University Handbook 2018

Doctor of Philosophy (ADPH)

Course code/s: ADPH (current); RDPH, RPHDB (phased out)

Course details
Course abbreviated name PhD(Hum & Social Sc)
CRICOS Code 001732M
Location - domestic candidates* Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Melbourne (Bundoora Campus), Mildura, Shepparton
Location - international candidates* Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Melbourne (Bundoora Campus), Mildura, Shepparton
Course coordinator N/A
Course duration Standard course duration is three to four years.
Internship/exchange opportunities Yes
Leave of absence available Yes
Course queries Current students: Graduate Research School
Prospective students: Get a research degree

*Enrolment on any campus for any candidate is subject to the availability of supervision and appropriate research environment. International candidates may only enrol at a CRICOS-registered campus.

Course overview:

Candidature in the Doctor of Philosophy requires you to pursue an independent and sustained investigation into a research problem of your own design. As a PhD candidate, you will undertake a supervised research project that culminates in the submission of a thesis for examination.  
Upon completion of your candidature you must demonstrate through your thesis that you have developed a substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of your field of work or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution to your field.

You will be supported by a minimum of two supervisors throughout your candidature.

The following conditions must be met in order to gain admission into a PhD degree:

  • you must meet the minimum entry requirements for the degree as outlined below
  • the department or school in which you seek enrolment must be able to provide appropriate facilities, resources and supervision for your chosen area of research.

Standard duration of study: 

 You will be expected to complete your PhD within three to four years or the equivalent part-time.
Your research project must be conceived from the outset as clearly achievable within three years full-time (or the equivalent part-time).

Entry requirements:

In order to apply for candidature, you should:
            (a)    have graduated with or qualified for an Australian Master’s degree at a minimum H2A standard or equivalent demonstrating an ability to undertake research at the doctoral level
            (b)    have graduated with or qualified for an Australian Bachelor’s degree with an Honours year at a minimum H2A standard or equivalent demonstrating an ability to undertake research at the doctoral level
            (c)    hold qualifications and/or have demonstrated skills, experience, research, or publications, which in the opinion of the Board of Graduate Research are considered at least equivalent to, or are a satisfactory substitute for, any of the qualifications described in (a) and (b) above.

All acquired degrees must have included a significant research component, for example, completion of a minor research thesis.

If you do not meet the minimum requirement you may be eligible to apply initially for a Master’s degree by research and, if appropriate, transfer to doctoral candidature when you have demonstrated your capacity for independent research to a suitable level.

As a Master’s degree by research candidate, you would be eligible to apply for PhD candidature if you have:

  • attained one of the qualifications described above (but may have achieved at a lower level, eg H2B)
  • completed a substantial proportion of your Master’s research (e.g. two thesis chapters), which has been assessed by an independent person as demonstrating the capacity to undertake research at the PhD level, and
  • been enrolled in your Master’s degree for not less than 12 months and no more than 18 months full-time or equivalent.


As a PhD candidate, your progress will be reviewed on at least an annual basis. The award of the degree depends on the examination of your completed thesis of typically 80,000 words or less. If you are undertaking practice-based research (such as in the creative disciplines or any other area in which you produce an artefact as well as a thesis) your thesis or exegesis will be 50,000 words or less.
Final assessment of your thesis is by at least two examiners, including at least one from outside Australia, and must demonstrate the following course learning outcomes:

  • A substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of research or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution.
  • Ability to provide a critical appraisal of relevant literature and available research, to appreciate and understand the relationship of the investigations undertaken to the wider field of knowledge in which these investigations are located, and to draw out the contribution to knowledge made by these investigations.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the methodological techniques used in the research and any shortcomings associated with these techniques.
  • A satisfactory level of literary presentation reflecting an ability to communicate in a clear, concise and authoritative manner appropriate to the field of research and to the scholarly community to which it is addressed.

Papers written by you during your candidature may be included in your thesis, where these are of direct relevance to the research you describe in your thesis.
A PhD may be based on practice-based research resulting in creative work and an exegesis.

Policies and guidelines:

You can access La Trobe University’s official policies and guidelines for candidature, supervision, progress, examinations and thesis requirements on the Graduate Research School website.

Areas of study:

PhD candidature is available in most disciplines and areas of study in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. To learn more about our research strengths visit the School of Humanities and Social Sciences website.

Fees and charges:

Citizens of Australia and New Zealand and Australian permanent residents will not normally pay tuition fees, as research degrees are funded by the Australian Government via the Research Training Programme. This provides eligible candidates with a Commonwealth-funded Research Training Programme Fees Offset Scholarship for up to a maximum period of four years’ full-time equivalent study for a Doctor of Philosophy.

All domestic students are required to pay a bi-annual Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). Details about the SSAF, including costs and payment options, can be found at the webpage - Student services and amenities fee.

Tuition fees for international students will vary, depending on the research area. Detailed information about tuition fees by research area can be found at the webpage - Tuition fees for international students.

Application details:

For full details go to how to apply for a graduate research degree.

Study Plan:

Thesis only. Candidates may be required to undertake skills development or coursework on the advice of their supervisor.

Contact details:

The Graduate Research School


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