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).

Application closing dates

You can apply for research candidature at any time.

If you’d like to apply for a stipend scholarship to support your candidature application, view our currently available scholarships, including information on scholarship closing dates.

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 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

  • Your University academic transcripts and completion certificates (certified copies)
  • Your professional CV (resume) outlining relevant work experience, academic awards, prior research background etc.
  • Details of any publications
  • When you complete your application, you will be prompted to provide a preliminary research proposal of no more than 300 words (if you need assistance, use our Guide to Writing a Research Proposal [PDF 68KB])
  • Your birth certificate or citizenship certificate (certified copy, for domestic applicants only).

International applicants

  • 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

Domestic applicants

Lodge your application (candidature and/or scholarship) via our online application system

If you are an existing La Trobe student or have previously applied to study at La Trobe, you will be able to log on to your account to create your application. If you are new to La Trobe University, you will first need to register before creating your application.

For help completing your application, please see our How to Apply Guide [PDF 595KB].

International applicants

Lodge your application via the International Online Application System

You may be prompted to apply through an agent, please contact one of our registered education agents if you would like to do so.  If you would like to lodge your application directly to La Trobe University instead, please email us and provide us with the following information and we will guide you with the next steps.

  • Your full name
  • Country of citizenship
  • Course preference
  • Proposed principal supervisor

Any questions? We'd love to help.