Phd By Coursework In Australia

Course Structure

The course incorporates 12 credit points of coursework to be completed over the first year of candidature (full-time). This coursework element is designed to provide a practical, solid grounding for new students as to the requirements of completing a PhD and ensure that they have all the requisite skills to undertake the realisation of their research proposal.

Admission requirements

There are two entry pathways into the PhD – standard and accelerated entry.

Students entering the course on accelerated entry are granted advanced standing for the coursework component of the PhD and commence directly into the thesis component.

For standard entry, the Faculty or Research Institute will determine an applicant's eligibilityfor entry based upon evidence provided which would include:

a.evidence of advanced knowledge in an area relevant to the PhD topic:

b.a minimum of four years study at Australian degree level in a relevant area (e.g. four year bachelor degree or bachelor degree plus coursework masters);

c.evidence of the capability to undertake complex thinking and problem solving: and

d.evidence of significant aptitude for research. 

The Faculty or Research Institute will determine an applicant's eligibility for entry with advanced standing for the 12 credit point coursework component (accelerated entry) based upon evidence provided which would include:

e.a degree of bachelor with first or upper second class honours awarded by an Australian university or other recognised higher education institution and evidence of research training and aptitude for research: or award or the completion of work that has first or upper second class honours equivalence (as set out in the Admission to Higher Degree by Research Courses Policy) and evidence of significant research ability and professional performance.

Plus all students will: the University's minimum English proficiency requirements for entry into higher degree by research courses;

h.satisfy any requirements for admission to the relevant specialisation approved by Academic Board (e.g. some specialisations require higher IELTS scores; and

i.satisfy any additional requirements specified for admission of the particular applicant, consistent with University policy.

Read more about the HDR Admissions Policy

How to Apply

The Project

The "Coursework in Australian doctoral education: what's happening, why, and future directions?" project aimed to provide an understanding of the pedagogical, curriculum, organisational and funding issues related to the possible introduction of coursework within the Australian PhD.

The project, while based at and involving the ANU, includes team members from six other universities through their Deans of Graduate Research (or equivalent) as sites for the investigation.

The Deans and their universities have been selected to represent different:

  • states and territories
  • types of universities e.g. Go8, distance provider, ATN member
  • current institutional practices, and
  • stages of development by the university regarding coursework in the PhD (or not)


This project aimed to:

  • examine the issues that are deemed necessary for the possible implementation of coursework in the Australian PhD in its many and varied forms;
  • in conjunction with the Australian Deans and Directors of Graduate Research (DDOGS), provide a comprehensive picture of the development and possible implementation of coursework in the Australian PhD;
  • provide widely researched principles suitable for Australian PhD programs, which Australian Deans can consider if developing award courses and programs;


Funded by

Support for this website has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT).  The views express in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.

Unless otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Dr Margaret Kiley,
Australian National University,
in partnership with the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Graduate Research (DDOGS)


Edith Cowan University

Macquarie University

Queensland University of Technology

University of New England

Victoria University

Australian National University

0 thoughts on “Phd By Coursework In Australia”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *