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Doctor of Philosophy

Course code L61

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an opportunity to pursue a topic you're passionate about at the highest academic level.

A PhD is an independent, supervised research project that is assessed on the submission of a thesis or creative work and exegesis. This course may be undertaken in any School within ECU, provided there are supervisors available in your proposed research area, and the resources and facilities required to complete your proposed project are accessible. ECU encourages interdisciplinary research that may span two or more disciplines. As a PhD candidate, you will be expected to develop a project that can be completed in three years full-time. You may submit your thesis any time after two years of full-time study, and the maximum course duration for a PhD is four years full-time. A PhD is a significant undertaking, and if enrolled full-time you are expected to commit at least 35 hours per week to your research.

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Course overview

Choose student type

Entry requirements

ECU admission and English language requirements apply.

See Course Entry for further information.

Course code



The Australian Government's Research Training Program provides tuition fee offsets for domestic students who are enrolled in Higher Degree by Research courses.

See Fees and Scholarships for further information.


4 years full-time or part-time equivalent

See Course Details for further information.

Availability & Campus

Semester 1 Semester 2
Joondalup FT PT FT PT
Mount Lawley FT PT FT PT
South West FT PT FT PT
Online FT PT FT PT
FT - Full-time PT - Part-time

Entry requirements

ECU admission and English language requirements apply.

See Course Entry for further information.

Course code





International students - estimated 1st year indicative fee AUD $35,250

See Fees and Scholarships for further information.


4 years full-time or part-time equivalent

See Course Details for further information.

Availability & Campus

Semester 1 Semester 2
Joondalup FT FT
Mount Lawley FT FT
South West FT FT
Online FT PT FT PT
FT - Full-time PT - Part-time

Course Entry

Admission requirements you'll need to meet for this course.

  • The following course-specific admission requirements are mandatory and must be satisfied by all applicants. These requirements are in addition to or supersede the minimum requirements outlined within the Academic admission requirements band section below.

    All applicants are required to have the equivalent of 6 months full time research (which must involve a research output which includes the conception and design of the project, and analysis and interpretation of findings) if applying with a Masters qualification other than a Master by Research.
    Applicants seeking online study will be required to provide additional information to support their application, as not all projects nor disciplines are suited to online study.
    Special entry may be considered for applications to the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) who will be required to attend an audition and/or interview.

    Note For more information, including guidelines for specific disciplines, please see our Interviews, folios and auditions web page.

    Academic admission requirements (Band 11) may be satisfied through completion of one of the following:

    • Masters Degree (Research); or
    • Bachelor Honours Degree (First or Upper Second class); or
    • Demonstrated capacity to undertake original PhD-level research.
  • English competency requirements may be satisfied through completion of one of the following:

    • IELTS Academic Overall band minimum score of 6.5 (no individual band less than 6.0);
    • Bachelor degree from a country specified on the English Proficiency Bands page;
    • Successfully completed 0.375 EFTSL of study at postgraduate level or higher at an Australian higher education provider (or equivalent);
    • Where accepted, equivalent prior learning, including at least five years relevant professional experience; or
    • Other tests, courses or programs defined on the English Proficiency Bands page.

    English Language Requirements for Nursing and Midwifery:
    International students (other than those students schooled in a recognised country as defined by APHRA at are required to provide any English language test approved by AHPRA with a score equivalent to an IELTS Academic overall minimum score of 7.0 (no individual band less than 7.0). Internationally schooled applicants may also be required to meet this requirement or we may require additional information to confirm that requirements have been satisfied.

Course Details

Choose student type

Semester availability

Semester 1: Study full-time at Joondalup, Mount Lawley, South West or Online

Semester 1: Study part-time at Joondalup, Mount Lawley, South West or Online

Semester 2: Study full-time at Joondalup, Mount Lawley, South West or Online

Semester 2: Study part-time at Joondalup, Mount Lawley, South West or Online

Semester availability

Semester 1: Study full-time at Joondalup, Mount Lawley, South West or Online

Semester 1: Study part-time Online

Semester 2: Study full-time at Joondalup, Mount Lawley, South West or Online

Semester 2: Study part-time Online

Course Structure

Students are required to continue re-enrolling in the relevant discipline-specific thesis unit of their study until the thesis is submitted for examination.

For candidates commencing from 2018 the examination process will consist of both a written and oral component.

Unit Code Unit Title Credit Points
AGR7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies)
ARC7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Architecture and Building)
ART7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Creative Arts)
COM7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Management and Commerce)
ERT7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Engineering and Related Technologies)
ETN7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Education)
HLT7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Health)
INF7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Information Technology)
NAT7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Natural and Physical Sciences)
SCL7200 ^Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (Society and Culture)

^ Core Option


For more detailed unit information for this course take a look at our Handbook. To organise your life for next semester visit the Semester timetable.

Student handbook

PhD Unit Sets you can study in this course

Course notes

Important course notes

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Integrate substantial and systemic understanding of complex discipline knowledge with research principles and methods to demonstrate expertise in the field
  2. Use expert skills and authoritative judgement to adapt and implement research methodologies and conduct systematic and independent investigation of theory and/or practice at the frontier of a discipline.
  3. Apply communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions, and cogently present findings of a complex and original investigation to peers and the broader community
  4. Take responsibility and show initiative for designing and executing original research, demonstrating capacity to generate new knowledge with intellectual independence.

Need some help deciding what to study?

Our future student events include a mix of on-campus and online sessions designed to help you decide what to study at ECU.

