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2 year(s) full-time

Program Code

Study as
Full-time or part-time

Program level
Masters by research

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

Degree overview

  • Grow foundational skills in research methods, research planning, data analysis and dissemination relevant to health research.
  • Under the supervision of experienced researchers, and in collaboration with industry partners, develop and complete a program of research.
  • Present your research to diverse audiences through publication and presentation at conferences.
  • Be mentored in the most cutting-edge knowledge and practices by interdisciplinary teams of researchers, based on world-class research in health sciences.1
  • Work on projects which are relevant to real-world health disciplines and clinical settings globally.
  • UniSA is an unstoppable university for unstoppable people.2 As one of the World’s Top Young Universities3, 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 in Public Health and Health Services - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). 2UNSTOPPABLE® is a Kellogg Company trade mark used under licence. 3Ranked #43, 2024 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, students learn and apply advanced research methodologies to produce new knowledge and provide solutions to 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.

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

Research degrees offered at UniSA

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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

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

Master of research programs (one to two years full-time equivalent) train candidates, under appropriate supervision, to analyse their thesis topic at an advanced level; and apply research methodology and techniques to contribute new knowledge to their field.

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 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. 

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 research degree offers you the opportunity to complete research focusing on projects which positively impact the health of individuals.

A strong emphasis is placed on authentic, enquiry-based learning to develop the research knowledge and skills necessary to join, participate and contribute to research and the wider community.

As part of this degree, you may work with the following research concentrations and groups:

A current list of potential projects can be found here.

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  
Biostatistics for Health Research HLTH 5187 4.5 Rule(s): 2
Health Research Methods HLTH 5199 4.5 Rule(s): 2
Research Planning HLTH 5200 4.5 Rule(s): 2
Elective 4.5 Rule(s): 2,3
Original Research Program 1 18
Original Research Program 2 18
Original Research Program 3 18

Why Master of Research (Health Sciences)

Why this Degree

Health research at UniSA brings together leading researchers with the aim to intervene early to prevent illness, improve health systems and services, create more effective health solutions, and advance health equality.

This postgraduate qualification will equip future allied health professionals with the advanced skills required to conduct independent and team research projects. This course is ideal for graduates of health science programs, such as human movement, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, health science (public health), medical radiation or exercise and sport science.  

You'll have the unique opportunity to work alongside active researchers who are involved in real-world critical research across a range of health fields.

Through your research, you may work with interdisciplinary experts in the following research areas:

  • population and public health (including epidemiology)
  • health services
  • medical radiations and imaging
  • healthy lifestyles (active living, nutrition, sleep)
  • neuroscience
  • sports performance
  • rehabilitation
  • pain science
  • evidence-based practice

Career outcomes

Your career

The Master of Research (Health Sciences) opens up a range of employment possibilities. It will complement and extend your prior learning or professional experience, ensuring you have a competitive edge over other potential employees.  

Graduates may be employed by:

  • agencies responsible for public health, including local, state and federal government and non-
  • government organisations
  • health research centres or institutes
  • health education facilities

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. 

Discover 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.

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