Postgraduate coursework

Master of Science (Research)

The first of its kind to be offered at Deakin, the Master of Science (Research) is ideal for those seeking a pathway between undergraduate and PhD studies.

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Key facts


2 years full-time or part-time equivalent

Course information

The first of its kind to be offered at Deakin, the Master of Science (Research) comprises a unique combination of coursework and research, and is ideally suited to those seeking a pathway between undergraduate and PhD studies. You will develop expertise in a different but related discipline area from that of your undergraduate degree to build skills necessary for a professional career in research or industry.

The course offers a distinctive suite of specialisations to provide opportunities in advanced research training, specialised coursework and professional skills development. The first year of the course includes units related to the specialisation of your choice and is focused on research training and methods. The second year of the degree comprises a research thesis.

The flexibility offered by this course enables you to graduate with a specialised degree that has been customised to suit your research interests and career aspirations. You can choose one of the nine specialisations on offer and explore areas in engineering, information technology, biotechnology, frontier materials and nanotechnology, and sustainable regional development.

This course meets the growing need for well-trained scientists to work in applied, commercial and innovative industry environments and government organisations/departments.

As a graduate of this course you will be well-prepared for professional employment or further research training in fields aligned to your area of specialisation. Depending on the specialisation undertaken, you may find employment in a range of careers including policy development in government or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as opportunities for industry researchers in engineering, information technology and frontier science.

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Course structure

To complete the Master of Science (Research), students must attain 16 credit points. Most units (think of units as ‘subjects’) are equal to 1 credit point. So that means in order to gain 16 credit points, you’ll need to study 16 units (AKA ‘subjects’) over your entire degree. Most students choose to study 4 units per trimester, and usually undertake two trimesters each year.

The 16 credit points include 3 core units (these are compulsory), 2 research thesis units (comprising 4 credit points each), 4 units from a specialisation area and 1 elective unit. You will be required to complete at least one specialisation as part of this course.


Year 1 - Trimester 1

  • Research Planning and Communication SLE761
  • Plus one course-grouped elective

    Plus two units chosen from a specialisation

    Year 1 - Trimester 2

  • Research Impact and Management SLE762
  • Research Frontiers Project SLE763
  • Plus two units chosen from a specialisation

    Year 2 - Trimester 1

  • Research Thesis 1 SLE764 (4cp)
  • Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Research Thesis 2 SLE765 (4cp)
  • Specialisations

    Refer to the details of each specialisation for availability.


    Key information

    Award granted
    Master of Science (Research)
    2018 course information
    Deakin code
    CRICOS code
    Higher Degree Coursework (Masters and Doctorates)
    Approval status
    This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
    Australian Quality Framework (AQF) recognition
    The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9.

    Campuses by intake

    Campus availability varies per trimester. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Read more to learn where this course will be offered throughout the year.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Burwood (Melbourne)
      • Waurn Ponds (Geelong)

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Burwood (Melbourne)
      • Waurn Ponds (Geelong)

    Additional course information

    Course duration - additional information

    Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.


    Approximately 150 hours of learning and assessment activities per Deakin credit point.

    Entry requirements

    Entry information

    Deakin University offers admission to postgraduate courses through a number of Admission categories.
    In all categories of admission, selection is based primarily on academic merit as indicated by an applicant's previous academic record.
    For more information on the Admission Criteria and Selection Policy visit The Guide.

    A bachelor's degree in the appropriate science, engineering, or information technology field that is aligned with the chosen specialisation in the Master of Science (Research). The undergraduate qualification must be equivalent to an Australian degree of at least three years of full-time study with a minimum weighted average mark (WAM) or grade point average (GPA) of 65% in the final year units/subjects.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    $27,000 for 1 yr full-time - Full-fee paying place
    Learn more about fees and your options for paying.

    The tuition fees you pay will depend on the type of fee place you hold. If you are enrolled in a full fee paying place, your tuition fees are calculated depending on the course you choose.

    The ‘Estimated tuition fee’ is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing the first year of this course. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Credit for Prior Learning you have.

    Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The ‘Estimated tuition fee’ is calculated by adding together 8 credit points of a typical combination of units for that course. Eight credit points is used as it represents a typical full-time enrolment load for a year.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.

