year) in each university. Each candidate's program takes place under a reciprocal agreement between the two institutions, which sets out the terms for joint supervision and examination. The candidate pays fees at one institution only. Jointly-awarded arrangements are part of an ongoing or developing cooperative research collaboration between a department or research group in this University and a partner institute. 
Before a jointly-awarded PhD program can be approved, an applicant must be approved as an eligible candidate for the PhD degree. Applicants must also complete the Agreement for a Jointly-Awarded PhD Degree form. Agreements for the joint PhD program must be finalised prior to the confirmation milestone (approximately 12 months into candidature).

Transfer from masters by research candidature

Candidates who are enrolled in masters by research at this University and who are qualified for admission to the PhD program may apply to transfer to PhD candidature. A current incomplete masters or doctorate degree normally cannot contribute to meeting the eligibility requirements for admission to the PhD.
Some PhD programs have compulsory coursework components and masters by research candidates are advised to check with their faculty and department for any conversion conditions and requirements. The University Handbook entry for the relevant PhD degree includes any compulsory coursework components.
Candidates are encouraged to apply within six to 12 months of masters candidature and must lodge an Application and Confirmation of Candidature for Conversion from a Graduate Research Degree to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This can be done with your proposed faculty or graduate school.
Candidates who have completed six months or more of research for a masters by research may be admitted to confirmed PhD candidature. Candidates are required to undertake the same confirmation process as probationary PhD candidates (refer to Probationary status and confirmation of candidature).
The PhD candidature will normally be regarded as a continuation of the same program of study, and the PhD commencement date will be backdated to the commencement date of the masters degree. International masters candidates should check that their visa and sponsored funding arrangements do not impose any restrictions on undertaking a PhD.
International masters candidates should check that their visa and sponsored funding arrangements do not impose any restrictions on undertaking a PhD.

Transfer of PhD candidature from another institution

PhD candidates at other institutions who wish to transfer their candidature to the University of Melbourne must satisfy all the requirements for undertaking a PhD at this University. Candidates apply by completing the application from available from the Future Students website.
Departments may make a case on an individual basis for the probationary period to be reduced, or recommend admittance into confirmed candidature, on the basis of work completed at another institution. The residency requirement of one year full-time would still be imposed (refer to Residency requirement).
Under the provisions of the RTS (refer to Australian and New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents), Commonwealth-funded candidates transferring their candidature from another Australian university are required to have the time they were enrolled at their previous university included in the maximum time available, up to a maximum period of four years full-time or eight years part-time equivalent study for a PhD The University of Melbourne allows a maximum term of PhD candidature of three years (for full-time candidates). If necessary, candidates may apply for a maximum of two extensions of six months. Part-time candidates have a maximum term of candidature of six years, and may apply for a maximum of two twelve-month (part-time) extensions. Further extensions beyond four years will only be granted in exceptional circumstances (refer to Extension to period of candidature). The University may elect to impose fees on candidates who have exhausted their entitlement. The University may also deduct prior candidature of international fee paying higher degree research candidates transferring from another Australian university from the maximum time available.

Police checks

Organisations which host clinical placements or field experience may require candidates to have obtained a police record check regarding their suitability to undertake such placements. Applicants and enrolled candidates are advised that they may be required to obtain and pay for a police check prior to undertaking clinical placements or research in their degree. Applicants and candidates who anticipate they may need to obtain a police record check for their research project should seek advice from their supervisor or from their school or faculty at the earliest possible time.