How to apply for a graduate research degree

A candidate in conversation

Step 1: check your eligibility

Master's degree by Research

To apply for Master's candidature, you will need an Australian Bachelor's degree with honours year, or approved international equivalent.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

To apply for PhD candidature, you will need an Australian Master's degree at a minimum H2A standard, or approved international equivalent, or an Australian Bachelor's degree with an honours year at a minimum H2A standard, or approved international equivalent. All acquired degrees must have included a significant research component, for example, completion of a minor research thesis.

The minimum requirement for scholarship eligibility is an Australian Bachelor's degree with an honours year at an H1 standard or equivalent, from an Australian university or recognised overseas university.

Professional Doctorate

To apply for Professional Doctorate candidature, you will need to have completed an Australian Master's degree or Bachelor's degree with Honours (H1 or H2A), or approved international equivalent, and have at least three years of relevant professional experience. Candidates may also be required to provide evidence of research expertise.

If you are an international applicant

As an international applicant, you will also have to provide evidence that you meet the minimum English language requirements set for your course. See information about the minimum English requirements and the different forms of evidence and test results we accept. Ensure you also check the course information for your chosen course as some programs can have higher English requirements.

Find out how to apply as an international applicant here.

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

Also, please note that our partner La Trobe Melbourne offer comprehensive ELICOS Courses to specifically prepare international applicants for academic studies in English prior to commencing graduate research studies. Information about these courses can be found here.

If you are applying to the Law School

The La Trobe University Law School applies a First Class Honours equivalence test for HDR Scholarship Applications. Applicants to the LLM-R, the SJD and the PhD should review the First Class Honours equivalence standards for scholarships when preparing supporting documents for their course application.

Step 2: find your supervisor

Before you apply for graduate research candidature you must identify a potential supervisor and receive in-principle approval for your research project. You will need to include your potential supervisor's details on your completed application form.

If you have already made contact and have in-principle approval from your potential supervisor you can move on to Step 3.

Identifying your supervisor

You can search for a suitable supervisor using our find a Supervisor search function. To make contact with potential supervisors, or if you cannot find a supervisor in your area of interest, we recommend that you use our online enquiry system. You will need to provide information about your most recent academic qualification and your grades or results, your research background, any previous publications, your intended area of research, and a brief description of your intended research project. Your enquiry will be sent directly to a specialist in your area of interest and they will be able to quickly determine whether appropriate supervision is available for you.

Online enquiry system

This enquiry form is designed to allow us to provide you with a timely and accurate assessment of your current options. It will also help us to find out if supervision is available for your project.

Enquire now

Please note that your application cannot be processed until supervision is confirmed.

Step 3: submit your application

Download, complete and submit the Graduate Research Candidature and Scholarship Application form.

Application documents

Important information

  • The same form is used for both candidature and scholarship applications.
  • Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and are highly competitive. To be eligible for consideration you must hold La Trobe University H1-equivalent results in your honours year or Master's, including your thesis component.
  • You will need to organise two academic referees. Download the Confidential Academic Referee Report form. Send the form to your referees and ask them to forward their completed referee report directly to La Trobe University via email to: International applicants email:

Required documentation

  1. Your University academic transcripts and completion certificates (originals or certified copies)
  2. Your professional CV (resume) outlining relevant work experience, academic awards, prior research background etc.
  3. Details of any publications
  4. A copy of your Master's thesis (with at least two chapters translated into English if it is not written in English)
  5. A preliminary research proposal of no more than 300 words (if you need assistance, use our Guide to Writing a Research Proposal [PDF 68KB])
  6. Your birth certificate or citizenship certificate (original or certified copy, for domestic applicants only)

Additional required documents for international applicants

  1. Documentary evidence of your English language proficiency (optional)
  2. If you hold a current passport and/or an Australian visa, you must include a copy with your application

Application closing dates

You can apply for research candidature at any time.

Applications for research scholarships close annually on 31 October for domestic applicants, and 30 September for international applicants.

Where to submit your application

  • Domestic applicants email: (You will receive confirmation by return email that your application has been received.) Postal mail: Graduate Research School, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086
  • International applicants email: Postal mail: La Trobe International, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
  • In person: Graduate Research School, John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University, Melbourne Campus