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Admission Policy

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

Minimum standards for entry to the PhD

PhD applicants will be assessed using the criteria described below and in the Resolutions on Selection. The measures include an assessment of an applicant's knowledge of the discipline and evidence of their ability to complete a rigorous research project. Applicants are required to meet the minimum standards described for each of the six criteria listed below. In addition all applicants (internationally and locally qualified) must meet the University's English language entry requirements. Further information is available from the Future Students website.

In exceptional circumstances, the Research Higher Degrees (RHD) Committee may consider for admission a person who does not have qualifications equivalent to a four-year honours degree, if it is satisfied that the person's experience in research and the results of that experience are so outstanding that the person is likely to have the ability to pursue the degree successfully. In such cases, or where the other minimum standards as specified below are not all met, the department (with faculty endorsement) may present a case for admittance, including relevant evidence, to the Chair, RHD Committee.

Normally, the evidence of such equivalence would take the form of a research publication record and/or additional significant research experience that would be equivalent to a fourth year. In the case of a three-year honours degree from the United Kingdom the sponsoring department may also provide evidence about the quality of the institution and the quality of the degree, compared with a four-year honours degree.

Criteria for assessing applicants' eligibility for PhD candidature

Minimum qualifications Applicants are normally required to have completed at least a four-year honours degree at H2A (75–79%) grade from an Australian university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered by the RHD Committee to be equivalent. For particular disciplines applicants are also required to complete, at an appropriate level, a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or a Graduate Record Entry (GRE) test.
Minimum level of academic achievement

Applicants should have achieved an overall H1 (80–100%) or H2A (75–79%) grade in the relevant honours or masters degree.

Applicants who have completed certain professional degrees such as MBBS, MD, BVSc, DVM, LLB, JD, BPhysio, DPT, BDSc, DDS, BEng and MEng will be assessed individually.

Relevance of the degree The completed degree must be in an area that is relevant to the intended PhD, including sufficient specialisation such that the applicant will have already developed an understanding and appreciation of a body of knowledge relevant to the intended PhD.
Evidence of research ability

Applicants are normally required to have completed a research project, component, subject or group of subjects that accounts for at least 25% of their work (ie Honours year), or 25% of one year accumulated over the length of a Masters degree, and which has, or have, been conducted, and assessed, individually. Research carried out in groups should at least have been graded individually. This project, component, or subject(s) may include:

  1. any obviously research oriented project, subject or sustained piece of scholarly writing conducted for assessment, such as small theses, research essays, long essays, or studios; AND/OR
  2. any less-obviously research subjects, including practice-based subjects such as performance or fieldwork, where there is also scholastic rigor as documented in a sustained piece of writing analogous to (a); AND/OR
  3. any subjects directed at the formation of research skills, such as methodology and reasoning, such as scientific reasoning, or legal reasoning, where a sustained piece of writing has also been produced.

Graduates of certain professional degrees at the University of Melbourne, including MBBS, MD, BVSc, DVM, LLB, JD, BPhysio, DPT, BDSc, DDS, BEng and MEng are deemed to have met this requirement.

Currency of applicant's knowledge of the discipline The applicant's degree(s) and/or professional experience must demonstrate that the applicant's knowledge of the discipline in which they plan to undertake their PhD is current. It is therefore expected that an applicant will have completed their tertiary studies and/or any relevant professional experience in the ten years immediately prior to their intended entry to the PhD.
Assessment of suitability Based on interview or other verbal communication, an assessment should be made of the level of understanding, motivation and time commitment of the applicant for the proposed program of study. For example, a full-time candidate would be expected to devote at least 40 hours per week and a part-time candidate about half this.

English language requirements

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

Graduate course fees


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 PhD candidates are required to complete the equivalent of at least 12 months full-time (24 months part-time) advanced study and research in the University unless studying at an approved outside institution. The RHD Committee will not approve entirely distance supervision or entirely on-line supervision for graduate researchers.
Throughout their candidature candidates are expected to attend the University in order to benefit from planning, conducting and writing up their research within the University community and environment.
The residency requirement is deemed especially important during the period of probationary candidature. During probationary candidature the candidate is expected to interact on a regular basis with supervisors, the department (including staff and other research candidates) and the University to:

  • Build the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the proposed research program
  • Acquire an understanding of the standards and requirements for a PhD awarded by the University
  • Make use of support programs and facilities provided by the University throughout candidature.

Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and Melbourne Research Scholarship (MRS) holders will usually live within reasonable commuting distance from campus for the duration of their award. APA and MRS holders are entitled to apply for periods of up to 12 months study away. Refer to the APA/MRS condition booklet.
A candidate undertaking their studies away from the University for any period of time will in most cases be required to apply for approved study away (refer to Study away from the University).
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.

A written request to waive the residency requirement must be made to the RHD Committee and 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.