HDR Fees and costs

Students gathering at UNSW Sydney Kensington campus

All HDR Candidates

There are costs that all UNSW students need to pay, and these are outlined on the UNSW Fees page.

HDR candidates may have additional incidental costs associated with their degree. We have highlighted some of the key costs below but they will vary on a case by case basis.

Living costs: estimated minimum costs $37,684 per year, with $3,000 to cover set up costs. Yearly cost.

When undertaking a higher degree research program, it's important to consider the living costs associated with residing in Sydney including the cost of rent, groceries, transport and utilities.

See this page for more details.

Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF): 2023 cost $87.75 per term ($351/year). Yearly cost.

The SSAF is charged each term a candidate is enrolled and contributes to the provision of amenities and non-academic services for students. These services include counselling, employment, orientation, career advice, childcare, financial advice, health services, food services, sporting and recreational activities, student advocacy and legal services.

For further information, visit UNSW SSAF

Field Work: varies 

Candidates may be required to participate in field work during their degree. Costs will vary based on type of field work, location, duration, resources required and the level of funding provided by School/Faculty.

Conference attendance: varies 

Candidates may attend conferences as part of their research training during their degree. Costs will vary based on type of attendance and presentation, location, duration, resources required, and the level of funding provided by School/Faculty. 

Note: PhD candidates may apply for the DRTG funding to contribute to their conference funding. 

Thesis submission related costs: varies

There are no costs related to thesis submission unless your Faculty, School or Supervisor, require you to have your thesis professionally edited or proof read prior to submission – contact your Faculty for more information. 

An example of one quote for 100,000 words (average PhD):

Thesis editing: $4,400

Thesis proofreading: $2,500

Further incidental fees can be found here.

International Candidates

Tuition Fees Quarterly cost

If you are an International candidate, you are required to pay Tuition Fees for the duration of your candidature unless you have been granted a scholarship or sponsorship that covers these fees. You are required to pay a tuition fee deposit before your initial enrolment. Once you are enrolled, you will receive a fee statement each term.

If you enrol in approved coursework as part of your HDR program, you will not be charged any additional tuition fees.

For further information relating to fee payment and policy, please refer to the Student Fee Policy and Procedure.

Other costs

In addition to tuition fees, there are some of additional costs associated with your candidature. 

Overseas Student Health Cover One off cost

As an International candidate, it is a condition of your student visa that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your stay in Australia. You need to purchase your OSHC up front before you can enrol in your program, unless you have been granted a scholarship or sponsorship that covers this cost.

OSHC insurance cannot be paid in monthly or yearly instalments. You need to purchase a policy that covers the entire period of your student visa so that you can provide the DHA with a valid OSHC certificate when you lodge your student visa application.

If the insurance premium exceeds your credit card limit, you can make separate payments as long as you use the correct payment details.

The University's preferred provider is Medibank, however you can choose an alternate OSHC provider if you wish to do so. If you do decide to obtain your OSHC with Medibank, the University may receive a commission - this is used to improve services to students.

Visa Processing Fee 2023 cost $650. One off cost

You may need to pay a processing fee to the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs when you apply for your student visa.

Bringing Family to Australia

If your family plans to relocate to Australia with you, there will be additional costs including Overseas Health Cover (OSHC), visa processing, relocation and living costs for your family members. Some estimated costs are outlined in the table below.

Additional Costs for Dependents



Visa (+ partner + 1 child under 18)



OSHC family cover, quote as per CoE dates



Partner/spouse living costs ($8,000 per year)



Child living cost ($3,720 per year)



Note: UNSW Research Scholarships aim to support candidates through their UNSW study and are not intended to be used to support dependents. 

Information to support you and your family is provided in the UNSW Bringing Family Guide

Domestic Candidates

Tuition Fees

Domestic HDR candidates at UNSW may be offered an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Fees Offset Scholarship for four years for a Doctorate, and two years for a masters.

The RTP Fees Offset is paid to the University by the Australian Government on your behalf and is used by the University to offset your tuition fees so that you may receive free research training.

From 2024 the value of the Australian Government's support is in the range of $40,000 - $50,000 annually (subject to variation in later years based on actual HDR expenditure). UNSW bears any additional cost of tuition for the duration of the RTP.

For information on how to apply for the Domestic RTP Fee Offset, please refer to the HDR Scholarship Guidelines. For further information on UNSW tuition fees, please refer to the Student Fee Policy and Procedure.

No Coursework Fees

If you are required to enrol in approved coursework subjects as part of your HDR program at UNSW, you will not be charged any additional tuition fees. 

Example of Costs

The purpose of this table is to provide an example of the costs for HDR candidates.

The fees and costs provided below are estimates only, are not exhaustive, and will vary on a case by case basis.

Please note that the University reserves the right to vary student fees during enrolment in line with relevant legislation.

NOTE: Amounts are based on 2023 rates. Currency used in Australian Dollars (AUD).

Combined Costs and Tuition Fees (to nearest $50)



Arts, Design & Architecture



Business School






Law & Justice



Medicine & Health






UNSW Canberra




Tuition Fees 2023

PhD (192 Units of Credit)

Masters (96 Units of Credit)

Arts, Design & Architecture









Law & Justice



Medicine & Health






UNSW Canberra








Visa (one-off upfront payment)*



Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) single cover* (one-off upfront payment) quote as per CoE dates



Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) 



Cost of Living ($35,000 per year, based on estimated minimum costs)



TOTAL (Engineering: 4 year PhD or 2 year Masters; and based on 2023 RTP base rate)



*See table 'Additional Costs for Dependents' under Bringing Family to Australia

DISCLAIMER:  (1) Required amounts displayed are flat rates based on 2023 fees only.

(2) Please be aware that tuition fees increase each year by approximately 5% and actual fees and costs charged may exceed the indicative figures listed.

(3) Fees shown are indicative only and subject to change without notice. Fees are reviewed annually and approved fees for the following year are published on the Fees and Payment site in August/September each year. 

Further Resources

Self-Funded Candidates

If you plan to fund your studies yourself, you need to provide some additional information to support your application for admission. 

International Candidates

If you plan to fund your fees and living expenses yourself, please attach the following documents to your application for admission:

  • Bank statements showing that you have accumulated enough funds over the past 6 months to cover all of your expenses for the duration of your degree. If you are applying for an Engineering degree, you need to show that you have enough funds for 2 years of study (Masters), or 4 years (PhD). For all other Faculties, you need to have enough funds for 1.5 years (Masters) or 3 years (PhD).
  • Completed UNSW Financial Declaration form.

Please refer to the “Combined Costs and Tuition Fees” table in the "Example of Costs" tab for a summary of the costs you will need to show that you can cover. 

If the bank statement you have provided is for a bank account that is not in your name, the account holder must declare that the funds will be used for your studies fees and costs on the UNSW Financial Declaration form.

Domestic Candidates

Please outline your financial capacity to fund your studies in section 3 of the UNSW Financial Declaration form. This outline should be no more than 1-2 sentences in length.