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2 year(s) full-time


Program Code

2020: AUD$ 35,900 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)
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
Masters by research

Degree overview

  • UniSA health researchers are involved in a diverse range of research activities, with a particular emphasis on research relating to cancer, population health, healthy lifestyles, pharmaceuticals, nursing and allied health, clinical neuroscience, mental health, and Aboriginal health - the options are many and varied and can be tailored to suit your research interests.
  • Be supervised by some of Australia’s leading researchers in first-class facilities.
  • Work alongside professional researchers and acclaimed academics from internationally-renowned groups.
  • 100% of our assessed research rated at or above world-class.1

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), 4-digit Fields of Research.

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 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?

Our research is carried out through several internationally-renowned research groups, as well as the UniSA Cancer Research Institute and the Centre for Cancer Biology (an alliance between UniSA and SA Pathology).

From the molecular to the global, our researchers are involved in a diverse range of research activities across a broad spectrum of health and medical sciences, with a particular emphasis on five broad areas of strength:

  • Cancer research
  • Pharmacy and Medical Science research
  • Allied Health research
  • Exercise, Sports and Nutrition research
  • Nursing and Midwifery research

Working within and across these areas are over 250 researchers producing innovative research linked to:

  • musculoskeletal health and bone growth
  • cell biology
  • allied health
  • the early origins of adult health
  • epilepsy
  • medicines and vaccine development
  • anthropometry and sports science
  • health and use of time
  • health economics
  • microbiology and infectious disease
  • evolutionary physiology of the lung
  • mosquito-borne disease
  • nursing and midwifery
  • mental health and suicide prevention
  • nutrition
  • pain
  • rehabilitation
  • public health
  • medicines policy
  • epidemiology
  • therapeutics
  • pharmaceutical science

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 Masters by Research

Why this Degree

UniSA provides a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment where you are encouraged to develop your research skills and knowledge under the supervision of some of Australia’s leading researchers.

Health research at UniSA brings together leading researchers with the key aims of intervening early to prevent illness, improving health systems and services, creating more effective therapies, and advancing health equity.

The Masters by Research offers will offer you the opportunity to undertake supervised research in the related discipline of your choice. Your chosen discipline may include, for example, Population Health, Health Sciences, Pharmacy, Public Health or Health Professions (known as Allied Health).

Undertaking a Masters by Research at the University of South Australia will provide you with the following key features:

  • An internationally recognised research degree
  • The ability to complete the qualification 1-2 years full-time or 2-4 years part-time, depending on entry qualifications
  • A pathway degree to PhD studies
  • Access to some of the state’s most outstanding research facilities.

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 Health Research Team: HSC-HealthResearch@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 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

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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