If you want to enrol in a research degree at Swinburne, you must be able to demonstrate the ability to undertake research in your area of interest. This may be demonstrated in a variety of ways. When applying to undertake a higher degree by research, you must:

  • comply with Swinburne's English language requirements 
  • have met one of the minimum entry requirements listed in one of the study areas or demonstrate equivalent prior learning and research experience as set out in Swinburne’s required standards of achievement and research experience.

Entry requirements by research program

You must reach the required standards of achievement and research experience for entry into one of Swinburne's PhD programs. The required standard of achievement is based on your research experience to date. There are also minimum entry requirements that are unique to each program.

Qualification / Equivalent research experience Required standard of achievement

(1) Masters degree (Research) at AQF level 9 of which at least two-thirds is devoted to research, research training and independent study as required by the AQF.

Pass.

A Masters degree (research) will automatically be deemed as being equivalent to an H1 grade unless a specific grade is stated on the transcript.

In such cases where a specific mark or grade is stated, to be deemed H1 equivalent, the overall average result must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80%.

To be deemed H2A equivalent, the overall average result must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%.

(2) Masters Degree (Coursework) (AQF Level 9) which includes structured learning with some independent research and project work or practice-related learning in collaboration with a relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body as required by the AQF.

An average overall grade for the course equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%; and a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% for the research component.

To be deemed H1 equivalent, the research component of a course work degree must achieve a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80% and the overall average result for the coursework component must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80%.

To be deemed H2A equivalent, the research component of a course work degree must achieve a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% and the overall average result for the coursework component must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%. 

(3) Honours degree at AQF level 8 (either an Honours year following a Bachelor degree; or an Honours year embedded in a Bachelor degree).

An average overall grade for the course equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%; and a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% for the research component.

To be deemed H1 equivalent, the research component of an Honours degree must achieve a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80% and the overall average result for any coursework component must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80%.

To be deemed H2A equivalent, the research component of an Honours degree must achieve a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% and the overall average result for any coursework component must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%.

(4) Four-year Bachelor degree at AQF level 7 in one of the following fields:
  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Mathematics

An average overall grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% in the final year units of study.

To be deemed H1 equivalent, the overall average result must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80% in the final year units of study.

To be deemed H2A equivalent, the overall average result must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% in the final year units of study.

(5) Three-year Bachelor degree at AQF level 7 An average overall grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% in the final year units of study.
(6) Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology at AQF level 8 which includes a research component equivalent to at least 50 credit points in the Swinburne program structure.

An average overall grade for the course equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%; and a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% for the research component.

To be deemed H1 equivalent, the research component of a postgraduate diploma in Psychology must achieve a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80% and the overall average result for the coursework component must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 80%.

To be deemed H2A equivalent, the research component of a postgraduate diploma in Psychology must achieve a grade equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70% and the overall average result for the coursework component must be equivalent to a Swinburne grade of at least 70%.

(7) Prior learning equivalent to a tertiary qualification at AQF level 8 or higher, and research experience with outputs which is sufficient to prepare the applicant for doctoral research candidature.

Disciplinary knowledge and skills must meet at least AQF level 8 criteria.

Sufficiency of research experience and standard of research outputs to be determined with reference to evidence. Such evidence may include:

  • Peer-reviewed publications; or
  • Research-related awards and/or prizes; or
  • Professional reports that demonstrate ability to develop and maintain a coherent, sustained and well-articulated argument.

PhD candidates are required to make a significant and original contribution to a discipline or profession by submitting one of the following, equivalent to 70,000–100,000 words:

  • a written research thesis 
  • a written research thesis including associated papers 
  • an artefact, such as a creative work or design product, with an accompanying exegesis (critical explanation).


As a PhD candidate, you're expected to:

  • conduct independent research of high originality and quality 
  • independently conceive of, design, conduct and complete a research project or program 
  • develop a critical knowledge and understanding of the research area and methodological approaches 
  • communicate convincingly with clarity and relevance to appropriate audiences.

Entry requirements PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

You must have a demonstrated ability to undertake significant research in a defined area of interest to enrol in a research degree at Swinburne. When applying to undertake a higher degree by research, you must:

  • comply with Swinburne's English language requirements
  • have met one of the minimum entry requirements listed in one of the study areas or demonstrate equivalent prior learning and research experience as set out in Swinburne’s required standards of achievement and research experience.

Partnered and offshore PhD programs

Our partnered and offshore PhD programs allow you to complete your research degree jointly at Swinburne and at an international or Australian partner university.

Graduate Certificate of Research and Innovation Management

As part of your Doctor of Philosophy program, you will concurrently earn a Graduate Certificate of Research and Innovation Management (GC-RESIM)

You will complete the coursework (two core units and two electives) alongside your PhD program. Course material is delivered via both online units and on-campus workshops. The assessments for core units are embedded within existing PhD milestones to avoid disruption. 

This course will expose you to various industry practices within your chosen field and provide you with a wider range of career options. This course has been designed to enhance the experience, career prospects and employability of PhD students through innovative research training.

Download the GC-RESIM guide [PDF 1.6MB]

Study areas

Swinburne offers PhD study in broad research areas. Find out more about the specific research expertise and opportunities available in the following areas:

A Master by Research degree requires you to demonstrate mastery of inquiry in a field of a discipline or profession. You will undertake supervised research and write a thesis equivalent to 50,000–60,000 words.

