What is a Professional Doctorate?
The Professional Doctorate (Research) embeds research training through coursework and practice in a reflective
manner, resulting in new discipline knowledge through research.
Graduates at this level require a systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning and specialised research skills for the advancement of new knowledge. Graduates will also have systemic and critical understanding of a substantial and complex body of knowledge at the frontier of a discipline.
Students will collaborate with industry, government, and community partners to find innovative solutions that
benefit business and community at a local, national, and global level and will be positioned for career
advancement and transition in a diverse range of industry sectors.
This course suits students with previous work experience to ensure a strong understanding of the mechanics of the workplace and the ability to interrogate workplace problems at an advanced level. It is aimed at students who demonstrate a preference for work-based research outcomes.
- Demonstrate systematic and critical understanding in the profession by planning and generating a substantial and original contribution that advances scholarship for professional practice.
- Synthesise, apply, and analyse existing and new knowledge using critical thinking, digital literacy and problem solving to develop new concepts for advanced professional practice.
- Critically evaluate wide variety of research approaches and methodologies and select an appropriate research methodology and method(s) to conduct your research project.
- Plan and execute ethical research that demonstrate the capacity to scope, design and conduct research projects independently.
- Use appropriate and coherent communication skills to report, present, publish and disseminate research data and findings to peers and the community.
- Exhibit autonomy, authoritative judgement and leadership in workplace research and advanced professional practice.
Graduates of the Professional Doctorate (Research) have a bright future. They will have demonstrated their preparedness for a career in research and analysis within government, higher education, research centres and private enterprises. Graduates will have demonstrated intellectual leadership, positioning them for roles such as those in the following areas:
- Policy research
- Research projects
- Research & development
- Academic research
- Industry and government advising
- Further study, including a PhD
Subjects and units
This course compromises of 8 core subjects, 1 elective subject, and 15 thesis units. Each subject involves 10 hours of study per week, comprising 3 hours of facilitated study and 7 hours self-directed study.
Critical Literature Review | RES611This subject provides students with an overview of critical reading practices and develops the practical skills required to undertake a higher degree research project. Students will develop an understanding of the differences between practice and theory-based literature, and learn practical planning, searching, recording and interrogations skills needed to identify research gaps and undertake critical analysis with the view to establish future research directions. This subject will culminate in the development of a project statement for further scholarly research.
Developing the Research Proposal | RES612This subject develops the foundations of research, critical problem solving, and evidence-based decision-making skills required when undertaking a higher degree research project. Students will gain an understanding of the core structure of the research proposal, research integrity and the importance of positioning a chosen research project to offer significant contribution to new knowledge. Through the compilation and review of emerging constructs from literature, students will establish key concepts for analysis and build a framework for critical evaluation and investigation in the chosen field of study. On completion of this subject, students will understand the interrelationship of concepts, constructs, models, and frameworks in research, and possess the skills to communicate this in a structured project proposal capturing their emergent propositions ready for further investigation.
Methodology and Design | RES613This subject aims to build the methodological literacy for higher degree research. It addresses methodological questions and specific issues connected with the choice of research methods and the associated forms of data. The subject includes discussion on the process of discovery and the formulation of the researcher's paradigm of reality. This subject caters equally for students pursuing various quantitative and qualitative methodologies in their research projects. It provides targeted training in key research methods as well as developing the student's overall understanding of the use and usefulness of various research methods in the field of research. This subject covers advanced topics in qualitative and quantitative research methodology relevant to the current set of projects undertaken by the cohort of students at this level.
Preliminary Research Thesis | RES614This subject aims to provide students with the skills for planning, conducting, analysing, and reporting for a research project. This subject develops your understanding of the requirement for responsible conduct of research including ethical review for projects involving human research participation. On completion of this subject, students should be able to: further understand the significance of research and the challenges associated with undertaking independent research and design and complete a qualitative and/or quantitative research study using public data. You will report your project in a preliminary independent short thesis.
Research Communication | RES615This subject provides students with essential skills in academic writing, authorship, the conventions of academic writing, research communication and dissemination of research outcomes. Students will develop skills in writing for research and analytical skills for research. Students will learn about planning for academic writing and critical analysis for academic writing. The subject also develops students' skills in constructing arguments, the different types of arguments and publication formats for output. This subject will draw from the field of communications studies and related discipline areas and build critical writing skills.
Research Communication | RES615The subject offers students an opportunity to develop a business case for commercialisation of an idea resulting from a student’s own research. This subject will encourage students to communicate and plan to lead others in the research process within organisations including start-ups and build research teams to support practical research outcomes. This subject will focus on building the traits of entrepreneurial leadership for research and innovation and assists students in translating their knowledge and own research into a commercial products or services. Preparing students to be more effective in this area will move research outcomes toward market relevance. Students will work on their own research in order to identify a commercial opportunity, identify the challenges of launching and operating their new product or service resulting in the skills to lead research, innovation and commercialisation in professional practice.
