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Future Students

The neXus Research Centre is dedicated to providing an educational and supportive environment for each student who studies at the Faculty of Business, Government and Law. We offer a wide range of postgraduate research courses from Masters to PhD's. Once accepted into your HDR course, you will automatically be accepted into the neXus Research Centre.

At the neXus, we want to ensure that you are continuously learning and developing your skills. Throughout the year we host a range of HDR workshops for candidates and supervisors that are designed to further develop your research thesis, learning skills and supervision enhancement. During semester, we host faculty seminars designed to showcase research that is being completed and participate in faculty learning events.

Student Expectations

It is an expectation of the neXus that students actively participate in faculty events including HDR and professional planning workshops, peer seminars and faculty events.

These events are designed so that you can make the most out of your experience at the University of Canberra and submit a quality thesis paper. We offer a wide range of HDR workshops that are designed to help you and will cover a wide range of research topics and issues that may arise within the duration of your studies.

There are two differentiating elements between a PhD and a Professional Doctorate. Both are Level 10, AQF qualifications, both come with the same entitlement and both require a thesis to be written. The first differentiator is research experience and completion of significant research training or a thesis. A Professional Doctorate tends to focus more on professional experience and postgraduate such as an MBA. The second differentiator concerns the contribution of the thesis where a PhD traditionally contributes by developing academic knowledge of disciplines theory and methodology, while a Professional Doctorate focuses on contributions to professional practice.


A PhD normally takes 3 years and upon successful completion, you are entitled to call yourself a Doctor (Dr). To do a PhD, you need to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and ability to complete primary research. In the field you wish to study, you usually need to have:

  • a 1st class or 2A Honours degree with a thesis component of 10,000 to 20,000 words; or
  • a Masters (research) degree; or
  • a Masters (coursework) degree with a distinction average and a significant component of research training units and a research project with dissertation. Usually one third of the units should be for the research project and research training units.

We are able to consider other relevant research experience, such as publications in international refereed journals.

The Professional Doctorate (DBA, DPA, SJD)

The Professional Doctorate normally takes 3 years and is the equivalent to the PhD in the AQF framework. Graduates can call themselves Dr and this degree is highly regarded; successful graduates have options to work either in Universities or industries.This is because the research done in a Professional Doctorate is usually more applied research with an emphasis on practical professional outcomes.

It was designed for professionals with no or limited academic research experience, but with considerable work experience wanting to undertake a research degree at doctoral level. The Professional Doctorate in Australia is modelled on the US PhD program and combines coursework and substantial research. Usually the route into a Professional Doctorate is a Masters by coursework in the field of study, such as an MBA. In the Professional Doctorate, you will spend the first year in a taught program focusing on developing a knowledge of research. The thesis is normally completed over two years and the thesis is about two-thirds of the length of the PhD.

It is a requirement of the Faculty of Business, Government and Law that you prepare a research proposal as part of your application for a Research Degree.

The research proposal is a vital part of your application. Alongside the proposal, your qualifications and referee reports will decide on your capability to do research.

Research proposals for PhD courses are expected to be at an advanced level. In many cases, after you are admitted and commence your PhD you will change your proposal as you talk with your supervisor and read more about your research area. Applicants for a Professional Doctorate or Masters by research course would normally be expected to further develop their research proposal as part of their candidature.

Make sure it is a scholarly document and include references and a bibliography. Talk to friends and colleagues at home and abroad who have done a research degree or who know your research area.

You can find help in writing your research proposal on the Future Research Students page

Please complete the Faculty of Business, Government and Law proposal template below.

BGL Research Degree Proposal (195.8 KB MS Word Document)

Research Proposal Template

If you wish to apply for a Research Degree within the Faculty of Business, Government and Law (BGL), make sure that you apply in adequate time as it take some time to gather and prepare everything you need.

Your application for a Research Degree at BGL must include:

  • A Research Proposal
  • Copies of relevant existing qualifications including official transcripts
  • 2 referee reports, including at least one academic referee.
  • All students - evidence of meeting the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) English Proficiency requirements for direct entry 

Research Degree Application Form

BGL Research Degree Proposal

For more information on research applications, please see the Research Students portal here.

When do I apply for my Research Degree?

The Faculty accepts applications at any time during the year, but students interested in scholarships should note relevant closing dates concerning scholarship applications.

HDR research students tend to commence their study in either the first (January) or second (July) semester. To guarantee entry in a desired semester, we recommend;

  • Applying before 31 October to commence in the first semester of the following year.
  • Applying before 31 May to commence in the second semester 

However, applications are welcome year-round and we expect to make a decision about offering you a place within 30 days.

How do I submit my application?

Before you submit your application, please ensure that you have all information that is needed.

Submit your Research Degree Application Form and supporting documents:



By Post
Graduate Research
Locked Bag 1

For information about how your application is processed and how to accept your offer, see the research applications closing dates and approval process.

We encourage you to contact potential supervisors and develop your research idea and proposal prior to submitting your application. Please click the link below to view our Research Profiles and supervision interests.

Research Profiles

As part of your Research Degree Application Form, you can nominate two potential supervisors* for your proposed research project.

*Please note that the HDR Committee makes final decisions about your supervisory panel in making you an offer of study.

If you wish to apply for a UC scholarship, the application must be received by 11.59pm 30 September AEST.

Many of the International Scholarships deadlines for the Australian Government are in the May to September period. For more information on Scholarships and other financial support, please see what University of Canberra has to offer here.