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4 year(s) full-time


Program Code

2019: AUD$ 27,900 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)
2020: AUD$ 29,300 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

Degree overview

  • Develop the ability to complete and commission research in your workplace.
  • 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 studies to suit your research interests.
  • Work in a dynamic research environment.
  • Ranked in the top 10 nationally for education.1

1 THE  Subject Rankings 2019

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?

This professional doctorate includes a blend of coursework and research.

The coursework component builds on your professional expertise by exposing you to leading and challenging ideas in your field, while the research component aims to direct and inform change in the workplace.

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

  • Centre for Research in Education: purpose is to bring all research activity into one space to provide focus, scale and coherence for students, staff and other stakeholders
  • Centre for Islamic Thought and Education: a global knowledge hub – the centre brings together academics specialising in Islamic civilisation, psychology, ethics, leadership, management, sociology, finance and education

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 supervisor who specialises in this subject area.

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.

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 consists of:

  • three supervised small-scale research project reports
  • a thesis (meta analysis) that incorporates a major analysis of the projects completed (approximately 20,000 – 25,000 words)

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

  • formulate researchable questions
  • develop proposals for a research project that uses sound and appropriate methodology and meets the standards for research in the University of South Australia
  • critically analyse data
  • report on that data, and
  • use the research to generate new knowledge about professional 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’re also renowned for our world-class research in education systems, curriculum and pedagogy, and specialist studies in education1.

We will also 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 program, you will complete skill development workshops and master classes aligned to your interests.

12015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

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 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.


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 advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas 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 and swimming pool for student use, and is a short walk from restaurants, takeaway shops and a pub.

Keep up with the latest at Magill campus on Facebook.

Campus features:

  • multimedia studios and editing suites 
  • theatre for stage productions 
  • innovative Social Work Studio 
  • Psychology Clinic
  • gym and outdoor sports field
  • swimming pool 
  • café and outdoor dining 
  • 15 hectares of parklands and lawn
Your study spaces

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