Research Higher Degrees

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) offers a wide range of opportunities to undertake supervised research at either masters or doctoral level.

Research may be defined as novel work that is undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase our theoretical and/or practical knowledge and to apply knowledge in new ways. The aim of a research degree is to provide a thorough training in a particular discipline area through a process of original investigation in order to increase knowledge.

Undertaking a research degree represents a wonderful opportunity for you to focus on an area of particular interest to you and to make an important contribution to the development of new knowledge in society. It also enables you to work with one or more academics with specialist expertise in that area of study.

Types of research higher degrees

The University offers a range of research degrees in a variety of disciplines supervised by staff in each Faculty.  Candidates for research higher degrees can only be accepted where suitable specialised supervision is available and where the entry requirements for the degree are met.

Within the discipline area of your choice, the precise focus of the research you undertake is agreed between you and your supervisor. As well as the general Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, ACU also offers some discipline specific research higher degrees in education, psychology, exercise science, nursing and midwifery. 

ACU offers the following degrees:


The time taken to complete a research higher degree depends on the type of degree and whether you study full-time or part-time.


The duration of a PhD is three to four years.
The duration of an MPhil is one to two years.

Other research higher degrees usually involve research training, which may include completion of some coursework units together with the research project and thesis. These include:
The duration of the Doctor of Education is 2.5 to 4 years.
The duration of other Masters’ degrees is generally two years.


Research degrees can also be undertaken on a part-time equivalent basis, although students must be able to demonstrate that they are able to combine both work or other responsibilities and studies in a research degree.

Research Training Scheme

Commencing domestic students enrolling in a Doctorate or Masters by research at ACU will be granted a Research Training Scheme entitlement under the Commonwealth Government's Research Training Scheme (RTS). 'Domestic' refers to Australian citizens and permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens. This means that candidates are provided with an exemption from course fees.

International students

ACU welcomes eligible international students who wish to complete research higher degrees. Please refer to the application process.