Drive change through research for regions of the future.
The planning profession demands real-world solutions for the constantly changing environment we live in. Work with industry experts to conduct research that will advance the way town planners approach complex issues, and provide new insights into the evolving needs of diverse communities and regions, both within Australia and globally.
In this advanced program, you’ll complete one required research course and an original thesis on a topic of your choice, from coastal management to water allocation and planning, urban planning and design issues to dispute resolution, and more.
This program is designed for planning professionals who hold a degree accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia and are looking to advance their careers in the planning industry.
In this program you will:
- Produce original research on an area of professional interest
- Develop advanced skills in research design, analysis and written communication
- Advance the way town planners approach complex issues, and contribute to the future of planning practice
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 Coordinator
Refer also to the University’s English language requirements.
Admission is subject to availability of appropriate supervision and facilities.
Application and admission advice
Contact Student Central
+61 7 5430 2890
Ground floor, Building C, Sippy Downs
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What will I study
During candidature you must complete one required course, SCS725 Advanced Social Research , 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.
- Prospective applicants wishing to undertake a Master of Regional Planning by Research can use the Research Supervisor Search to find a suitable supervisor.
- For further information, refer to the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy
- Refer to related policies, rules, plans and procedures.
- 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.
Total units: 192
How to apply
Applicants are required to complete the following four steps. Please also refer to additional information.
- Step 1. Consider entry requirements
- Step 2. Find a supervisor
- Step 3. Prepare supporting documentation
- Step 4. Complete and submit application form
- Additional information
There are two sets of requirements to consider, the general HDR entry requirements laid out in the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature – Procedures and additional specific program requirements which can be found here.
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
Use the Research Supervisor Search to find a potential supervisor in your area of research. Contact the researcher to discuss your proposal and their availability to supervise you.
- 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 in the original language and an official English translation.
- 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.
Domestic applicants (Australian and New Zealand Citizens and Australian permanent residents)
- Domestic applicants apply online. You will be asked to upload your supporting documents to this system. If you need to provide the original or certified copies of documents, you can provide a copy via the online system in the first instance, however, you must also provide hard-copies to the below mailing address.
- International applicants apply using the Application for Admission HDR (PDF 238KB) form, which must be submitted electronically. Original or certified documents must be provided as an electronic copy and then certified copies of supporting documents posted to the address below.
- The application form and supporting documentation should be submitted electronically via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate Research Office
University of the Sunshine Coast
Locked Bag 4
Maroochydore DC Qld 4558 Australia
HDR Program admission deadlines to be eligible to be considered in the Current Research Training Program Scholarship round can be found under Additional information for HDR Applicants. 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. International applicants should be mindful of extra time required to organise a visa when nominating a commencement date, and should allow an additional 3 months).
- Submit your Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship application by the scholarship closing date.
*One of the eligibility criteria is that applicants must have been accepted to enrol in a HDR program at USC. Therefore, below are recommended deadlines for submitting Admissions Applications:
- International applicants - Sunday, 28 July 2019
- Domestic applicants - Sunday, 15th September 2019
If you do not submit your Admission Application by the above date and you do not receive an Offer for Admission before 13 October, you will be ineligible for the RTP Scholarship and your application will not be considered.
- 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. International applicants should be mindful of extra time required to organise a visa when nominating a commencement date.
- The Graduate Research Office receives the complete application:
- Domestic applications
- Are sent to the enrolling School for their assessment and admission decision
- The School returns their admission decision to the Office of Research which advises the student if they have been accepted for admission(by issuing a Letter of Offer and a Description of Candidature), or if they have been unsuccessful
- Successful applicants provide the Graduate Research Office with their Acceptance of Offer
- The Graduate Research Office advises Student Services and Engagement to enrol the student
- Student Services and Engagement provides the student with their enrolment and system access details
- International applications
- Are sent to USC International for assessment of international qualifications and English language proficiency
- Forwarded to the enrolling School for an assessment and admission decision.
- The School returns their admission decision to the Graduate Research Office, which then liaises with USC International to issue an offer to successful applicants, or
- the Graduate Research Office advises unsuccessful applicants.
- Successful applicants advise USC International if they accept the offer
- The Graduate Research Office enrols the student through Student Services and Engagement
- Student Services and Engagement advises the student of their enrolment and provides system access details
- Domestic applications