Information for Research Students

Applying for PhD

If you are interested in completing a PhD with the School, please ensure you read this information carefully.

What is a PhD?

The PhD is an essential qualification to pursue a research career, and forms an ideal basis for many other high-profile careers. A PhD is awarded to a candidate who makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge in a specific discipline. A PhD degree is obtained in two to four years of full-time candidature or the equivalent part-time candidature.

What are the entry requirements?

You must hold a master’s degree with a research component (i.e., a thesis that forms at least 25% of the master’s degree as shown by the number of credits in the overall degree), or an honours degree in accounting, economics, finance or related fields. An MBA degree often does not qualify unless it has a research component. You need to have a GPA of at least a second-class honours (i.e., 75% equivalent in the Australian system) for admission, and a first-class honours (i.e., 80% equivalent in the Australian system) or above to be considered for scholarship. These grades roughly correspond to 3.0/4.0 and 3.5/4.0, respectively, in the United States. Students from other countries should provide the grading system of their transcripts. Note that, if you are an international applicant, you must also provide evidence of English proficiency

How to apply?

The application process consists of two stages: (i) a preliminary evaluation of your expression of interest; and (ii) the formal application process (which you will be formally advised to undertake if you are assessed as having met the basic minimum requirements).

  1. For the preliminary evaluation of your interest, you must e-mail the following documents with subject heading (pick appropriate discpline) “PhD in Accounting/Economics/Finance” to phd-aef@deakin.edu.au:
    1. A cover letter
    2. An up-to-date copy of your curriculum vitae, including contact details of at least two academic referees
    3. Electronic copies of your academic transcripts, including the table of the grading system
    4. Abstract of your Honours or Master thesis, including examiner reports (if available)
    5. If there is any research activity that you have been involved, including research publications (for example, conference proceedings and journal articles), research assistance for a project, please provide the information, including the copy of the research output. Note: Absence of this experience would not necessarily work against you.
    6. A research proposal (4 pages) following the format:
      Aims and Background
      Significance and Innovation
      Approach and Methodology
      Expected outcomes
      References

      You should clearly state what you want to study, why this is an interesting topic, and how you will approach the question. Further information about preparing your research proposal is available from the Future Students website.

    7. Evidence of English proficiency, for example IELTS or TOEFL (only if you are an international applicant). Information on English language requirements is also available from the Future Students website.

    Please, send all of the above documents in one attachment only. Preliminary evaluation of your application will only commence if the above mentioned supporting documents are made available.

    Please note: If your application is deemed acceptable in the preliminary review, you will then be invited to go ahead with the formal application process.

    If any of these documents is missing, your interest will not be evaluated.

  2. Formal applications are to be completed via Deakin's online process

    If you are an international applicant, you are strongly advised to visit the Future Students - International webpage. 
    Note that, at this stage, you should provide your referees with the relevant forms. These forms contain two sections, one to be completed by you (the applicant), and the other to be completed by your referees. Your referees can attach their reference letters to the relevant forms.

What if you are rejected in the preliminary evaluation stage?

Applicants are often rejected in the first stage because of the following reasons:
  1. Supervision unavailability. You must make sure that you carefully go over the research interests of academics in your area of interest before lodging your proposal. After rejection, lodging another interest with a different proposal is possible, but the case would not be looked upon favourably if it is understood that the applicant does not have a well-thought research focus for a PhD study.
  2. Insufficient academic background, that is, low GPA in the master’s degree. While we cannot help much in this case, the applicant can take some years to build some research background and register some significant achievements such as research publications, significant involvement in research projects, etc.

When to apply?

There is no formal deadline for admission to the PhD program. However, in order to be considered for a PhD admission with scholarship, you need to meet certain deadlines. These deadlines differ depending on whether you are an international applicant or a domestic applicant. These deadlines are generally the middle of the year and end of the year. Check also the Research Services Division: Candidature and Scholarships webpage.

How long does the evaluation take?

Your interest will be evaluated within 3-4 weeks. If you get the ‘green signal’ to proceed to formal application, you will most probably be admitted to the program. If you are also seeking for scholarship, you will need to wait a couple of months after the scholarship deadline ends.

