Higher Degree by Research

Why choose a Higher Degree by Research?

The School is actively involved in research and scholarship of international significance. Our staff and students are published in leading national and international journals and by major scholarly presses and continue to attract millions of dollars in external grants and fellowships.

As a Higher Degree by Research student in the School, you make a vital contribution to the research culture, playing an important role in creating dynamic learning and discovery environments. The School maintains a strong research profile with a number of affiliated research centres, as well as close links with Faculty research activities. Students are regularly involved in the organisation of conferences, seminars and workshops.

View the School's current HDR projects

What programs are on offer?

How to apply

Becoming a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry (HPI) requires you to meet UQ’s entry requirements for the MPhil or PhD program and also to gain the School’s support.

The School supports applications from candidates who clearly demonstrate the ability to complete high-quality HDR theses, and whose proposed research aligns with the School’s expertise and capacity to supervise. 

Gaining the support of The School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry is a multi-step process, outlined below. At various stages your application may be reviewed and considered by your nominated advisory team, the Research and Research Training (RRT) Advisor in the relevant discipline, the HPI Director of Research Training, the School’s scholarship ranking committee, the HASS Faculty Associate Dean (Research), the Graduate School’s scholarship committee, the Graduate School’s team of Admissions specialists, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Therefore, if you wish to be considered for UQ merit-based scholarships, we recommend that you start the application process at least one month before UQ’s scholarship deadlines and apply online as close to the start of the round as possible. This will allow you time to gather documents and to prepare a research proposal, and the School sufficient time to review your application. If your application is unable to be completed and processed by the deadlines, you will have to apply again in a future scholarship round or for a later commencing research quarter.

You are encouraged to contact the School’s Higher Degree by Research Liaison Officer (HLO) at hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au for guidance with the application process or questions about HDR scholarships, enrolling, or other queries related to HDR study.

Step 1: Find a Potential Advisory Team

The first step is to identify a researcher or researchers within the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry with relevant expertise and get their preliminary agreement to support your project. You can browse the profiles of researchers in each of the School’s disciplines: History, Philosophy, Studies in Religion, and Classics and Ancient History. You can also search for researchers and potential advisors by keyword related to your area of research interest on the UQ Researchers database. Refine your search to academic staff that have strong overlapping interests and experience with your proposed field of research.

You are encouraged to contact potential advisors directly to initiate a conversation about research topics and student-advisor match. Advisors may ask you to provide them with some of the materials and documents for the steps below to help them understand your background and your project. You will still be required to upload these documents to your online application as you progress through each step of the application process.

An HDR advisory team must consist of a Principal Advisor and at least one Associate Advisor. A project may have more than one Associate Advisor. If you identify a potential Principal Advisor, they may be able to guide you in putting a whole team together. If you find a Principal Advisor that suits your intended project outside of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, then you would consult the HDR application procedures of the school or institute of that researcher.

Step 2: Online Application with Expression of Interest (EOI)

The next step is to submit an online application.

The online application will ask you to upload your academic CV, official transcripts of all previous degrees, award certificates of all previous degrees, evidence of English Language Proficiency (if required), and contact details of your referees.

In addition, please upload to your online application an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) which includes a provisional title/topic for your HDR thesis, a short description of the project and its significance, and names your proposed principal and associate supervisors. Please also upload an academic writing sample of at least 2000 words. The writing sample can be a published academic work or a paper you previously submitted in a course. These documents are required by HPI for your application to progress.

You should make your application on submission as complete as possible so as to not create delays, however you will be able to upload additional documents to your online application after you submit it.

The School’s HLO will send your details and documents to the Research and Research Training (RRT) Advisor in the relevant discipline. If he or she judges that you meet UQ’s entry requirements, that the School has the capacity and the expertise to supervise you, and that the proposed supervisory arrangements are appropriate, your application will progress to the next steps.

Step 3: Interview

The RRT Advisor in the relevant discipline and your prospective advisory team will consider your application materials and referee reports. If they are satisfied with the application, you may be invited to an interview (in person or online). Based on the outcome of this interview, you may be invited to submit a detailed research proposal.

Step 4: Writing the Research Proposal

Your detailed research proposal (minimum 1500 words + bibliography) must cover the following points:

  • Research question: What is the major problem or issue that your thesis will attempt to solve? What major question will it try to answer? What hypothesis will it test? In essence, what will your thesis be about?
  • Significance/Innovation: Why will your thesis be significant? What makes it important, original, or innovative?
  • Relevant scholarship: What does current scholarship say about your major question? How does your thesis relate to what has already been written on your topic? What will make it important or original? In essence, why will it matter?
  • Method and evidence: What methods will you use to conduct your research? Will you use particular theories and/or schools of thought? What evidence or texts will you be using? In essence, how will you do your thesis?
  • Preliminary bibliography: This needs to include relevant items and to demonstrate some familiarity with the major scholarly works in your proposed area of research.

Once prepared, upload your research proposal to your existing online application.

Step 5: Gaining the support of the supervisors and the RRT Advisor

Your prospective supervisors and the RRT advisor will review your research proposal. If they are satisfied with the proposal and judge that you have the ability to complete a high-quality HDR thesis, they will inform the School’s Director of Research Training that you have their support.

Step 6: Gaining the support of the DRT

If the Director of Research Training judges that the case has been made for the School to support your application, it will be progressed to the Graduate School for final assessment and possible scholarship consideration.

Further information

More information about entry requirements for HDR admission and HDR scholarships can be found on the UQ research degrees page. You can find the names of the School's Director of Research Training and RRT Advisors in the 4 disciplines on the Key roles page.

You are welcome to contact the School’s Higher Degree by Research Liaison Officer (HLO) at hdr.hapi@enquire.uq.edu.au for guidance with the application process or questions about HDR scholarships, enrolling, or other queries related to HDR study.