Deliver change with a research degree taught by unparalleled experts
Deakin researchers rank in top 1% for global impact, so you can rest assured that you’ll be learning from the best researchers in your field.
Our dedicated specialists are committed to growing your critical skills and broadening your career opportunities, that’s why you’ll get access to our 500+ partner organisations in 65 countries to establish the right networks whatever your research passion.
How to start your research degree journey
Before applying to become a research degree or PhD candidate, consider what problem, theory or idea you want to solve.
Do your research interests align with Deakin's? Explore our institutes, centres, faculties and schools to see where you can get your research done.
Get in contact with our leading experts to discuss your research interests and supervision opportunities.
Browse our Find a researcher page to begin your search.
For prospective candidates:
My supervisor trusted my skills and motivations despite me not having direct work experience. I love my supervisor’s flexibility when managing my PhD project. This experience helped me understand that your supervisor is there to provide project guidance, but at the end of the day it is your project.
PhD in conservation science
Choosing the right supervisor for you
We know doing a PhD is a big commitment and choosing a supervisor can be daunting.
So to help you find an ideal, dedicated supervisor in your field, here’s some question that you may like to ask to see if your interests match.
- What areas of research do you have experience in supervising?
- Do you have time to supervise me?
- What areas of research do you specialise in?
- What areas of research have you previously worked in?
- What is your preferred working relationship, i.e. what level of guidance do you offer, mode and frequency of communications, expectations of setting milestones, how quickly do you provide feedback?
- What is the research culture of the workplace where you are located?
- What percentage of your candidates completed their degree?
- How many candidates are you currently supervising and have supervised to completion in the past?
- How many of them completed in the normal candidature time limit?
- How successful were those candidates in the examination (e.g. did they pass first time or was a re-examination required)?
- What were the employment outcomes of your previous candidates?
- What sort of publication track record did your candidates have when they completed?
How Deakin’s supervisors provide support throughout the PhD journey
Gaining a competitive advantage with an industry placement
During her PhD, Dr Bigelow shares how her supervisor played an important role in securing her industry placement.
Bringing cosmos into the classroom
With the support of world-leading supervisors within his field of astronomy, Dr Saeed Salimpour's work in cosmology is inspiring new generations to be true citizens of the cosmos.
Promoting science education
PhD candidate Amrita describes her supervisors as the ‘perfect mentors’ to help strength her academic profile.
Supporting AI and humans to effectively collaborate
Arun shares how he was mentored and supervised by internationally renowned computer sciences across his PhD journey.
What’s next when you’re appointed a supervisor?
If you're offered a place as a research candidate, Deakin will provide a qualified team of at least two supervisors who will guide and support you through every stage of your degree.
The team is established and maintained for each student on the recommendation of the Head of Academic Unit and Faculty Executive Dean. Team supervision gives students formal access to a wider range of informed views and opinions.
Will I always get the supervisor I want?
Deakin may not be able to appoint the person you request as your supervisor, and not all research topics are suitable for higher degrees by research.
The topic you choose must provide sufficient scope to explore a range of research techniques, and be likely to lead to sufficient results for an acceptable thesis to be produced within the normal period of candidature.
Who will be in my supervision team?
Supervision teams must include either a principal or a co-supervisor, and will normally have one of the following compositions:
- principal supervisor plus at least one but no more than three associate supervisor/s and/or an external supervisor
- a principal supervisor and a co-supervisor who will be from another faculty, school, institute or strategic research and innovation centre, plus possibly one or up to three supervisor/s and/or an external supervisor
- two co-supervisors, one of whom will be from another faculty, school, institute or strategic research and innovation centre, plus possibly one or up to three associate supervisor/s and/or an external supervisor
What is the role of the principal supervisor?
The principal supervisor is a Deakin staff member with relevant qualifications and research experience in the same area as the student they are supervising.
This role will have previous supervision experience and needs to have supervised at least one previous student to completion at that level. They will provide instruction, assistance, a sounding board for ideas and plans, and be available to review written material.
What are the next stages of your supervisor relationship?
As your research project kicks off, your supervisor's role is to assist and monitor your progress. It’s the time to try out ideas, discuss experimental results and write up sections of the work for your supervisor to review.
Towards the end of the project, you’ll become the authority on the topic and your supervisor will become a senior colleague.
You'll make the greatest use of the supervisor's experience and knowledge of standards, but they may not be able to provide technical help because you have become the expert.
How to manage supervisor support and communication
Even the strongest commitment to your research degree can be disrupted by a personal challenge. Your ability to succeed may depend on how well you use the assistance available.
Always keep your supervisor informed so they can take circumstances into consideration when providing advice. Your supervisor can also direct you to university support services provided by the Division of Student Life, which offers a counselling service.
How to schedule supervision meetings
The supervision process will only be successful if there are regular and frequent meetings and discussions between you and your supervisor.
From the outset, establish an agreed timetable. Supervisors have many demands on their time and may need gentle reminders of meetings. How often you need to meet will depend on the nature of your project and the stage of the project you are at.