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The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is recognition of successful research experience. This degree requires an original and significant contribution to knowledge in an approved area. The degree requires a minimum of 3 years full-time study and preparation of a thesis.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy may be awarded by the Council on the recommendation of the Research Committee of the appropriate faculty or board (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) to a candidate who has made an original and significant contribution to knowledge. See UNSW Higher Degree Research Learning Outcomes.

The length of a doctoral thesis normally should not exceed 100,000 words of text and should be submitted for examination within 3 years of full-time study.


The candidate may undertake the research as an internal student ie. at a campus, teaching hospital, or other research facility with which the University is associated, or as an external student not in attendance at the University except for periods as may be prescribed by the Committee.

The approved applicant may undertake their enrolment with a part-time or full-time load at the University, at one of its teaching hospitals or a research facility with which the University is associated; the Committee may permit a candidate to spend a period in the field, within another institution or elsewhere away from the University if it is satisfied that this is necessary to the research program and provided that the work can be supervised in a manner satisfactory to the Committee.

If the candidate's research work is based externally, there must be a minimum acceptable level of supervision that will be determined by the Committee. Normally an external candidate within another organisation or institution will have a co-supervisor at that institution.


A candidate shall be required to undertake an original investigation on a topic approved by the Committee and may also be required to undergo such examination and perform such other work as may be prescribed by the Committee. The work shall be carried out under the direction of a supervisor appointed by the Committee from the academic staff of the University.

A candidate shall be enrolled for a minimum of 144 units of credit (uoc) and up to a maximum of 192uoc.



Study Level


Typical duration

3 to 4 Years

Delivery Mode


Academic Calendar

Research Calendar

Minimum Units of Credit


Award type

Doctor of Philosophy


Doctor of Philosophy - PhD



Entry Requirements

Program Fees

At UNSW fees are generally charged at course level and therefore dependent upon individual enrolment and other factors such as student's residency status. For generic information on fees and additional expenses of UNSW programs, click on one of the following:

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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