Information for students

Higher degrees by research programs encourage you to develop independent research skills and are for students who want to pursue their own theories and ideas at a high conceptual level.

The skills developed as part of a research degree include the ability to formulate a significant research problem, relate the research to the broader framework of knowledge in the chosen area, and the mastery of appropriate skills to tackle the problem. Research results are incorporated into a thesis, which is submitted for examination.

Undertaking a higher degree by research requires a much greater commitment of time than a coursework degree: at least 36 hours per week for 48 weeks of the year, for a full-time student. Traditionally, research-level study has been viewed as a pathway to a research or academic career. However, employers recognise that the skills gained through a higher degree by research program are also highly applicable in the workplace...

Three-minute Thesis finalist

Courses offered

Courses Offered

A masters by research degree is awarded for an original contribution to knowledge achieved in up to two years of full-time candidature (or two to four years of part-time candidature). Usually a thesis of not more than 50,000 words is submitted.

Doctoral degrees are awarded for a substantial original contribution to knowledge achieved in two to four years of full-time (or four to eight years part-time) candidature. Usually a thesis of not more than 100,000 words is submitted.

In the case of both masters by research and PhD degrees, the program may include some coursework designed to strengthen your research skills and assist in managing your research project, usually in the first year, but the focus of the degree is on research.



Admission to Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidature is normally granted on the basis of a bachelor's degree with honours or a master's degree with a substantial research component. It is expected that a candidate for a doctoral program will have achieved the standard of at least second class honours (upper division), and that a candidate for a master's degree will have achieved the standard of second class honours. Other qualifications and experience may be considered for entry if the HDR Committee accepts them as equivalent to those above. Where entry is sought based on alternative qualifications, a key requirement is that there has been independent research leading to a thesis or equivalent publications. The HDR Committee looks for evidence of research potential and demonstrated ability to produce a significant report - two qualities which will be essential for successful candidature.

English Language Requirements

Where your first language is not English, you will need to provide documentary evidence of English proficiency such as the following, completed no more than two years preceding the date of enrolment at Deakin:

  • IELTS (Academic) score of 7 with no band score lower than 6.5
  • TOEFL Paper-Based-Test score of 600 (Writing: 5) or better
  • TOEFL Internet-Based-Test score of 100 (Writing: 24) or better
  • Satisfactory completion of at least two academic years of full-time study in a university degree program where English is the language of instruction and assessment

International Students

International students should visit the Future international students website or email Deakin International for information on applications, fees and scholarships.

Confirmation of candidature

All HDR candidates are admitted on a provisional candidature basis and must satisfy the requirements for transferring to full candidature, which is referred to as "confirmation".

Details of the Deakin University Guidelines for Confirmation, including the compulsory Research Integrity training component, are available on the Current Research Students website.

Support grants

Higher Degree by Research support grants

Purpose of the Grant
PhD candidates in Business and Law may apply for funding from the Faculty Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Support Grant scheme to assist with expenses relating to their research candidature. If approved, funds may be granted toward expenses such as:

  • data collection
  • surveys
  • specialist software essential to the research and not otherwise available to the student (student licence only).

Value of Grant
Over the period of candidature, up to a total of $5000 may be granted. More than one application may be considered during candidature, provided the total has not been exceeded.

A limit of $1,000 per candidate applies for professional proof reading and editing services, only to be used for the final draft of the thesis prior to submission for examination.

All HDR candidates enrolled in the Faculty of Business and Law are eligible to apply.

HDR candidates who plan to carry out research involving human participants, require ethical clearance from the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (DUHREC) or a Faculty Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) before proceeding. Consistent with this, HDR Support Grant funding for research activities involving human participants will not be released until ethical clearance has been approved and the approval number is quoted in the application.

Application Process
The supervisor(s) and the Associate Head of School (Research) must endorse applications and may indicate this by signing the application form or in an email. Applications may be made at any time during candidature, prior to submission for examination.

Submit an electronic/scanned copy of your completed application form [68KB docx] by email to the Manager, Research Administration.

Attach evidence for all elements of the proposed expenditure, such as a quotation from the supplier. Applications without evidence will not be funded.

Applications must be submitted and approved prior to incurring any expense. Expenditure which has not been approved will not be reimbursed.

Submission Dates
Applications may be lodged at any time. Please allow 10-14 days for consideration of your applications.

Applicants need to identify in the subject line of the email the name of the scheme from which funding is sought (Faculty HDR Support Grant Scheme) and the name of the applicant, and attach the application form and all related documents. The application, and the endorsement of the supervisor and Associate Head of School (Research), should be directed to the Manager, Research Administration at the Geelong Waterfront Campus.

A report [73KB docx] on the activity, expenditure and outcomes is required by the end of the year, or if applying within the same year before any further funding applications can be considered.

Conference grants

Conference grants for Higher Degree by Research candidates

Applications for HDR conference grants may be submitted to Schools. These will normally be:

  • Awarded to HDR candidates in the Faculty of Business and Law who have successfully completed the confirmation process
  • Available to once per candidature, with the supporting recommendation of their supervisor for the timing and content of the conference in terms of progressing the candidature
  • For presentation of a paper at a research conference of national or international significance
  • For amounts up to $3,000 as a contribution to the cost of travel, accommodation and conference registration
  • Conditional upon recipients reporting on the conference within 14 days of their return
  • Subject to the availability of funding


Your application form will need to include your Supervisor's support and signature, and the signature of your Associate Head of School (Research)

Submit an electronic/scanned copy of your completed application and attachments by email to: Manager, Research Administration.

Submission Dates

Applications may be lodged at any time. Please allow 7-10 days for consideration of your application.


Download an application form for HDR Conference grants [65KB DOC]

Download a report form for HDR Conference grants [35KB DOC]

DIRI Scholarships

For HDR candidates on a DIRI scholarship, applications for a conference grant need to be submitted to the DIRI Coordinator, Helen Woodall.

Information for DIRI students is available on the DIRI website.

Completed candidates

Deakin offers many resources for completed students to help assist them after they complete their candidature.

Contact Division of Student Life careers for more information.

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