Program Structure

Confirmation

PhD students are admitted on a provisional candidature basis and must satisfy some requirements for transferring to full candidature, which is referred to as confirmation of candidature. The confirmation process will normally take place within one year of candidature (or its equivalent for part-time students). For confirmation, students will be evaluated by a panel based on a written work of 10,000 to 15,000 words. The committee will be looking for rigour and a clear direction in the candidate’s work. The committee will also look for an average of 75% in the coursework undertaken.

Coursework

Accounting:

Depending on your background including previous coursework undertaken, you may be asked to do one or more of the following PhD coursework units in the first year of your study:
MAA906 Contemporary Issues in Accounting
MAA907 Advanced Financial Accounting and Auditing
MAA908 Advanced Management Accounting
MAR906 Research Methods
Additional more advanced research methods coursework may also be prescribed based on your research topic and proposed methodology.
There is a requirement of satisfactory performance in the coursework. The Faculty of Business and Law defines “satisfactory” as an average of GPA (WAM) of 75 in the coursework. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be offered an exam for the unit(s) that is (are) the source of failure. Continued low performance may result in confirmation not being granted.

Economics:

The focus of the PhD in Economics at Deakin is on research, but there is also a compulsory coursework component to be undertaken in the first year. The aim of the coursework is to provide students with the analytical tools required for the successful completion of their dissertations.

The following is a list of PhD units covered as part of the coursework:

  1. MAE901 Business and Financial Econometrics
  2. MAE903 Advanced Economic Theory
  3. MAE905 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy

As a prerequisite to these three units, every student is expected to take an intensive preliminary course of the duration of two weeks (offered in the second half of February) covering the mathematical techniques required for advanced economic analysis. Exemptions may be granted to students with a science background.

Note that students in closely related areas to Economics can substitute other units for the above units in agreement with the principal supervisor and the Economics Discipline Leader.

As noted above, there is a requirement of satisfactory performance in the coursework. The Faculty of Business and Law has defined “satisfactory” as an average of GPA (WAM) of 75 in the coursework. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be offered an exam for the unit(s) that is (are) the source of failure. Continued low performance may result in confirmation not being granted.

Finance:

The focus of the PhD in Finance at Deakin is on research, but there is also a coursework component to be undertaken in the first year.

The following is a list of PhD units covered as part of the coursework:

  1. MAF901 Advanced Investments
  2. MAF902 Advanced Derivative Securities
  3. MAF903 Advanced Corporate Finance
  4. MAE 901 Business and Financial Forecasting
  5. MAR906 Research Methods

Students would do up to four units in the coursework. They may, however, apply for exemption for certain units for prior learning, and they can select units based on their choice of specialisation as agreed with the principal supervisor. As noted above, there is a requirement of satisfactory performance in the coursework.

As noted above, there is a requirement of satisfactory performance in the coursework. The Faculty of Business and Law has defined “satisfactory” as an average of GPA (WAM) of 75 in the coursework. Students who fail to meet this requirement will be offered an exam for the unit(s) that is (are) the source of failure. Continued low performance may result in confirmation not being granted.

Presentation requirements

Each PhD student is required to make two presentations every year to the relevant discipline academics. This is an important opportunity to receive critical feedback from academics in the discipline. Presentations will take place in a day in May and November of a given year.

Other requirements

Each PhD student is expected to contribute to the academic life of the School through interaction with other PhD students and staff members and is required to participate in seminars and workshops. Participation in domestic and/or international conferences/workshops, especially for third year students, is also expected.

Overseas placement

Each PhD student has the opportunity to spend from few weeks up to 18 months in an overseas institution to work on her/his thesis, in agreement with the principal supervisor and the Head of School. Each discipline has extensive links with leading Asian, European and North American universities as well as with international organizations. Note that paid overseas study will be permitted only if adequate supervision can be maintained and the candidate remains enrolled.

If you are a talented and motivated student and want to take your education further, join a talented and dedicated group of academics who can offer you the guidance and support you need to achieve your research and academic goals: the Deakin experience awaits you!


For further information about the program, do not hesitate to contact one of the PhD Coordinators or the Associate Head (Research), Professor Nava Subramaniam.

To lodge your expression of interest, please contact phd-aef@deakin.edu.au.


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