Masters degree by research

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.

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).

Applying for a Masters degree by research

Step 1: Check your eligibility

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 or Science or Master of Arts degrees. International students may be able to apply for entry directly into the second year.

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.

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 the next step.

Identify 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.

If you cannot find a supervisor in your area of interest, 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.

Supervisor enquiry

Your application cannot be processed until supervision is confirmed.

Step 3: Prepare your documentation

Domestic applicants

International applicants

  • Complete your online application form
  • You will need to organise two academic referees. Download the Confidential Academic Referee Report form [DOC 15KB]. Send the form to your referees and ask them to forward their completed referee report directly to La Trobe University via email to:
  • 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 (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])
  • 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 Masters, including your thesis component.

Step 4: Submit your application

Domestic applicants

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

By post: Graduate Research School, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086

In person at Graduate Research School, John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University, Melbourne Campus

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.

Do you have questions about the application process?