Doctor of Philosophy (Health Science)

Regional relevance and global impact

Southern Cross University aims to create research and research training that has regional relevance and global impact.

By studying a Doctor of Philosophy (Health) with the Faculty of Health, you can focus your research from a choice of disciplines. These include nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, speech pathology, podiatry, pedorthics, clinical sciences, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, naturopathic medicine and public health.

One of the great strengths of our research is its level of engagement with local and regional health service organisations, sporting institutions and peak bodies, private providers and schools.

These partnerships guide the development of industry-relevant research and promote the translation of research into practice.

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

Meet your supervisors

Man and woman wearing lab coats in laboratory

P class="lead">Nursing and complementary medicine at Southern Cross University both received a 'well above world standard' ranking in the latest ERA (Excellence in Research Australia) results. The University also ranked above world standard in both human movement and sports science, and medical and health sciences in the same ERA rankings.


FacultyDurationLocationCRICOS CodeContact
Faculty of Health  3 years, 6 months Lismore, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour 016171E Professor John Hurley


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.

Is controversial black salve really a miracle cure for skin cancer? Andy's research says no, revealing more risk than reward.

Andy Croaker

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Health

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

Staff from the Faculty of Health are engaged in a range of research activities across the disciplines of nursing, midwifery, allied health, clinical sciences, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, psychology, cognitive neuroscience and public health.

The Faculty encourages multidisciplinary approaches in health and human sciences research and research training, under the broad areas of:

  • Clinical outcomes
  • Exercise, health and human performance
  • Health workforce development
  • Human behaviour and communications
  • Nursing and midwifery
  • Health pedagogical research
  • Mental health and wellbeing.

Contact the Graduate School


T: +61 2 6620 3219

T: +61 2 6626 9186