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Duration
4 year(s) full-time

Mode
On-campus

Program Code
LPHD

Study as
Full-time or part-time

Program level
Doctorate by research

Fees
Fees for research students that have exceeded their RTP entitlement are calculated at the course level. Refer to the Research Training Program

Key features

  • Contribute to the progress of science and technology in an area that interests you.
  • Flourish in a technology hub of theoretical, applied and cross-disciplinary research.
  • Work alongside world-class supervisors on industry-based projects.
  • Become part of a research team with active connections to national and international institutions, and industries.
  • Number 1 in South Australia in engineering research.1
  • Home to the multi-million dollar Future Industries Institute – transforming the industries of today and seeding the industries of tomorrow.

1 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

What is a research degree?

A research degree is an advanced program of study allowing you to investigate a topic relevant to your field. Under the supervision of world-class researchers, research degree students learn and apply advanced research methodologies to produce new knowledge and provide solutions to the world’s challenges. Completing a research degree means becoming an expert in your field. It’s your opportunity to take a topic that interests you, explore it in depth, tackle intellectual, creative and practical challenges, and communicate your findings.

You can study a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Professional Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy (by Portfolio of Publications) and Masters by Research.

Research degrees offered at UniSA

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Produces graduates with the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality. By the end of the degree, a PhD student will be capable of independently designing and executing original research that generates new knowledge (three to four years full-time equivalent).

Professional Doctorate

A rigorous program of advanced study and research, designed specifically to meet the needs of industry, end-users and professional groups. Professional doctorates usually consist of a blend of coursework and research (three to four years full-time equivalent), encouraging close cooperation across university, industry and the profession and providing a framework for integrated professional expertise and scholarly inquiry.

Doctor of Philosophy (by Portfolio of Publications)

Allows formal recognition of established researchers and/or scholars who do not already hold a PhD qualification, and who have produced research of international standing in their field with an ongoing record of academic publication (work).

Masters by research

Students analyse their thesis topic at an advanced level, applying research methodology and techniques to contribute new knowledge to their field, under appropriate supervision (two years full-time equivalent).

Please note, a master by coursework (such as an MBA) involves enrolling in selected courses and participating in lectures and tutorials (online or on campus). It is different to a masters by research.

Find out more about what you can study.

Why do a research degree?

UniSA research is inspired by the challenges and opportunities of today. In the 2015 Australian Research Council Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation of Australian universities, 97 per cent of our research was rated at world class or above. We are vibrant, outward-facing and responsive. We partner with industry, government and communities to seek answers to questions that arise in the real world. Our research themes are:

  • An age friendly world
  • Transforming industries
  • Scarce resources
  • Cancer
  • Healthy futures
  • Transforming societies

Learn more about our research themes.

The transformed PhD

UniSA intends to deliver industry and end-user informed research that supports employer-relevant curriculum. To achieve this, and to produce entrepreneurial and business-aware graduates, we have developed the transformed PhD.

We have added a structured component to research degrees including enhanced skill development, supervisory panels and a technology-enabled oral defence of the thesis. Through these activities you will develop a set of professional, transferable skills relevant to our knowledge-based enterprise economy.

The aim of the transformed PhD is to increase your employment prospects in any career path. You will possess the knowledge, expertise and confidence to meet the emerging needs of academia, industry, government and the community.

Four good reasons to do a research degree

  1. Challenge yourself. You will need to work hard, be dedicated and think analytically at a high level. You will tackle completely new research and different research methods, or extend research already undertaken.
  2. Increase your career opportunities. A research degree provides evidence of independent thought and the ability to manage a research project in a given timeframe. Your research could allow you to develop a new specialisation, academic field or career. A research degree at UniSA will also allow you to develop a skillset which sets you apart, putting you at the centre of your professional development.
  3. Make your ideas public. Your research findings may be published, presented at conferences, provide a commercial return and have a positive impact on society.
  4. Contribute to society. Discover new methods, understandings and techniques, and solve a real-world problem.

What can I research?

When you study a research degree with our Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, you are immersed in a flourishing technology hub of theoretical, applied and cross-disciplinary research. Our innovative degrees will provide you with advanced academic and professional research skills. The majority of research degrees are offered at Mawson Lakes campus, however some aspects may be offered at City East campus.

For more information about a research degree with us, please contact research.itee@unisa.edu.au.

School of Engineering

We welcome applications – and have supervisory teams available – in mechanical engineering, robotics, mechatronics, agricultural engineering, sustainable energy, nano-technology, nano composite, advanced manufacturing technology, supply chain management, manufacturing management, signal processing, wireless sensor networks, telecommunication networks, applied physics, biological motion processing, autonomous systems, systems engineering, engineering management, socio-technical systems, complex systems, autonomous systems, unmanned systems, and robotic systems.

Research Education Portfolio Leaders: Professor Anthony Finn and Dr Jun Ma.

School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences

We welcome applications – and have supervisory teams available – in computer science, information technology, forensic computing, information management, applied mathematics, mathematical modelling, optimisation and operations research, statistics, biometrics, bioinformatics, biological image analysis, computational biology, mathematical biology.

Another option is through the ATN Industry Doctoral Training Centre where students work on a project in partnership with industry and undertake technical and professional training modules in areas including leadership, communication and project management.

Research Education Portfolio Leaders: Dr Jiuyong Li and A/Prof Regina Burachik.

