Ready to apply for a research higher degree program at UNSW? 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.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their application is submitted in full by the scholarship closing date. All correct and satisfactory documents must be fully submitted with the application, including English translations, Financial Declaration and proof of English. Additional documents can’t be added to an application until after the application has been reviewed, which may not occur before application deadlines.
Please refer to Step 3 to ensure you have the correct documents before submission.
There are a number of eligibility requirements you ensure you meet prior to applying for a Higher Research Degree. These include the following.
Admission and scholarship application minimum requirements: visit Research Higher Degree Programs
English requirements: All applicants, whether domestic or international, must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the minimum UNSW English Language Requirements. To determine your eligibility, you must use the UNSW HDR Self-Assessment Tool. For information on using this Tool, please download the User Guide.
Source of funding: All applicants, whether domestic or international, must complete the GTE & Financial Declaration Form and, if required, submit evidence of your capacity to fund all living costs, fees and other associated costs. As an applicant to UNSW, you must demonstrate that you have the ability to financially support yourself (and any dependants) for the duration of your studies and, if an international applicant, that you are a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE). This may be through applying for a UNSW Research Scholarship, an alternative scholarship or sponsorship (provided by a source external to UNSW), or through self-funding.
Supervision and resources: You must consider whether you need to contact a supervisor or undertake an EOI. Approval must be provided by a potential supervisor or School before you can apply. Further checks on appropriate supervision and resources will be completed during the assessment process, so please note that approval to apply does not guarantee an offer.
Other: Specific Faculties or programs may have additional requirements, please see your Faculty’s website for further details
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. For more information, visit Finding a Supervisor.
In addition to your research description, there are a number of supporting documents that you are required to submit with your application. These should be prepared prior to application, as applications will only be processed when all required documents are submitted. Please read the Document Submission Guidelines for a full list of supporting documents.
You may submit scanned copies of your documents with your application. Documents will be verified at a later date. You must be prepared to present your original documents to UNSW for inspection prior to enrolment if requested, so you will need to bring your original documents with you. Additionally, UNSW may 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.
Please be aware that written references are not required to support your application. Your School will contact referees directly if required.
In addition to the documents listed in the Document Submission Guidelines, 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.
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:
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”
All applicants, domestic and international, must meet* the UNSW English language requirements before submitting an application. Scholarship applicants must do so before the scholarship deadline (see Key Dates).
You must meet the requirements through the following three channels:
English Language Tests and University English Courses. You must confirm with your testing authority (e.g. Pearson's) that UNSW has permission to view and verify your test results.
For full details of the UNSW English Language requirements please refer to the UNSW English Language Requirements policy.
*All English waiver requests must be approved by the scholarship deadline. In order to meet the deadline, all waiver requests must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the due date.
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. Only full applications (i.e. with all required documents) will be processed for assessment.
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 term 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.
It will take 4 working days for your application to be processed after you submit it. 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. You will be notified of any rejected or outstanding documents within this account so you will need to log in periodically to view. Please allow a week for additional submitted documents to be checked and updated.
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.
Making Changes to your Application
If you wish to make any changes after submitting your application, simply send us an email and we’ll make the changes for you!
You don’t need to submit a new application. If you want to defer your start term, change programs or be included in the next scholarship round, we can update your existing application.
Or if you wish to provide outstanding documents to your submitted application, please upload them through your UNSW Apply Online account.
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.
New candidates are expected to enrol by the term Start Date, therefore you must ensure you submit your documents early enough to allow time to arrive by that date.
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.
New candidates are expected to enrol by the term Start Date, therefore you must ensure you respond to your offer early to allow enough time to arrive by that date.
Higher Degree Research (HDR) applicants can request to defer for up to one year after the initial offer term. UNSW HDR Scholarship offers may be able to be deferred on a case by case basis (check your scholarship letter for details). Deferrals are only approved where conditions are met, including continuing to meet UNSW entry requirements, and availability of supervision and resources.
How do I defer?
If you have a conditional offer, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating the new term you wish to start in
If you have an unconditional offer, please login to Accept Online
Please ensure you have already submitted any extra required documentation prior to requesting deferral.
Conditional offers: Conditional admission and/or scholarship offers cannot be accepted through Apply Online. Outstanding documentation must be provided prior to a full offer being issued.
Sponsored applicants: Sponsored applicants must accept their offer by completing and emailing the admission offer reply forms, International Sponsored Student Agreement form, and financial guarantee from your sponsor as per your offer letter.
Unconditional Offers - Accept Online
Accepting online is a 2 part-process
Part I: Accept or defer your offer of admission and scholarship (if applicable) in Accept Online to ensure your place in the program. As part of this process, unless accepting an unconditional UNSW tuition paying scholarship, international applicants will be required to pay a tuition fee deposit.
Part II: Confirm your personal details, complete the Financial and Student Declaration sections. Part II must only be completed once you are ready to arrive and enrol (including for International applicants, being granted the student visa and arriving in Australia).
Acceptance deadlines and procedures vary.
Scholarship recipients must accept or defer within 2 weeks of receiving their unconditional offers, admission only recipients must accept or defer within 1 month of receiving the unconditional offer.
If you do not accept or defer by the deadline date your offer may lapse.
Once you have provided all requirements for acceptance, a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be issued to you within the following fortnight. You will need to use this to apply for a visa.
Before proceeding with the next steps, you must arrive at your study location, and if you are International, must hold on an appropriate visa for the full length of study. If you are not able to meet these requirements prior to the Term Start Date, you should defer your offer (see “Deferral” above).
Responded to your offer? Learn about starting your candidature at Getting Started.