Masters degree by research

A Masters degree by research enables you to conduct an in-depth investigation into a topic of your choice.

By completing this degree, you'll improve your research and analytical skills and contribute relevant research into your chosen field. As a Masters by research 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:

  • your competence in the design and conduct of a research project that incorporates methodological skills appropriate to the discipline and a body of knowledge that includes the understanding of recent developments in one or more disciplines.
  • 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.

The thesis for a Masters by research degree can also be undertaken in practice-based mode or as a thesis with publications.

You will be expected to submit your thesis 20 months (or part-time equivalent) after you commence; the maximum period of study is two 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 Masters degree by research

Each Masters by research degree will have different entry requirements - check the Course Finder for details relevant to your degree.

If you are a current science or arts Honours student at La Trobe, you may also be able to apply for transfer into the Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees. International students may be able to apply for entry directly into the second year.

Discipline Specific Application Requirements

The La Trobe University Law School has discipline specific application requirements for the Master of Laws (Research). For more information, please review Graduate Research Admissions - Schedule C – Discipline Specific Application Requirements for Candidature in the La Trobe Law School and the Graduate Research and RTP Scholarships Policy - Schedule D – Discipline Specific Application Requirements for the La Trobe Law School.

International applicants

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.

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

Also, please note that 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

  • 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
  • A copy of your honours thesis (translated into English if it is not written in English).
  • 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 copy of your honours thesis (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])
  • 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.