Professional Doctorate (Research)
Why study with us?
Choose your student type for entry requirements
Admissions criteria and pathways: Domestic students
OR 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
Fees: Domestic students
Scholarships: Domestic students
How to apply: Domestic students
Admissions criteria and pathways: International students
Before you get started with your course application, check you meet all the requirements listed below.
Fees: International students
Scholarships: International students
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 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 can I study?Torrens University Australia offers supervision to students studying a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy. TUA has supervision expertise in the areas of Business, Health, Design, Education and Information Technology/Artificial Intelligence. TUA is only able to supervise projects in these areas.
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.
Can I study part-time?Yes. The Master of Philosophy can be completed in a maximum of four years part time, and the Doctor of Philosophy can be completed in a maximum of six years part time. This would equate to roughly 20 hours commitment a week. Part-time students are not eligible for scholarships.
Do I have to be on campus?No. On-campus spaces are provided to HDR students so they have quiet places to study, but you can choose to study from any location that suits your needs. However, when possible we strongly encourage students to regularly meet with their supervisors face-to-face, and this would involve travel to campus. There is also an expectation that HDR students will contribute to TUA’s vibrant research culture by engaging in on-campus activities and events, regularly attending seminars and collaborating with other TUA researchers and HDR students.
Do I have to write a thesis?HDR students are required to complete a major project over the course of their candidature which is then submitted for examination. The most common project is a standard narrative thesis of 30,000-80,000 words, depending on the course. However, students also have the option of completing a thesis by publication, or submitting an industry folio or creative work accompanied by an exegesis. For more information on what form your project could take, please see Higher Degree by Research Thesis Guidelines.
Can I get credits for previously completed subjects?No. There is no coursework in HDR degrees which could be credited.
Do I need a bachelor in order to be eligible for the Doctor of Philosophy?
In most cases, yes. Not all postgraduate qualifications are weighted the same. Qualifications will be assessed by the admissions team. Students must have a minimum credit average on their previous studies in order to be considered for entry for both the MPhil and PhD.
For direct entry into a PhD, applicants need to have completed a minimum of 80 credit units of research-related studies or equivalent, and have completed a thesis.
Can I do a research degree if I have not previously studied in the field I wish to research?As HDR courses are not coursework degrees, applicants will require a background and knowledge in the field in which they wish to conduct research. It is important that applicants can demonstrate they have the capacity for understanding their proposed field of research. Applicants are unlikely to be accepted if they have not demonstrated this capacity, and if their research proposal deviates from previous academic experience.
Do I need to have research skills?Yes. Higher Degrees by Research are not coursework degrees, and unless prescribed by a supervisor coursework is not included in the program. Applicants are expected to have already developed the foundational skills required in their previously completed studies and the HDR will apply and consolidate these skills. If required, supervisors will offer resources to candidates who need additional support, but it is important that applicants are motivated, self-driven and already have a solid foundation to base their research on.
How will my progress be measured?Students’ progress is measured each trimester by the submission of a Progress Report, which is written by the Principal Supervisor in conjunction with the student. Students who do not progress are required to attend a show-cause meeting, in which they will defend their research and explain how they intend on getting back on track with their studies and completing their project on time.
Students are also expected to achieve a series of milestones.
For more information on progress and milestones, please refer to the Research Student Progress Procedure.
Can someone help me write my Research Proposal?No. The Research Proposal is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the research and critical thinking skills required to complete a HDR. All proposals are submitted for an academic integrity and similarity assessment.
How do I know if I am eligible?
The MPhil has entry criteria of:
- A relevant honours degree, or
- A three or four-year bachelor degree (with credit average GPA), or
- A graduate diploma or masters by coursework (with credit average GPA).
The PhD has entry criteria of:
- A master’s degree either by research or by coursework with a substantial element of research work, or
- A relevant first or second class honours degree.
- A “substantial element of research work” is a thesis of 15,000 words or more, or the equivalent in research publications. The thesis must contain original research and data collection.
While the entry criteria lists the minimum requirements, admission into our HDR programs is also dependent upon the quality of the research proposal. International students from countries whose first official language is one other than English must also provide evidence of English Language Proficiency.
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 email@example.com 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.
How long does the application process take?
The application process typically takes approximately three months, with some applications taking longer. All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and some will be delayed due to their complexity, or the timeliness of student responsiveness. The high volume of applications we receive can also lead to delays in processing. Please allow ample time for processing and understand that while we endeavour to review and complete applications as quickly as possible, we cannot expedite the process.
All new applications must be received at least three months before the start of the applicant’s preferred study period. We cannot accept any applications received after the cut-off dates and will not expedite applications for any reason.
Please be advised that in most cases we are unable to accept offers more than six months in advance, due to changing supervisor availability.
How do I apply?
Complete the Expression of Interest (EOI) and submit to the Higher Degrees team with your supporting documents (listed on the EOI) before the cut-off date. We will review your application and advise you of the next steps.
Please ensure you take the time to complete all sections of the EOI and clearly articulate the need and benefit of your HDR project.
How do I apply to a Higher Degrees by Research Scholarship?
We have a limited number of scholarships available to both domestic and international students, including the Research Training Program Scholarship for domestic applicants. Scholarships are awarded based on merit, and the strength of the research proposal. We offer some partial fee waivers, and these are also assessed on merit.
For more information on the RTP Scholarship:
- Research Training Program Scholarships Policy
- Research Training Program Scholarships Guidelines
- Research Training Program Application Form
There is no guarantee a scholarship will be offered.
Do I need to find a supervisor?Supervisors are assigned to students based on expertise and availability. However, we strongly encourage students to review our Research Profiles and reach out to academics to discuss potential supervision and developing the EOI and Research Proposal. You can review Research Profiles and find out more about research at Torrens University.
Explore similar Higher Degrees by Research courses
Master of PhilosophyConduct original research and be able to communicate the impact of your findings to key stakeholders whilst solving real problems.Code MPHIL21 | CRICOS 096609FDoctor of PhilosophyMake a significant contribution to existing knowledge through original research, whilst supported by industry experts in your chosen area of interest.Code DPHIL17 | CRICOS 096608G