PhD opportunities

The frontline of tomorrow’s health discoveries


The University of Western Australia is one of the country’s most prestigious research-intensive universities, ranked in the world’s top 100 institutions and home to Nobel Prize winners Professors Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.

UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences offers postgraduate research opportunities in a wide range of scientific and clinical disciplines to significantly benefit the health of Australian and international communities.

As a research-oriented faculty we aim to understand the cause of diseases and to develop new treatments and diagnostic techniques in a holistic approach to help maintain lifelong health.

Through the postgraduate research process, you will extend your understanding of a subject area and develop advanced analytical and project management skills, as well as the ability to work independently. Successful completion of a research degree indicates to a prospective employer that you have excellent project and personal management skills, and that you can think independently and critically, solve problems and communicate effectively.

Benefits of undertaking a postgraduate research degree:

  • The challenge of independent research is personally rewarding
  • Work with our world-class staff and gain networking opportunities that could lead to career possibilities around the world
  • Experience a high rate of success in employment with your transferable skills

Areas of research priority

  • Ageing and aged care  
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions
  • Asthma
  • Cancer control
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Dementia


  • Diabetes
  • Health security
  • Indigenous health
  • Injury prevention
  • Maternal health in the first 200 days
  • Mental health
  • Obesity 

Explore some of our research projects


Population and Global Health

The research strengths of the School of Population and Global Health (PDF 1.6MB) include a strong evidence-based approach to services and health program evaluation, and have a proven record of achievement in preventative, clinical and occupational epidemiology. 

Their research areas are diverse, and can include cardiovascular disease epidemiology, global environment and health, vulnerable groups, and rural health. 

Medical Research 

Medical research is undertaken at the Telethon Kids Institute which is based within the Perth Children’s Hospital. It is one of the largest, and most successful medical research institutes in Australia.

Areas of research include brain and behaviour, chronic and severe diseases, and early environment. 

National Centre of Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD)

NCARD leads innovation and discovery to improve the lives of people affected by asbestos related disease. We have excellent PhD project opportunities that are supported by outstanding supervisors. In collaboration with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, we are currently offering an exciting project focusing on targeting the mesothelioma epigenome (PDF 532KB) to improve immunotherapy outcomes. 



A few of our projects

Contact for more information on our projects

Postgraduate research scholarships

Professional courses in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, podiatric medicine and social work are offered at postgraduate level. In addition to professional courses, we offer postgraduate coursework and research courses and training in a variety of disciplines.

UWA offers more than 150 postgraduate scholarships each year to domestic and international students to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Master of Philosophy (MPhil). PhDs and MPhils are programs of independent, supervised research assessed on the basis of a thesis and can be taken in any discipline for which appropriate supervision and resourcing are available.

The eligibility criteria and application process is the same for both degrees, with the PhD typically taking four years and the MPhil taking two years. The MPhil is a master’s by research degree.

International scholarships provide tuition fees, living allowances and in some cases, the Overseas Student Health Cover, while the domestic scholarships provide living allowances, as the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) already provides Fee Offset Scholarships to students successful in obtaining an offer to commence a PhD or an MPhil.

The Graduate Research School has rounds of international and domestic scholarship applications each year. Check the website for opening dates and application procedures, including access to the online application form.

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Finding a supervisor

Supervisors advise, guide and provide constructive feedback in choosing a topic, designing a project, conducting the research, interpreting the findings and writing the dissertation.

Most postgraduate research students are supervised by two or more members of staff.

External supervisors are welcome additions. Generally, allocation of supervisors is a matter for individual negotiation between student and supervisor, and students are free to choose.

Make your choice with great care, as the effectiveness of the student/supervisor relationship has a major effect on your experience.

Learn more
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How to apply

The process

Many high-achieving students elect to undertake a research degree because they have the drive to progress as far as they can in their chosen field.

Once you have made the decision to enter into a research degree, the first step would be to send an expression of interest to the Higher Degree by Research Pre-Candidature team for the Faculty via the online form

To complete the form, you will need:

  • Your CV
  • All academic transcripts and certificates
  • PDF copy of thesis if available
  • List of, and PDF copies of, journal publications you may have authored
  • Proof of satisfying English language competence
  • Copy of photo page of passport
  • A brief statement of your proposed area of study (maximum of 250 words)

You will also be asked to confirm:

  • If you are a domestic or an international student.
  • If international, do you already have a scholarship, do you intend to self-fund or do you intend to apply for a scholarship from UWA?

You will be advised to:

Conduct a research expertise search using the UWA Research Repository and indicate which UWA researchers you believe are most closely aligned with your areas of interest (you do not have to contact them at this point).

Showing adequate research preparation

The documents requested in the first step of applying will help determine whether you have met UWA's research preparation requirements, which can also be demonstrated via one of the following forms:

  • A supervised research thesis completed as a program undertaken after a three-year, or during a four-year, bachelor’s degree, carrying the equivalent credit of at least 25 per cent of an annual full-time load in the final year of study and awarded an assessed result at or above distinction level
  • The Board of the Graduate Research School may deem a three-year bachelor’s degree including a supervised dissertation of at least 25 per cent of an annual full-time load awarded with first class honours from a highly ranked university as meeting this criterion
  • Scholarly papers as sole or primary author, appearing in recognised academic journals
  • Published research reports prepared for industry, government or business, which adhere to the broad conventions of academic publishing and which identify the applicant as sole or primary author
  • Successful completion of a UWA Higher Degree by Research Preliminary
English language competence

Anyone seeking to commence postgraduate study at UWA will need to meet the English language competence (ELC) requirements. Graduates from UWA are automatically considered to have met the ELC requirements. Graduates from other universities, Australian or international, are not automatically assumed to have met this requirement, even though they may have studied some or all of their courses in English. Each application is considered individually. In most cases, a formal English qualification is required.

Applicants who wish to seek exemption from undertaking a test must request this explicitly, providing the necessary evidence. All English test results must normally have been obtained within the past two years.

View the ELC requirements for domestic and international applicants (note these are slightly different for Business, Dentistry, Education and Law).

Postgraduate tuition fees

Citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand are exempt from paying a contribution toward the cost of their research courses if UWA provides them with a Research Training Program place. This exemption applies for up to four years' full-time equivalent study for a doctorate by research and two years' full-time equivalent study for a master's by research.

For international student fees, visit the Fee Calculator

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Higher Degree by Research Pre-Candidature Team

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