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Postgraduate Research Programs

For international students one of the main attractions of doing postgraduate studies at an Australian university is that in Australia - if you have the ability - you are encouraged to enrol in a Masters by Research program, which can lead on to a PhD.

Research in Australia covers many areas of science and technology:

  • manufacturing technology,
  • information and communications technology,
  • mining and energy,
  • agriculture and rural-based manufacturing,
  • the environment and
  • medical science and technology.

Australian universities have achieved a world-class reputation not only through their self-funded Research Centres and Research Institutes, but in particular through their innovative approach to collaborative research. The establishment of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) has made possible the alignment of Australian universities with well-known universities in countries like the USA, UK, Japan and Germany. There are currently 103 CRCs, many of which operate at several sites, often located in premises belonging to the leading university in a particular field.

The CRCs bring together researchers from the universities, from the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation) and other public sector research institutions, and from private industry. They undertake collaborative research in the fields of the natural sciences and engineering, with a strong focus on applied research. They also stimulate education and training through the involvement of people from outside the university system. CRCs also have strong strategic international links: over 250 companies are involved in the CRC Program, including several leading international companies, such as Motorola, EDS, British Aerospace, Optus, Rio Tinto, Sola Opticals, BHP.

Advantages of an Australian Research Degree

Enrolling in a Research Degree with an Australian university offers many advantages:

  1. You can undertake research with a focus on industry and community needs.
  2. You are likely to be working with a team of other researchers, using state-of-the-art facilities, supervised by people who are leaders in their field.
  3. Graduates with a Research Degree are sought-after by employers internationally, because they are deemed to have demonstrated superior abilities in problem-solving, self-reliance and innovative thinking.
  4. Having a postgraduate qualification from an Australian university is increasingly regarded as a worthwhile asset.
  5. You can start at any time, provided you meet all the entry requirements.
  6. You may be eligible to apply for a university scholarship or an industry-funded stipend or a department-funded stipend (AMES can help you with this).
  7. Following the succesful completion of your Masters by Research program, you can combine PhD studies with full-time work back in your home country by doing work-based research, provided suitable arrangements are made for appropriate supervision.

You need to be aware, however, that a postgraduate research program at an Australian university will be rather different from the kind of university program you may be used to, because there is no formal course structure. You will not be doing a set of academic subjects, with lectures, readings and examinations. Instead, you will design a highly personalised program of work in consultation with your supervisor(s), in which you will have the opportunity to study a range of subjects relevant to your research topic. These subjects will complement and enhance your existing knowledge and in studying them you will receive guidance from your supervisor(s). A consequence of this different study pattern is that you will not receive marks (grades) for the subjects you study. Instead, you will receive a grade based on the assessment - by independent examiners - of your research project, dissertation or thesis.

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