Ready to apply for a research higher degree program at UNSW Sydney? The information below outlines the steps you need to follow, including where to find the application form for admission and scholarship, the supporting documents you need to provide, and the key dates for your application.
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
Before you can apply for your research higher degree program, it is critical that you determine whether you are eligible for admission.
To determine your eligibility, you must use the UNSW HDR Self-Assessment Tool.
The Self-Assessment Tool provides you with an indication of your eligibility for admission to the UNSW research higher degree programs, as well as your competitiveness for a scholarship.
For more information, visit Higher Degree Research Programs.
Step 2: Find a Supervisor
Finding a supervisor with compatible research interests and working styles is critical to your success as a Higher Degree Research candidate.
Most Faculties/Schools require applicants to contact potential supervisors. See the Finding a Supervisor page for full details.
Once you have identified a supervisor in your research area, you must participate in a pre-admission interview to discuss your proposed research project and determine whether appropriate resources will be available. The interview can be face-to-face or via Skype (or other such video messaging).
Once supervision is confirmed, you will need to develop a research description and fulfil any additional Faculty requirements before submitting an application for admission.
Step 3: Prepare a Research Description
As part of the application process you are required to provide a description of your research interests. Your research description should be approximately one page in length and include the following:
Title of your research project
Statement of the research problem and its significance
Outline of how you plan to address this problem
Details of any previous research and/or publications you’ve undertaken in your area of interest
Some Faculties have additional requirements. For more information, visit Finding a Supervisor.
Step 4: Prepare Your Supporting Documentation
In addition to your research description, there are a number of supporting documents that you are required to submit with your application. If these documents are written in a language other than English, you must submit the document in the original language and submit an official English translation (see Step 5 below).
Academic transcripts for every tertiary degree you’ve attempted and/or completed;
Grading systems outlining what the specific scores/grades mean at each of the institutions you’ve attended;
A testamurs/certificate of completion for all degrees you have completed;
Academic Curriculum Vitae (CV);
Evidence that you meet the UNSW English language proficiency requirements (see Step 6 below);
A copy of an email from your potential supervisor confirming that they agree to supervise your research project or a copy of your EOI outcome;
Domestic applicants: proof of citizenship/permanent residency;
UNSW Art & Design applicants: a portfolio of design/exhibition work, submitted directly to the Art & Design Student Centre
You may submit scanned copies of your documents with your application, and UNSW will verify your documents with your home institution. If your documents can’t be verified, you may be required to bring the originals to the Graduate Research School for verification.
In addition to the documents listed above, applicants for specific scholarship schemes or research programs may be required to submit additional supporting documents. These are listed in the UNSW online checklist available through the online application.
Furthermore, some Faculties also require you to submit additional documentation. For instance, UNSW Art and Design applicants are required to submit an art and design portfolio with their application for admission. For more information, visit your Faculty website:
Step 5: English Translations of Documents
Documents that are in a language other than English must be translated by an accredited translator before they are submitted to UNSW.
NAATI (the National Standards and Accreditation body for Translators and Interpreters), or
A registered translator in an overseas country considered acceptable by the Australian diplomatic mission.
Each translation must include the following:
Translator’s signature and printed name
Proof of accreditation, including name and membership number
Date that the statement is made
The text “The translated text in this document is an accurate and complete translation of the original document”
Step 6: Meet the UNSW English Language Requirements
All applicants, whether domestic or international, must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission.
Being born in Australia or other English-speaking country doesn't automatically mean that you will meet the UNSW English language proficiency requirements.
You must meet the requirements through the following three channels:
For full details of the UNSW English Language requirements please refer to the UNSW English Language Requirements policy.
All scholarship applicants must meet UNSW English requirements by the scholarship deadline (see Key Dates). If they do not, their application may be deferred to the next application period.
Step 7: Submit an Application
Once you have secured a supervisor, held your interview, developed a research description, and prepared your supporting documents, you are ready to lodge your application.
If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, simply indicate this on the application form and select the applicable scholarship round for your preferred semester start date. For more information on applying for a scholarship, please visit Graduate Research Scholarships.
Your program needs to be within the same school as your supervisor. You should confirm the correct program code with your supervisor, your Postgraduate Coordinator or by referring to the UNSW handbook.
Application deadlines can be found at Key Dates.
After You Submit an Application
It will take 2-3 working days for your application to be processed. Once processed, you’ll receive an email confirmation with a UNSW Student ID. If you have any outstanding documentation, these will also be listed in your confirmation email.
Once you’ve received your confirmation email, you can upload any outstanding documents through your UNSW Apply Online account.
Tracking Progress of your Application
If you have applied for Admission and Scholarship, both outcomes will be released after the date outlined at Key Dates. If you have alternative funding, and have applied for admission only, the outcome would typically take 6-8 weeks to be processed.
You can track the progress of your application through your UNSW Apply Online account.
In addition to updating the overall status of your application, the Graduate Research School will update the status of each document once it has been checked. We recommend that you check this document tracking to ensure that you have submitted all required documentation.
Receiving an Offer
If you have met the requirements, you will receive a letter of offer to study at UNSW.
There are two types of offer letters:
You have met some, but not all, requirements. The conditions that you need to meet will be outlined in your offer letter. You will not be able to accept a conditional offer, but are required to upload your remaining documents through Apply Online for unconditional consideration.
You have met the admission requirements and conditions for entry. You may still be required to meet certain conditions prior to enrolment, and these conditions will be outlined in your offer letter. Your offer letter will outline how to accept the offer and pay any fees required before you can enrol.
Responding to an Offer
If you wish to defer to a later semester, you can do so by the following means:
If you have an unconditional offer, please login to MyUNSW with your UNSW login ID (i.e. 'z1234567') and UniPass. To get your uniPass, please go to UNSW Identity Manager and follow the setup instructions.
If you have a conditional offer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Please ensure you have already submitted any extra required documentation prior to requesting deferral.
To accept an offer of admission to a research higher degree program, login to MyUNSW as per the instructions above.
If you are a scholarship recipient, accept your offer by completing the reply form attached to your scholarship offer letter and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have been granted a UNSW Scholarship, accept your offer by completing both the Admission and Scholarship reply forms which are attached to your admission and scholarship offer letter, and emailing your completed reply forms to email@example.com.
If you have been awarded an International Sponsorship, you need to complete the following and email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Reply form sent with your offer of admission;
Attach a financial guarantee from your sponsor.
If you have alternate funding, complete the online acceptance by logging into MyUNSWwith your UNSW login ID (i.e. 'z1234567') and UniPass. To get your uniPass, please go to UNSW Identity Manager and follow the setup instructions.
Once you have provided all requirements for acceptance, a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be issued to you within the following week. You will need to use this to apply for a visa.
Responded to your offer? Learn about starting your candidature at Getting Started.