Application process: Expression of Interest 

The application process at Deakin differs depending on which Faculty or Institute you wish to study in.

Applicants applying in the following areas must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) before commencing the application process. The Faculty or Institute will then advise if you should submit a formal application via the Applicant Portal.

Applicants applying in the following areas, and those who have been invited to submit a formal application should follow the ‘How to apply for a research degree’ steps below.

  • Faculty of Health
  • Institute for Intelligent System Research and Innovation
  • Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2)
  • The Institute of Frontier Materials

With travel restrictions preventing offshore international students commencing in Australia, the HDR admissions team will not be considering applications from offshore international students (unless applying through an international research partnership program). This will be reviewed regularly and applications will open when travel restrictions ease.

Deakin University greatly values the contributions of our international students to our research community. We encourage you to keep in contact with your proposed supervisor until applications open again.

Key dates

Familiarise yourself with our key dates before you commence the application process.

How to apply

To apply for a Higher Degree by Research, follow the seven steps outlined below. If you are a Psychology applicant*, please follow the relevant links below.

* Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) applicants should follow the seven steps outlined below to apply for candidature and/or scholarship.

Applying in seven steps

  • Step 1 - Check the entry pathways
  • Step 2 - Find a supervisor
  • Step 3 - Arrange referee report
  • Step 4 - Prepare your proposal
  • Step 5 - Evidence of English proficiency
  • Step 6 - Prepare relevant documents and information
  • Step 7 - Apply online

Step 1 - Check the entry pathways

Entry to a research degree at Deakin is based on your demonstrated capacity to undertake significant research in a proposed field.

Your ability can be demonstrated in a variety of ways. In addition to the entry pathway requirements, there are additional eligibility criteria for entry into a scholarship.

Find out more about entry pathways to research degrees

Step 2 - Find a supervisor

Before you start your application, please contact a supervisor for advice on your research topic and proposal. A list of potential research areas and supervisors can be found via our find a supervisor page.

This step is applicable to all applicants except those applying to study in the Faculty of Business and Law. For all supervisor and research degree related enquiries, prospective Business and Law Faculty students should email the faculty directly.

Find a supervisor

Step 3 - Arrange referee report

Your application needs to be supported by one referee report from a current/former lecturer, academic or employment supervisor who is able to comment on your research expertise and potential.

Forward the referee report form below directly to your referee to complete.

The report is confidential, and the referee must email the report directly to Deakin University.

Research degree academic referee report (DOC) 60.2KB

Research degree academic referee report (PDF) 163.5KB

This report is to provide information on the applicant’s eligibility and readiness for a research degree at Deakin University. In the case of scholarship applicants, this information will assist in their ranking.

Download the research degree academic referee report

Step 4 - Prepare your proposal

Provide a brief outline of your proposed research topic. This will be used to assess whether the university has appropriate supervision expertise available. If you've already been in contact with a potential supervisor, you may work with them to develop your research proposal.

Learn more about preparing a research proposal

Step 5 - Evidence of English proficiency

If your first language isn't English, or if your degree qualifications weren't undertaken in English, please provide evidence of English proficiency.

The English language requirements for Deakin's higher degrees by research courses are benchmarked against the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) standards, which can be found in the tables below.

Tests cannot be more than two years old.

BAND A6/6 Overall 6.0, no band less than 6.0 
BAND B6.5/6 Overall 6.5, no band less than 6.0 
BAND C7/6.5 Overall 7.0, no band less than 6.5 
BAND D7/7 Overall 7.0, no band less than 7.0 
BAND E7/7/7.5 Overall 7.0, no band less than 7.0, speaking and listening 7.5 

Higher degree by research applicants must demonstrate that they meet the English language requirements to the level required by the faculty or institute in at least one of the ways specified above in the following table:


2 Entire secondary and post-secondary studies and residency in Australia, or other specified English-speaking country* since graduationStudy at an institution within Australia or other specified English-speaking country*, completed no more than 2 years prior to enrolment at Deakin
Faculty of Arts and Education + Institute of Koorie EducationAccepted 2 academic years of full-time study at tertiary level 
Faculty of Business and LawAccepted 2 academic years of full-time study at tertiary level 
Faculty of HealthAccepted 2 academic years of full-time study at tertiary level 
Faculty of Science,Engineering and Built EnvironmentAccepted 1 academic year of full-time study at tertiary level 
Institute for Frontier MaterialsAccepted 1 academic year of full-time study at tertiary level 

*Other specified English-speaking country includes Australia, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), United States of America, Zambia.


