Admission overview

Preparing your application

In the application for admission, all applicants must:

  1. Inform the University of all previous tertiary studies that have been previously undertaken
  2. Supply a Curriculum Vitae using the HDR CV Template [.pdf – 130kB]
  3. Include a two page research (an additional page of references is permitted if required) proposal that you have written yourself
  4. Identify at least one Curtin supervisor who has indicated they are willing to supervise you
  5. Ensure all documents are uploaded when lodging your e-Application. Applications lodged without supporting documents cannot be assessed.

Guidelines for the research proposal Your application for admission to a Higher Degree by Research form must be submitted with a two page research (an additional page of references is permitted if required) proposal. These following guidelines are designed to assist you with structuring your proposal.

You may receive guidance on your proposal from your potential supervisor, but the three page proposal must be written by you.


Include a brief overview of your proposal describing the research topic/research area in general.

Background/literature review

Your research topic needs to be located in its context and background referencing the existing scholarship. In drafting this background, you need to show the theoretical basis of this research, as well as how and why the topic is important and why it is worth researching.


Describe what you intend to accomplish and the questions that your research would address.


Explain how you will conduct your research and address the research questions and objectives. Discuss the kinds of sources you hope to consult and the methods you will use to extract and process the information you gather. You should refer to an accepted research method or approach. Describe how information will be gathered, analysed and reported. You should specify any special equipment, software, data or other resources you will require.


Include the references related to your proposal using recognised and appropriate international standard of referencing. Normally a minimum of twenty key scholarly references would be considered acceptable. Your reference list may be included as a third page in addition to the two page limit for the research proposal.

Other information to consider

Enrolment and duration of study You may undertake a higher degree either as a full-time or part-time candidate. Your type of enrolment will determine the period of time in which you must complete your degree.

If you are a scholarship holder you should check the conditions of your scholarship before enrolling or changing your enrolment, as most scholarships are only available to full-time candidates.

If you are an international applicant, you must satisfy the requirements as set out in your Letter of Offer from the International Office.

  • Doctoral degree duration – A full-time doctoral candidate must complete their program of study within a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years of full-time equivalent study.
  • Master degree duration – A full-time master candidate must complete their program of study within a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years of full-time equivalent study.

Off-campus research

If you intend to reside away from the campus at which you are enrolled, you and your supervisor will be required to demonstrate that an appropriate level of contact can be maintained to fulfil the face-to-face contact requirement.

This means that face-to-face contact (either in person or using appropriate video technology) with your supervisor should occur at least 10 times each academic year.  At other times, you must maintain frequent contact with your supervisor, via telephone or email.

The University may give approval for you to conduct substantial amounts of your research at another organisation. In this case, the University is still responsible for you and is required to ensure that you have adequate support, supervision, training and research freedom. Your Director of Graduate Research may recommend to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee that you be permitted to conduct the research at another institution or at other places, particularly where special facilities exist, provided that your Director of Graduate Research is satisfied that the research can be supervised in a safe and satisfactory manner and that appropriate facilities and infrastructure exist.

Other external activities

Particular conditions regarding employment and/or additional study apply to the various scholarships.  You will receive this information as part of the notification of award of scholarship (see the Scholarships site for more details).

One particularly important restriction to note is that you are not allowed to be enrolled in another degree or diploma, either at Curtin or any other institution, unless you have obtained approval from the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training.

Transfer of enrolment

You may also apply for admission to the University if you wish to transfer your higher degree enrolment with another University. To do so you will be required to formally withdraw from enrolment at the other University.

Admission assessment process An eApplication should be lodged and supplemented with a curriculum vitae and your three page research proposal.

The application is then sent to your proposed School for review.

The Director of Graduate Research (DGR) of your proposed School will review your application to ensure that:

  1. You meet the eligibility criteria of the University, including English language proficiency;
  2. You have adequate training and the ability to pursue the proposed program of study to the required standard;
  3. There is adequate supervision, infrastructure and other resources and facilities available to you; and
  4. Applicants intending to study externally have made adequate arrangements to meet the on-campus/face-to-face contact requirements.

The DGR will then complete the appropriate section of the application, including the names of the people suggested for your Thesis Committee.

Your supervisor must be a member of the University Academic staff because, in addition to providing academic support and guidance, the role has administrative responsibilities to the University.

The DGR will then forward your application form to the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee for consideration.

Outcome of assessment All applications who submit an application are notified of the outcome of assessment. Letters of Offer are issued to successful applicants by the Graduate research School or Curtin International as relevant.

Permanent residents of Australia, Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, an Australian citizen or a New Zealand citizen, once your application has been approved a Letter of Offer will be sent to you by Graduate Research School staff along with any information needed to complete your enrolment.

International applicants

If you are an international applicant, once your application has been approved the Letter of Offer and invoice for fees will be mailed to you by Curtin International together with a pre-departure information guide containing information on tuition fee payment, visa, health insurance and any other special requirements.

Unsuccessful applicants

If your application is unsuccessful, you will be advised by Graduate Research School. Please note that your application may have been unsuccessful because the enrolling School does not have the facilities or staff currently available to provide appropriate supervision for the proposed research.  This does not necessarily reflect adversely upon your qualifications or ability to undertake the proposed program of study.