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Duration
4 year(s) full-time

Mode
On-campus

Program Code
MPHD

Fees
2018: AUD$ 29,500 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

English Language Requirements
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements

Program level
Doctorate by research

Key features

  • Develop the ability to independently design and execute original research that generates new knowledge.
  • Benefit from our extensive national and international research links, and strong record in winning national competitive grants.
  • Undertake exciting and innovative research in a range of disciplines.
  • Work under the guidance of experienced and highly qualified research supervisors.
  • Learn from visiting scholars and artists.
  • Tailor your PhD studies to suit your research interests.
  • Work in a dynamic research environment.

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), 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).

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?

We offer doctoral candidates the opportunity to undertake exciting and innovative research in the following disciplines:

  • creative industries
  • design
  • visual art
  • architecture
  • planning
  • digital arts and humanities
  • media and communication
  • urban sciences and informatics
  • social care and social innovation
  • education
  • Aboriginal studies
  • Indigenous affairs
  • brain science
  • learning analytics
  • cultural studies
  • creative writing
  • performing arts
  • music
  • film studies
  • performing arts, music,
  • film studies
  • linguistics and languages
  • journalism
  • media arts
  • politics

Our research is facilitated by a range of different research concentrations, including:

  • Australian Centre for Child Protection: an award-winning national centre conducting research that supports the development of policy and practice solutions for vulnerable children and their families
  • Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety: committed to a research agenda that provides evidence about the importance of balance between workplace productivity and psychological health and safety
  • Centre for Sleep Research: focuses on understanding and improving the human condition through learning about sleep, circadian rhythms and cognition
  • Research Centre for Languages and Cultures: our researchers bring together expertise in linguistics, languages and learning
  • Vernacular Knowledge Research Group: aims to conduct teaching and research activities around the conservation and recording of built and intangible cultural heritage at risk
  • China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development: a research partnership between the University of South Australia and Tianjin University in China. Its mission is to develop innovative strategies and technologies for sustainable urban development in the Asia-Pacific region

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 provides a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment where you are encouraged to explore your own ideas under the supervision of some of Australia’s leading scientists.

We’re also renowned for our world-class research in education systems, curriculum and pedagogy, and specialist studies in education1.

In addition, we will ensure you graduate with transferable career skills that complement your research experience and enhance your global capability when you complete the Engaged PhD program. As part of this degree, you will complete skill development workshops and master classes aligned to your interests.

12015 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.

Adelaide - City West campus

City West is in Adelaide’s most lively precinct, close to art galleries, music venues, cafés and restaurants. It has brand new learning spaces; modern lecture theatres; architecture workshops, contemporary art and design studios; and well-equipped student lounges. Explore City West >

Magill

Magill is a quick drive, cycle or bus trip from the city. On campus there are TV, radio and sound studios, social work studios, a cognitive neuroscience laboratory, a psychology clinic, a language lab, a journalism newsroom, a theatre, a gym and a swimming pool. It’s only a short walk to local shops. Explore Magill >

Your study spaces

Opportunities exist to study at Magill and City West campus, depending on your area of research.

Magill campus:

Magill campus is on stunning grounds, with campus features including:

  • multimedia studios and editing suites 
  • theatre for stage productions
  • innovative social work studio 
  • TV and radio studio
  • Psychology Clinic
  • gym and outdoor sports field
  • swimming pool 

City West campus:

City West is a state-of-the art campus, in Adelaide’s west end. Campus features include:

Your study spaces

What others are saying

My thesis emphasises the importance of preserving and recording family oral histories and photographs that will be left as a legacy for future generations and future researchers.

David Sweet

Doctor of Philosophy

David Sweet

David Sweet

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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