Doctor of Philosophy

Course information for - 2023 entry

Offered at 6 locations

Study mode

Three years full-time, with the possibility of a six to 12 month extension, or

Six years part-time, with the possibility of a 12 to 24 month extension.

Start dates

February 2022, July 2022


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is awarded for high-level research and, as such, it is expected that candidates will make a contribution to knowledge in their chosen field. A PhD may be undertaken by three different means:

  1. Traditional PhD: A PhD candidate’s work is assessed on the basis of a c. 100,000 word thesis.
  2. PhD by Publication: A PhD candidate’s work is assessed on the basis of the submission of a thesis (c. 50,000 words) containing a number of papers written up as journal articles.
  3. PhD by Creative Project: A PhD candidate’s work is assessed on the basis of a thesis and a project, including but not limited to: a durable record of performance, exhibition of visual arts, writing, design, film, multimedia, CD, DVD, software program or other creative works.

Further detailed information regarding requirements for the submission of a PhD may be located in the Guidelines on the Preparation and Presentation of a Research or Professional Doctoral Thesis for Examination.

Course details

Course structure

To complete the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), a student must complete 240 credit points (cp).

View course rules

AQF framework

Doctorate by research - AQF Level 10

Entry requirements

English language requirements

If applicants have an overseas qualification/s from an institution where English is not the standard language of instruction, they will need to meet ACU’s English proficiency requirements, e.g Academic IELTS 6.5 (including individual scores of 6.0 for all tests). Refer to Appendix C Higher Degree Research Regulations

Inherent requirement

The eligibility criteria for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy are stipulated in the Higher Degree Research Regulations, Eligibility For Admission To A Research Higher Degree.

The progress requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy are stipulated in the Higher Degree Research Regulations , Pursuance of Candidature.


Course costs

Commencing domestic candidates enrolling in a master-by-research or doctoral degree at ACU will be offered a Research Training Program Fee Offset Scholarship under the Australian Government's Research Training Program. Further information about Research Training Program Scholarships can be found in the Research Training Program Scholarship Policy available at here.

All costs are calculated using current rates  and are based on a full-time study load of 40 credit points (normally 4 units) per semester.

A student’s annual fee may vary in accordance with:

  • the number of units studied per semester;
  • the choice of major or specialisation; and
  • elective units.

The University reviews fees annually.


ACU offers a number of scholarships to local and international research candidates. Information about these scholarships, including the application process is available from the Research Scholarships .

How to apply

Domestic applicants

Direct application

Apply now

Contact (Australian and New Zealand citizens).

Australian and New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents apply directly to the ACU Candidature Services.

Candidature Services, Student Administration

Australian Catholic University

115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy VIC 3065



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