Fees and Scholarships

Choose student type

If you're a domestic student enrolled in a Higher Degree by Research program, you won't be required to pay tuition fees. The Australian Government provides domestic students with tuition fee offsets under the Research Training Program (RTP) for up to 4 years full-time (or equivalent) for Doctoral studies.

Note The RTP covers your tuition fees only. You will still be required to pay all other non-tuition fees applicable to your course, such as the Student Services and Amenities Fee.

AUD $35,250 *

* International students - estimated 1st year indicative fee

The 'estimated 1st year indicative fee' is provided as a guide only, and has been calculated based on a typical enrolment of students undertaking the first year of this course. At ECU, you pay for each individual unit you enrol in, not an overall course fee, so the total cost of your course will vary, depending on what units you choose. An indicative fee will be provided with your course offer, however you can use our Course Fee Calculator to estimate the actual amount you'll need to pay. ECU fees are adjusted annually.


ECU has a scholarship program that provides many opportunities each year to students undertaking studies here.

Find a scholarship

Career Opportunities

Throughout your PhD, you will be supported to develop high level research and professional skills such as project design and execution; problem identification, definition and solving; critical thinking and analysis; data management; utilising research methods and methodologies; teamwork, negotiation and networking; high level technical skills in your field; and communicating to different audiences. With the majority of PhD graduates now pursuing careers outside academia, the skills and research training embedded in the PhD assist you to move into a variety of sectors and roles, including management, consulting, commercial R&D, research management, entrepreneurship, public policy, government, finance, technical services, biotech, education, and project coordination/management.

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Luke Brook, PhD (Computer Science) talks about how he's able to study, help raise 4 kids and hold down a job.

Student stories

  • Janice Du Preez

    Janice Du Preez

    ECU PhD candidate (Early stage dementia)

    "The potential to affect real change was all the motivation I needed"

    I completed my B.Sc. OT (Hons) by research degree at ECU and found a deeply hidden love for research. Against all odds, I was offered a PhD Candidacy and awarded an ECU Postgraduate Research Award and an Inspiring Minds Award. This provided me with the financial means to continue further study.

    Knowing I would be supervised by experienced researchers who are experts in the field of OT, and having my family's full support, certainly gave me the courage I needed to take on this challenge. Also, the knowledge that my research has the potential to affect real change was all the motivation I needed to continue studying.

  • Emmanuel Kokoroko

    Emmanuel Kokoroko

    ECU PhD Business (major in Management)

    "I have no doubt I came to the right place for my doctoral degree"

    I chose to do my doctorate here because I found the PhD in Business program at the School of Business and Law to be focused on conducting cutting edge and innovative research in areas that are relevant to the global community. I found my supervisors to be very supportive and dedicated to supervising my research work, they create an enabling learning environment that help me to develop my research skills and competencies.

    ECU is a great place to study. It carries this climate of a modern, world-class and ambitious institution. It looks like a place I can achieve my goals and aspirations. I have no doubt I came to the right place.

  • Rebekah Wilson

    Rebekah Wilson

    ECU PhD candidate (Exercise Oncology)

    "I wanted to work with the best"

    I decided to study at ECU for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to move to a new country as I felt the only way to learn more was to get out of my comfort zone. And secondly, I moved here because of my supervisors. They are leading researchers in the exercise oncology field and I wanted to work with the best.

    A highlight for me so far has been presenting at the Asia-Pacific Prostate Cancer Conference during the first year of my PhD.

    In the future, I hope to stay within the university circles and share my wealth of information with young students to build a strong foundation for their careers.

Quick guide to uni-speak

    • ATAR is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, the primary criterion for entry into most undergraduate university courses in Australia. The ATAR is a percentile score which denotes a student's ranking relative to their state-wide peers upon completion of their secondary education.

    • CRICOS is the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. A CRICOS code is allocated to education institutions (like ECU) who are approved to recruit, enrol and deliver education to overseas students. Courses with a CRICOS code are available to international students who meet the entry requirements.

    • A major, or unit set, is your chosen area of in-depth study in an undergraduate course. It usually involves 8 units of study, or one-third of the units in a 3-year degree. Talk to your Student Information Office if you need help choosing a major subject.

    • Minors include between 4 and 6 study units in a specific discipline. Not all courses require you to complete a minor. Your minor subject doesn't appear on your printed degree (parchment), but is part of your academic transcript.

    • If you're enrolled in 3 or more units in a semester this is considered full-time study. To complete most 3-year degrees studying full-time you'll need to complete 4 units per semester, i.e. 24 units over 3 years.

    • If a course is available to study part-time you can generally expect it to take twice as long to complete as it would in full-time mode. Part-time students are enrolled in 1 or 2 units maximum per semester.

      Note: International students who hold a student visa can only choose the full-time study option for our courses. This is to ensure the course is completed within the duration of the student visa.

    • Most courses start in Semester 1 each year, usually in the last week of February. Some courses can be started in Semester 2 (we call this mid-year). There's a week of Orientation before each semester to help you get used to uni life.

    • A lot of our courses start in Semester 2 each year, usually in the last week of July. We call this mid-year. There's a week of Orientation beforehand to help you get used to uni life.

    • We use a points system to make it easier for you to understand your study progress. Most Bachelors degree study units are allocated 15 credit points. If you're studying a 3-year full-time degree you'll need to successfully complete 360 credit points - that's 24 units x 15 points per unit.

    • These are compulsory units you have to successfully complete as part of your course.

    • An elective is a unit you choose to study that counts towards your course requirements, but isn't compulsory. For some courses we recommend elective units. In some situations, a course coordinator may approve an elective unit as a replacement for a compulsory one.

Do you have any questions about the Doctor of Philosophy?