Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering)

Engineering new research

Do you think outside the box? Do you want to make an impact? Does a career in research excite you?

Study a Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering) with Southern Cross University and you’ll be joining a team backed by 30 years of research excellence.

In the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2018 national report, the University received the top rating of “well above world standard” for engineering. Our research success is also enhanced by strong links with the public and private sectors, including community agencies in Australia and overseas.

State-of-the-art research laboratories in the new engineering and science precinct at our Lismore campus provide an opportunity for research and teaching activities across a range of sub-disciplines. These include materials conditioning and testing, concrete and structures testing, fluids/hydraulics testing and mechanics and physics.

Past research has been supported by funding from multiple sources such as the Australian Research Council’s Discovery, Linkage and LIEF schemes, Australian Synchrotron and the Sugar Research Association.

Academic staff in the Faculty of Science and Engineering can provide supervision for various discipline areas. Please search for a supervisor on our Find a Supervisor page.

Meet your supervisors

Three men using laser equipment in laboratory

Research Highlight: With a 30 year history of excellence in teaching and research, Southern Cross University's Faculty of Science and Engineering has an outstanding international research profile. The World Heritage rainforests, reefs, beaches, estuaries, large rivers, mountains and national parks provide living laboratories for learning and research.


Faculty Duration Location CRICOS Code Contact
Faculty of Science and Engineering 3 years, 6 months Lismore, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour 095714B A/Professor Renaud Joannes-Boyau


A Doctoral Thesis must embody all of the below:

  1. Reviewing literature in a critical and focused manner
  2. Deploying analytic, comparative and critically reflective skills as appropriate
  3. Gathering and analysing material and interpreting results in an informed and competent manner
  4. Utilising and justifying appropriate methodologies, techniques and processes
  5. Make an original and significant contribution to knowledge and understanding in the field
  6. Demonstrate a high-level capacity for independent research.

Andrew was on the team that developed a strategy to improve freight and supply chain services across the Northern Rivers. Now that’s engineering solutions.

Andrew Swan

PhD Candidate, School of Environment, Science and Engineering

Course fees

Domestic students:

Eligible applicants can apply for a Research Training Program-supported place. This will provide a tuition fee offset funded by the Australian Government's Research Training Program. Southern Cross University will then supplement this cost to cover the full program tuition fees.

If unsuccessful in obtaining a Research Training Program place, students may be required to pay fees.

Applications are considered on a case by case basis and the process can be highly competitive.

International students:

Course fees for International Students are $30,000 per annum, unless a tuition fee waiver has been approved as per the below detailed information. 

A request for a tuition fee offset can only be approved by the Dean, Graduate School providing there is support from the Principal Supervisor, DHDRT and Associate Dean (Research). For a request to be considered, the following criteria need to be taken into account:

  • Academic quality of the student is of high standing
  • Appropriate level of English proficiency (International English Language Test Score (IELTS) Academic (or equivalent) equal to or above 7.0, with a minimum 7.0 in Writing and no other band less than 6.5)
  • Expected research outcomes, quality of project and how it fits with the Supervisory team research areas
  • Whether the Faculty and Supervisory team have the resources and facilities to support the project
  • If the HDR applicant is not on a scholarship, evidence must be provided that they can support themselves during their candidature.

The Dean, Graduate School, will assess the request according to these criteria together with the application for admission to candidature and will seek further clarification if the above-mentioned criteria are not satisfied. If the tuition fee offset is approved by the Dean, this is recorded in the Student Administration System and conveyed to the student in the letter of offer for admission to candidature.

Tuition Fee Offsets that are not approved will mean the applicant will be required to pay full fees. If it is not obvious that the HDR applicant’s project will enhance the research output of the University and that of the Supervisory team, fees will apply.

Admission requirements

To qualify for admission to a PhD, applicants must:

  • Possess a degree equivalent to a Bachelor's degree from the University with first-class Honours or second class Honours, first division, or
  • Possess a degree equivalent to a Masters degree from the University, with a Relevant Research Component, or
  • Submit other evidence of relevant professional qualifications and experience, or research experience, to satisfy the Dean (Graduate Studies) that the applicant possesses a level of relevant research experience equivalent to an award in either clause (4)a or (4)b; and satisfy such additional requirements for admission to a PhD candidature, if any, as may be prescribed by the Dean (Graduate Studies).

All candidates are expected to be proficient in English comprehension and expression.

Apply online now

Research proposal

Research topics and projects can be developed in several key areas that are broadly related to the built and natural environments. Specific areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Structural health monitoring
  • Smart materials
  • Concrete technology
  • Energy harvesting
  • Numerical modelling of biogeochemical processes in natural and engineered environments
  • Sustainable transportation systems
  • Mechanical design and manufacturing techniques
  • Re-engineering existing infrastructure in urban and regional areas
  • Waste energy and nutrient recover
  • Landfill barriers.

Research in the Faculty of Science and Engineering is supported by its three key research centres:

Contact the Graduate School


T: +61 2 6620 3219

T: +61 2 6626 9186