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4 year(s) full-time


Program Code

2021: AUD$ 37,700 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

  • Study a PhD in business and explore research topics across areas in commerce, management, marketing and more.
  • Join a community recognised for world-class research - our research is rated above world-class in marketing, tourism, and business and management, and world-class in accounting and applied economics1.
  • Develop the skills to independently design and execute original research, and create new knowledge with impact.
  • Learn from experienced and highly qualified research supervisors, and renowned academics - experts who will support, mentor and guide you through your studies.
  • Undertake exciting and innovative research across a range of business disciplines, with a focus on finding practical solutions and solving real-world problems.
  • Partner with industry, government, communities and education providers to influence decision-making and challenge current thinking.
  • Benefit from strong links with global research institutions across Asia, North America, Europe and the UK.
  • Over 200 external partners support our research, which is inspired by the contemporary challenges of our region and the world.
  • Explore our range of fully-funded research degree scholarships to support your studies.
  • UniSA Business is ranked in the top one per cent worldwide2 and has been awarded an overall five stars for excellence in the QS Stars Ratings 2019.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).  2UniSA Business is one of just ten institutions in Australia and 189 globally to be accredited by EQUIS (from over 16,500 worldwide). EFMD, February 2020. 

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 the world’s grand 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) or Masters by Research.

Research degrees offered at UniSA

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

As part of your PhD, you will conduct advanced, original and high-quality independent research. You will prepare a thesis which represents a significant contribution to your chosen field of study.

On successful completion, you will have the right to use 'Doctor' in your title.

Doctor of Philosophy (by Portfolio of Publications)

This 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

You will analyse a thesis topic at an advanced level, applying research methodology and techniques to contribute new knowledge to your field, under appropriate supervision. You will further your skills in analysis and debate, problem-solving and communication. 

Your qualification will be assessed via a thesis examination. 

Please note, a masters 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 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. 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?

A PhD in business at UniSA can be studied in the disciplines, Institutes and research strengths listed below.

Please contact BusinessResearchDegrees@unisa.edu.au to find out more. We welcome applications and have supervisory teams available across the following research areas.


Accounting, applied economics, finance, choice, behavioural finance, capital markets, economic history, environmental accounting, international business, and property investment and valuation.


Ethics and corporate social responsibility, festival and event management, human resource management practices, organisational behaviour, leadership and change management, sport, recreation and leisure management, service quality, teams, team processes and communication, tourism and Asia, tourist behaviour and experiences, work-life balance and well-being, workplace diversity, and workplace performance.

Please note, we have refined the application process for students interested in research degrees in management. Learn more about the application process.

Marketing/Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science

Advertising and media, brand performance, consumer behaviour, customer loyalty, international marketing, packaging, pricing, and wine marketing.

Our research is also facilitated by a range of research groups, including:

Find a research topic

UniSA Business offers a wide range of research topics which have been developed by teams of academics who will jointly supervise successful candidates. Each topic is a broad area of investigation, designed to help you create an original research question. Browse our list of research topics and contact the relevant Principal Supervisor/s for further information before you make your application.

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.

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.

Why Doctor of Philosophy

Why this Degree

UniSA Business is ranked in the top 1% worldwide1, and is recognised and respected for a comprehensive research program inspired by the contemporary challenges facing Australia and its region. Our focus is always on finding practical solutions and creating new knowledge.

Our commitment to research with an industry focus is unprecedented. We are renowned for our concentration of global thought-leaders and academic experts in the areas of marketing, human resource management, applied economics, tourism and international business.

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.

In the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rankings, all of our assessed research was rated at or above world-class with particular strengths in business, management and marketing. Read more about our strengths in research.

Why should I study a PhD in business?

  • You are passionate about problem solving, understanding how things can be done better or helping businesses thrive.
  • The business sector has high demand for research graduates with expertise in areas such as management, consulting, business development, academia and entrepreneurship.
  • You will be well placed to pursue a career in diverse multi-national companies, NGOs, universities, government departments, statutory bodies, national regulators, businesses, not-for-profit associations and more.
  • Our training system, UniSAEDGE, will support you to achieve your career goals by providing research and professional skills development informed by employers, industry and supervisors.

1UniSA Business is one of just ten institutions in Australia and 189 globally to be accredited by EQUIS (from over 16,500 worldwide). EFMD, February 2020.

This could be you

As a research candidate at UniSA you will create new knowledge and become an expert in your field by exploring a research question that interests you.

UniSA Video

Career outcomes

Your career

A PhD in business 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

How to apply

Before applying, you will need to do some investigation. Our seven-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

What others are saying

Probably my favourite experience during my PhD program, was travelling to London and doing a six month internship with business and news broadcaster, CNBC. I was also given other opportunities to travel, to present at conferences and deliver seminar to the Institute’s corporate sponsors. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have grown and expanded my professional skill set whilst undertaking a research degree. I believe this has made me a well-rounded researcher and also a competitive candidate for marketing research positions in industry.

Dr. Cathy Nguyen

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters by Research


Dr. Cathy Nguyen

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters by Research

My research degree experience has been (and still is) a great research journey for me. I never thought of research as a possible career, but I was curious about how the consumer's mind works and how marketing fits into it all. And six years later, I’m still on this amazing discovery journey that has never ceased to amaze me. Thank you UniSA!

PJ Tan

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters by Research
Employment: Foodland Corporate Office
Role: Market Analyst

Business research student and graduate - PJ Tan.jpg

PJ Tan

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters by Research
<br />Employment: Foodland Corporate Office

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.

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