PhDs and doctorates

Doctor of Philosophy

When you graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, it marks your admission to the community of scholars in your discipline.

The PhD is awarded on the basis of a thesis of approximately 80,000–100,000 words, in which you report on an independent, sustained and academically supervised research project investigating a specialised topic.

Your research is expected to make a significant new contribution to the discipline. In some disciplines, creative work or performance may form part of the thesis.

Some PhD programs in the University of Melbourne may also incorporate coursework, but all PhDs are assessed via external examination of the research thesis alone.

The usual duration of PhD study is three years, full-time.

Search for our doctoral courses here or visit the relevant Faculty or Graduate School  pages to see what courses they offer. You must meet the English language requirements for your course.

Entry and study requirements for each course can also be found in the Course Handbook .

Research doctorates

Research doctorates are offered in several schools. These programs provide specialised training to advance practice and knowledge in the relevant professional field. Doctorates are offered through coursework and research. Please consult with your prospective Faculty or Graduate School for information on these degrees.

The usual duration of doctoral study is three years full-time.

Check Course Search for entry requirement information. Search by keyword "doctor".

You must meet the English language requirements for your course.

Jointly Awarded PhDs

A jointly awarded PhD allows you to be supervised jointly by academics from the University of Melbourne and an approved partner university. It provides:

  • the opportunity for an international research experience
  • access to international experts and facilities
  • opportunities to develop your international network and enhance your career

You may be eligible to enrol in a jointly-awarded PhD Program if:

  • there is a genuine research collaboration between your prospective supervisors at the partner institutions or
    there will be an ongoing research relationship between the two supervisors or
    there is a joint PhD Agreement between the University of Melbourne and another tertiary institution
  • you are admitted to a PhD at both universities
  • you are studying your PhD full time

Students who commence a Masters degree with the intention of converting to PhD are not eligible to be considered.

If selected for admission to a jointly awarded PhD, you:

  • you must meet the academic requirements of both institutions
  • will be enrolled concurrently at the two universities for the entire period of your PhD
  • must spend at least one-third of your candidature (one year) in each university
  • will pay tuition fees at one institution only, normally the institution that you have nominated as the home institution
  • if successful, you will be awarded a single doctoral degree jointly awarded by the two institutions. Each testamur will state that the degree is jointly awarded and include the name of the partner institution.

Your enrolment will be governed by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of Melbourne and the partner institution. You, the two institutions and your supervisors must complete the Agreement. It must be finalised within the first year of candidature and set out the terms and conditions for payment of fees, your roles and responsibilities, enrolment, your supervision, thesis requirements and the procedures for your examination  and graduation arrangements. The partner institution may have its own Agreement which may need to be completed.

Jointly Awarded PhD Partnerships

Applications for jointly awarded PhD degrees are assessed on a case by case basis and may be undertaken between the University of Melbourne and a reputable overseas university. In addition, the University of Melbourne has existing joint PhD agreements with:

Financial support

Funding opportunities depend on the location of your home institution. You nominate your home institution (where you will be based primarily) at the time of your application. The second institution is referred to as the partner institution. You only pay tuition fees to your home institution.

If the University of Melbourne is your home institution, you:

  • May be eligible for a University of Melbourne living allowance (scholarship): see the Melbourne Scholarships page for more information. Recipients of these scholarships will continue to receive payments while they are undertaking their studies at the partner institution
  • May be considered for travelling scholarships and other support offered through your home faculty or graduate school.

If the University of Melbourne is not your home institution, you will not be eligible for University of Melbourne stipends. We encourage to explore other funding options including:

  • Discuss funding opportunities with your supervisors and intended host institution
  • National and regional government sponsorship schemes
  • Overseas embassies and missions
  • Hobsons Scholarships search service, an online database of postgradue scholarships

How to apply

  1. Apply for admission to the University of Melbourne and to your intended international institution. If the University of Melbourne is your intended home institution, you can also apply for a scholarship using the standard application form
  2. Complete the agreement for a jointly awarded PhD Degree form. This Agreement must be submitted by the department either at the time of application or on commencement and must be finalised within the first year of candidature.

For arrangements with universities in France, the completed Agreement must be accompanied by the completed English version of the French institution's Cotutelle contract. All contracts or agreements required by other international universities must also be provided in English.

Universitas 21 Jointly-Awarded PhDs

The University of Melbourne is one of 15 U21 institutions participating in this program. The participating universities are:

  • Korea University (South Korea)
  • Lund University (Sweden)
  • McGill University (Canada)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • University of Auckland (New Zealand)
  • University of Birmingham (United Kingdom)
  • University of British Columbia (Canada)
  • University of Delhi (India)
  • University of Edinburg (United Kingdom)
  • University of Glasgow (United Kingdom)
  • University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)
  • University of Melbourne (Australia)
  • University of New South Wales (Australia)
  • University of Nottingham (United Kingdom)
  • University of Queensland (Australia)

The University of Melbourne will require its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) form to be completed. Some U21 partner institutions may also require a U21 MOA form to be completed.