4 year(s) full-time


Program Code

AUD$ 32,400 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2024

English Language Requirements
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Program level
Doctorate by research

Degree overview

  • Develop the ability to design and complete research relevant to your workplace and practice.
  • Benefit from our extensive national and in the broad field of educational practice.
  • Produce new and useful professional knowledge and practice(s).
  • Learn from visiting scholars and artists.
  • Create research projects around your professional interests.
  • Work in a dynamic research environment.
  • Work under the guidance of experienced and highly qualified research supervisors where our education research is rated above world-class1.
  • UniSA's education degrees are number one in South Australia2 and World top 100 in Education3.
  • UniSA is an unstoppable university for unstoppable people. As one of the World’s Top Young Universities4, we’ll ensure you get the experience your future profession demands so it’ll feel like you’re studying one minute and in a career the next.

1Results for Specialist Studies in Education - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).
22022 QS Subject Rankings 
32023 THE Subject Rankings
4UNSTOPPABLE® is a Kellogg Company trade mark used under licence. Ranked #52, 2023 THE Young University Rankings.

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, you will learn and apply advanced research methodologies to produce new knowledge and provide solutions to some of the world’s greatest 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.

Depending on your area of interest, you can study a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Professional Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy (by Portfolio of Publications) or Master of Research.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (up to four years full-time equivalent) provides you with advanced training and education, and the capacity to conduct research independently at a high level of originality and quality.

By the end of your program, you will be capable of independently designing and executing original research that generates new knowledge.

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, as well as 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).

Master of Research

A Master of Research (two years full-time equivalent) enables you to analyse your thesis topic at an advanced level, and apply research methodology and techniques to contribute new knowledge in your field, under appropriate supervision.

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 master of research.

Find out more about our research projects.

Why do a research degree?

UniSA research is inspired by the challenges and opportunities of today. In the 2018 Australian Research Council Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation of Australian universities, all of our assessed 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. 

Learn more about our research.

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?

This professional doctorate is designed for professional educators and practitioners and includes a blend of coursework and research.

The coursework component builds on your professional expertise as a practitioner in the broad field of education by exposing you to contemporary and challenging ideas in your field. The research component aims to direct and inform change in educational practices of the particular industry, workplace or institution.

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

  • The Centre for Research in Educational and Social Inclusion (CRESI): is one of the largest research concentrations in the world that is focused on contributing to new knowledge about issues related to educational and social inclusion.
  • Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE): a global knowledge hub – the centre brings together academics specialising in Islamic civilisation, psychology, ethics, leadership, management, sociology, finance and education.
  • Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L): focuses on the complex relationship between human and artificial cognition, how it changes society, knowledge processes, and teaching and learning.

You may also choose to study an alternate subject matter that does not fit within these research concentrations. To do this you must find a suitable supervisory team who specialises in the subject area.

Find a research area

To find a research area, you'll need to match your qualifications and interests to the research projects offered at UniSA. These have been developed by teams of academics who will supervise you during your research degree.

Scholarships and projects

A scholarship allows you to focus on your research without needing to do paid work. At UniSA, you can explore high achiever scholarships, vacation research scholarships, as well as Vice Chancellor and President’s scholarships.

We also offer thematically-based scholarships. These scholarships will not only address local, national and international grand challenges, they will also ensure you work across 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.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Reading Educational Policy Research EDUC 8025 9
Critical Reflective Writing in Education EDUC 8026 9
Research Methodology EDUC 8027 9
Developing the Research Program EDUC 8028 9
Portfolio Completion (Research Projects and Major Analysis)
Thesis and Portfolio 1 EDUC 8029 9
Thesis and Portfolio 2 EDUC 8030 9
Thesis and Portfolio 3 EDUC 8031 9
Thesis and Portfolio 4 EDUC 8032 9
Thesis and Portfolio 5 EDUC 8033 9
Thesis and Portfolio 6 EDUC 8034 9
Thesis and Portfolio 7 EDUC 8035 9
Thesis and Portfolio 8 EDUC 8036 9



You will be required to complete papers and tasks for assessment as part of this degree's coursework component; you will also present a 75,000-80,000 word portfolio for examination.

Your portfolio will consist of:

  • introduction
  • three supervised small-scale research study reports
  • a thesis (meta-analysis) that incorporates a major analysis of the projects completed (approximately 15,000 – 20,000 words)

The research study reports (2 x 10,000 words and 1 x 35,000 words) will demonstrate your capacity to:

  • formulate researchable questions
  • develop a proposal for three interconnected studies that use an appropriate methodology and meet the standards for research at the University of South Australia
  • critically analyse data
  • report on that data, and
  • use the research to generate new knowledge about professional educational practices

Why Doctor of Education

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 researchers. 

We will also ensure you graduate with transferable career skills that complement your research experience and enhance your global capability when you complete the Transformed PhD program. 

Career outcomes

Your career

A professional doctorate will give you a competitive edge in the workplace.

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.

Advanced research experience may also be the gateway to the Australian Public Service or leading NGOs.

How to apply

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

Please check the research degrees calendar for all key dates.


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 scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your campus

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

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

Magill campus is on stunning grounds, with huge eucalyptus trees bordering open grassy spaces. The campus has a gym for student use and is a short walk from restaurants, takeaway shops and other conveniences.

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Your study spaces

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