Program options

What is a research PhD/masters at UNSW?

Higher degree research study involves original and critical enquiry that makes a significant contribution to existing knowledge of relevance both nationally and internationally. Postgraduate research students are required to produce a thesis embodying the results of independent investigation under the guidance of an academic supervisor.

The goal of research is the publication, public demonstration and practical application of research findings. Candidates should, upon completion of a research degree:

  • be able to devise and implement a research program independently
  • be able to critically evaluate the research of others
  • be capable of independent thought and analysis
  • have developed excellent knowledge of, and experience in, using appropriate research methods
  • be able to communicate their research clearly in oral and written presentations
  • have obtained an understanding of the general and specific ethical considerations relating to the research topic.

Research degrees at UNSW Computing

UNSW Computer Science and Engineering offers graduate study towards the following research degrees:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD degree requires completion of a piece of research that demonstrates a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the field of study.
Candidates acquire advanced specialist research training and produce a thesis that summarises the research and provides evidence for independent thought and critical analysis, effective communication and expert knowledge of the discipline in the international context.

Masters by Research

A Masters by Research degree requires completion of an original piece of research, more limited in scope and nature to that required for a PhD.
Candidates develop mastery of appropriate methodology, and they present their findings in the wider context of their discipline.

Degree   Program Code Minimum duration Maximum duration

Doctor of Philosophy



6 semesters F/T

8 semesters F/T

Doctor of Philosophy
(Cotutelle Scheme*)


COMPER1001 6 semesters F/T 8 semesters F/T

Master of Engineering



3 semesters F/T

4 semesters F/T

Master of Science



3 semesters F/T

4 semesters F/T

*A Cotutelle agreement is an agreement between UNSW and a French university or other French tertiary education institution leading to the award of a doctoral degree from both institutions. More information on the scheme is available from here: Graduate Research School - Cotutelle Scheme

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for Doctor of Philosphy (PhD)

Minimum entry requirements for Masters by Research (ME or MSc)

Degree requirements

For all research degrees, it is expected that the candidate will submit a thesis embodying the results of the investiagation to a committee of examiners. The thesis must be original and a signficant contribution to the knowledge of the subject.

18 units of credit (UOC) worth of higher level coursework must also be completed as part of the research program. The compulsory course, GSOE9400 (Engineering Postgraduate Research Essentials) counts towards 6UOC.

As a result of work arising from their degree, candidates are expected to publish:

  • PhD:  at least three papers, with at least one in an international journal of high repute, and the remainder in journals or conferences of high repute
  • ME/MSc:  at least two papers in international journals or conferences of high repute


Admission applications are handled by UNSW's Graduate Research School.  Full details on the admissions process, including admission requirements, can be found on their website.