Faculty of Arts and Education + Institute of Koorie EducationFaculty of Business and LawFaculty of Health
Faculty of Science,Engineering and Built Environment
IELTS: International English Language Testing SystemBand C: overall 7.0, no band less than 6.5Band C: overall 7.0, no band less than 6.5Band C: overall 7.0, no band less than 6.5Band B: overall 6.5, no band less than 6.0
TOEFL (IBT): Test of English as a Foreign Language (internet based test)94 Writing 2494 Writing 2494 Writing 2479 Writing 21
TOEFL (IBT): Test of English as a Foreign Language (paper based test)600 Writing 5600 Writing 5600 Writing 5577 Writing 4.5
CPE: Cambridge English: ProficiencyOverall score of 185, no band less than 176Overall score of 185, no band less than 176Overall score of 185, no band less than 176Overall score of 176, no band less than 169
CAE: Cambridge English: AdvancedOverall score of 185, no band less than 176Overall score of 185, no band less than 176Overall score of 185, no band less than 176Overall score of 176, no band less than 169
PTE: Pearson’s Test of English (Academic)65: No less than 58 in each skills65: No less than 58 in each skills65: No less than 58 in each skills58: No less than 50 in each skills
DUELI EAP program (completed 1 year prior to enrolment)EAP 4 – 65%EAP 4 – 65%EAP 4 – 65%EAP 4 – 60%
DUELI Test (completed 6 months prior to enrolment)Score of 7.0Score of 7.0Score of 7.0Score of 6.5

Work experience in English accepted by The Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM)

Substantial written work in an English speaking professional environment for a period of at least 3 years immediately prior to enrolment. Documentary evidence must be provided by senior management of the employing organisation to the satisfaction of the Academic Board

The Faculty of Health and Science, Engineering and Built Environment and the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) may allow you to provide proof of your English proficiency after they've approved your application.

The required standard may be achieved by taking a course at Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI).

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Step 6 - Prepare relevant documents and information

Prepare and submit your curriculum vitae or résumé as part of your online application in section 1.


Please provide transcripts of all tertiary education studies taken outside Deakin.

Transcripts should indicate the name of the qualification, the institution, the years of study, the subjects/units undertaken, the grades achieved, explanatory notes concerning the grades and proof that the qualification was completed. If transcripts are in a foreign language, an English translation is to be supplied.

For international applicants this information must be certified. Please see how to certify documents section or please provide My eQuals link.

For domestic applicants certified documents are not required. However, verification or certified documentation may be required on request.


If you've previously been enrolled in a research degree at another institution, or are applying to transfer your research degree from elsewhere, proof of your commencement date and evidence of any intermissions or changes of candidature (e.g. from full time to part time) are to be provided.


If you've had your research published, outline your contribution to the work, state whether the journal or conference was national or international, submit a copy of the contents page and abstract page for each item but don’t attach the full article.

Provide a list of publications with a breakdown as follows:

  • refereed journal articles
  • refereed conference papers
  • non-refereed conference papers
  • books based on original research
  • book chapters based on original research
  • professional research reports

For each published work provide full bibliographic references, for example:

  • Name / names - Smith. J., Brown. S., Shaw. P.
  • Title
  • Name of publication
  • Type of publication, (e.g. refereed journal article, non-refereed journal article, book chapter, review etc.)
  • Publication details (e.g. Volume 29, issue 2, 2005)

You will need to submit evidence of your citizenship and personal details as documents listed below (name, date of birth, etc.).

For international applicants this information must be certified. Please see how to certify documents section.

For domestic applicants certified documents are not required. However, verification or certified documentation may be required on request.

Please provide:

  • a copy of your birth certificate, relevant pages of your passport or a citizenship certificate if you're an Australian or New Zealand citizen
  • a copy of the relevant pages of your passport showing your visa or a letter with your residency status from the Department of Home Affairs if you're an Australian permanent resident
  • a copy of relevant pages of your passport showing your identity and citizenship if you're an international passport holder
  • proof of any changes of name (e.g. marriage certificate) if applicable

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Step 7 - Apply online

Answer all questions thoroughly in your online application and attach all requested documents. If information is missing it may affect your chances of being accepted.

Apply via the Higher Degree Research Application Form

What happens after you apply

What happens after I submit my HDR application?

You will receive a system generated confirmation email once you have submitted your application. If you have not provided all of the necessary documents, the Higher Degree by Research team will advise you via email. We ask that you submit the outstanding supporting documents as soon as possible. Failure to do so will delay the timely progression of your application to the faculty for review or your application may lapse.

When will I know if I’m accepted and how is the offer made?

You will be notified of the outcome of your application via the email address you have provided. In most cases, this will occur within 8 weeks of your complete application being submitted.

How do I accept my offer?

The offer email includes the terms and conditions of your offer and instructions on how to accept it.

How long do I have to accept my offer?

The duration you have to accept the offer will be mentioned in the offer email. It can be anywhere between one week to three weeks.

Can I defer my offer?

Typically students must commence their studies within three months of the offer letter. However in exceptional circumstances the commencement date may be deferred until a later date but this is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Contact us

Domestic Candidature Enquiries
+613 924 45258
Email the HDR Candidature office

Domestic Scholarships Enquiries
+613 924 45413
Email the HDR Scholarships office

International Candidature and Scholarship Enquiries
+61 3 924 46387
Email the HDR International office