Drive change through research for regions of the future.
Work with a supervisor to develop a research topic in an area where you would like to advance knowledge in your field, or focus on a specific planning issue to discover new insight to complexities you are facing in your professional life.
Possible research areas include coastal management, water allocation and planning, urban planning and design issues, dispute resolution in planning, or, a topic of interest to existing academic staff.
The program is designed for graduates of the four year regional and urban planning bachelor programs or who have accreditation from a recognised planning institute in Australia.
To be eligible for admission to Master of Regional Planning by Research candidature, applicants are normally required to hold:
- a Planning Institute of Australia (or other professional planning accreditation body affiliated with the World Planning Schools Association) accredited four-year degree in planning
- an honours undergraduate degree in a planning-related area and relevant planning experience to the satisfaction of the Program Leader
Refer also to the University’s English language requirements.
Application and admission advice
Contact Student Central
+61 7 5430 2890
Ground floor, Building C, Sippy Downs
7 January 2015
USC team to contest property development final
A USC team has beaten competitors from across the Asia-Pacific to reach the final of the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society International Feasibility Competition.
28 August 2014
USC produces economic snapshot of Coast
The University of the Sunshine Coast has released an independent economic summary of the greater Sunshine Coast region.
30 August 2013
PhD student to attend knowledge cities summit
University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student Caroline Osborne’s urban planning research has earned her a ticket to attend the Knowledge Cities World Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
27 August 2013
USC property research wins European award
Two property academics from the University of the Sunshine Coast have won recognition in Europe and an inaugural award worth 1,000 Euros for their cutting-edge research.
23 May 2013
Celebration of conservation at USC
One of the world’s largest and most successful habitat translocation projects will be finalised and celebrated at the University of the Sunshine Coast tomorrow (Friday 24 May).
10 May 2013
Three USC professors inducted into academy
Three USC professors have been inducted as Fellows in the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, in a move that boosts USC’s eminence, influence and ability to share research and ideas.
What will I study
During candidature you must complete one required course, CMN575 Research Design: Method and Literature Review, and compile a thesis of 30,000–35,000 words.
You are required to conduct research that can be written up as a scholarly thesis. You must demonstrate research competency and the ability to make a significant and original contribution to the body of knowledge in your chosen area of specialisation.
As a candidate you must clearly articulate in your research outline, the topic, background, rationale, research question, aim and objectives, methodology, research methods and techniques, and timeframe. Your research outline is to include a literature review that relates to the research question and objectives.
The results of your research activities should be presented succinctly and accurately and as necessary could be supported by more detailed annexures. Your syntheses analysis and discussion must clearly focus on the research question and the objectives of the work.
Conclusions and recommendations must be drawn from your analysis and discussion and reflect the attainment of the aim and the way in which the research question is addressed.
Total units: 0
Recommended study sequence
Students who commenced prior to the current semester must complete the courses from their original program structure unless otherwise advised. For courses no longer included in the current sequence, use the course links in your structure for details of requisites and scheduling. This is a recommended study sequence to complete your program within the specified full-time duration.
- Prospective applicants wishing to undertake a Master of Regional Planning by Research will need to find a suitable supervisor by contacting the Faculty of Arts and Business.
- For further information, refer to the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy
- Refer to related policies, rules, plans and procedures.
- Refer to the research areas for the Faculty of Arts and Business.
- Refer to the University's English language proficiency requirements.
- Only a full-time study option is available to international students on a Student Visa.
Enrolment and fees
- Domestic candidates: Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are not required to pay tuition fees for the standard duration of their HDR program. The Australian Government's Research Training Scheme (RTS) covers the cost of HDR tuition fees for these candidates. Research Master candidates are entitled to a maximum of two years full-time equivalent study. Candidates who do not complete their degree within the maximum RTS allowable completion times may be required to pay fees for any additional periods of enrolment. Please refer to Higher Degree by Research fees.
- International candidates: tuition fees apply. Refer to International HDR tuition fees.
- In any semester, full-time enrolment comprises 0.500 EFTSL.*
- In any semester, part-time enrolment comprises 0.250 EFTSL.*
- The census date for withdrawal without financial penalty or academic penalty is the Semester 1 or 2 census date.
* EFTSL - Equivalent Full-Time Student Load. One year of full-time study equates to 1.000 EFTSL.
How to apply
Step 1: Consider entry requirements
Review the admission requirements on the Why study this program tab of your chosen program.
Entry is highly competitive and depends on:
- your academic background
- your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language, see step 4)
- the submission of a suitable research proposal
- the availability of a registered supervisor
- the availability of resources to support your proposed research topic
For further information, please refer to the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature – Procedures and the Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines which include admission pathways into specific higher degree by research programs.
Step 2: Find a supervisor
Use the Research Supervisor Search to find a potential supervisor in your area of research. You may nominate a supervisor on your application form regardless of whether you've been able to contact them prior to submitting your application.
Step 3: Complete an application form
- The application form must be completed electronically. Download the Application for admission HDR (PDF 247KB)
- You must complete all questions
Step 4: Prepare supporting documentation
- Research Proposal. Download the Research proposal template (Word 13KB)
- Evidence of academic background
- Academic transcripts and completion certificates (transcripts must include a Key to Grading) - Please note, for studies completed outside of Australia you must provide certified copies of documents
- Formal notification from the qualifying university stating the allocation of marks to research component of a degree where not evident on the transcript
- If transferring from another Australian university, a statement from your current/former university stating HDR candidature consumed to date, probationary or confirmed status, and tuition fee type
- Evidence of research publications/experience
- For example - Abstract (in English), details of publication, copy of the front page of the article/paper, link to article's location
- Evidence of citizenship or Australian Permanent Residency
- Birth certificate, passport, citizenship certificate, or visa
- Evidence of English language proficiency (required for applicants who are not from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America)
- Review USC’s English language requirements. Some disciplines may require a higher level of English language proficiency, as provided in the Higher Degree by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines.
- Please note that Language of Instruction will only be accepted from the countries listed above.
- Where original documents are not provided by the test provider, applicants must be able to verify results online.
Step 5: Submit completed application form
Please note incomplete applications cannot be processed:
- Email an electronic copy of your application with scanned copies of supporting documents to email@example.com.
- USC International requires hardcopies of original or certified copies of supporting documents before assessing overseas qualifications. Applicants must post their original or certified copies to:
Graduate Research Studies Management
Office of Research – ML 26
University of the Sunshine Coast
Locked Bag 4
Maroochydore DC Qld 4558 Australia
- International students: Additional information is available for International students.
- Only complete applications will be considered (including original or certified copies of supporting documents for international applicants).
- Complete applications take approximately 6-8 weeks to be processed (this may vary during peak periods).
- Applications can be accepted at any time, however applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the nominated commencement date.
- Visit askUSC to find instant answers to frequently asked questions, or to lodge a more specific question
- Contact the relevant faculty (Faculty of Arts, Business and Law or Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering) to discuss your intended research topic and for assistance to locate a possible supervisor
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org for other enquiries