DSGN6028 Design FuturesThis subject introduces designers to research methodologies as a basis for identifying problems which can be the catalyst to bring about change. Students gain skills in the analysis of research data using grounded theory and phenomenography, in addition to visual research methods used as a foundation for creative and design solutions inherent in cross-disciplinary creative practice. By means of reflection, analysis and contextualising an identified culture—their own or others—and by drawing on its philosophies, typical behaviours and patterns, designers explore, elicit, and assess problems to instigate creative group projects. The design practices foster understanding of, and connection with, the contexts that designed things participate in, enrich, and often transform. The additional emphasis is on problem identification that informs and leads to enhanced futures based on successful creative outcomes.
DSGN6029 Research and InnovationThis subject culminates in the development of a synthesised project proposal that can form the foundation for an incubator project. Issues relating to ethical research practices and approaches to potentially sensitive research matters are considered. Students develop and consolidate their understanding of various research practices in order to analyse and review quantitative and qualitative data. Proposals should seek to identify a well formulated research question and hypothesis based on this analysis. Students also undertake reflective analysis with creative and societal innovation founded on research as they develop their project proposal. At the end of this subject students will have proposed the foundations of a self-initiated project that exhibits a sophisticated understanding of contemporary practice based on triple line philosophy:
- environmental sustainability;
- social, ethics and creative responsibility; combined with,
- financial responsibility.
Thesis Unit | THE601 to THE608The units focus on substantial writing for thesis and analysis for the thesis project. Students will be expected to demonstrate high-level skills in independent research and/or analysis and in written expression as well as a degree of original input into the thesis project. Students are required to keep a research journal and regular submission of written work is expected to allow for the refinement of the student's development of ideas and writing style through critical feedback from the supervisor.
The student is required to complete 150 credit points of thesis writing.
THE601, THE602, THE603, THE604, THE605, THE606, and THE607 are all 20-credit point (i.e., double) subjects.
Biostatistics | STAT6200Analysing data is one of the central activities in the public health industry. Learn how to investigate basic statistics and concepts used in public health research and practice to interpret results in journals and government reports. A practice-based approach to statistical analysis (using specialised software) will enable you to apply basic analyses to public health data.
Qualitative Research Methods for Public Health | PUBH6013In this subject, students develop core knowledge and skills for designing qualitative research in public health, including collecting, analysing, interpreting, and presenting qualitative data. Topics include exploration of the nature of qualitative inquiry, broad theoretical approaches in qualitative research, research methods (i.e., ethnography, observation, case studies, focus groups, interviews, participatory action research), research design issues (i.e., sampling, ethical considerations, quality, and rigour), and ethical issues in public health qualitative research. Students will also learn about the use of software to code data.
Statistics for Financial Decisions | STAT6003This subject covers the role of statistical analysis in decision-making for accounting and finance professionals. It is divided into descriptive and inferential statistics. Students will learn about statistical techniques for the quantitative evaluation of data in decision-making for accounting, finance, and business applications. Students will develop analytical and statistical skills through Excel data analysis to manipulate data into meaningful information for the purpose of decision-making. Students will also learn to interpret statistical results and communicate their statistical analysis in business reports.
Program Evaluation and Action Research | DPA8109This subject (Capella/Cross-institutional Study Option) will introduce the basic fundamentals of both program evaluation and action research. Program evaluation is used to objectively evaluate and improve program efficiency. Since program evaluation is also a requirement for all federally funded grants, this is an important skill for public administrators. Action research engages participants in various aspects of research design or implementation. This subject will introduce the concepts, design methods, and their application to real-world situations using both program evaluation and action research methods.
Advanced Action Research Methods | DRPH8180In this subject (Capella/Cross-institutional Study Option), you will examine participatory action research methods in the planning of a public health and epidemiological research project. You will design an action research project using critical theory, ethical parameters, and a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. As part of the research project plan, you will prepare an action research proposal that delineates the research topic, data collection methods, and decision-making model on what action to pursue as a result of the research findings. You will also explore effective communication skills and collaborative approaches associated with the relationship between the researcher and participant.
International students must not enrol in more than one-third (33%) of online subjects over their course, and must study at least one face-to-face subject each study period. Please note that due to COVID-19, authorities have provided exceptions to the usual face-to-face learning requirements. For more information, visit Study in Australia.
International students on a student visa are required to study full time (i.e. must complete a minimum of 1.0 EFTSL of study per year). For the latest information on study locations, please check the entry requirements flyer.
Research projectThe Professional Doctorate (Research) is comprised of independent research under the guidance of experienced supervisors, culminating in the submission of a thesis and advanced professional practice portfolio. You will be required to provide an Expression of Interest including professional experience and your stream of interest as part of your initial application. The course streams include leadership, innovation, technology, policy and governance and change management applied in your chosen professional sector.
