Information for students
Background to PhD studies in Australia
The purpose of a PhD is to provide training in research. While many organisations engage in research, universities have a unique responsibility to provide research training.
The Australian PhD is structured in a similar way to that of the United Kingdom. It can be completed in three to four years of full-time study and it is based entirely on research, unlike the US PhD which includes a substantial amount of coursework. Candidates work under supervision but are expected to produce an independent piece of work which makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the area. The upper limit for a Deakin PhD thesis is 100,000 words but candidates are encouraged to keep the thesis as concise as possible - a thesis of 80,000 words is fairly typical.
Unlike the US and UK models, Deakin PhDs (the same is true of most Australian PhDs) do not include an oral examination. The examination is based entirely on the written thesis, which is sent to a panel of three external examiners, normally including at least one from outside the Australasian region. Examiners are selected carefully and need to meet a range of criteria, including:
- holding an equivalent degree
- having previous experience examining PhD theses
- being sufficiently knowledgeable about the topic to be able to assess its contribution to knowledge.
Why undertake a PhD?
The PhD degree is the basic qualification for a research career. Whether the candidate intends to work in an academic, commercial or government environment, the PhD has become the standard for entry to many research careers. Even for candidates who do not intend working in a research or academic environment, employers recognise the value of a PhD degree because of the high-level skills acquired. The candidate develops independent research skills, including the ability to formulate a significant research problem, the ability to relate the research to the broader framework of knowledge in the area, and the mastery of appropriate skills to tackle the problem.
Satisfactory completion of a higher degree by research requires dedication, hard work and the determination to succeed.
What candidates can expect
The following support is provided to DIRI candidates:
- Based on the nature of agreement with the DIRI partner institution, the DIRI candidate would be eligible for the following financial support:
- Tuition Fee Waiver
- Stipend support while in India
- While in Australia: Deakin to provide support towards accommodation and living costs. Normally this is up to a maximum of AUD 250 per week.
- Deakin to pay for one economy class return airfare between India and Australia.
- Deakin to pay for the visa and health insurance costs for one visit to Australia.
- One visit to Australia by the candidate for a maximum of 6 months is supported by Deakin. The costs for any additional time and/or visits are to be borne by the candidate or the Indian partner Institute.
Candidates are eligible to apply through DIRI for support to attend conferences, including one international conference in India. Normally this requires the candidate to be presenting a paper on their research.
Time in Australia
Candidates will come to the Deakin supervisor's laboratory for up to six months. Ordinarily, the visit will take place at least six months after candidature has commenced. The timing of the visit will be agreed upon by the candidate and supervisors and should be planned well in advance, since a visa can take many months to secure, and accommodation is limited. Accommodation will be organized by the University and co-ordinated by the Partnerships Coordinator.
It is expected that the candidate will not only conduct research that is best done in Australia, but also present a seminar on candidature progress to the School or Institute. For most candidates, there will be laboratory safety training that will take place in the first few weeks of the visit.
Deakin International Student Advisers provide information on what to expect and how to manage life in Australia. As outlined above, the costs for candidates' visits to Australia will be borne by the University.