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.

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