Why become a PhD Xtra research student

Join the world’s best and brightest research professionals in our PhD Xtra program. Approximately 1,700 higher degree by research students are taking advantage of our exceptional facilities, strategic partnerships, innovative research centres and excellent reputation.

Individual Learning Plans

This is your opportunity to take control of your study program, by building in training to help you complete your thesis and gain valuable knowledge and transferable skills.

Find out more

Coursework opportunities

The PhD Xtra program includes at least one unit of research training coursework (students in some academic units may be required to complete additional units). The content of the units varies by faculty and discipline.

Find out more

World-class facilities

From $55 million engineering facilities, to motion capture labs and advanced additive manufacturing, we'll give you the tools you need to turn your inspiration into research with far reaching impacts.

Find out more

Go beyond the answers with PhD Xtra

Why follow paths when you can forge them? PhD Xtra offers all higher degree by research (HDR) students at Deakin an enhanced and individually tailored learning experience.


PhD Xtra offers you the opportunity to undertake a career pathway placement. A placement can be a valuable learning experience, it provides evidence of relevant practical knowledge, and it can be a wonderful network-building opportunity. If you have an identified intended career pathway, the option of completing a career pathway placement will add another element to your individualised learning program.

Placements are an optional component of PhD Xtra and the capacity to undertake one will be dependent on the availability of placement opportunities. Where possible, the University will identify and facilitate placement opportunities but, in many cases, students and supervisors play an important role in this process.

Basic rules

While there is significant flexibility around placement arrangements, there are a few basic rules:

  • you must have completed confirmation of candidature
  • you must be making satisfactory progress with your studies
  • placements are subject to University approval, and obviously that of the placement provider
  • a placement is part of your candidature so you need to be able to accommodate it within the normal candidature time limit
  • the maximum time you can spend on a placement is six months (periods of up to three months are more likely)

Oral thesis examinations

An oral thesis examination is an oral defence of a written thesis. The thesis is examined by external examiners in the normal way, but the examination panel also meets privately with the student to discuss the work. In some cases, the private examination can also be accompanied by a public event such as a seminar or presentation.

Students at the Institute for Frontier Materials are required to undergo an oral examination. Students from other areas may also request approval from their academic unit.

Portfolio of Assets

While completing a higher degree by research means making a contribution to the body of knowledge in your field, it also involves acquiring significant knowledge and embedded skills. The Portfolio of Assets makes these skills and knowledge more explicit and documents them in one place as a career advancement resource.