Higher Degrees by Research

Open up an exciting world of possibilities with a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) at UWA.  

Drive your career so much further with the immersive and practical experience that a UWA Higher Degree by Research offers. From tackling real-world problems to building strong, collaborative networks worldwide, you will pursue research in your area of interest. You will establish yourself as a professional with higher, in-demand knowledge and abilities. 


Why choose a research-intensive university?


UWA commands 80 per cent of university research funding in WA and is proud to attract the highest calibre, world-class academics and researchers, ready to supervise you through your higher degree course.  

You’re on the most exciting journey of discovery when you study research here.

World Top 100 University*

(QS World University Rankings 2025)

Member of the  prestigious Group of Eight network of Australia's leading research intensive universities

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World top 50 for 17 subject areas

(QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024 and ARWU 2023)

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UWA ranked second nationally in the 2023 Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire


Graduate Research School

Our Graduate Research School (GRS) helps you meet the challenges of higher-level independent thinking and planning that Higher Degree by Research study demands.

We offer:

  • Application and enrolment advice
  • Self-help via our HDRhub dashboard 
  • One-to-one support at any time in the journey 
  • And much more

Learn more

Benefits of a research degree

High-achieving students undertake a research degree for many reasons but they all share a drive to develop expertise in their chosen area. Whatever your focus, the benefits of a research degree are significant.  

  • Make key contributions
    Explore an area of interest in depth and make an important contribution to the development of knowledge in that field, guided by world-leading experts. 
  • High employability and transferable skills
    Graduates from HDR courses are highly employable across many industries, and benefit from outstanding career development. The valuable generic skills developed for success in a Higher Degree by Research are those highly prized by employers all over the world and include: Critical thinking, evidence-based decision-making, problem solving, self management, technical skills, superior communication skills, project management, team work, enterprise and expert writing. 
  • Career progression
    For a career in academia, a graduate research qualification is necessary. In other fields, PhDs and research masters are more often in-demand – with more people returning to higher degree research mid career. 
  • Internships and other partnerships to expand networks 
    All students are actively encouraged and assisted to design and complete a  research internship with industry partners, or enrol in pre-existing programs. Many students have industry experts as part of their supervisory teams.  

HDR course options

A postgraduate research course provides you with a unique opportunity to explore your passion or follow your interest in an area of research, learning alongside internationally recognised researchers. Browse our research degrees below to find what suits you best.



Doctor of Philosophy

A program of independent, supervised research assessed on the basis of a thesis that demonstrates mastery of a subject and is judged to make an original contribution to knowledge. It can be taken in any UWA discipline area and includes creative practice options. 


Professional Doctorates

These programs combine a suite of coursework with a research thesis and are often designed to meet specific senior professional needs.


Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

A program of independent, supervised research which requires you to show an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in your field of study. This also includes creative practice options.


Master of Research

An independent, supervised degree which requires you to show an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in your field and for which a research thesis may be combined with some specialist coursework.

Find a supervisor

Supervisors advise and guide you on choosing a topic, designing a project and writing the dissertation. Their area of expertise should align with your research. 

Learn more about supervisors

Identify potential supervisors

Find a project

UWA offers excellent opportunities to pursue a Higher Degree by Research course. You may wish to find an already existing research project to study that supports your area of interest. Search the currently available opportunities.

See projects

Researcher stories

We’re proud of all our students and graduates who are contributing new ideas and fresh thinking to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. 

Read about their journeys through a UWA research degree, and why they are thriving on this rewarding path. 

This journey is a marathon and not a sprint so resilience and grit is very important. Along the way, not only do you learn more about the research topic, it provides an avenue for you to evaluate, reflect and grow as a person"
Terence Chia
PhD candidate at the UWA Business School


Find out more


Important HDR considerations

UWA offers support and ensures equity and access for all prospective HDR students in our community.

Scholarships and fees

UWA offers a range of stipend scholarships with the minimum value of $35,000 per annum (2024 rates). Domestic applicants may not be required to pay tuition fees if they are eligible for the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset and some international applicants may be eligible for fee scholarships. 

Find out more

How to apply

You will need to identify the higher degree you wish to pursue, and determine its eligibility requirements, as well as deciding the research project structure that suits you. Follow the steps to determine this.

Learn more
World-class facilities 

World-class facilities

UWA operates over 75 research and training centres, receives around 80% of WA universities' research funding annually, significantly supporting graduates and contributing to the State's economy.

Robert Street Prize 

Robert Street Prize

The Robert Street Prize is awarded for the most outstanding thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy each year.

GRS Dean's List 

GRS Dean's List

In recognition of an outstanding thesis, Board Members nominate the thesis for an Honourable Mention in the Board of the Graduate Research School Dean's List.