    Learn more about fees and available payment options.

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumni commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 15% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees. Your spouse and members of your immediate family may also be eligible to apply for this bursary.

    Learn more about Deakin’s 15% postgraduate bursary

    Graduate outcomes

    Career outcomes

    The course prepares students for a career in research and industry.  Graduates from the proposed Master of Science (Research) will be well prepared to continue their doctoral studies at Deakin or elsewhere. 

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

    Demonstrate mastery and specialist knowledge through the application of scientific research principles and methodologies in the investigation of recent developments within a chosen field of study.  Plan and execute a substantial research project to demonstrate a deep understanding and mastery within that scientific field.  Creatively apply high-level technical and cognitive skills to research activities in a professional and/or academic setting in order to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of scientific methodologies pertinent to a field of study.  Demonstrate autonomy, well-developed judgement and responsibility to argue about characteristics and aspects of scientific research in the advancement of a discipline of science through the application of appropriate hypotheses, laws, facts and theories for investigation, testing, analysis, and evaluation of scientific data.


    Present a reasoned argument that highlights essential details of scientific procedures, key observations, results and conclusions of scientific research in a professional manner using appropriate style, language and references including local, national, and international contributions or contexts.  Apply listening skills and effective communication skills to accommodate, encourage and answer questions from a range of audience and to defend research findings and scientific propositions.  Interpret the boundaries or limits of scientific information, experimental or field data, discuss error, probability, uncertainty, conclusions and arguments to justify theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions.

    Digital literacy

    Use well-developed technical skills, judgement and responsibility to independently locate, analyse, evaluate the merits of, synthesise and disseminate scientific literature in the planning and implementation of research projects.Reflect on information, data and results and develop strategies for disseminating research outcomes in a digital world.

    Critical thinking

    Appraise complex scientific methodologies and information using critical, analytical and logical reasoning from multiple perspectives for evaluating the merits of scientific methodologies, theoretical propositions and practice.  Formulate research questions to test and / or contest ideas, concepts and theoretical propositions through an evidence-based well-structured research project.

    Problem solving

    Plan and implement scientific research investigation by using evidence to identify problems and by applying analysis and synthesis skills, and appropriate scientific methodologies to solve research and/or practice problems.  Demonstrate complex problem solving skills by identifying and creating solutions to real world ill-defined problems through scientific inquiry.  Contribute to advancements in scientific knowledge through mastery in the use of scientific instruments and techniques to device an investigation, and in the collection, interpretation, analysis, synthesis and dissemination of scientific results and conclusion.


    Take personal, professional and social responsibility within changing national and international professional science contexts to develop autonomy as researchers and evaluate own performance.  Work autonomously, responsibly and safely to solve unstructured problems and actively apply knowledge of regulatory frameworks and scientific methodologies to make informed choices.


    Work independently and collaboratively with advice from the supervisor towards achieving the outcomes of research project and thereby demonstrate interpersonal skills including the ability to brainstorm, negotiate, resolve conflicts, managing difficult and awkward conversations, provide constructive feedback and work in diverse professional, social and cultural contexts.

    Global citizenship

    Apply scientific knowledge and skills with a high level of autonomy, judgement, responsibility and accountability in collaboration with the supervisor to articulate the place and importance of scientific inquiry in the local and global context.

    Approved by Faculty Board 27 July 2017

    Application information

    How to apply

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through the Applicant Portal if you are only applying for one course. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the how to apply web page. Please note that closing dates may vary for individual courses.

    Apply through Deakin

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.

    Entry pathways

    Students who have completed the Master of Science (Research) may continue on to undertake Higher Degree by Research study.

    Alternative exits

    Credit for prior learning

    The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study or informal learning which exceeds the normal entrance requirements for the course and is within the constraints of the course regulations. Students are required to complete a minimum of one-third of the course at Deakin University, or four credit points, whichever is the greater. In the case of certificates, including graduate certificates, a minimum of two credit points within the course must be completed at Deakin.

    You can also refer to the Credit for Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree and how to apply for credit.

    Faculty contact information

    Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
    Tel 03 9244 6699

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