As a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate, you’ll complete a substantial program of independent and original research in your chosen field of study. A PhD prepares you for a range of careers - from academic to industry and is the highest degree qualification available. 

  • 3–4 years (full time) minimum commitment of 35 – 40 hours per week or
  • 6–8 years (part time) minimum commitment of 15 hours per week.
  • Offered in all Faculties
  • A thesis of no more than 100,000 words.


UNSW undertakes world-class research that tackles some of the greatest challenges facing society today. When you join the UNSW research community, you join a passionate collective of people who are using research to transform minds, transform lives, and transform the world.

UNSW will support you to develop the skills and expertise you need to make a difference in your field. We are committed to providing you with an unmatched PhD experience that includes outstanding research training and mentorship, world-class supervision, and access to research environments defined by excellence and collaboration.

You will receive advanced specialist research training and produce a thesis that provides evidence for independent thought, critical analysis, and expert knowledge of the discipline in an international context. In some disciplines, creative work may form part of the thesis.

Find information about individual PhD programs and codes on the UNSW Handbook.

Learn about the graduate attributes and learning outcomes for UNSW higher degree research programs here

Entry requirements

The minimum requirement for admission to a PhD is:

  • A UNSW Bachelor degree with first or upper second class Honours from UNSW; or
  • a completed Master by Research from UNSW with a substantial research component and demonstrated capacity for timely completion of a high quality research thesis; or
  • an equivalent qualification from a tertiary institution as determined by the Faculty Higher Degree Committee (HDC)

The minimum requirement for UNSW Scholarship with admission to a PhD is:

  • a four year Bachelor degree with first or upper second class Honours from an Australian institution or equivalent research qualification as above.

Future careers

You may think of yourself as a student, but we think of you as a professional researcher in the early stages of a long and vibrant career.

UNSW will provide you with the skills and expertise to pursue a range of career pathways after you graduate, from academia to industry.

As a PhD candidate, you’ll have access to a wealth of opportunities to work with and alongside industry through industry PhD programs to internships and mentorships.

You’ll also have access to the most comprehensive student entrepreneurship program in Australia, that can help you develop your ideas, raise capital and launch a startup.

Fees and costs

The costs associated with enrolment in a research higher degree program vary depending on whether you are a domestic or international candidate. Learn more about the fees and costs here.