About the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Taxation & Business Law

UNSW’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Taxation & Business Law will prepare you to become a globally focused and socially engaged research leader.

The School of Taxation and Business Law offers a choice of a three-year or four-year PhD program. The four-year program is offered full-time and includes an extended coursework program and the opportunity to participate in training for future academic roles. The three-year program may be taken full-time or part-time.

Four-Year Program Overview

You’ll join a cohort of high-achieving research students and benefit from interdisciplinary engagement with your cohort. This is your opportunity to become integrated into the UNSW Business School’s community of scholars.

You’ll first undertake rigorous coursework covering the theoretical foundations of tax policy or business law policy and regulation. As part of your PhD program, you’ll also be involved in research projects from an early stage. This training will equip you with the skills required to identify, analyse and solve problems in the field.

You’ll then pursue full-time research under the supervision of high-profile UNSW academics, culminating in a doctoral thesis. There will also be exciting opportunities to develop your teaching portfolio.

Your PhD thesis will showcase your research skills and enable you to make an original contribution to your field.

Three-Year Program Overview

The PhD requires a minimum of three and a maximum of four years full-time study and can be taken part-time. It requires the submission of a thesis, usually not exceeding 100,000 words. You’ll be supervised by experts in your chosen area, who will help you develop insights and critical research skills in a supportive environment.

Compulsory courses include research ethics, research methods and data management. Ongoing enrolment requires confirmation of candidature between 9-12 months full-time equivalent. Confirmed candidates will then have annual progress reviews

PhD Program Structure

Four-Year Program Structure

Year One: Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies

Your first year of study is designed to provide a rigorous foundation to conduct independent research. You’ll learn a range of methodologies and build your communication and presentation skills.

Your first year of coursework study will cover fundamental qualitative and quantitative research methods. You’ll also start developing key research skills such as identifying, framing, presenting and writing academic contributions. You’ll work as a research assistant on faculty research projects and start working on your own research as your skills develop.

The first year will help you identify your potential thesis supervisor for the PhD component of the program. Upon successful completion of the first year, you’ll be awarded a Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies. A brief overview of the first year is presented below. Please visit the UNSW Handbook for full course structure details.

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Year Two: Specialised Coursework & Identification of Thesis Topic

During the second year, you’ll continue in the Taxation & Business Law stream. Your second year is also when you’ll identify your thesis topic with your supervisor. You’ll engage in literature review and research design, and present your research proposal to the School at the end of the year.

Years Three – Four: Original Research & Your Doctoral Thesis

The final two years of the program are focused on conducting full-time research and completing your doctoral thesis. This is your opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges in Taxation & Business Law and make a significant contribution to knowledge in your field. Your research will offer new critical thinking and withstand critical analysis from expert researchers in the area.

Three-Year Program Structure
Year One: Coursework & Identification of Thesis Topic

The first year includes a combination of coursework (with an emphasis on research methods) and formulation of the research question for the doctoral dissertation. You must complete the following compulsory courses:

Years Two-Three: Original Research & Your Doctoral Thesis

The final two years of the program are focused on conducting full-time research and completing your doctoral thesis. You’ll explore ideas and generate new knowledge using original research to contribute to ongoing academic debate in your field.

  • Your PhD thesis will set you on the path to a career in a premier research institution, anywhere in the world. Throughout your research degree, you’ll also have many opportunities to develop your teaching portfolio.

    Beyond academia, there is also significant demand in the private and public sectors for people with deep knowledge and sound research and analytical skills*.

    Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in academia, or take your research skills out to industry, a PhD in Risk & Actuarial Studies from UNSW will get you there.

    *Source: 2019 Advancing Australia’s Knowledge Economy Report

Degree type

Postgraduate Research


4 years full-time, 5-8 years part-time

Commencing terms

Term 1 – February

Program code


Delivery mode

On Campus

Domestic / International