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Research degrees

Be part of industry transformation, create change and further your studies with one of UniSQ’s Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) degrees. Join our ground-breaking researchers; from engineering new technologies, to pioneering new space frontiers – they’re at the forefront of advancing knowledge.

Go beyond with UniSQ research


UniSQ Is within the top 2% of universities worldwide (THE World University Rankings, 2023).

Positive experience

We're rated five out of five stars by postgraduate students for overall learning experience (Good Universities Guide, 2023).

Priority research

UniSQ is one of only six lead Australian Trailblazer universities and spearheads space manufacturing research of national priority.

Unmatched industry partners

UniSQ hosts a key ground-based support facility for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Mission.

Affordable tuition

Zero tuition fees for domestic higher degree by research students.

Graduate Research School

Whether you’re wanting to study research in the future or are currently enrolled at UniSQ, you can access key information and find support below.
Why study a UniSQ Higher Degree by Research?

Embarking on a higher degree by research journey at the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) offers a gateway to a world of opportunities for aspiring researchers. UniSQ's commitment to fostering a vibrant and supportive research environment is evident in its diverse range of research degrees, each tailored to cater to the varied interests and career aspirations of students. 

Our research degrees come in all shapes and sizes. Study a topic that you’re interested in within a supportive, innovative, engaged and future-focused environment. 

As a research student you will be supervised, mentored, and supported by qualified experts. During your studies there will be many opportunities for professional development and training.

By studying a HDR with UniSQ you will be able to grow the collective knowledge, solve real problems, and make innovative contributions to society.

How long does a UniSQ research degree take to complete?
You can graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy in just three years. If you’re studying full-time this program will need to be completed within four years. Alternatively, if you’re studying part-time you will have up to eight years to complete your studies.

When studied full-time, our Master of Research can be completed in two years and has a maximum duration of four years. 

We know that life, work and study can be a lot to juggle, so part-time study is often available for HDR students.
What do I need to meet entry requirements into a PhD?

The Master of Research is a direct pathway into the PhD at UniSQ but there are other options for entering into a doctorate.

Applicants can get approved for a PhD by meeting one of the below criteria:

  • An Australian university Bachelor Honours degree with First Class or Second Class Honours (Division A) or equivalent (with a thesis comprising of at least two units).
  • An Australian university Masters degree (with a thesis comprising of at least two units) or equivalent.
  • Other qualifications and/or experiences equivalent to First Class or Second Class Honours (Division A).

English language requirements
Please view the relevant English language requirements and note that this degree requires a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. If you do not meet the English language requirements, you may apply to study a university-approved English language program. If you have any questions regarding entry requirements, please contact

How can I find a supervisor for my HDR program?

Firstly, we’re so glad you’re considering UniSQ – if we’re able to take you on as a student we will! Our ability to accept HDR students depends on the supervisors available within specific fields. To find out if we have someone able to support you in your chosen area of study, search our Expert Finder; more information is available via Find Your Research Topic. Our interactive database is also a good place to look, it showcases all pre-approved research positions. 

If you can't find a suitable supervisor, please contact the Graduate Research School for assistance. You can apply without listing a supervisor, however this might delay your admission.

Once you’ve found a potential supervisor, please reach out to them via email. Introduce yourself and briefly outline your proposed project – about 500 words will do. All going well, you will then meet with your supervisor and be asked to complete a Preliminary Research Thesis Topic Proposal

For more information, please contact

What is an Australian Commonwealth Government Research Training Program Scholarship?

An Australian Commonwealth Government Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship may provide support in one or more of the following ways:

  • A RTP Fees Offset Scholarship pays all tuition fees for a domestic HDR student, however, this doesn’t include Student Services Amenities Fee or other student fees.
  • A RTP Stipend Scholarship supports the general living costs of an HDR student through fortnightly, tax-free payments for the standard duration of the academic program. 
  • A RTP Scholarship Allowance assists students with ancillary costs incurred during study. Ancillary costs may include, but are not limited to:
    • Standard Overseas Student Health Cover for either the student or the student, their spouse and any dependents.
    • Relocation costs. 
    • Higher Degree by Research thesis printing and academic publication costs. 

If you have any questions, please email

What other scholarships are available for HDR students?
UniSQ offers HDR Stipend Scholarships for both domestic and international students. These scholarships are paid as stipends that can assist with the cost of living. We also offer International PhD Fees Scholarship to support international students with their tuition fees. On occasion, we offer other HDR scholarships funded by industry or government departments. 
Applications for most scholarships are open from August to September, with some opening mid-year, all scholarships take effect the year following application. You can usually expect an outcome on your scholarship application within six weeks of the closing date.
For more information, and a full list of scholarships for research degrees, please visit our scholarships page and select ‘research’ from the drop-down menu.
When are the study periods for the HDR programs, and when can I start?
Doctor of Philosophy
Studying a PhD is not like other degrees, there are no formal teaching periods or breaks. Students work with their supervisory team to complete their research and set their timelines; they can apply for annual leave as needed. When starting out, you’re able to begin your PhD at one of the eight intakes throughout the year.
Master of Research 
The Master of Research is offered in the Trimester academic calendar which provides a great deal of flexibility to allow you to speed up or slow down your studies. It has three intakes throughout the year: Trimester 1 (January), Trimester 2 (May) or Trimester 3 (September). You can study in all three trimesters in a calendar year and still have a break (approx. 6 weeks) in your studies over the end of year holiday period.
Do HDR students have class attendance requirements?
No, HDR students do not have class attendance requirements, unless they're enrolled in a research training course. Unlike coursework students, HDR students remain enrolled in a research project throughout the duration of their program and are expected to conduct independent research under the guidance of their supervisory team.
What research degrees can I study at UniSQ?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at UniSQ, a cornerstone of higher degree research, focusing on making a substantial and original contribution to knowledge in a chosen field. It involves a significant research project, and the submission of a thesis or dissertation. This degree is ideal for those aiming to pursue careers in academia, research institutions, or sectors where high-level research capability is valued. Entry generally requires a bachelor's degree with honours or a master's degree with a significant research component. 

The Master of Research (MRes) is a program combining coursework and research, leading to the development of a thesis. The MRes, a pivotal master's degree by research, is designed for graduates looking to enhance their research skills or prepare for doctoral-level studies, requiring a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline with a strong academic record. 

Unique to UniSQ is the Cotutelle and Joint PhD Programs, which allow students to be jointly enrolled at UniSQ and an overseas university. This allows students the opportunity to receive two testamurs, one from each institution, upon completion. The Cotutelle and Joint PhD Programs are ideal for students seeking an international dimension to their research degree, offering exposure to different academic environments, cultures, and a broader network for international collaboration. 

Each of these research degrees at UniSQ caters to different stages of a higher degree research career, from initial skill development in the Master of Research to the advanced, independent research conducted in a PhD or Cotutelle program. Whether you are just beginning your research journey or looking to expand your horizons globally, UniSQ provides a nurturing and dynamic environment for your academic and professional growth in higher degree by research.