School of Natural and Built Environments

We welcome applications – and have supervisory teams available – in biodiversity, environmental science, ecology, conservation, environmental, geotechnical, structural and other civil engineering specialisations, project management, geomatics, geospatial Information science; including remote sensing, land surveying, biodiversity, soil science, and plant physiology.

Research Education Portfolio Leaders: Dr Nicholas Chileshe , Dr Guna Hewa Alankarage and Dr Xing Ma.

Find a supervisor and research area

To find a research area, you'll need to match your qualifications and interests to the research programs and degrees offered at the University of South Australia. Browse our research degrees. Once you’ve done that, you will need to find a supervisor. A supervisor is an academic staff member who will work with you throughout your research degree. In your online application we will ask you to provide the name of your proposed UniSA supervisor. Learn more and find a research supervisor.

Scholarships and projects

A scholarship can allow you to focus on your research without needing to do paid work. Scholarships are offered for Australian and international students looking to undertake a research degree. There are also high achiever scholarships, vacation research scholarships and Vice Chancellor and President’s scholarships.

As of 2017, we are also excited to offer thematically-based scholarships. These scholarships will not only address local, national and international grand challenges, they will also ensure students work across traditional boundaries in the University, with industry, and with community partners.

Learn more about available scholarships.

Graduate outcomes

There are seven identified graduate qualities and outcomes that result from doing a research degree at UniSA. Importantly, these competencies are transferable to the workplace, whether academic or professional. In brief, a research degree graduate of the University of South Australia:

  • understands, can contribute to and critique current research-based knowledge in their field
  • is prepared for lifelong learning in pursuit of ongoing personal development and excellence
  • is an effective problem solver and researcher
  • can work both autonomously and collaboratively as a researcher
  • is committed to ethical action and social responsibility
  • communicates research knowledge effectively
  • demonstrates international perspectives in research

Read about our research degree graduate qualities in more detail.

Academic regulations and Code of Good Practice

What can you expect of UniSA and what do we expect of you? Please familiarise yourself with the requirements governing research degrees by reading about our academic regulations and good practice code.

Scholarships

Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarship search page for more.

Why Doctor of Philosophy

Why this Degree

UniSA is ranked in the top two per cent of universities worldwide1.

Our Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment has a proud history of furthering education and research in the fields of science and technology to promote innovation locally, nationally and internationally.

Our environment is diverse and multicultural, with over 300 academic researchers and over 320 PhD students, located at our Mawson Lakes and City East campuses. Our schools, research institutes and research centres work collaboratively in cross-disciplinary teams to produce outstanding learning outcomes and research results.

We offer a research environment with highly experienced and engaged supervisors, extensive connections to industry, government and communities, and a focus on addressing globally significant issues. We encourage you to connect with our researchers and find out the possibilities.

We are the only university in South Australia to have all of its assessed engineering research rated well above world-standard2 and our commitment to research with an industry focus is unprecedented. Read more about our strengths in research and discover some of our achievements.

1 Times Higher Education (THE) and QS World University Rankings 2017
2 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Mawson Lakes

Nestled in amongst engineering and tech companies in Technology Park, Mawson Lakes has state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. On-campus there are large open green spaces, cafés, wetlands, interactive learning spaces, the largest strong-floor in Australia, a planetarium and a gym. It is 20 minutes from the city centre, easily accessible by bus, train and car. Explore Mawson Lakes >

What others are saying

Through my PhD I have worked closely with UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, nanoparticle specialist Boutiq Science and Powerhouse Ventures to develop an improved cancer detection system that relies on magnetic rather than radioactive tracers. This new magnetic tracer together with an ultrasensitive magnetometer probe, delivers a more accurate and affordable system for the staging of deep or complex cancers.

Aidan Cousins

Doctor of Philosophy

aidan-cousins.jpg

Aidan Cousins

Doctor of Philosophy

I would recommend undertaking a PhD with UniSA for many reasons. UniSA has great research staff to supervise PhD students and the environment (especially Mawson Lakes campus) is a perfect place for research. I found the labs to be well equipped and I have been provided with necessary equipment for my experiments.

Abdullah Azfar

Doctor of Philosophy

Abdullah Azfar

Abdullah Azfar

Doctor of Philosophy

In my area of expertise, I get to work with an anechoic chamber to perform cognitive assessments, which is amazing technology. It’s typically used in military grade testing, so to have access is phenomenal.

Natalie Francies

Doctor of Philosophy

Natalie Francies

Natalie Francies

Doctor of Philosophy

How to apply

Before applying, you will need to do some investigation. Our six-step guide will take you through the process of preparing your application to maximise your chances of success.

Research degree applications are made through our Apply Online facility, a secure step-by-step online service. Please check the research degrees calendar for all key dates.

Your career

A PhD will give you a competitive edge in the work place. You may choose to pursue a career in academia, or in research with a research institution or university. Alternatively, you may choose to work in your chosen specialisation. A research degree graduate of the University of South Australia:

  • understands current research based knowledge in their field and its methodologies for creating new knowledge. They can create, critique, and appraise new and significant knowledge.
  • is prepared for lifelong learning in pursuit of ongoing personal development and excellence in research within and beyond a discipline or professional area
  • is an effective problem solver, capable of applying logical, critical and creative thinking to a range of research problems
  • can work both autonomously and collaboratively as a researcher within a particular discipline or professional area and within wider but related areas
  • is committed to ethical action and social responsibility as a researcher in a discipline or professional area and as a leading citizen
  • communicates effectively as a researcher in a discipline or professional area and as a leading member of the community
  • demonstrates international perspectives in research in a discipline or professional area and as a leading citizen

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