Professional Doctorate

As a candidate for a professional doctorate you will pursue an independent and sustained investigation into a research problem of your own design that makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the context of professional practice.

After you have completed any required coursework subjects, 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 work or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution of direct relevance to the profession
  • 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 with particular reference to the profession 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 professional area to which it is addressed.

The thesis for a professional doctorate degree can also be undertaken as a thesis with publications.

You will be expected to submit your doctoral 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).

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).

Applications for degrees that include coursework close bi-annually on 31 October and 30 April. Applications received after these dates will still be considered but cannot be guaranteed commencement for the upcoming semester.

Applying for a Professional Doctorate

Each Professional Doctorate degree will have different entry requirements - check the Course Finder for details relevant to your degree.

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 the next step.

Identifying your supervisor

You can search for a suitable supervisor by browsing the research and training scholars at La Trobe. You may contact potential supervisors directly through the contact details in their profile, or if you cannot find a supervisor in your area of interest, 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
  • 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.

Your application cannot be processed until supervision is confirmed.

Supervisor enquiry

Domestic applicants

International applicants

  • Complete your online application form
  • 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 preliminary research proposal of no more than 300 words (if you need assistance, use our Guide to Writing a Research Proposal [PDF 68KB])
  • 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

Important 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: (You will receive confirmation by return email that your application has been received.)

International applicants

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.

Any questions? We'd love to help.