Applying to study a postgraduate research degree
Studying for an advanced, research-focused degree - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - at the Australian National University (ANU) is your opportunity to make a substantial and original contribution to your discipline or area of professional practice.
Imagine doing research that contributes to a better tomorrow. ANU offers you the time and resources you'll need to help change conversations and influence government policy.
Our researchers work in a range of discipline areas rated above world-standard. *
- Work independently
- Study under the guidance of international experts in their fields
- Engage in critical reflection
- Mentor with industry and government
- Collaborate with researchers from around the world.
*Excellence in Research for Australia report 2018-19
Research focus areas
ANU researchers are currently exploring a range of disciplines and study areas.
Applying to ANU
You can apply at any time of the year – but if you would like to be considered for a scholarship, you will need to send your application within the scholarship’s application deadline.
Your referees should send their reports before your scholarship’s deadline. Give them as much time as possible by completing your ANU application 2–3 weeks earlier than the scholarship’s deadline. We’ll contact your referees when we get your application.
Your application to study at ANU must meet the following requirements.
1. Minimum admission requirements
Explore our minimum admission requirements.
Requirements for admission to a Doctor of Philosophy degree
- An Australian bachelor’s degree with at least second-class honours (Upper first-class honours may is required by some programs) or the international equivalent, or
- Another degree with a significant research/thesis component, or
- A combination of qualifications, research publications and/or professional experience related to your field of study
Requirements for admission to a Master of Philosophy degree
- An Australian bachelor’s degree or higher, with an overall grade of distinction or higher, or the international equivalent, or
- Another equivalent degree, or
- A combination of qualifications, research publications and/or professional experience that are related to your field of study
2. English language requirements
You must meet our English language requirements to be eligible for admission to ANU. While you can apply without having met them, you will need to show that you do when you get a study offer from us.
Unsure whether you can meet the English language requirements? Contact your research school or the Graduate Research Office before you send your application.Learn more about ANU English language requirements
3. Research proposal
Your draft research proposal only needs to be short. Check in with your potential supervisor to clarify their expectations for this proposal before you send it in with your application.
Your proposal should present your idea or question in your discipline area clearly. Consider it a statement about the basis of the research you’d like to do.
Your research proposal should:
- establish the relevance of your idea
- show gaps in your field – and how your research would address these
- include how you would go about your research project – your approach, methodologies and resources.
You will be able to change the proposal once you have enrolled in your program.
Nominate up to three referees to support your application.
Ensure their contact details are correct; we will email them a report to complete from within the application portal as soon as we have received your application.
If your referee is unable to access our system-generated referee report, they can contact the Admissions team and ask for another version of the form.
Your referees must send their completed reports confidentially and directly to the University rather than to you.
5. Supporting documentation
Upload clear, colour copies of your academic transcripts and graduation certificates with your application. You do not need to certify these documents, but they must be original copies. We will verify their authenticity.
If your academic documents were originally given to you in a language other than English, we will need official copies of the document in that language and original translations for verification purposes.
6. Incomplete qualifications
You can apply to ANU before you complete your current degree if you are in your final year. Advise the Graduate Research office your expected completion date via your application and supply a copy of the qualification when we make you an offer.
For more information, refer to ‘Supporting documentation’.
Before you apply
Find a potential supervisor and explore our colleges’ research opportunities. Some colleges have different application requirements – so make sure you’re aware of and follow these before you apply.
Find a supervisor
Discover potential supervisors. Explore their research and published works and find their contact details.
ANU college research opportunities
Our colleges can provide you with information about research areas, supervisors and groups, as well as who to contact.
NOTE: More than one college can offer supervision in a particular study area.
Explore college application requirements
If you have found a supervisor you would like to work with and the college that offers this supervision, you will need to find out if there are any pre-application steps that your college would like you to take.
Most colleges would like you to find and secure the support of a potential supervisor before you complete your application. For example, the ANU College of Business & Economics has different arrangements for setting up supervision, so please check in with them before applying.
Some colleges will ask you to send a short description of your proposed area of research as an expression of interest and a summary of your academic qualifications, including grades, to them first.
Visit the ANU college research pages for pre-application advice (see the links under 'ANU colleges’ content above).
How to apply
If you have the approval of a college and a potential supervisor, you can apply for admission to ANU. Without this endorsement, though, we might not be able to assess your application.
- Choose the program you want to study from the Program & Courses catalogue
- On the program’s page, click 'apply’ to open the application portal
- Complete your application
You can apply for one research program and choose for us to consider you for the corresponding MPhil program if you do not meet the academic requirements of the program in your application.
Receiving an offer from ANU
After we assess your application, we will contact you via email about the outcome within 6–8 weeks (about 2 months). This could take longer if we're also considering you for a scholarship.
If you do not hear from ANU within two months, contact your research school or email the Graduate Research Office.