Generally, postgraduate courses are not Commonwealth supported; for domestic students (Australian and New Zealand citizens) and international students alike, they themselves are usually required to pay tuition fees. The cost of postgraduate studies varies greatly, depending on many factors including the establishment at which the course is to be conducted and the subject area.

To see details of some currently available PhD scholarships in Australia, visit the latest PhD listings page or search using the search box at the top of every page.

It is really important that you contact your (potential) higher education provider for information about how much you would expect to pay for a course leading to a postgraduate degree well in advance of making a formal application. There is no point wasting your time, or the time of the university or institute, applying for a place you may ultimately be unable to fund.

On top of the course fees and other course related expenses (thesis binding for example), there will be living expenses to consider as well, such as rent, food, utilities, travel (running costs of a car and/or the use of public transport) and social activities. You may be fortunate enough to obtain a postgraduate position in your home town, where you can reside cheaply (even for free) with family, friends or a partner, but in most cases you will probably be looking at living independently and footing most or all of the living expenses yourself. If you are an international student, you may also want to factor in travel back and forth to your home country on occasion.

Postgraduate study can potentially be very expensive. Giving full consideration to your ability to fund it and your lifestyle for a number of years (plus possible overrun if things don’t go to plan) is vitally important – you don’t want to get half-way through and find you cannot continue because you are running out of money.

Help is available

Fear not though, there are a number of Commonwealth and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to eligible domestic and international postgraduate students to assist with the costs associated with undertaking your studies or research. In most cases fees are covered and some even provide you with enough money to cover living expenses, providing you don’t live extravagantly of course.

Please note: Below we have covered common scholarships offered by the Australian government to both domestic and international postgraduate students. We have not covered scholarships offered by organisations, universities or institutes. To find this type of scholarship, view our latest listings and follow some of our tips for researching your own. It may also be worth looking through any educational publications, such as those dispersed on university campuses and flicking through any journals related to your field of interest. cannot and does not provide any further assistance on an individual basis with regards to finding scholarships.

If you are an international student, there may well be scholarships on offer by the government, institutes and universities in your own country. This is an avenue strongly recommended that you explore.

Good news

On May 13th 2008, as part of the 2008/2009 budget, the Australian government announced they would be doubling the number of postgraduate scholarships available to higher degree research students by 2012. The Scholarships for a Competitive Future – Postgraduate Scholarships initiative, will result in many more higher degree research students receiving support for their living costs while undertaking a research degree. The initiative will increase the total number of Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) holders from around 4,800 to nearly 10,000 by 2012.

Below are some of the more commonly available scholarships for domestic and international students. This is by no means a complete list. New scholarships become available all of the time, sometimes on a recurring basis, sometimes just as one-offs. It is advisable to look for funding from any source available. For example, you may be able to find scholarships through companies (many large internationals offer scholarships as a way of giving back to society), universities in your home country (particularly when trying to develop international collaborations), the Australian mission in your home country, by searching the Internet and so forth.

Tip: If you know what university you want to conduct or will be conducting your postgraduate course at, consult their scholarships web page, as quite often they have university specific scholarships available in addition to the regular ones.

Scholarships for domestic students

Domestic students are considered to be Australian citizens or permanent residents, or New Zealand citizens carrying out a higher degree by research.

APA – Australian Postgraduate Award – The aim of the APA is to enhance research training opportunities in the higher education sector. The APA provides scholarship support to postgraduate students of exceptional promise who undertake their higher degree by research at an eligible Australian provider (usually a university).

APA stipend rates for 2008 are $20,007 for full-time students and $10,710 for part-time students.

The APA scholarship program is administered on behalf of the Australian Government by individual higher education providers. The providers are responsible for conducting their own application and selection procedures, in line with guidelines issued by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). Potential applicants need to direct their enquiries on application procedures, deadlines and other issues to their higher education providers.

APAI – Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) – These are similar to the APA, except they are only available when a project supervisor has received a Linkage Project Grant from the Australian Research Council to undertake collaborative research and development with an organisation, including within industry, on a specific topic.

APAI stipend rates for 2008 are:

  • $26,140 per annum (full-time) for projects commenced in 2005 and onwards.
  • $25,872 per annum (full-time) for projects commenced in 2004 and earlier.

As supervisors need to have obtained the grant in advance of advertising the postgraduate course, a potential candidate would be applying for both the full package (so to speak) of candidature and scholarship.

CLS – Commonwealth Scholarships Program (formerly Commonwealth Learning Scholarships) – The objectives of the program are to facilitate choice in higher education and to increase higher education participation by students from low socio-economic status backgrounds, particularly Indigenous students and students from regional and remote areas of Australia. There are multiple scholarship categories under the Commonwealth Scholarships Program banner. They include:

  • Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships (CECS)
  • Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships (CAS)
  • Indigenous Access Scholarships (IAS)
  • Indigenous Enabling Scholarships (IES)
  • Associate Degree Scholarships

From 2009, two new scholarship categories will be introduced:

  • National Priority Scholarships (NPS) targeting undergraduate students enrolling in priority disciplines; and
  • National Accommodation Scholarships (NAS) for students relocating interstate to study specialist courses not available near their home.

The Commonwealth Scholarships Programs is administered on behalf of the Australian Government by individual higher education providers. The providers are responsible for conducting their own application and selection procedures, in line with guidelines issued by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). Potential applicants need to direct their enquiries on application procedures, deadlines, etc to their higher education providers.

Scholarships for international students

International students are considered to be those who are not Australian & New Zealand citizens, or permanent Australian residents.

Endeavour Awards – The Endeavour Awards is an internationally competitive, merit-based program providing opportunities for citizens of the Asia-Pacific region to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia. Awards are also available for Australians to do the same abroad. A smaller number of awards are available for participants from Europe and the Americas.

ALA – Australian Leadership Awards – focus on developing leaders who can influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes in both their own countries and in the Asia-Pacific region. ALAs provide scholarship support for postgraduate studies in Australia and short-term fellowship opportunities in specialised research, study or professional attachments through participating Australian organisations.

ADS – Australian Development Scholarships – aim to contribute to the long-term development needs of Australia’s partner countries to promote good governance, economic growth and human development. ADS provides people with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive change and influence the development outcomes of their own country, through obtaining tertiary qualifications at participating Australian institutions.

Categories: Research News


Peter Karuso · September 25, 2012 at 10:36

The most common award for international students to study toward a PhD in Australia is the so called “IPRS”:

You need to apply for these through the University you are interested in. The first step is to find a researcher you want to work for and contact them directly. For example see: for an example · July 14, 2008 at 10:30

Unfortunately cannot offer comment on individual cases as every student’s circumstances are different. Your suitability for an international scholarship will depend on the scholarship/scholarships’ selection criteria and naturally your chance of success will be directly affected by the number and quality of other applicants who also apply.

Good luck.

Alkadri M. · July 13, 2008 at 20:20


I am an international student in an Australian Uni. This is my first semester. Subject: PhD in Statistics.
please, could you advice me; what is my chance to get an Australian international scholarship?

Thank you

Scholarships for a Competitive Future - What does it mean? · July 21, 2008 at 17:14

[…] the number of postgraduate students receiving an Australian Postgraduate Award for their PhD or Masters by Research, from 4,800 to […]

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