Domestic and International Applications - ANU Postgraduate Research

A higher degree by research (HDR), or Postgraduate research program, is an advanced research-focused degree that provides candidates an opportunity to work with increased independence under guidance from experts in the field, engage in critical reflection and make a substantial and original contribution to a discipline or area of professional practise.

HDR programs include Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil).

The Graduate Research Office (GRO), which is the central HDR student administration office for the University, provides support to HDR candidates.

Contacting GRO during the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, GRO staff members work intermittently on campus and remotely. At this point, the preferred method of contact with GRO is via email.

How to apply

Applications to HDR programs are open throughout the year. You can submit your program application at any time.

However, some scholarships require you to submit your application to the program by a specified date. If you are applying for a research scholarship, please be aware of the scholarship application deadlines.

Applications must include all supporting documentation at the time of submission, in order to be considered for a scholarship. Applications are only considered complete and ready for assessment when it includes the referee reports.

Request for referee reports are triggered and sent to your nominated referees at the time of submission of program application. Your referees must submit their reports prior to the scholarship deadline for your application to be considered complete. It is therefore strongly recommended that you submit your application in advance (2-3 weeks) to allow time for your referees to provide their report prior to the scholarship deadline.

Step 1: Check you meet minimum eligibility requirements

Admission to a Doctor of Philosophy degree at ANU requires:

  1. An Australian Bachelor degree with at least Second Class Honours - Upper (First Class Honours is often required) or its international equivalent, or
  2. Another degree with a significant research/thesis component that may be assessed as equivalent to paragraph (1), or
  3. A combination of qualifications, research publications and/or professional experience related to the field of study that may be assessed as equivalent to paragraph (1).

Admission to a Master of Philosophy degree at ANU requires:

  1. An Australian Bachelor degree or higher, with an overall grade of distinction or higher, or its international equivalent, or
  2. Another degree that may be assessed as equivalent to paragraph (1), or
  3. A combination of qualifications, research publications and/or professional experience related to the field of study that may be assessed as equivalent to paragraph (1).

All applicants must meet the University's English language requirements for admission, noting that it is possible for you to apply without yet meeting English. In this case, if you are approved for admission, your offer would be conditional on meeting our language requirements.

If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements prior to applying please don’t hesitate to contact your Research School or the Graduate Research Office.

Step 2: Draft a Research Proposal

A research proposal aims to present your idea or question in the discipline area clearly. It seeks to establish why your idea is relevant and what the identified gaps are in your field and how your research would fill those gaps. It includes how you would go about your research - what approach, methodologies and resources would be used in the research project.

The draft proposal submitted along with the application is like a tool to outline your intended research or clarify your own ideas. It is more general and flexible to change once you have enrolled in your program.

The draft proposal should be a short document, however, applicants may seek guidance from the potential supervisor about expectations on length and content. Please visit the Research Proposal webpage for more information.

Step 3: Find a potential supervisor

Visit the Researchers website to search potential supervisor profiles, including their research expertise, published works and contact details. Through this process you will need to ascertain whether or not we offer research supervision in your area of interest.

Colleges can also provide information about the areas of research, supervisors and research groups, but note that supervision in some areas of interest can be offered in more than one College.


Visit the sites listed below to find more information around research opportunities in each College, and the appropriate contacts.

College pre-application requirements

Once you have identified which supervisor you would like to work with, or which College offers research supervision in your area of interest, you will need to check to see if there are any pre-application steps for that College.

Most Colleges will ask applicants to identify and secure the support of a potential supervisor before they can proceed to an application for admission, however,the ANU College of Business & Economics have different arrangements for setting up supervision. Please check with the college prior to applying.

Some Colleges ask applicants to submit a short description of their proposed area of research as an expression of interest and a summary of their academic qualifications, including grades, to a central contact first.

Visit the relevant College website for pre-application advice (see links above).

Step 4: Confirm your referees

You will need to nominate up to three referees to support your application. When providing your referee contact details please ensure that they are correct and up to date as a report will be emailed to them from the application portal to complete and submit upon the successful submission of your application.

To be considered for scholarships, plan your application submission to ensure that all documents including referee reports are submitted prior to a scholarship deadline. For example: If the Scholarship deadline is 31 August, plan to submit your application by 15 August to give your referees ample time to submit their reports.

If your referee is unable to access the system generated Referee report form, they may contact the GRO Admissions Team who can provide an alternate version of this form. Your referees must submit their completed reports confidentially and directly to the University.

Step 5: Apply

If you have been advised that it is appropriate to do so by a College, or if you have secured the support of a potential supervisor, you may apply for admission using the ANU Programs & Courses website. If you choose to submit an application for admission without this endorsement your application may not be assessed.

To submit an application, find the program you want to study using the Program & Courses website, then click the Apply button to access the application portal.

Applicants may apply for one Research program only and choose to be considered for the corresponding MPhil program if they do not meet the academic requirements for their principle program.

Already completed your previous qualification/s?

When you apply, you will need to upload clear, colour copies of your academic transcripts, graduation certificates, and proof of English Language proficiency. There is no need to certify your documents, however they must be original copies. ANU independently verifies the authenticity of your qualifications.

If your academic documents were originally issued to you in a language other than English we will need official copies of the document in the original language and their original translations for verification purposes.

Still completing your current qualification?

You can still apply before you complete your current degree if you are in your final year, and you must advise our office in your application of your expected completion date. You will need to provide a clear, colour copy of your most recent academic transcript for assessment. If you are successful, you will be asked to provide copies of your final transcript and graduation certificate before you may receive a full offer.

Step 6: Receive an outcome

Applications to the University are assessed on an ongoing basis. The ANU will contact you about the result of your application as soon as possible. Applications usually take between 6-8 weeks to assess, or longer if you are being considered for a scholarship also. All outcomes are issued to your email address so it is important that you provide an email address in your application that you check regularly and you can easily access.

If you have not heard from ANU regarding you outcome after this time please don’t hesitate to contact the Research School for a status update, alternatively you may speak to one of the staff members within GRO who will be happy to help.