Doctorate (PhD)

Doctorate (PhD)

A PhD is the internationally recognised qualification for a career as a research scientist or academic (lecturer or professor in a tertiary institution). It involves a major piece of independent research – and a book-length thesis – completed under the supervision of an experienced scientist and assessed by a panel of examiners.

The minimum period of study is two years, but almost all PhD students take at least three years to complete their thesis. A number of students take four or five years, especially if there are difficulties with the project or a change of research direction.

Most students secure a PhD scholarship to cover fees and living costs, but generally these grants only cover three years of study and may need to be supplemented with work as a laboratory demonstrator for undergraduate classes.

You will need a high level of achievement in an Honours or Master’s degree in order to enrol in a PhD.

A PhD is the minimum qualification for work as a scientist in most research fields, but competition for jobs can be fierce as there is an oversupply of graduates relative to the number of jobs.

Typically after completing a PhD, you will be employed as a 'postdoctoral fellow' – a junior researcher – for two to three years each in several different laboratories. Competition for the limited number of more permanent roles as university lecturers or lead researchers in industry is based largely on the results you achieved (and published) during these postdoctoral positions.

Many PhD graduates will find work outside of research, for example as technical advisors in government departments, data analysts, patent attornies or management consultants. Their exceptional data analysis skills and independent research experience are in demand in a range of industries.

People who have a
Doctorate (PhD)

  • Michelle Dickinson

    Nanotechnologist, Michelle Dickinson at work

    Sam McNally

    Post Doctoral Scientist, Sam McNally at work

    Jessie Prebble

    Plant Systematist, Jessie Prebble at work

    Juliet Newson

    Geothermal Engineer, Juliet Newson at work
  • Kathryn McRae

    Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Kathryn McRae at work

    Trang Duong

    Food Scientist, Trang Duong at work

    Gretchen Brownstein

    Senior Research Technician, Gretchen Brownstein at work

    Nicolas Meurisse

    Entomologist, Nicolas Meurisse at work
  • Karyne Rogers

    Environmental and Forensic Scientist, Karyne Rogers at work

    Dean Olsen

    Water Resource Scientist, Dean Olsen at work

    Emile Webster

    Research Scientist, Emile Webster at work

    Mary Black

    Innovation Leader, Mary Black at work
  • Vic Chiang

    Research Doctoral Candidate , Vic Chiang at work

    Shaun Tan

    Product Development Engineer, Shaun Tan at work

    Chris Woods

    Marine Ecologist, Chris Woods at work

    Natalie Howes

    PhD Student/Research Assistant, Natalie Howes at work
  • Ben Moorhouse

    , Ben Moorhouse at work

    Brie Sorrenson

    Research Fellow, Brie Sorrenson at work

    Sara Fraser

    PhD Student, Sara Fraser at work

    Rebecca McLeod

    Food Forensics Scientist, Rebecca McLeod at work
  • Malina Storer

    Medical Projects Manager, Malina Storer at work

    Ben Woodward

    Research Scientist, Ben Woodward at work

    Cleo Davie-Martin

    PhD Student, Cleo Davie-Martin at work

    Vicky Wang

    Bioengineering Researcher, Vicky Wang at work
  • Pui Yee Lee

    Food Science PhD student, Pui Yee Lee at work

    Owen Clements

    Product Evaluator, Owen Clements at work

    Sze Ying Leong

    Food Science PhD student, Sze Ying Leong at work

    Kate Moorhead

    Regulatory Manager, Kate Moorhead at work
  • Adrian Jongenelen

    Research Scientist, Adrian Jongenelen at work

    Seth Laurenson

    Soil Scientist, Seth Laurenson at work

    Alyona Medelyan

    Chief Research Officer, Alyona Medelyan at work

    Pen Holland

    Scientist, Pen Holland at work
  • Serena Cox

    Marine scientist, Serena Cox at work

    Dmitri Schebarchov

    Research Scientist, Dmitri Schebarchov at work

    Dion O'Neale

    Mathematical Modeller, Dion O'Neale at work

    Jonathan Stanger

    Research Student, Jonathan Stanger at work
  • Belinda Whyte

    Wildlife Biologist , Belinda Whyte at work

    Revel Drummond

    Scientist, Revel Drummond at work

    Ben van Hooijdonk

    Plant Physiologist, Ben van Hooijdonk at work

    Sarah Milicich

    Geothermal Geologist, Sarah Milicich at work

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