NDARC offers scholarships to students who wish to undertake higher degree research (HDR) on drug and alcohol-related projects that align with NDARC’s core work plan areas:

  • Epidemiology and emerging trends
  • Prevention and early intervention
  • Mental and physical comorbidities
  • Treatment and harm reduction
  • Drug policy
  • Criminal justice system
  • Priority populations
  • Big data and new technologies

Several NDARC projects are currently seeking HDR candidates; please visit HDR scholarship projects for more information.

Applicants are welcome to apply at any time, or as part of NDARC’s annual cohort of HDR students commencing Term 1 of each calendar year.

Scholarship award amount and duration

NDARC offers a competitive scholarship stipend and support package. The scholarship awarded to full-time HDR candidates is $37,684 per annum, tax-exempt. The PhD scholarship duration is three years (with the possibility of a 6-month extension). The duration of the MRes and MPhil scholarship is two years. In addition, up to $10,000 is available for professional development activities and $5,000 for associated research costs across the period of candidature. There are also opportunities for HDR candidates to be offered additional paid employment to work on priority projects across the Centre.

About the Centre

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) was established at the University of New South Wales by the Commonwealth Government in 1986 to extend the knowledge base required for effective treatment of individuals with alcohol and other drug related problems and to enhance the overall research capacity in the drug and alcohol field. The Centre is highly regarded, both nationally and internationally, for its contribution to drug and alcohol research.

Since NDARC's inception, more than 80 students have successfully completed a HDR program at the Centre (PhD and Masters), with a success rate of over 90%. NDARC has a strong cohort of HDR students with a focus on diversity and equity of access. The Centre provides a highly supportive study environment with excellent facilities including desk space, regular training opportunities, computer access and statistical support. 

NDARC students and staff publish in general medical and health journals, and the most influential specialist drug and alcohol publications. The Centre's research is multi-disciplinary in nature and of high practical relevance to governments and policy agencies, communities, providers of clinical services and non-government organisations. 

HDR graduates have career opportunities in a range of organisations, including Australian and international universities, the WHO/UN, the delivery of clinical services, and with policy agencies such as NSW Health, NSW Family and Community Services and local health districts.

There are a number of pathways into our HDR programs, and NDARC staff are keen to support entry for potential students from a range of backgrounds and with varied educational qualifications. NDARC is particularly committed to building research capacity among Aboriginal researchers and encourages consultation with us about different HDR pathways that may be available. If you have queries about this, please feel free to email NDARC.HDR@unsw.edu.au and a staff member will contact you to talk about your options.


Information about eligibility is provided in the NDARC Conditions of HDR Award document. Briefly, to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

  1. Meet UNSW requirements for enrolment in a Higher Degree Research Program.
  2. Meet residency and visa requirements.
  3. Not be concurrently enrolled in a separate HDR program at either UNSW Sydney or another university during the tenure of the NDARC-based candidature.

Full-time, part-time, domestic, and international applicants will be considered (consult UNSW’s guidelines for eligibility and tuition scholarship options for international students).

Evidence of previous research or study (e.g., honours or master's degrees) is desirable for entry to HDR, though not essential. Experience in the drug and alcohol sector or related fields, such as psychology, public health, criminology, sociology, medicine, pharmacology, health economics, and biostatistics, is also desirable.

Successful candidates are required to enrol in the HDR program through the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) in the Faculty of Medicine. Successful applicants will receive support via NDARC's HDR training and development program. Knowledge of UNSW’s EEO/AA principles and policies will be required.

How to apply

Before submitting a formal application, all interested applicants are invited to complete this application form and submit to ndarc.hdr@unsw.edu.au.

Your expression of interest will be reviewed and the selection committee will contact you further regarding progressing with your formal application.

Applications open: HDR applicants are welcome to apply at any time.

Projects currently seeking HDR candidates: Please visit HDR scholarship projects
Interviews: Applicants must be available for interview
Program start: Applicants can commence in any term of UNSW’s academic calendar

It is not the intention of this advertisement to limit the scope of possible HDR research projects or enrolment options, but to highlight the most important aspects of NDARC’s HDR program. The aspects mentioned above may be negotiated within the confines of UNSW’s HDR policies and procedures.