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Higher Degrees by Research (HDR)

A strong nexus between research, teaching and learning underpins the structure of our HDR programs.

Our programs are benchmarked with other Go8 universities, and our international collaborations in research introduce broader issues (UNESCO and OECD reports, TIMSS and PISA studies) into our theory and practice of education.

What is the process of applying for a PhD?

  1. Read the relevant information on this page, as well as the Adelaide Graduate Centre Future Students page.
  2. You can then apply formally through the Adelaide Graduate Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I choose a supervisor?

    You can choose a supervisor from the HDR Supervision Areas by matching your research proposal with the research interest of one of the members of academic staff.

  • What if I can't identify a suitable supervisor?

    You can still submit an application to the Adelaide Graduate Centre. In some circumstances we will subsequently be able to find a suitable supervisor for you. Importantly if we feel that your research proposal does not match the research interests and expertise of  academic staff within the School then we may decline your application, so please consult the list of staff supervision areas carefully.

  • Can I contact my proposed supervisor before applying through the Adelaide Graduate Centre?

    If you consider that you meet the requirements for entry, please locate a relevant supervisor from the School of Education website ( ) and check their interest and availability by email before sending them a research proposal. In your initial email to the potential supervisor, tell them how your research relates to their own research interests.

  • Submitting a Research Proposal

    As part of the application process you will need to complete the Adelaide Graduate Centre Admission Research Proposal Template. Before doing so, in order to assess whether we can support your application and allocate a supervisor the School of Education requires a 500-1000 word research proposal from you.  The guidelines below are very similar to the Graduate Centre Template so you should be able to use what you write in your submission to the School of Education to complete the Admission Research Proposal Template as well.

    1. Project title.
    Provide a short descriptive title of no more than 20 words.

    2. Project (research topic) summary
    In no more than 100 words, summarize the aims, significance and 
        expected outcomes of your proposed research.

    3. Project details.

    1. Introductory background
    What is the rational behind the study? Why is it important?

    Research questions
    What is/are the main research question(s) or hypothesis that you plan to address.


    Literature review
    i)  Existing research: Provide an overview of some of the main research undertaken in your identified field.
    ii) theoretical framework: What are the main academic sources that you plan to draw upon. It would be useful not only to cite possible key texts but also to provide some indication of disciplinary background. For example, is the research grounded in sociology, history, psychology, linguistics etc.


    i) What research method(s) do you plan to use? Please be specific. don't just write 'interviews', 'observation' or 'content analysis' etc.
    ii) Sampling: Identify your research population and discuss the type of sampling you might use and some of the possible sampling decisions, particular with reference to numbers of participants or institutions involved

    4. Reference cited/ Bibliography of planned reading
    Please provide one or both of the following in an appropriate and
         consistent referencing style:
         * A list of the scholarly references cited in the proposal
         * A bibliography of planned reading
         Please note that ultimately you will need to submit a research
         proposal to the Adelaide Graduate Centre using the provided 
         submission template.

  • Checklist to Prepare Your Application.

    You must have the following documents ready to upload prior to starting the application form on this page.

    1. Current Curriculum vitae
    2. Degree parchments
    3. Academic Transcripts. The transcript(s) should include details of your social research experience in terms of research courses or projects undertaken. Read more information on entry requirements.
    4. If English is not your first language, evidence of a sufficient level of English language. Read more information on English proficiency.
    5. A research proposal of 500-1000 words. Please refer to the guidelines Submitting a Research Proposal

School of Education

Faculty of Arts


Level 8
10 Pulteney Street
The University of Adelaide SA 5005
North Terrace Campus Map


Telephone: +61 8 8313 0694
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 3604
Staff Directory: School of Education