Higher Degree by Research

Our Graduate Centre is home to a thriving research community. We give you the opportunity to maximise your research potential and take your research further.

We have over 90 PhD candidates working on a range of research projects. View our HDR student profiles.

See theses from our graduates at UQ eSpace.

HDR students in our School Graduate Centre receive a number of benefits including:

  • dedicated and experienced academic staff who are able to supervise across a number of fields
  • opportunities to publish in our postgraduate e-journal - Dialogue
  • postgraduate workshops and dedicated training
  • a dedicated Higher Degrees by Research Liaison Officer.
  • a thriving research culture in one of the world's best schools in the discipline
  • a PhD student-led journal "Dialogue"


Download our School HDR Handbook for a full description of support available.

Information on Endeavour Scholarship and Fellowship programs:

This covers programs for Australians looking to do research overseas.  

This covers programs for international students looking to do a full Masters/PhD in Australia, or short-term research (UQ HR classifies these students as occupational trainees). 

How to apply

Joining the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) program at the School of Political Science and International Studies requires not only meeting the UQ Graduate School’s entry requirements, but also attaining the support of the School to apply. Obtaining the School’s support can be a lengthy process. To ensure your online application will be considered for a particular scholarship round, please allow sufficient time for the School-based process before the Graduate School’s online application deadlines.

Below you can see the different steps we ask you to follow:

  • Find out about applying for a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) including advice about HDR entry requirements, scholarships and UQ's career development framework. Ensure you meet HDR requirements.
  • Browse our academic staff profiles to find a supervisor within our School who matches your area of research interest and who has sufficient expertise in your proposed field of PhD research.
  • Contact potential supervisors by email to discuss and refine your research. This email should include rough description of your proposed research project. This initial contact with potential supervisors serves the purpose of you finding out if academic staff at the School have both the expertise and the capacity to act as potential supervisors of your PhD.
  • Once you obtained a general interest of an academic staff member, you then need to develop a full research proposal. This research proposal takes time to write and – in consultation with your potential supervisor – to revise. Your research proposal should be 3,000-5,000 words in length and fully referenced. Your research proposal needs to address the following questions:

RESEARCH QUESTION: What question or hypothesis is your thesis aiming to analyse or test? What question is your thesis trying to answer?

SIGNIFICANCE: How is your proposed question or hypothesis significant for your area of research? What makes the project important or original?

RELEVANT LITERATURE: What is the literature currently saying in relation to your research question or hypothesis? How are you aiming to relate the literature to existing studies? How are you building on, advancing or applying the existing literature?

APPROACH AND METHOD: What theories, methodologies and methods are you proposing to use to investigate your research question or hypothesis?

  • Your prospective supervisors will then consider your research proposal. They will also arrange for an interview in person or via Skype to discuss the proposal. They might ask you to revise your proposal to reach its fullest potential.
  • If your prospective supervisor is satisfied with your research proposal, then your proposal will be assessed by a school based committee.
  • If approved by the committee, you will be directed to submit a full application online to the UQ Graduate School. Your application may be unsuccessful and declined if you have not made contact with your nominated academic or if they are unable to act as your advisor.
  • The full online application, including your referee reports, will be assessed by the Graduate School, which will make a final determination on whether to formally support your application. Please note this does not guarantee that you will be successful with winning a scholarship.