Doctor of Philosophy - Education

Doctorate

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A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis makes a distinct contribution to existing knowledge by using an original approach, interpreting findings in a new light, or discovering new information.

You will complete a substantial piece of original research under academic supervision, developing authoritative knowledge in your field.

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Entry requirements

The criteria for assessing applicants' eligibility for PhD candidature are:

  1. Minimum qualifications
    Applicants are normally required to have completed at least a four-year honours degree at H2A (75%) standard from an Australian university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered by the RHD Committee to be equivalent.
  2. Minimum level of academic achievement
    Applicants should have achieved an overall H2A (75-79%) grade in the relevant honours or masters degree to be eligible to apply. However, in recent years successful applications have required an H1 (80-100%) overall grade range.
  3. Relevance of the degree
    The completed degree must be in an area that is relevant to the intended PhD, including sufficient specialisation such that the applicant will have already developed an understanding and appreciation of a body of knowledge relevant to the intended PhD.
  4. Evidence of research ability
    Applicants are normally required to have completed a research project, component, subject or group of subjects that accounts for at least 25% of their work (i.e. Honours year), or 25% of one year accumulated over the length of a masters course, and which has, or have, been conducted and assessed individually. Research carried out in groups should at least have been graded individually.
  5. Currency of applicant's knowledge of the discipline
    The applicant's degree/s and/or professional experience must demonstrate that their knowledge of the discipline in which they plan to undertake their research higher degree is current.
  6. Assessment of level of suitability
    Based on the research proposal, interview or other communication, an assessment should be made of the level of understanding, motivation and time commitment of the student for the proposed program of study. For example, a full-time student would be expected to devote at least 40 hours a week and a part-time student about half of this.

All PhD candidates are required to complete the equivalent of at least 12 months full-time (24 months part-time) advanced study and research in the University unless studying at an outside institution approved by the Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC). The RHDC will not approve entirely distance supervision or entirely on-line supervision for research higher degree students. The residency requirement is deemed especially important during the probationary period of candidature. During this time the student is expected to interact on a regular basis with the supervisor, the faculty (including staff and other research students) and the University.

International students must also meet English language requirements.

Course structure

  • Course code: DR-PHILEDU
  • 4 years full-time or 8 years part-time
  • Candidates complete an 80,000 word PhD thesis
  • Candidates must present their research findings at a public completion seminar attended by their Advisory Committee.

For detailed course and subject information, see the University Handbook: PhD - Education.

How to apply

Application dates

There are two selection rounds each year for entry to the PhD and Masters by research degrees, and one round for entry to the Master of Educational Psychology/PhD and the Doctor of Education degrees. New applications can be submitted at any time, however all applications must be submitted and complete by the closing dates below to be considered for each round.

Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee admission into the course, as entry to candidature is very competitive. Entry to the PhD is particularly competitive; and an H1 (80-100%) overall grade is usually required to be admitted into this degree.

Semester 2, 2017

Applications closed on 18 April 2017. If your application was submitted but incomplete at that date, your application will be considered for 2018 commencement (please see below).

Semester 1, 2018

Doctor of Education and Master of Educational Psychology/PhD (combined degree): applications close 31 August 2017.

All other graduate research degrees (PhD, MPhil, Master of Education - Research): applications close 23 October 2017. 
Please note: this deadline has been extended from the original closing date of 16 October.

Semester 2, 2018

All graduate research degrees: applications close 18 April 2018.

We recommend you submit your application at least four weeks before the closing dates, just in case any additional documentation is required.

Please note: the Master of Educational Psychology/PhD and the Doctor of Education do not have a Semester 2 intake.

Application process

1. Write your research proposal

You must provide an extended research proposal with your application. Research proposals should be 1,500 words for PhD applications and 1,000 words for all other graduate research degrees.

They must succinctly address the following points under separate headings:

  • Aims of study: what's the proposed topic of your study and why is it important? What does your study want to achieve? What could your potential research questions be?
  • Key concepts and theories: briefly discuss key academic concepts and theories informing your study.
  • Approach and methodology: provide a brief overview of the approach and/or methodology you intend to use in your study.
  • Rationale for coming to the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE): why is MGSE the right research environment for your project? Why is your prospective principal supervisor a good fit for your project (see below)?
  • Bibliography: list up to ten key references for your project.

Once you've identified a principal supervisor, your research proposal should also be updated to reflect who they are and how they may contribute to your research project.

2. Find a supervisor

Find a principal supervisor who will support your research proposal and application. Your supervisor must be a current staff member at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE).

We recommend that you search for a supervisor on the University’s Find an Expert page, or visit our current research projects page to find staff members working on research projects. Please attach your research proposal (or a short summary) and CV when contacting your potential supervisors via email.

You'll need to upload evidence of your intended principal supervisor’s support when submitting your application. This can be in email format and must include the intended supervisor’s agreement to supervise you should your application be successful.

Please note that all supervision arrangements are also subject to the approval of the MGSE Selection Committee. Support of a prospective supervisor does not guarantee entry to MGSE’s research higher degree program.

3. Apply online

Read the application information and apply on the Future Students website.

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Don’t forget to provide your research proposal and evidence of your intended principal supervisors support when submitting your application. You will also need to supply a 100-word summary of your project in addition to your research proposal.

If you have any questions about how to complete or submit your application, please contact Graduate Research Admissions at rhd-admissions@unimelb.edu.au.

Scholarships

Prospective graduate research students will be automatically considered for scholarships as part of the graduate research degree application. Current graduate research students can apply for scholarships via their Student Portal.

Further information:

Application outcome

All correspondence regarding your application will be by email. If your application is successful, you will receive an offer letter via email explaining how you can accept your place.

Please note that for the current 2017 round, application outcomes for international applicants will be available in mid-June. Outcomes for domestic applicants will be available in late June.

For the next round (commencement in the first half of 2018), application outcomes will be available by early December.