PhD & MPhil

Make an original contribution to human knowledge, research and development with a postgraduate research degree.

Meet Science at ANU PhD candidate Donna Belder

The major component of a research program is a substantial written work known as a thesis, which investigates a particular subject or issue.

Our PhD and MPhil students undertake research projects on topics ranging from the survival of threatened bird communities in box-gum grassy woodlands to long-term management techniques to reduce elephant crop-raiding in Kenya.

ANU is ranked 1st in Australia and in the top 20 worldwide for Geography, Agriculture and Forestry, and in the top 25 universities globally for Environmental Science (QS World Rankings by Subject 2018).

As a research student in the Fenner School, you will work with increased independence, under the guidance of a supervisory panel of academic staff.  

You’ll be welcomed into our diverse community of scholars, have the opportunity to interact with world leading researchers and gain access to specialised field studies equipment and survey/experimental design and analysis advice.

Choose your degree

The Fenner School of Environment and Society offers these graduate research degrees:

Application process

Step 1 - Assess your eligibility

You need to have completed an undergraduate or master degree in a discipline relevant to your area of proposed research and meet the entry requirements for your chosen degree. All applicants must also meet the University's English language requirements for admission, noting that it is possible for you to apply without yet meeting English.

Step 2 - Find a supervisor

One of the most important steps in applying for a graduate research degree is identifying a potential academic supervisor.

Your application will only be accepted if there is an academic in the School who is willing to supervise your research project.

You can find an academic supervisor by searching the following databases:

Step 3 – Contact potential supervisor(s)

Once you have identified a potential academic supervisor whose research interests are close to your own, you then need to make contact with them.

We recommend you make contact with no more than two potential supervisors in the first instance and that you contact potential supervisors well in advance of making your application.

A potential supervisor will expect you to provide them with the following information:

  • Your current curriculum vitae (CV)
  • A two to four page research proposal, outlining your research objectives, your proposed theory and/or methodologies, some references to literature you have read, and why you think they are an appropriate supervisor for your research.

The academic staff member will let you know if they are interested in discussing your proposal further and developing it into a full application. Normally there are several email exchanges, or telephone discussions, with a potential supervisor before a final application is submitted.

If the person you contact is not interested in your research they may be able to suggest other potential supervisors and will often forward your details to colleagues who may be closer to your area of research.

Step 4 – Submit an application

Applications for ANU graduate research programs are submitted online via the ANU Application Manager.

To complete your application, you will need to include the Program Code for your chosen degree program:

Program Program Code

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Fenner School of Environment and Society


Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Fenner School of Environment & Society


Applications can be submitted at any time during the year, but if you want to be considered for a scholarship the closing dates are:

  • 31 August for international students
  • 31 October for domestic students

Scholarship recipients must commence by 31 March of the following year.