Higher Degrees by Research

Want an exceptional student experience? Our postgraduate research students receive a world-class education from a university ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world.

Study with us and open the door to a range of rewarding career opportunities. Become a part of a community of alumni that includes Nobel Prize winners, pioneering researchers and world-renowned leaders in health. Our research programs are held in high regard, their quality and impact respected by peers and the community.

Why study a higher degree by research?

Studying a higher degree by research can provide you with the skills and experience to pursue different career opportunities, particularly a career in research. Employers recognise that the research ability and broad range of transferable skills which University of Adelaide graduates possess equip them well for challenging and diverse roles in industry, government and business, as well as in research and academic organisations. By undertaking a research degree with us, you will be involved in discovery, innovation and cutting-edge research. Our strong focus on addressing global challenges creates a highly stimulating setting for our students interested in changing the world.

We have a huge range of research projects listed under Research Degree Projects(pdf file).

Our postgraduate research degrees allow you to specialise and extend your knowledge in a research area of your choice. As part of the South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct, we offer significant state of the art core technologies capabilities and facilities enabling students to provide innovative solutions to their research questions.  

The benefits of completing a postgraduate research degree include:

  • The opportunity to attend conferences and symposiums to present your research and to network with national and international researchers in your field.
  • The development of strong time management and organisational skills.
  • The development of professional skills in presenting research in an academic context, both within your school and the wider University community, as well as nationally and internationally.
  • A wider range of employment opportunities including higher paid jobs, both in Australia and overseas.

Finding a supervisor

A key component of a successful postgraduate research experience is finding the best supervisor to help you achieve your investigative goals. Depending on your area of interest, there are several avenues for you to explore potential postgraduate research topics and locate a supervisor. For an overview of all research within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, and to locate a supervisor, explore our areas of research and browse the Research Degree Projects(pdf file) .

Find all the information on your candidature and the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences in the 2024 FHMS HDR Handbook.

Before applying online, you need to secure the support of a supervisor and postgraduate coordinator within your proposed school. To secure a supervisor, please forward a copy of your complete portfolio in one PDF to the Adelaide Graduate Research School. Please refer to the HDR portfolio submission criteria below.

  • HDR portfolio submission

    To be considered by a postgraduate coordinator for higher degree by research studies, prospective students must submit a portfolio, including all of the below listed items in a single PDF formatted file.

    1. The degree you are applying for (e.g. Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Philosophy/Master of Clinical Science). Refer to Degree Finder for further information.
    2. The names of up to three potential supervisors from the school in which you wish to study. For information on our researchers and their availability to supervise, visit Researcher Profiles.        
    3. A short statement of your research interests and what you would like to research for your degree (maximum 200 words).
    4. Your English Proficiency Certificate. The faculty only accepts IELTS/TOEFL/PTE/CAE with scores as per the Adelaide Graduate Research School's English language requirements.
    5. Your academic resume.
    6. Your Google Scholar ID and/or ORCiD ID.
    7. Your academic transcripts for your undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
    8. Certificates for all of your university degrees and diplomas. Please do not include any other certificates, such as merit awards or for non-degree training.
    9. A summary of the main findings from the research component of any masters and/or honours degree, and from any other research experience.
    10. The full Vancouver or Harvard reference of any peer-reviewed publications with a statement regarding your contribution to each.
    11. The names and contact details of two academic referees who can comment on your research performance to date and on your aptitude for HDR studies. At least one of these referees should preferably be a principal supervisor and able to comment on the research component of your masters and/or honours degree.

    Please note: Incomplete portfolios or documents that are not combined into a single PDF file will not be considered further. PDF converters are available to download from the Adelaide Graduate Research School.

How to apply

The Adelaide Graduate Research School administers both domestic and international postgraduate research applications.

To be eligible for entry into a research degree, you must have honours or proven experience in research, either through a coursework program with a substantial research component or industry experience. For more information, regarding entry requirements, admission and scholarships, visit the Adelaide Graduate Research School.

International study opportunities for PhD students

In 2015, the University of Adelaide and our priority partners, Nagoya University (Japan) and the University of Freiburg (Germany) signed formal agreements to offer Joint PhD programs in the area of medical and biomedical research. In these programs, PhD students are enrolled in both the University of Adelaide and the respective partner university and will be supervised by experts from each university. At PhD completion, students will receive a jointly awarded PhD degree.

Students undertaking the joint PhD program will spend most of their candidature at the University of Adelaide and at least one year under academic supervision within the School of Medicine, Nagoya University or International Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. All instruction is undertaken in English. 

What are the benefits?

  • Obtain world class training and experience in quality research environments at two highly ranked universities
  • Build international networks between researchers in Adelaide and Nagoya or Freiburg
  • Attend Japanese or German language and culture training before departure to Japan or Germany
  • Receive a Joint University PhD Degree at completion

Who is eligible?

Students interested in a biomedical or medical research area who received a first class honours or research master degree. You must be interested in working on your research project at both universities.

Are you interested?

If you would like to learn more about joint PhD opportunities, the application process and how to get in contact with suitable supervisors at both universities, please visit the Adelaide Graduate Research School.