Types of research degrees

All research degrees at Deakin meet Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) standards to ensure national recognition and consistency, as well as a common understanding across Australia of what defines each qualification. Deakin research degrees are also internationally recognised and highly regarded.

Higher degrees by research

Deakin offers two main types of higher degrees by research:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is awarded for a substantial original contribution to knowledge achieved in the expected completion time of three years, with a time limit of four years. The thesis may be presented in several formats and is usually limited 100,000 words.

Masters by Research

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 written thesis of no more than 50,000 words is submitted, although the thesis may be presented in several formats.

In the case of both masters by research and doctoral degrees, the program will include some coursework but the focus of the degree is on research.

Specialist professional doctorate programs

The School of Psychology also provides a Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) specialist professional doctorate program.

This combines a research project, coursework and structured research tasks which are specifically related to professional practice and are often carried out in the workplace.

Domestic applicant information

International applicant information

Specialist master programs

Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy is an intensive two year (full-time) research degree in health and (bio-) medical sciences. It provides students with the opportunity to pursue an independent investigative research project under the supervision of an academic staff member in the School of Medicine, along with coursework specifically designed to provide relevant skills in research design, communication, integrity and interpretation. This course will provide students with a dedicated pathway into PhD programs or into employment where deeper disciplinary knowledge and research skills are required.

Before applying, prospective students must select a project from the list of 2017 Research projects and contact the named supervisor to discuss the project.

Domestic applicant information

International applicant information

Master of Philosophy (Electromaterials)

The Master of Philosophy (Electromaterials) is a two year dual degree with the University of Woolongong. It aims to meet the growing need of well-trained scientists to work in the Electromaterials environment. As a pathway to PhD studies, the course has a key component in the form of a research project. This provides ideal preparation for potential research higher degree studies or sufficient expertise for graduates to be considered experts in the Electromaterials field.

Domestic applicant information

International applicant information

Higher doctorates

A higher doctorate is the University's most prestigious degree. It's awarded on the basis of a collection of works that have been published or accepted for publication. 

Typically a person seeks a higher doctorate mid-career, having held a doctorate such as a PhD for 15 or 20 years. The material submitted is a collection of major publications during that period. A higher doctorate usually involves upwards of forty or fifty peer-reviewed publications - submissions of up to one hundred works are not uncommon. The works have already passed the test of suitability for publication, so the role of the examiners is to judge whether they confirm that the applicant is an authority in the field.

Deakin offers four higher doctorates: 

  • Doctor of Engineering (DEng) 
  • Doctor of Letters (DLitt) 
  • Doctor of Laws (LLD) 
  • Doctor of Science (DSc).

Applicants for a higher doctorate at Deakin must be one of the following:

  • Deakin graduate
  • current Deakin staff member
  • former Deakin staff member
  • graduate of a partner institution*
  • current staff member of a partner institution*

*An institution with which Deakin has an active partnership as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research