Frequently asked questions


What research degrees does Southern Cross University offer?
We offer Masters by Thesis, Professional Doctorates and Doctor of Philosophy higher research degrees. Please see our Higher Degree by Research page for specific course descriptions.

When can I apply?
Candidates seeking admission to Southern Cross University research degrees may apply at any time.

Can I study part-time?
Domestic candidates can choose to study full-time or part-time.
All international students in Australia under the student visa must study full-time.
It is the University's policy that all scholarship recipients must study full-time unless there are exceptional circumstances and approval has been granted for part-time study.

What documentation is required to complete my application?

  1. A 2-3-page research proposal
  2. Identity documents if not born in Australia (photocopy of the picture page of your passport)
  3. English Language Proficiency documentation: If your undergraduate studies were not undertaken in English, then you will be required to submit a copy of an original IELTS test result that shows a score of 6.5 or better OR an original TOEFL test result that shows a score of 580 or better
  4. Your tertiary qualifications, including certified academic transcripts
  5. A 1-2-page summary of your career since graduation (CV)
  6. Details of any thesis or publications you have authored or contributed to, and any other research undertaken.

How do I write a research proposal?

You will need to prepare a research proposal which will assist with finding an appropriate supervisory team.

A research proposal is an outline of your proposed project, highlighting the potential, originality and/or significance of your research. It should detail the research question, your intended study approach, and how your findings will contribute to, or challenge, existing literature in the field. This will demonstrate to potential supervisors that there is originality in your ideas and that the research will make a significant contribution to existing knowledge.

The length of a research proposal should generally be 2-3 pages long and include the following:

  • A cover page - title, applicant's name, proposed supervisors, name of degree, followed by:
  • Introduction and overview of the research
  • Review of current literature
  • Research design and methodology, including a brief timeline for completion of the thesis
  • Significance and expected outcomes of the study
  • References.

A research proposal is not 'set in stone' but is used to identify the proposed research and to determine if the proposed research will, in fact, make a significant contribution to existing knowledge.  It should be understood that research projects and the design of the project may evolve as the research progresses. 

Why must I find a research supervisor?
A supervisor is needed before you can make an application for admission to study Higher Degree Research at Southern Cross University. You must have confirmed two supervisors who are willing to supervise your candidature. It is important that you have contacted them to discuss your research proposal.

A supervisor must:

  • Possess relevant expertise to supervise you
  • Be an approved supervisor on the Higher Degree Research Supervisor Register
  • Have the capacity to supervise
  • Have confirmed their willingness to be nominated as your Principal Supervisor/Co-Supervisor.

Find a supervisor

How long until I hear about my application?
This process can take up to four months, so it is advisable to start the process early if you have a deadline you wish to meet. Proposals that are not of a high standard will not be supported by the School, so spending extra time on your proposal in the first instance will save time later. The Higher Degrees Research Committee meets monthly, so this may also delay applications.

When is my enrolment activated?
Upon the Graduate School receiving a completed and signed Supervisor Candidate Agreement form, enrolment of a candidate is actioned. Candidature is deemed to have begun from the date of receipt of the signed agreement.

Can I seek an English language waiver as an international student?

How often must I submit a progress report to the Graduate School?
All candidates - part-time and full-time - must submit a progress report to the Graduate School every six months from the commencement of their candidature. Only candidates who are on interruption for the majority of the reporting period are exempt from submitting a report.

I need to revise and resubmit my thesis. What date should be on the revised thesis?
The date of the second submission should be used for the revised thesis.

How often can I claim for Conference Assistance?
Southern Cross University recognises that attendance and presentations at conferences are an important part of Higher Degree by Research training.

Applicants may apply for up to a maximum of $1,000 per year of candidature. Funding support depends upon budget availability. PhD and Professional Doctorate candidates will be limited to a maximum of $3,000 in total support over the duration of their candidature. Masters by Thesis students will be limited to $2,000 in total support over the duration of their candidature. Again, all funding is subject to budget availability.

Is Conference Assistance cumulative? Can I save it and claim the total in my final year of Candidature?
No. Conference Assistance is subject to budget availability. Each student is entitled to claim up to a maximum of $1,000 per year.

When should I notify the Graduate School that I will be submitting my thesis?
A minimum of two months before submitting your thesis.

When can I use the title Doctor?
Once your degree has been conferred by the University Council. This normally occurs at Graduation.

Contact the Graduate School


T: +61 2 6620 3219

T: +61 2 6626 9186