Applying for Higher Degrees by Research


Apply for Higher Degrees by Research (HDR)

Becoming a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student in the School of Communication and Arts requires you to meet the entry requirements of the UQ Graduate School (UQGS) and also to gain the support of the School. The School only supports applications from candidates who clearly demonstrate the ability to complete high-quality HDR theses. Obtaining its support is not an automatic process and requires that you do more than simply meet minimum entry requirements. We recommend that you start the School application process 2-3 months before the UQGS’s deadlines for online applications. This will allow you sufficient time to gather documents and to prepare a research proposal, and the School sufficient time to review your application.

There are 5 stages to gaining The School of Communication and Arts support. Throughout this application process, you should send your application materials only to the School’s Higher Degree by Research Liaison Officer (HLO), who will be your primary point of contact. The HLO will liaise with, and assist, you throughout the whole process.

The HLO in the School of Communication and Arts is Dr Luna Xing 

Step 1: Meeting requirements and identifying appropriate advisors

The first step is to ensure that you meet entry requirements into the MPhil or PhD program. More information about UQGS entry requirements for HDR admission and HDR scholarships can be found on the UQ research degrees page. You then need to identify suitable advisors. See here to browse the profiles of the School's academic staff.

Step 2: The Expression of Interest

Complete the Expression of interest form and email it to the HLO (Higher Degree Liaison Officer)

You must describe the proposed topic of your HDR thesis, and identify your proposed principal and associate supervisors.

You also need to attach your full academic CV, your academic transcripts and an academic writing sample of at least 2000 words. If you have IELTS or TOEFL results please attach.

The HLO will send your material to a HDR Deputy Director in the relevant discipline. If he or she judges that you meet UQ’s entry requirements, that the School has the capacity and the expertise to supervise you, and that the proposed supervisory arrangements are appropriate, you will be invited to write a full research proposal.

Step 3: Writing the Research Proposal

Your detailed research proposal should be approximately 1,000 words, excluding the bibliography. It must cover the following points:

  • Research Question: What is the major question, problem or issue that your thesis will attempt to address?
  • Significance: Why will your thesis be significant? What makes it important or original? In what scholarly field will it make a contribution to knowledge? In short, why does it matter?
  • Relevant Scholarship: What does current scholarship say about your major question? How does your thesis relate to what is already written on the topic?
  • Method and Evidence: What methods will you use to conduct your research? Will you use particular theories and/or schools of thought? What evidence or texts will you be using? How will you conduct your research?

Step 4: Gaining the Support of the Advisors and the HDR Deputy Director

Your prospective thesis advisors will review your research proposal. If they are satisfied with the proposal, you will be invited to an interview, in person or via the internet, with them and the HDR Deputy Director. If they judge that you have the ability to complete a high-quality HDR thesis, they will inform the School’s HDR Director that you have their support.

Step 5: Gaining the Support of the HDR Director

If the School’s HDR Director judges that the case has been made for the School to support your application, you will be invited to submit an online application to the UQGS.

Further Information

Please note that the English Language Proficiency requirement for international HDR students in the School of Communication and Arts requires an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 with a minimum of 6 in writing. 

Students are encouraged to complete ENGL9000 Advanced Research Methods coursework in the first semester of enrolment so we do not accept applications for remote candidature unless the student already holds a relevant research Masters degree and has successfully completed a thesis and research methods training.

You may be referred to another School at this university or to another institution if a supervisor for your project cannot be found. Unfortunately, we cannot accept your application if we cannot guarantee an appropriate advisory team, even if your academic record is exemplary.