Research degrees (MPhil, MRes & PhD)

Australian and New Zealand universities welcome applications from qualified international research candidates.

The process of applying for a PhD or a masters by research in Australia and New Zealand is very different to that of applying for a taught (coursework) programme.

First, you will need to establish contact with a potential academic supervisor and get provisional approval for your research proposal. This will mean identifying the institutions and academics working in the area that you intend to research, and making direct contact with relevant individuals to discuss your work. When you approach academic members of staff, we recommend you communicate your research ideas in a concise but well thought through manner – academic staff receive a lot of similar requests and are only likely to respond positively to ones that demonstrate commitment and ability.

Your research proposal does not need to be finished, or even particularly detailed, but it does need to contain enough information to allow the university to decide whether or not your proposed research is something that they have the resources to supervise and interest in hosting.

Study Options can advise you on which universities have expertise in the field that you want to research. We can also assist with locating relevant departments and with contacting academic staff. If you would like our help with this, please email us a detailed copy of your research proposal and your CV. Please along with any criteria or preferences that you have (for example, any university or location preferences, or particular fieldwork or facility requirements).

Once you have gained provisional support for your application from an academic or a department, please contact Study Options and we will assist with the formal admissions process. Applications submitted through Study Options are fast tracked through university assessment procedures, and are exempt from application fees.

Funding for Research

Most universities concentrate their international student scholarships on research students, so there are usually several options available at each university. There are also general scholarships available for research students in both Australia and New Zealand. The Costs and Practicalities section contains important information about financing your study in Australia or New Zealand and where to apply for scholarships.

Please note that international PhD students in New Zealand are only required to pay the same tuition fees as local New Zealand students, rather than full international rates. This is a New Zealand Government policy, which aims to attract talented researchers to the country.

Finding a supervisor

Establishing contact with a potential supervisor can be a time-consuming and often frustrating process, but it is very important and worth investing a lot of time and effort in.  PhD applications are often assessed by a committee of academics – your supervisor is the person who can champion your application through this and other Faculty processes. They are also often excellent sources of information regarding scholarships and funding, and may well be able to tell you about options that other people within the University are not widely aware of.

Reading the university profiles on this site should give you an idea of which universities you might like to apply to with your research proposal.

Search for a supervisor online

Many of the universities provide a facility on their website that enables you to search for suitable supervisors amongst their research staff, these are linked below.  Once you have established contact with a supervisor, Study Options can help you with your application forms, document certification and visa applications, just contact us.