How to apply

How to apply

Higher Degree by Research admission process for domestic and international students

We encourage you to apply well ahead of time as the application process from start to finish could take a few weeks. International students will have to factor in additional time for visa processing and travelling to Australia. Applications can be made at any time during the year to the Sydney College of Divinity Graduate Research School.

From 1 January 2021, new higher education domestic and onshore international students will need a Unique Student Identifier (USI)

  • to be eligible for FEE-HELP (international students are not eligible for FEE-HELP)
  • to receive your degree, if you intend to complete your study at the end of 2022 and graduate in 2023

Outlined below are the steps to apply for a research degree as a domestic or international student. If you have any questions email [email protected]


  1. 1. Explore study options
  2. 2. Interview with the Research Director
  3. 3. Apply online
  4. 4. Submit formal Research Proposal
  5. 5. Confirmation of candidacy

To be eligible for admission to a postgraduate research degree, your prior university-level studies should include a significant research project or thesis. This could be the equivalent of an Australian honours degree, or a masters by research degree, or a masters by coursework with a thesis component (dissertation). It is expected that previous studies should include sufficient preparation to undertake the proposed research and coursework, where applicable.Research study requires substantial time and financial commitment. It is, therefore, important that you consider the study program carefully. For best outcomes ensure that your study aligns with your research interest. Determine your area of interest and preferred field of study. Explore the HDR courses and see if you meet the admission criteria. Check out your study load and academic responsibilities, which include attending compulsory research workshops and seminars during the semesters.


Before submitting the online HDR admission application intending candidates are required to have an interview with the Research Director, Professor Constantine Campbell. International students or those who may be unable to travel to Sydney can have their interview through video conferencing.

The Research Director provides initial guidance in respect of the desired program, qualifications for admission, the DMin coursework if relevant, the intended research topic and supervision of the research, and will remain the key contact for students in managing their progress.


After your interview with the Research Director you can lodge your online application. The application has 10 sections and allows you to upload documents. You can save the application after any section and return to complete it at a later time. All relevant documents must be submitted with the application. Applications which are inadequately documented cannot be considered.

The online application also includes the Summary of Research Intentions which requires you to indicate the broad outlines of your proposed thesis topic – the title, aim and methodology of the thesis. Carefully consider the subject of your research and find out if your interests align with any academic members of staff. At this point you are developing an initial research (thesis) proposal. While this initial proposal will probably not fully capture all the details of your final project, it is important to think seriously about it, clearly explaining your ideas about your research. It should not be a generic or a vague proposal but should be sufficient for the Research Committee to determine the general suitability of the topic and availability of appropriate resources and supervision. We will decline to accept an applicant if we cannot offer supervision in the proposed field of research.

Applications are accepted all year round however enrolment is twice a year i.e Semester 1 and Semester 2. We recommend that you apply at least eight weeks prior to the proposed start date to allow adequate time for processing your admission. International students must take into consideration the visa processing time and plan accordingly. You can start your study in any of the research periods as long as your faculty offers it.

If you are waiting for results of a study program that you have just completed, you could still submit your application, and supply the results as soon as you receive them.


Candidates will be admitted provisionally subject to the approval of the Summary of Research Intentions.

In the case of the MPhil, PhD and ThD a formal Research (Thesis) Proposal must be submitted to the Research Committee within one semester of admission for a full-time candidate and within two semesters of admission for a part-time candidate. In the case of the DMin, it will be submitted no later than one semester after completion of the course units for a full-time candidate and no later than two semesters after completion of the course units for a part-time candidate.

In all cases, the formal Proposal may not be substantially changed after acceptance without application to the Research Committee.


The Research Director will advice you if the Research Committee has accepted your Research Proposal and confirmed your candidacy. Confirmation of candidacy means full entry, as opposed to provisional entry, is granted to the candidate into the research degree.

International students will receive their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which they can use to commence their visa application.

Once your candidacy is confirmed, the Registrar will inform candidates about the next steps, which include access to a SCD email address and a student card. Candidates are required to be familiar with the general and specific regulations, policies and procedures, and any information that impacts their study. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain appropriate communication with the supervisor and to arrange regular meetings at mutually convenient times.

Information on the following items can be found on our Orientation page.


Other important study information can be accessed by clicking on the links below.