Skip to main content

Research and Innovation

Future Research Students

Choose CDU for your research degrees
  • Top 100 university globally for quality education

    According to the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2021

  • Be supported by a research scholarship

    Available to domestic and international students

  • An elite 'Rising Star' challenger university in the Class of 2030

    According to Times Higher Education

Research degrees

Charles Darwin University offers a range of Higher Degrees by Research for graduates, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master by Research (MRes). We deliver high-quality research training for emerging scholars to undertake independent research in your area of study.

PhDs and MRes can be undertaken at all CDU Colleges and the Menzies School of Health Research. Study and work in the context of our regional focus, which prioritises the complex issues facing Northern Australia and the Asia-Pacific.


PhD and MRes at Charles Darwin University

The main difference between a PhD and MRes is the duration of the study, length of the thesis, and level of originality.


Doctor of Philosophy

Master by Research

Minimum duration

Two years full-time or four years part-time.

One year full-time or two years part-time.

Maximum duration

Four years full-time or eight years part-time, from your start date.

Two years full-time or four years part-time, from your start date.

Thesis length

Maximum of 100,000 words.

Maximum of 50,000 words.

Time commitment

40 hours per week for a full-time student.

20 hours per week for a part-time student.

40 hours per week for a full-time student.

20 hours per week for a part-time student.

What is the cost of a research degree?

Domestic candidates

Domestic candidates incur no fees if they complete their degree within the allocated time. Candidates may also be eligible to receive a living allowance, often worth about $28 700, while they complete the research project. Learn more about domestic scholarships.

International students

International candidates often pay fees to undertake a research degree at CDU.  However, if their record is especially strong, they might receive a fee waiver or even an additional living allowance, often worth about $28 700, while they complete the research project.  Learn more about international scholarships.

How to apply

1. Check your eligibility

To decide which applicants to accept, the University considers the academic qualifications, research experience, and other characteristics of the candidate and research proposal.   The following table presents more information about eligibility.  Typically, applicants tend to be eligible to enrol in a

  • PhD if they have completed at least one semester of research activity at an Honours or Masters level and achieved a distinction average--or completed equivalent activity
  • Masters by Research if they have completed at least half a semester of research activity at an Honours or Masters level--or completed equivalent activity
Information to read Contents
Specifies in detail how the University evaluates who is eligible
Offers recommendations on how to become more eligible to receive an offer or a scholarship
2. Design a research topic

Before you apply to study a research degree at CDU, you will need to develop a research project and organise a supervisor.  The following table outlines some insights on how develop your research project.

Information to read Contents
Offers some insights on how to develop your research questions.  For example, this document recommends you combine your favourite publications to generate a novel perspective
Click this link This webpage presents an array of resources you can use to review the literature, choose suitable methods, write your proposal effectively, and so forth.  


3. Find a research supervisor

This is a very crucial step before applying for a research degree at CDU. After you have clarified your research field and topic, you need to find an academic at CDU who is willing to supervise your work.  Once you’ve agreed to work together, your supervisor will need to provide confirmation in writing.

Browse potential supervisors for your project from the Find Your Supervisor option below.

4. Apply

There are research scholarships that are awarded annually on a competitive basis to the top-ranking applicants.  Please read the Research Scholarships page to find available scholarships for your research projects.

We have a deadline for every scholarship opportunity. We encourage you to get your scholarship and admission applications in ahead of the deadline.

If you are a domestic applicant, you can access the domestic application pack here. The domestic application pack contains all the forms you need to lodge your Higher Degree by Research application.

International applicants can visit CDU Global to find all relevant information about applying for research degrees at Charles Darwin University.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski

Find a supervisor

Find a supervisor for your research project.

Find out


Research scholarships

Domestic students

International students

CDU Domestic Student with their laptop

Need more information or advice?

If you need more information or advice on the application process, we are here to help.

Talk to us

Find more information about

Rebecca Rodgers newsroom

Research institutes and centres

Charles Darwin University (CDU) is a research intensive university with outstanding performance and recognised excellence in Indigenous and tropical health, environmental science and public policy. Our research portfolio has a real world impact, within and beyond our unique location in Northern Australia.

Learn more
Indigenous students

Colleges, VET, institutes & administrative divisions

ORI group photo 2021

The Research and Innovation team

Charles Darwin University provides high quality consultancy and other research, training, and other services for government, industry, communities, and end-users.

Meet our team