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Research students

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A Higher Degree by Research lets you seek the answers to your own questions, make an original contribution to human knowledge, enhance your career prospects in industry or academia, and perform high-level research in a specific area of academic interest.

High quality research supervision—aligned with USC’s areas of research strengths—enables research graduates to make strong contributions to research and development that advances academic enquiry and Australia’s economy, society, culture and environment.

What is a Higher Degree by Research?

A Higher Degree by Research (HDR) is a supervised research program that requires original research in an area that both interests you and is of broader significance to the University and the community.

Research Masters degrees require you to make a significant contribution of merit through advanced research, study and production of a work in a scholarly branch of learning, while doctoral degrees expect you to make a substantial original contribution to knowledge through your research.

Doctoral programs typically take three to four years to complete and Masters programs around eighteen months to two years studying full-time. Part-time study will double these time frames.

A HDR may include advanced coursework. However, all programs must include a major research component that comprises at least two thirds of the total candidature requirements.

All HDRs are governed by University policies and procedures (refer below).

Why do a Higher Degree by Research?

A Higher Degree by Research (HDR) is an academic degree that will enhance your future career and life opportunities in industry or academia. But like all good things in life, getting to the top of your game requires substantial effort, stamina and more than a little bit of inspiration.

An HDR tells employers that:
  • You are capable of spending weeks or months diligently working to discover new truths, evaluating alternative approaches and recommending ways forward based on intellectually solid evidence.
  • You can be trusted to work autonomously or in a small group, pursuing ideas and solutions that contradict ‘common-sense’ or ‘received wisdom’ in your field.
  • You will make an original contribution to human knowledge creating new products, new markets, new theories and new work for others to follow in your footsteps.

Industry and academia alike hire and relocate good people with HDRs from all around the world. On completion of your HDR you can choose to pursue further research and a career in academia, start your own company, undertake research in a government or business organisation, manage large businesses, or a combination of any of these rewarding options.

available higher degree by research programs

Doctor of Philosophy

Master of Arts

Master of Business by Research

Master of Climate Change Adaption by Research

Master of Creative Arts

Master of Education by Research

Master of Regional Planning by Research

Master of Science

Master of Social Work by Research

Master of Sport and Exercise Science by Research

Master of Sports Nutrition by Research

Who is eligible for entry to an HDR?

Entry to Master by Research programs

Prospective candidates applying for admission for Master by Research candidature are normally required to hold a bachelors degree with at least Honours Class 2 Division I or Division II from a recognised higher education institution.

In some programs, applicants who have completed a bachelors degree and have achieved by subsequent work and study a standard equivalent to at least Honours Class 2 Division II may also be considered.

In exceptional cases, applications may be considered on the basis of other evidence of general and professional qualifications as approved by the Research Degrees Committee. Refer to your program of interest for specific admission requirements.

If English is not your first language, you must meet the minimum English language requirements. English as a Second Language (ESL) candidates must demonstrate an IELTs score of 6.5 or equivalent.

Entry to Doctoral Research programs

Prospective candidates applying for admission to Doctoral Research programs are normally required to hold a research masters degree or a bachelors honours degree with at least Honours Class 2 Division I from a recognised higher education institution.

Applicants who have completed a bachelors degree and have achieved by subsequent work and study a standard equivalent to at least Honours Class 2 Division I may also be considered.

In exceptional cases, applications may be considered on the basis of other evidence of general and professional qualifications as approved by the Research Degrees Committee.

If English is not your first language, you must meet the minimum English language requirements. English as a Second Language (ESL) candidates must demonstrate an IELTs score of 6.5 or equivalent.

Research supervision and support

Supervision

HDR candidates are required to have one Principal Supervisor and at least one Co-Supervisor (both who are on USC’s Register of HDR Supervisors).

Candidates may also include Consultant Supervisors (who may be external to USC).

Search for a research supervisor

Support

HDR candidates at USC are offered a wide range of supporting infrastructure.

The HDR Study Centres provide open-plan office space intended to offer an ‘HDR hub’ where candidates can work together and increase connectivity among candidates.

More information