Graduate research degrees

Here's a quick guide to applying to undertake graduate research at the University:

Step 1

Determine research interest and find a potential supervisor

Before you start the application process, you need to determine the research topic you want to explore and find out which University of Melbourne Faculty or Graduate School can best accommodate your research interests and project.

You may need to identify a principal supervisor (some graduate schools manage this process for applicants). You will work under the guidance of at least two supervisors and an advisory committee throughout the duration of your research degree. You can identify potential supervisors in two ways:

  • Through the Faculty or Graduate School that best meets your research interest
  • Through the Find an expert website

Step 2

Prepare an application

It is essential to read and understand the specific entry requirements and application documentation required by your prospective Faculty or Graduate School.

Please be aware that some Faculties or Graduate Schools have additional processes for applying for a graduate research degree and/or require you make contact with them prior to submitting a formal application. It is essential that you follow their unique pre-application process. Failure to do this may result in a delay assessing your application.

Questions to ask:

  • Is there a pre-application process?
  • Do I need to engage a supervisor?
  • Do I need to write a detailed research proposal?

Step 3

Submit an application

All applications should be made via the online application.

Please be sure to attach in full all relevant supporting documents. We may not be able to accept incomplete applications.

If you have questions about how to complete or submit your application, please contact us

You will be able to follow the progress of your application online.

Application Form for Admission to Graduate Research Degree Candidature

Online Graduate Research Application Form

Referee Reports

Please note: From May 25, 2017 there will be a new process for providing references. Read the information below to ensure your references and referee information are provided correctly.

Applications begun (saved) OR submitted before May 25, 2017

Your referees must provide the reference report in the existing PDF format, using either the Academic Referee Report or Employer Referee Report Form as appropriate.

Applications begun (saved) AND submitted on or after May 25, 2017

All references must be submitted using the online tool

  • Applicants must provide contact details for their referees in the online application form.
  • On submission of your application, the referees will be emailed a link to access the Graduate Research Referee tool and they must provide their references using this online tool.
  • You will be notified when they submit the reference.

It is important that you contact your referees well before submitting an application. This ensures they expect the request for a reference and understand that the University of Melbourne referee request email contains both instructions on how to access the tool and submit their references through the attached link.

Academic Referee Report

Applicants must provide academic references in accordance with the instructions in the online application form. References must be completed using the Academic Referee Report Form.

If it is more than five years since you have been enrolled in higher education but you have been working in an area related to the discipline for which you have applied, you may provide the names of up to two employer referees in place of academic referees.

Please refer to the table below to ensure you provide the correct number of written references and/or referee details:


Referee Contact Details Required

Written references required

Most recent higher education qualification completed outside Australia



Most recent higher education qualification completed in Australia at an institution other than the University of Melbourne



Most recent qualification awarded by, or currently enrolled in, at the University of Melbourne



Academic Referee Report Form (441.0 KB)

Employer Referee Report

Applicants who have relevant research/professional experience gained through employment must provide an employer reference for each role listed in your application and CV. The reference should be submitted using the Employer Referee Report Form.

Employer Referee Report Form (383.1 KB)

If you have any queries about the new process for providing references, please contact the team at 13MELB (13 6352) or drop into STOP1 or contact the University of Melbourne admissions team at

Publications and Creative Works


If you want to include in your application details of publications of which you are the author or co-author, please follow the following formatting conventions.

Relevant publications include refereed journal articles, refereed conference papers, book chapters or books that have been published or are forthcoming. Please present publications in the format below:

Begin with the most recent publication first

(i) Journal articles: author(s), title of article, journal title and issue/number, year of publication, page references;

(ii) Book chapters: author(s), chapter title, book editors, title of book, page references, place of publication, publisher and year of publication;

(iii) Books: author(s), book title, place of publication, publisher and year of publication;

(iv) Refereed conference papers: author(s), paper title, title of conference, date(s) of conference.

Do not include articles or other works which have not yet been accepted for publication.

Creative Works

Please consult the entry requirements for the course you are applying for.

Agreement for a jointly awarded PhD Degree Form

If you are applying for a jointly awarded PhD  you will need to complete this form as well as the online application for courses.

Agreement for a jointly awarded PhD Degree Form (275.5 KB)