The doctoral degree programs within the School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences provide the highest level of training in key areas of scientific research. 

Program objectives

Students work on an independent research project encompassing the broader interests of one of the research teams within the school. In the early stages of the program, students receive close supervision and guidance in the management of their project. In the later stages, however, students are encouraged to exercise initiative and demonstrate originality. In the last year of the program, the candidate should be able to work independently and be guided rather than directed by the supervisor.

Entrance requirements

The minimum entry requirement for a PhD is a four-year Bachelor’s degree with First or Upper Second Class honours or completion of a Bachelor degree and substantial laboratory experience.

Applicants must seek and obtain agreement of a BABS academic to be their supervisor prior to applying; this is a key requirement to gain acceptance. View the BABS HDR Information Booklet for supervisors and research areas. Identifying and negotiating with prospective supervisors is key to gaining admission, and you will need to align your topic of interest with the research area of one of our School’s academics. 

Applicants must also provide evidence that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission: English language requirements.

Further information can be obtained from the Graduate Research School (GRS).

PhD degrees

Program requirements

A Doctor of Philosophy Degree requires three years full-time study and completion of a written thesis. The length of a doctoral thesis is normally around 100,000 words. The thesis is reviewed by members of the Australian and international scientific academic community. In the course of their research, PhD students must make a distinct contribution to the knowledge within their specific discipline. Ideally, this will result in the publication of original research findings in peer-reviewed journals of international standing.


Domestic students: The Australian Government's Research Training Scheme (RTS) provides Commonwealth-funded higher degree by research (HDR) candidates with an exemption from tuition fees for the duration of their PhD by research for a maximum period of four years' full-time-equivalent study. Domestic students are liable for the UNSW Student Services Amenities Fee.

International students: Full details can be found on the GRS Fees and Costs page for International Postgraduate Research Candidates. Note that international students are exempt from the UNSW Student Services Amenities Fee.

How to apply

Applicants may view the application procedures on the GRS website.

View the application deadlines. 

PhD stories

The School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences has been home to groundbreaking research for more than 50 years. The hundreds of honours, masters and PhD theses presented below hold this legacy.