Check the domestic course fee schedule for the cost of your course.
Eligible Australian students may choose to defer some, or all, of their tuition fees through FEE-HELP, a loan scheme repaid through the tax system based on income.
We're serious about supporting your studies from start to success, which is why we offer partial scholarships for both international and domestic students undertaking HDR, and eligible students can also apply for the Research Training Program scholarship (RTP). RTP Scholarships for 2022 are now closed.
Before you get started with your course application, check you meet all the requirements listed below.
Applicants without a Master's degree may pathway to the Professional Doctorate (Research) with recognised prior learning based on:
Seven years' practice at an advanced level in a position of responsibility or five years practice at an executive level and currently in a position of influence in the chosen profession, or An extensive track record of executive achievement in the workplace or in professional practice
A discipline-specific portfolio based on competency based learning and non formal learning
A letter of recommendation from two most recent employers
Guaranteed pathway and Recognition of Prior LearningIf you have already completed a qualification you may be able to credit this against your degree with us, even if it’s from another institution. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning. We also offer pathway opportunities to further your learning.
Check the international course fee schedule for the cost of your course. Onshore international students requiring a student visa should choose campus-based / blended options.
Course fees can be paid across three study periods. Each instalment to be paid before the beginning of the academic stage census date.
We're serious about supporting your studies from start to success, which is why we offer partial scholarships for both international and domestic students undertaking HDR. Please contact the HDR Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Before you get started with your course application, check you meet all the requirements listed below.
An extensive track record of executive achievement in the workplace or in professional practice
*For more details on international student study options.
How to apply
Read through the admissions criteria and ensure you meet the entry requirements.
We’ll contact you shortly after to confirm your details and help you through the rest of the process.
Frequently asked questions
What is a Higher Degree by Research (HDR)?A higher degree by research is focused on undertaking self-directed independent research that contributes to discipline-based knowledge and theory building. A student pursuing a higher degree by research requires core knowledge in a discipline, research skills, self-motivation and drive, the ability to work independently with a supervisor, critical thinking skills and very strong academic writing skills.
What is the application process?
The first step in the application process is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).
This document needs to be completed in full. The EOI is an opportunity to show your academic ability, your ability to follow instructions and your attention to detail. Incomplete applications and EOIs will be rejected.
The EOI needs to be submitted to HDR@torrens.edu.au along with the following supporting documentation:
- Official and certified copies of all academic transcripts (including course offerings and results) and certificates attained from any and all undergraduate and postgraduate courses completed
- Proof of citizenship
- Evidence of English Language Proficiency (if applicable)
If applying for a PhD:
- copies of, or links to, any research publications authored by you (in English), and
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
The EOI is a screening assessment to ascertain:
- Your level of academic writing
- Your ability to interrogate literature
- The alignment of your project area to the targeted projects of TUA
- Your ability to follow instructions and problem solve, and
- Your understanding of the current literature and research opportunities.
When we have received your EOI, your academic eligibility will be assessed first. If you have met the academic criteria for entry, the quality of your EOI will then be assessed based on the criteria listed above.
Late or incomplete EOIs, including EOIs submitted with insufficient documentation, will not be assessed. If the EOI is approved, we will request a two-page Research Proposal. The Research Proposal should advance on your EOI, further developing your research idea and proposed methodology. To ensure your proposal is of the standard required for entry, we suggest you interrogate the research in your chosen area, ensure your proposal is founded in research and that clear gaps for future research have been identified.
The strength and quality of your Research Proposal will also be assessed, and supervisor availability will be determined.
Please be advised that Expressions of Interest and Research Proposals are run through software which identifies similarity rates to other submitted and published work. If your submission returns a high similarity rate, it will not be accepted and we will not review any resubmissions.
Applications can be rejected at any stage during the application process for a variety of reasons, ranging from not meeting the entry requirements, to the university being unable to supervise the project. Please be assured all efforts are made to carefully review and accommodate all applications.
What is required in a Higher Degree by Research?A Higher Degree by Research is an advanced program of study which requires the candidate to conduct independent research into a particular topic in their field, while being guided by a supervisory team. It requires the submission of a thesis comprised entirely of original work and submitted for examination at the end of the student’s candidature. The submitted thesis must demonstrate original and critical thought, contribute to the current body of knowledge in the student’s chosen area, and be clearly and coherently written.
What is the time commitment for a Higher Degree by Research?A full-time HDR course requires a 40-hour commitment each week. HDR students are entitled to four weeks of annual leave, and can apply for 12 months of additional leave due to exceptional circumstances such as illness or injury. Although the academic year at Torrens is divided into three trimesters, HDR students do not have trimester breaks and are expected to work consistently throughout the year.
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