Doctor of Philosophy

Pursue an independent and sustained investigation into a research problem of your own design or join an established project team through a funded scholarship.

As a PhD candidate you will undertake a supervised research project that culminates in the submission of a thesis for examination which meets 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.
  • your ability to provide a critical appraisal of relevant literature and available research, to appreciate and understand the relationship of the investigations undertaken by the candidate to the wider field of knowledge in which these investigations are located, and to draw out the contribution to knowledge made by these investigations
  • your 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

You will be expected to submit your PhD thesis three years and three months (or part-time equivalent) after you commence; the maximum period of study is four years full-time (or part-time equivalent).

This degree involves you undertaking a supervised research project and presenting a thesis for examination 39 months (or the part-time equivalent) after you begin. The thesis for a PhD can also be undertaken in practice-based mode or as a thesis with publications.

Stipend scholarships are available for specific funded projects including specialist industry and international opportunities, or for broader research themes or areas where you can develop your own research proposal. You can find out more about scholarship opportunities on our Specialist Scholarships page.

View Doctor of Philosophy course information

Before you apply

You can apply for research candidature at any time.

Applications for research scholarships close annually on the 31 October (domestic applicants) and the 30 September (international applicants)

Applying for a PhD

To apply for PhD candidature, you will need one of the following:

  • an Australian Masters by research degree or international equivalent in a relevant discipline completed within the last ten years assessed at a La Trobe Masters by research standard of 70 or above; OR
  • an Australian Bachelors (Honours) degree, Masters by coursework or ungraded Masters by research degree or an international equivalent completed within the last ten years where you achieved a weighted average mark of 70 or above across any coursework subjects; and
    • your degree includes a research thesis of typically 15,000-20,000 words*; or
    • your degree includes a written research component comprising at least 3/8 of one year*; or
    • you are the lead author of a peer-reviewed publication or other research published within the last ten years*

*Applicants should seek advice from their proposed supervisor regarding discipline norms where applicable, for example, for Law applicants, the typical thesis length may be 10,000 words. The written research component of your application will be evaluated according to the La Trobe Masters by research criteria and will need to be assessed at a standard of 70 or above.

International applicants

As an international applicant, you will also need to provide evidence that you meet the minimum English language requirements set for your course (some programs can have higher English language requirements).

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

Our partner La Trobe College Australia offer comprehensive ELICOS courses to specifically prepare international applicants for academic studies in English prior to commencing graduate research studies.

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 application form.

There are three ways to identify a suitable supervisor:

  1. Check our available scholarships for projects that fit your interests and qualifications. Each project lists a contact person for more information and to obtain in principle approval to apply.
  2. Search our database of La Trobe scholars using key words relating to your intended research project. Filter the search results based on those available for ‘Masters Research or PhD supervision’. You can read our guidance on searching for a potential supervisor [PDF 623 KB] for more detailed step-by-step instructions.
  3. Navigate to the School website in your area of interest and use the resources listed in the Department or Research pages to identify a suitable supervisor or research group.

Once you have identified a potential supervisor or supervisors, you’ll need to get in touch with them to see if they are available and if they would be a good fit for your research project.

When you email a potential supervisor, make sure to include the following information:

  • your most recent academic qualification and your grades or results
  • your research background
  • any previous publications
  • a brief description of your intended research project or which advertised project you are interested in applying for.

You can use our template [DOC 19KB] to structure your email.

If you don’t hear back in a week or so, you can send a brief, polite follow-up email.

Your application cannot be processed until supervision is confirmed.

Domestic applicants

  • Download the Domestic Graduate Research Candidature and Scholarship Application form [DOC 138 KB]. The same form is used for both candidature and scholarship applications.
  • Your University academic transcripts and completion certificates (originals or certified copies)
  • Your professional CV (resume) outlining relevant work experience, academic awards, prior research background etc.
  • Details of any publications
  • A copy of your Masters thesis (with at least two chapters translated into English if it is not written in English)
  • A preliminary research proposal of no more than 300 words (if you need assistance, use our Guide to Writing a Research Proposal [PDF 68KB]) (may not be required for some advertised projects, check the requirements specified in the scholarship advertisement)
  • For advertised scholarships or projects, any other documentation stipulated in the scholarship advertisement
  • Your birth certificate or citizenship certificate (original or certified copy, for domestic applicants only).

International applicants

  • Complete your online application form. The same form is used for both candidature and scholarship applications.
  • Your University academic transcripts and completion certificates (originals or certified copies)
  • Your professional CV (resume) outlining relevant work experience, academic awards, prior research background etc.
  • Details of any publications
  • A copy of your Master's thesis (with at least two chapters translated into English if it is not written in English)
  • A preliminary research proposal of no more than 300 words (if you need assistance, use our Guide to Writing a Research Proposal [PDF 68KB]) (may not be required for some advertised projects, check the requirements specified in the scholarship advertisement)
  • For advertised scholarships or projects, any other documentation stipulated in the scholarship advertisement
  • Your birth certificate or citizenship certificate (original or certified copy, for domestic applicants only).
  • Documentary evidence of your English language proficiency (optional)
  • If you hold a current passport and/or an Australian visa, you must include a copy with your application

Additional information about documentation

  • 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.

Domestic applicants

By email: admissions.grs@latrobe.edu.au (You will receive confirmation by return email that your application has been received.)

International applicants

Online
Applications can be lodged via the International Online Application System. After you access the online system and enter and submit your details, you’ll receive an email with your username and password to log into the Student Portal and start your online application. You will be required to scan and upload all required documentation before your application can be considered.

How to apply for a PhD with an industry focus

If you are interested in completing the La Trobe PhD with an industry focus (“Industry PhD”), the best way to get involved is to check the currently available Industry PhD projects and scholarships on our Specialist Scholarships page. Instructions on how to apply are provided in each scholarship advertisement.

Successful applicants must meet the Australian University entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree and scholarships, and there may be additional requirements depending on the project and scholarship in question. Please refer to the scholarship advert for details.

Any questions? We'd love to help.