2 year(s) full-time


Program Code

2021: AUD$ 35,900 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

English Language Requirements
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements

Program level
Masters by research

Degree overview

  • Join a community of passionate researchers and explore research topics across areas including allied health, exercise and sport science, human movement, health science, public health and medical sonography.
  • Deliver high-impact research in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health issues.
  • Partner with industry to address global health challenges and work collaboratively to solve real-world problems.
  • Develop the ability to independently design and execute original research that generates new knowledge.
  • Study at SA’s No.1 University for human movement and sports science research1.
  • Study at a university that is above world-class research in Clinical Sciences2.
  • Learn from experienced and highly qualified research supervisors, and renowned academics experts who will support, mentor and guide you through your studies.

1The only university in SA to have all its assessed Human Movement and Sports Science research rated well-above world standard. 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).
22018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

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)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs (up to four years full-time equivalent), provide training and education with the objective of producing 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.

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

Masters by research programs (two years full-time equivalent) aim to train candidates in analysing their thesis topic at an advanced level, applying research methodology and techniques to contribute new knowledge to their 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 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?

Research students can complete exciting and innovative research topics that span areas such as:

  • Anthropometry
  • Epidemiology
  • Health services research
  • High performance in sport and industry
  • Musculoskeletal health
  • Neuroscience
  • Nutrition
  • Pain sciences
  • Public health
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rural health.

Our research is also facilitated by research concentrations and groups, including:

Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA): Evaluating the role of exercise, nutrition and activity for promoting health and performance

Innovation, IMPlementation and Clinical Translation in health (IIMPACT):  Focused on solving grand health challenges such as persistent pain, stroke recovery, persistent breathlessness and the rural health inequity.

Australian Centre for Precision Health (ACPreH): Aimed to prevent disease before it strikes; creating innovative solutions to address issues focused on health and wellbeing. 

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.

Why Masters by Research

Why this Degree

100% of our assessed research rated at or above world-class1.

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. Our focus is always on finding practical solutions and creating new knowledge.

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.

Explore opportunity in research areas including allied health, exercise and sport science, human movement, health science, public health and medical sonography.

We are ranked No.1 in Australia for industry research income2 and our commitment to research with an industry focus is unprecedented. Read more about our strengths in research and discover some of our achievements.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), 4-digit Fields of Research.
22019 THE World University Rankings.

Research entry requirements

There are a variety of recommended pathways to gain entry into a Masters by Research.

The Masters by Research can be completed in 1-2 years full-time or 2-4 years part-time, depending on entry qualifications:

  • Undergraduate degree (4 years) > Masters by Research (approx. 1 year full-time) > Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Undergraduate degree (3 years) > Masters by Research (approx. 2 years full-time) OR Master of Nursing/Master of Midwifery (minor thesis) > Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Undergraduate degree with Honours (research-based) > Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

If you would like career counselling related to undertaking Masters by Research, the Division of Health Sciences runs a Pathways Session in June of each year.
Please contact the Allied Health and Human Performance Research Team: ALH_Research@unisa.edu.au

Career outcomes

Your career

A master’s qualification will advance your career possibilities, is a recognised pathway to PhD and will give you a competitive edge in the work place. You may choose to further your career in industry, academia, or in research with a research institution or university locally or internationally.

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

What others are saying

After working in the community disability sector as a physiotherapist, I was exposed to the robotics program of the paediatric rehabilitation department at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The support of the consultants led me to undertake a Masters by Research, investigating the effects of conventional physiotherapy combined with robotic rehabilitation for youth with acquired brain injuries. Demonstrating that robotics can benefit functional rehabilitation will help embed it into practice at rehabilitation centres and enhance therapy for youth. It’s exciting to work in an area that is at the forefront of rehabilitation.

Chris Innes-Wong

UniSA Physiotherapy graduate and Masters by Research candidate

Chris Innes-Wong.JPG

Chris Innes-Wong

UniSA Physiotherapy graduate and Masters by Research candidate

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern 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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