International Engagement Opportunities

International research opportunities can enrich a candidate’s higher degree research experience by providing exposure to a wide range of research environments, as well as opportunities to build international research networks and collaborations, and develop a global outlook.

UNSW supports HDR candidates to gain global experience through conference funding, visiting research opportunities, joint PhD programs, and joint supervision. 

UNSW also welcomes international HDR candidates who wish to visit our University through the research practicum program.

Further details are outlined below.


International Mobility Opportunities for UNSW HDR Candidates

There are a number of programs and opportunities open to UNSW HDR candidates who would like to undertake global research activities during their candidature. 


Postgraduate Research Student Support (PRSS) Scheme

The PRSS Scheme supports UNSW PhD candidates who plan to present at an international conference (outside Australia and New Zealand). Successful candidates receive a flat rate of $2,600 to assist with travel costs. For information on how to apply, visit Scholarships and Financial Support.


Universitas 21 (U21) Researcher Mobility Programs 

The U21 is a global network of leading research-intensive universities that delivers programs and initiatives to foster international collaboration and facilitate global knowledge exchange. 

The U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Awards support PhD candidates to collaborate with other doctoral candidates from international member universities on an approved 12-month research project. Successful projects receive up to US$5,000, and projects are expected to result in publicly accessible outputs (e.g. peer-reviewed publications). For more information, visit U21 Graduate Collaborative Research Awards.  

Member universities also offer a range of short term study abroad opportunities, which are advertised here.


Other Opportunities

Candidates may organise their own short term (12 months or less) research visits to international institutions with their supervisor’s support.


How to apply for an international research opportunity

  1. Check if there are any application requirements for the program and/or research institution you plan to visit 

  2. Submit a variation to candidature request to work away from a UNSW campus

  3. Register your travel with International SOS to ensure you are kept up to date on the latest travel alerts

  4. Go to the How to Prepare for Departure website for useful information on preparing for an overseas study, including UNSW Travel insurance, travel, registration, risk management and safety & security

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, there are government restrictions on both domestic and international travel. Before planning any travel, please check the Commonwealth travel guidelines and the travel advice on the UNSW COVID-19 website



A Cotutelle program  provides candidates with the opportunity to be jointly supervised by a UNSW supervisor and a collaborating supervisor at an approved international university. Candidates enrol in the PhD program available at each university, and submit a thesis to each university, where it is examined separately. 

The collaborative supervision arrangements are formalised through an agreement between both participating universities. 


How to Apply

  1. Complete the Joint PhD Candidate Proposal form and submit to the Graduate Research School via email at

  2. Prospective PhD candidate applies to UNSW via Apply Online indicating that they are seeking to enrol under a Cotutelle

  3. The Graduate Research School will liaise with UNSW Faculty to review the proposal and candidate application

  4. If approved, a Cotutelle agreement for the candidate will be prepared

  5. The Graduate Research School sends an offer letter to the candidate 

  6. PhD candidate accepts the offer and commences the Cotutelle program

  7. The candidate spends time at each University


Joint PhD Program

The Joint PhD Program allows candidates to enrol at UNSW and an approved strategic partner university simultaneously. Candidates are jointly supervised by both a UNSW supervisor and a collaborating supervisor from the partner university, and they graduate with a single Doctor of Philosophy jointly awarded by both institutions. 

Joint PhD Programs are strategic programs for UNSW and are designed to enhance existing research collaborations that have already been established between the two institutions, including co-publication of research, work on joint research projects, joint research grants, joint research centres and staff exchanges.

For more information on the Joint PhD Program and existing partner universities, please visit UNSW Joint PhD Program.


Research Practicum Program

The UNSW Study Abroad Research Practicum Program is designed for candidates enrolled in a research degree outside of Australia who would like to undertake a short research visit at UNSW Sydney. Candidates who participate in the program have access to an appropriate supervisor, services, libraries, campus amenities and liability insurance for UNSW premises for a duration between 3 – 24 months (subject to Faculty availability and approval).

For more information, including the application process and tuition fees, please visit UNSW Research Practicum