How to apply Higher Degree by Research

How to apply for Higher Degree by Research

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) courses include Doctoral programs (PhD) and research-based Masters programs. Explore your options on the JCU course pages and find your preferred course.

JCU has detailed Higher Degree by Research entry requirements. Ensure that you have read these and are eligible to apply before progressing further.

Once you have selected your preferred degree, refer to the steps below to submit your application.

How to apply

Online system outage - important service impact for applicants

Please note that we are currently undertaking a planned system update. During this update prospective students will not be able to apply directly via the online JCU portal or accept any current offers via eStudent or the JCU App. Applications through the QTAC website qtac.edu.au are unaffected, as the update is only to JCU systems. For urgent application enquiries, please email admissions@jcu.edu.au.

Outage starts: Thursday 23 May 2024 5:00 pm AEST (3:00pm SGT)

Outage ends: Monday 27 May 2024 8:00am AEST (6:00am SGT)

All Higher Degree by Research applications should be submitted through JCU’s Online Application Portal.

Refer to the JCU course pages to determine which Higher Degree by Research offering meets your needs. Check that you meet the entry requirements. Take note of the course code for use in your application.

An image of the Fast Facts section of a JCU course page showing the QTAC codes.

A higher Degree by Research application requires several pieces of information. Prospective candidates may use the checklist below to ensure all necessary documents for an application for a Higher Degree by Research are gathered in preparation for submitting the application online.

Download the checklist here. (PDF, 173 KB)

If you are applying for a scholarship your Primary Advisor will need to provide a supporting statement. Please send the Primary Advisor Statement link to your primary advisor.

Click on ‘My Course Applications’ and follow the prompts to complete your application.

Ensure that all your documents have attached properly, and that you have correctly completed every section. The JCU Graduate Research School team will be in touch if further clarification is required.

An image of the JCU Online portal page.

After your application has been submitted, you will need to send a Referee Reports link to your two nominated referees. They must complete this for your application to progress.

HDR application quick guide

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Gather your documentation

Ensure you have everything you need before applying

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Apply online

Use the JCU Online Application portal to submit your application

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Prepare your referees

Send the Referee Report to your two referees for completion

Information and documentation

You will be asked to provide the following for your Higher Degree by Research application:

A. Project Proposal

You will need to be able to summarise your project idea. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you would like to achieve, and how, before progressing.

B. Advisor  

Higher Degree by Research courses require you to contact and confirm a potential advisor before you begin your application. You can use the University’s Research Portfolio to help you find an advisor. Try entering key words relating to your project/area of expertise in the search function. You can also view the JCU Register of Advisors. The advisors will need to sign the completed Higher Degree by Research Application Form (DOCX, 69 KB) to confirm they are available to supervise your research.

C. Referees

You are required to nominate two referees within your application. These should be individuals who can provide information about you in an academic or professional context, such as previous research advisors or supervisors, lecturers, teachers or employers.

D. Higher Degree by Research Application Form

Your completed Higher Degree by Research Application Form (DOCX, 69 KB)

E. Transcripts and testamurs

Documents for qualifications that you have completed or are in the process of completing.

F. Proof of your citizenship or residency in one of the following forms:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Visa

G. Current curriculum vitae (CV)

H. JCU Scholarship Publication Table (required if applying for a scholarship)

To support your application, you may also wish to provide:

C. AIMS@JCU Application Coversheet

D. Details of any cotutelle or external funding arrangements

A.     English Language Requirements

Undertaking a higher degree by research at James Cook University requires a high standard of academic English.  You are strongly advised to ensure that you can meet the formal entry standards in this area as exceptions are not normally granted.

Applicants to a higher degree by research (HDR) whose native language is not English must demonstrate their English language proficiency by achieving Band 2 in a test such as Academic IELTS or TOEFL . Please see this table for the scores required. The test result must be no more than two years old.

JCU accepts results from many different English language tests, which must be undertaken at an approved testing centre.

*From 26 July 2023, TOEFL iBT can no longer be used for Australian visa purposes until future notice from the Department of Home Affairs. JCU continues to accept TOEFL iBT result to meet English language proficiency requirements for admissions purposes. However, it is the student's responsibility to ensure they meet English language requirements for visa purposes, following the advice from the Department of Home Affairs.

Online mode tests including TOEFL Home Edition, IELTS online, and IELTS Indicator are not recognised.

If you have further questions please email grs@jcu.edu.au

Candidates who meet the entry standards may also be required to undertake a Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA) upon commencement of their degree, to determine whether they require additional English language support in the early stages of candidature. Please refer to the PELA website for further information.

B.     Overseas Health Cover

Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) is insurance to assist international students in meeting the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. International students in Australia must hold OSHC for the duration of their stay in Australia, as a condition of their student visa.

An estimated OSHC premium is provided to students in their JCU Letter of Offer, along with further details about how to make any adjustments to cover as required, including adding family members to your policy.

Most students are required to pay the OSHC premium upon acceptance of the JCU offer. If you are applying through a partner institution, or have an official sponsorship recognised by JCU, payment will be arranged in accordance with the relevant agreement.

Please see more information here: https://www.jcu.edu.au/international-students/coming-to-australia/overseas-student-health-cover-oshc

Apply for a HDR today

Awaiting your application outcome

Once you have correctly submitted all required forms and documents, the Graduate Research School will assess your application.

You may be contacted to provide further clarification or documentation. Please check your emails regularly and respond promptly to any requests. This will ensure that JCU can assess your application efficiently.

The Graduate Research School can assist you with any questions that arise while you await the outcome of your application.

Call us

Available 
8:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday

Telephone
+61 7 4232 1759

Send us an emailgrs@jcu.edu.au
Schedule an appointment

Locations
Townsville, Bebegu Yumba
Cairns, Nguma-bada campuses.

How to schedule an appointment
Send us an email – grs@jcu.edu.au

Drop in consultations

Available
9:30am to 12:30pm Monday to Thursday

Locations
Townsville, Bebegu Yumba
Cairns, Nguma-bada campuses.

Campus locations

Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus
Building 17, Room 028  
James Cook University  
James Cook Drive  
Townsville Qld 4810

Cairns Nguma-bada campus
Building E2, Room 108B  
James Cook University  
14-88 McGregor Road  
Smithfield Qld 4878

We're here to help

JCU has a rich and varied research community. Our friendly team can assist you in finding the right course to suit your goals and are always happy to answer any questions. Contact us to find out more.