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Postgraduate Research

Doctor of Philosophy

Casuarina campus
Course location
CDU Brisbane, Casuarina campus, Online
Course duration
4 year/s
8 year/s
Course duration
4 year/s
Availability for Admission
Semester 1
Semester 2
International on campus
Semester 1
Semester 2
International online
Applications accepted through MyNextCourse
Can offers be deferred?
CDU Reference
CDU Course Code


Doctor of Philosophy
CDU Central

Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, candidates undertake a novel and significant program of research, under the direction of two or more supervisors. The candidates then communicate the results of this research in a thesis or another approved format. To facilitate their research and their career, candidates also need to complete additional training and other activities in line with the HDR Policy

Contact details

For further information about the course, enrolment procedures, closing dates and other administrative issues please contact Student Central on:

Email: Phone: (08) 8946 7766 or 1800 061 963 (free call)

Admission criteria

To be eligible, you must have completed

  • the equivalent of one semester of research activity, such as a thesis, at a Masters level
  • the equivalent of one semester of research activity at an Honours or Graduate Diploma level and achieved a distinction or higher overall
  • comparable levels of research, such as scholarly publications

You must also plan to conduct research that is compatible with the research priorities and resources of this University. When you apply, you must submit a research proposal, comprising 500 to 1000 words. The research priorities of this University tend to revolve around

  • tropical, regional, and remote health - including nursing, midwifery, and allied health
  • environmental studies
  • energy, resources, and engineering
  • social and public policy in Northern Australia and the region
  • community resilience
  • cybersecurity and IT
  • business and law
  • education

Essential requirements

English language requirements

To gain entry into Charles Darwin University, all Higher Education applicants must satisfy the University's English Language Proficiency Requirements for their chosen course of study. International applicants will be required to supply evidence of this at the time of application.

The minimum English language requirement for this course is met by either undertaking previous education in an English-speaking country or undertaking one of the following English language tests and obtaining the minimum requirements listed below.

IELTS Academic Module A minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0.
Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) A minimum overall score of 176, with no skill below 169.
Common European Framework Certificate of English Proficiency A minimum overall grade of C1, valid for three years from the date of the test to the date of commencement at CDU.
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic module A minimum overall score of 58 with no score lower than 50.
TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) A minimum overall score of 79 with a minimum writing score of 21.

* All tests are valid for two years from the date of the test to the date of commencement at CDU, unless otherwise specified.
* Where applicable, international applicants must also satisfy the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) English language requirements for student visa applications.

Do you have a question regarding English requirements at CDU? Please email:


Course structure

PhD Candidates complete a research project, usually over 3 to 4 years. During this time, they must also complete

> additional training around research integrity, research methods, communication, personal development, and career development
> a research proposal and oral presentation to confirm their candidature
> a second oral presentation midway through their candidature
> a third oral presentation towards the end of their candidature
> a thesis, usually comprising 60,000 to 100,000 words

Instead of a thesis, some candidates may complete a creative output, such as a film, novel, or exhibition, as well as an exegesis or explanation of this work, usually comprising 30,000 to 50,000 words.

Study plan

Recommended Study Plans are not required for this course.

Course fees

Domestic Students

Domestic students incur no fees, as these are covered by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. You may also be eligible for an extra stipend payment to assist with your living costs while you complete your research project. Learn more about domestic scholarships.

International students

International students do have to pay fees to undertake a research degree at CDU, however scholarships are available to reduce these fees. Learn more about international scholarships.

International tuition fees

The annual tuition fee for full time study of 80 credit points (1.0 EFTSL) for commencing students in 2022 is AUD $31,500.00.
These fees are subject to annual increases each year of your study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

You can find a list of International fees and payments you can expect to pay as part of your studies in Australia.

CDU offers a number of scholarships to international students to assist with the cost of study.

Everything you need to know to apply

How to apply for domestic students

All applications for this course are submitted to the Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) at Charles Darwin University. Applicants should refer to the information provided at ORI Admissions and follow the steps provided.

Everything you need to know to get started

How to apply for international students

Apply to be a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student at CDU and you will be joining a recognised global leader in research closely tied to the needs of the Northern Territory and the Territory’s Asian and Pacific neighbours.