Research applications - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Research applications

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Seek the answers to your burning questions

A higher degree by research lets you make an original contribution to human knowledge, enhance your career prospects in industry or academia, and perform high-level research in a specific area of academic interest.

High quality research supervision — aligned with USC’s areas of research strengths — enables research graduates to make strong contributions to research and development that advances academic enquiry and Australia’s economy, society, culture and environment.

international applicants

More information for applicants who are from any country other than Australia or New Zealand.

Steps to apply

Step 1: Consider entry requirements

There are two sets of requirements to consider:

1. General HDR entry requirements contained in the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature – Procedures

2. Program specific requirements

Entry is highly competitive and depends on:

  • your academic background
  • your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language, see step 4)
  • submission of a suitable research proposal
  • availability of a registered supervisor
  • availability of resources to support your proposed research topic
Step 2: Find a supervisor

Find a potential research supervisor in the field you're interested in.

Contact the researcher to discuss your proposal and their availability to supervise you.


Step 3: Prepare supporting documentation
  • Research Proposal. Download the Research proposal template (Word 13KB)
  • Evidence of academic background
    o 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.
    o Formal notification from the qualifying university stating the allocation of marks to research component of a degree where not evident on the transcript
    o 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
    o 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
    o 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)
    o 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.
    o Please note that Language of Instruction will only be accepted from the countries listed above.
    o Where original documents are not provided by the test provider, applicants must be able to verify results online.
Step 4: Submit an online application

Domestic applicants (Australian and New Zealand Citizens and Australian permanent residents)

  • Domestic applicants can apply online. You’ll be asked to upload your supporting documents to this system. If you need to provide the original or certified copies of documents, you you’ll need to send them to the below mailing address as well as uploading them online.


International applicants

  • 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

Mailing address:
Graduate Research School
ML 26
Locked Bag 4
Maroochydore BC Qld 4558 Australia

Step 5: Additional information

To be considered in the current Research Training Program Scholarship round, you must meet the HDR program admission deadlines. Only complete applications will be considered (including original or certified copies of supporting documents for international applicants).


It normally takes about six to eight weeks to process applications. However, it could take longer in peak periods.

Applications can be accepted at any time but they need to be submitted at least eight weeks before to the 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 three months.

Step 6: Admission process

Domestic applications

  1. Sent to the enrolling School for their assessment and admission decision
  2. The School returns their admission decision to the Graduate Research School, which advises the student if they have been accepted for admission or if they have been unsuccessful
  3. Successful applicants are issued a Letter of Offer and a Description of Candidature, which need to be returned to the Graduate Research School once completed with their Acceptance of Offer
  4. The Graduate Research School advises Student Services and Engagement to enrol the student
  5. Student Services and Engagement provides the student with their enrolment and system access details
    International applications
  6. Sent to USC International for assessment of international qualifications and English language proficiency
  7. Forwarded to the enrolling School for an assessment and admission decision
  8. The School returns their admission decision to the Graduate Research School, which then liaises with USC International to issue an offer to successful applicants, or
  9. the Graduate Research School advises unsuccessful applicants
  10. Successful applicants advise USC International if they accept the offer
  11. The Graduate Research School enrols the student through Student Services and Engagement
  12. Student Services and Engagement advises the student of their enrolment and provides system access details