A Master by Research candidate is expected to:

  • plan, conduct and complete a research project or program 
  • understand relevant techniques in the field demonstrated both by your comprehensive review of the literature and by your research processes 
  • access and interpret key data in relevant fields 
  • present outcomes clearly and logically using relevant media.

Entry requirements

You must have completed a three-year bachelor degree at AQF level 7 (or equivalent) with a minimum average of 65% in the final year units of study.

You will also need to check the specific entry requirements for your program.

Masters by Research study areas

Swinburne offers Masters by Research across a broad range of areas. Find out more about the specific research expertise and opportunities available in the following areas:

Candidates undertaking a Professional Doctorate make a significant and original contribution to professional practice. You will write a thesis and complete a coursework component. Your overall works should be equivalent to 70,000–100,000 words.

A Professional Doctorate student is expected to:

  • conduct independent research of high originality and quality 
  • independently conceive of, design, conduct and complete a research project or program 
  • develop a critical knowledge and understanding of the research area and methodological approaches 
  • communicate convincingly with clarity and relevance to appropriate audiences.

Entry requirements for Doctor of Psychology programs

You must have completed at least four years of studies in psychology at a high level of achievement. For example, one of the following:

  • a four-year (or equivalent) sequence of studies in psychology at first or upper second class level in a course or courses accredited by the APS 
  • equivalent overseas qualifications recognised by the APS 
  • a master degree in psychology. 
  • a high level of achievement is the equivalent of an honours degree class 1 (average grade between 80–100) or class 2A (average grade between 70–79). 


You must have been approved for the award of the degree or degrees you studied.

You must also have experience or training in counselling, such as:

  • experience in face-to-face counselling 
  • significant training in counselling skills 
  • counselling skills in tertiary programs 
  • other appropriate work experience. 


You must also undertake a selection interview. 

You will also need to check the specific entry requirements for your program.

Visit the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical and Forensic Psychology) course page for more information. 

Integrated PhD Program structure

We offer Integrated PhD programs across selected discipline areas as a pathway to turn your Master of Research into a higher degree by research. The program combines structured coursework units in research methods and communication with self-directed research projects.

Master of Research

During this program you’ll undertake supervised research in the discipline of your choice, develop skills in project management and critical thinking, and refine your communication skills. You will complete a major thesis that demonstrates mastery of inquiry in a field of a discipline or profession to receive a Master of Research while preparing you for a PhD.


Entry requirements:

  • have successfully completed an undergraduate degree with a university approved by Swinburne 
  • have achieved a weighted credit average in their degree.

Successful applicants will receive a conditional offer for the Doctor of Philosophy components of the program.

Doctor of Philosophy

If you want to, you can then progress into the PhD. During the PhD program you will undertake further supervised research. You will submit a written research thesis consisting of 70,000–100,000 words with the aim of making a significant and original contribution to a discipline or profession.


Entry requirements

To be eligible for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy – Integrated, applicants must:

  • have successfully completed the Master of Research at Swinburne with a minimum H2A average (70% or higher) 
  • have a confirmation of Candidature Review.

English language requirements (international applicants)

International candidates must meet one of the following requirements:

  • a minimum IELTS overall band of 6.5 (Academic Module) with no individual band below 6.0 or a TOEFL iBT (internet-based) minimum score of 79 (with a reading band no less than 18 and writing band no less than 20) 
  • a minimum Pearson (PTE) 58 (no communicative skills less than 50) no more than 24 months before submitting your application 
  • satisfactory completion of Swinburne’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP 5 Advanced level) with overall 70%, all skills 65% 
  • successful completion of a total of 24 months (full time equivalent) of formal study where the language of instruction and assessment was English at AQF level 7 or above (or equivalent) at an approved university no longer than 60 months before submitting your application.

Course information

Find out more about the program, including course information and how to apply:

Want to access research training and support?

Settle into your Higher Degree by Research (HDR) and take part in training sessions, workshops, seminars and events. Learn more about the research training and support available at Swinburne. 

Study and learning support

Partnered and offshore PhD programs

A Partnered PhD program allows you to jointly enrol and be supervised at Swinburne and an international partner university. Swinburne's offshore PhD programs allow students who are based predominantly offshore (outside of Australia) to enrol in a Swinburne PhD. 

You will have at least one supervisor at each university and access the same supervisory support and research training as an onshore student. You will also spend up to one year in Australia as part of your program. Upon successful completion of the program, you will graduate from both universities with a Doctor of Philosophy.

  • Enhance your research by collaborating with national and international experts while building networks.
  • Gain valuable national and international exposure and experience in the management of global research projects.
  • Broaden your future employment opportunities.
  • Learn how to navigate different research and educational systems.
  • Access facilities and skills training from two research-intensive universities. 

For more information on partnered PhD programs, entry requirements and to apply, please contact:

Pankaj Arora 
Director, International Research Engagement 
parora@swinburne.edu.au 
+61 3 9214 5407

Want to get in touch?

For more information on the research degrees available at Swinburne or to talk to the research degree team, contact +61 3 9214 8444 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, or submit an online enquiry below.

Contact us

Ready to apply for a research degree?

If you understand and satisfy the minimum entry requirements for your chosen research degree, take the next step and begin your application.

Apply now