Research Degrees


The School of Aviation offers a number of research degrees:

These degrees are collectively referred to as Higher Degrees by Research (HDR)

In the following, we describe the general requirements for entry to the Master of Philosophy, the Master of Science by Research and the Doctor of Philosophy, the financial support, and then give a listing of available topics/projects.

The topics listed below are available for study within the School with supervision from the nominated academic. In each topic, you will see a topic title, the level at which research may be achieved, a description of the topic and a summary of academic background requirements. In general, successful applicants will need to have a suitable overall academic background as well as specific competencies suitable for the specific project.

Once accepted, it is possible for local students to enroll in a part-time program of study, however it is essential that the student is able to work ~ 20 hours per week if studying on a part-time basis. Full-time study requires a student to be on campus here at UNSW for the majority of the time. International students, by virtue of Australian student visa requirements, will need to be enrolled full-time and be studying on campus.

In general, a prospective student is expected to negotiate and discuss a project with their intended supervisor and jointly agree on a topic and the methodology to be used before a formal application is made. An offer for enrolment requires the approval of the Supervisor, the Head of School, the Higher Degree Committee of the Faculty and the Graduate Research School. Read more information on admission to research degrees at UNSW.


The Master of Philosophy - Aviation (MPhil)

The MPhil Aviation provides students with a qualification that combines research training with a substantial coursework component.

The program requires student to undertake 1.5 -2 years of supervised research which includes between 18 and 24 Units of Credit of advanced coursework. It is a requirement of the award that all coursework is completed within the first year of enrolment and must be passed at first attempt.

The MPhil Aviation is an alternate to BAv Honours for students:
* Returning to study after a period away (e.g., in the workforce), or
* National and international who would like to obtain experience and qualification in conducting research, or
* Who have limited background or knowledge in aviation and would like to pursue a career in this area.

Unlike Honours, HECS is not applicable.

Students will choose a research project from aviation-related disciplines that include, safety, management, economics, and tourism. A supervisor with specialist knowledge in the discipline will be appointed to guide and mentor each student. In addition, each student will receive a tailored plan outlining the specific courses required to be completed for the award. The plan will take into considerations the student's background, academic achievements and aspirations.

Check the minimum requirement for admission to a MPhil degree.


The Master of Science by Research (MScRsch)

Entry to the MSc by Research is generally available to those who have a three or four year degree and where some research experience has been already obtained. This experience might be obtained in an honours degree, a masters coursework degree, or in the working environment. Generally a MSc will take two years full-time or four years on a part-time basis. The equivalent level of research need is approximately equal to one major or two minor research papers published in international journals. It is expected that, as well as completing a thesis, manuscripts will be submitted to international refereed journals for dissemination world-wide.

Check the minimum requirement for admission to a MSc by Research degree.


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Entry to the PhD is available either by completing an honours degree at least at the Second Class Division 1 level or equivalent, or a MSc by Research from a reputable university. A second method is by articulation from a MSc in which the candidate is presently enrolled within the School, where progress is deemed satisfactory by an academic review committee and the students qualifications and research experience are deemed Honours 2 - 1 equivalent. A PhD will take three to four years full-time or eight years on a part-time basis. The equivalent level of research need is approximately equal to three or more major research papers published in international journals. It is expected that, as well as completing a thesis, manuscripts will be submitted to international refereed journals for dissemination world-wide.

Check the minimum requirement for admission to a PhD degree.


Financial and Resource Support

For local students, no academic fees are payable as a consequence of Australian federal government support called the Research Training Scheme. However students under the Research Training Scheme are liable for the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). Find the fees payable for international students. Such fees are adjusted each year, typically by a few percent. Rental costs in Sydney are typically $23000 per year for a room in a shared house, and more than double that for a self contained apartment.

UNSW assists postgraduate researchers by providing a wide range of prestigious scholarships for domestic and international students.

Domestic students can apply for Domestic Research Scholarships such as Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship and University Postgraduate Award (UPA). Also high achieving domestic students from within Australia or New Zealand are invited to apply for the Visit UNSW Program that provides travel and accommodation funding to visit the UNSW campuses.

International applicants can apply for International Research Scholarships such as Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship and University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA). RTP covers the tuition fees and a modest living allowance and health cover. There are also a few Tuition Fee Scholarships (TFS) available with stipend paid at RTP rate.

These scholarships are extremely competitive and only the best candidates obtain these. Scholarship applicants should hold a four year bachelor's degree with Honours Class 1 from an Australian institution or an equivalent research qualification/experience. Candidates who do not hold a Bachelor degree with Honours 1 may be considered if they have demonstrated high research performance, relevant professional or direct research experience such as publication of research papers.

Find more information on other type of scholarships such as UNSW Scientia PhD Scheme, Externally Funded Scholarships, or UNSW/Home Country Joint Scholarships.

The School does not otherwise offer scholarships or guarantee any other income to students who choose to accept an offer. Should a student require specialist equipment or have other specialist needs, these need to be discussed with the intended supervisor, and agreed BEFORE an application is made. In some cases this may mean a project needs modification before it is feasible.

All full-time HDR students of the School are offered a desk, basic computing, bookshelf and filing cabinet space in multiple-occupancy rooms. Part-time students may be given a desk for all or part of their candidature, but will in any case have access to hot-desk space within the school.

All HDR students have access to the UNSW internet library which provides access to the major international research journals.

The School owns and operates research simulators for train and car driving safety studies as well as a research flight simulator and an instrumented vehicle. It is also possible that the operational simulators used for flying training might be used for research, and the School also operates an airborne research facility with scanning lasers and hyper-spectral cameras deployed in UNSW aeroplanes.

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How to Apply

Step 1: The Minimum Eligibility
Find out the minimum eligibility requirements for research degrees offered at UNSW. To determine your eligibility, you must use the UNSW HDR Self-Assessment Tool.

Step 2: Finding a Supervisor
Applicants who are interested in one of the above topics/projects, please email your CV, academic transcripts and research descriptions/proposals to:

and cc

Applicants who have their own research topics/projects will need to find a potential supervisor within the School. The supervisors show their areas of expertise. Please email the potential supervisor your research proposal, CV and academic transcripts.

Step 3: The Application
Once the research project is agreed by both the applicant and the supervisor, the supervisor will advise the applicant to submit a formal admission application. All research degree applicants must apply online. All applicants should check and be aware of the application due dates.



Read a list of research papers published by the UNSW Aviation researchers.


Consulting Services

The School of Aviation provides a range of services to support industry, ranging from short-term consultancy to longer-term contract research. Read more.

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