Entry requirements and admission pathways options for research students

Whether you're beginning your research study or continuing at a higher level, our degrees provide a unique opportunity to follow a specific interest in a particular research area.

PhDs and research degrees

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD is Griffith’s premier research training degree. It is awarded for a thesis (or a series of published papers), drafted under supervision, which makes an original, significant, and extensive contribution to knowledge and understanding in your field of study.

Learn more about PhDs

Doctor of Philosophy (by prior publication)

This degree can offer you formal recognition for your work if you are an established researcher and do not already hold a doctoral level qualification.

Learn more about PhDs by prior publication

Doctor of Medicine / Doctor of Philosophy concurrent pathway

The PhD will allow you to complete the first two years of the Doctor of Medicine program before commencing two years of full time PhD work in clinical research.

Learn more about concurrent pathways to a PhD

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Professional Doctorates

These are integrated degrees of professional and research work, and include doctoral level coursework associated with a thesis.

Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is awarded for a thesis, drafted under supervision, which presents original research and demonstrates both knowledge of a research topic and discipline. It is shorter than a PhD and offered across all schools.

Learn more about the MPhil

Specialist Masters by Research

These are specialist degrees which combine coursework with professional and/or artistic practice.

Research study abroad

International students currently enrolled in a research degree in a university overseas may undertake a research project at Griffith University for one to three semesters, under the research study abroad program.

You’ll be able to study in any research area, provided supervision and resources are available. Credit gained at Griffith is transferred toward the degree at your home institution, with that institution’s agreement.

Learn more about research study abroad

Joint PhD

A joint doctoral program allows you to undertake research at Griffith University and one of our partner universities.

Griffith offers a joint degree with the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Students undergo a five-year program commencing with one year of coursework training at UCAS, followed by a four-year research program at both UCAS and Griffith.

The GU-UCAS application round for Griffith University is currently closed.

Learn more about research study abroad

Intake dates

Griffith offers you the choice of four research intake dates to commence your PhD or Master of Philosophy. If your research program includes coursework, please also check the trimester start dates.

  • Intake 1 - 22 February 2021
  • Intake 2 - 27 April 2021
  • Intake 3 - 12 July 2021
  • Intake 4 - 11 October 2021
  • Intake 1 - 22 February 2021
  • Intake 2 - 27 April 2021
  • Intake 3 - 12 July 2021
  • Intake 4 - 11 October 2021

Pathways to research

Griffith offers multiple admission pathways to a PhD or other doctoral degrees

Fees and financial support

Domestic candidates

Australian (domestic) candidates are any applicants who are: Australian citizens; or New Zealand citizens residing in Australia; or holders of an Australian permanent residency visa; or holders of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.

If you are a domestic candidate applying for a doctorate or masters by research, you are currently exempt from tuition fees under the federal government’s Research Training Program. You will need to consider additional study costs such as personal study materials and some support services.

Note. Doctor of Philosophy (by Prior Publication), Master of Science, and Graduate Diploma of Research Studies candidates are required to pay tuition fees.

International candidates

International candidates are any applicants who are not Australian or New Zealand citizens or Australian Permanent Residents, or a holder of an Australian Permanent Humanitarian visa.

International candidates study on a fee-paying basis and they must pay the full costs of their education through tuition fees, either directly or through a third party (sponsor, government, or scholarship). International candidates will also need to consider living costs associated with studying in Australia, such as living expenses and accommodation.


If you are not intending to relocate to the Brisbane/Gold Coast region to undertake your program, you can apply to pursue your candidature predominantly away from the University (remote candidature). A number of factors will need to be considered including the appointment of a qualified local supervisor and a minimum period to be spent on campus at the University. You will need to provide a statement with your application that addresses the following:

  • The resources and facilities available at the location to support the research program (for example laboratory space, library facilities, computer access)
  • A schedule of contact indicating the frequency and medium of communication between the candidate and supervisors
  • A program of visits to the University (including frequency and duration) for face-to-face interaction with supervisors. Applicants will be required to attend the University for an agreed minimum period (typically an aggregated period of twelve months over the period of candidature). On campus completion of the GGRS Orientation Program, the Confirmation of Candidature milestone, and the Thesis and Candidature Review milestone may be required where online completion can't be accommodated.
  • Details of a qualified person at the location who has agreed to act as a local associate supervisor, where appropriate
  • A well-defined commitment to participate in the research culture of the University
  • Why the work cannot be pursued effectively using University facilities together with short-term absences
  • Confirmation that the applicant is aware that failure to maintain adequate contact with their principal supervisor will not constitute grounds for special consideration or appeal in matters affecting candidature
  • If you are applying for a scholarship, you are required to have an on-campus enrolment.

Understand your program requirements

Griffith research programs have different requirements for entry and for completion. For general information on program requirements see our Application Guide.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy (by Prior Publication)

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology

Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy

Research Study Abroad (Non-Award)

Doctor of Education

Doctor of Musical Arts

Doctor of Visual Arts

Master of Philosophy

Master of Arts Research

Master of Education and Professional Research Studies

Master of Medical Research

Master of Music Research

Master of Science

Master of Visual Arts

Master of Design (Research)

English Language Requirements

All research applicants are expected to have reached an appropriate level of proficiency in English. International applicants and other applicants who have undertaken their prior studies overseas must provide documentary evidence of their English language proficiency (ELP). Full documentary evidence in support of English proficiency must be submitted with applications for candidature and scholarship.

English language tests

Applicants to research programs will need to show they meet:

  • A minimum overall band score of 6.5 on the IELTS (Academic) with no band score less than 6.0
  • OR a minimum score of 575 on the paper-based TOEFL including a score of no less than 5.0 on the TWE
  • OR a score of 79 on the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL with no sub-score less than 19

English test results must be no more than two years old at the time of application. For a full list of accepted English tests and minimum scores, please see the Higher Degree Research Policy.

Applicants should be aware that these test scores are the minimum scores required by Griffith University for most disciplinary areas and that some elements may require higher levels of proficiency.

English pathway option

If you do not meet specific English entry requirements for your program, you may wish to consider English pathway options at Griffith University. The Griffith English Language Institute (GELI) provides high quality English language instruction for international students who wish to prepare for postgraduate courses in Australia. GELI has three centres located at Griffith’s Nathan, Mt Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses. You can complete the Direct Entry Program at GELI to meet the language requirements for your program.