Anne Sawyer “A few of my lecturers in undergrad were from the IMB and their research looked really interesting. Also, I always wanted to see whether the inside of the institute was as impressive as the exterior, which I viewed from the uni bus stop every day. I started here for a third-year undergraduate project, then stayed for honours and now a PhD.

The facilities here are wonderful and as there are many different groups within the building, collaborating with other research groups is easy.”

Anne Sawyer, PhD student, Australia

Why do a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)?

 An MPhil is a postgraduate research degree that involves undertaking a significant research project. The MPhil program provides students with an opportunity to develop and enhance analytical and research skills through independent investigation in a specific field. Many MPhil students choose to continue with their research in order to obtain a PhD.

A PhD is one of the highest degrees that can be awarded. It is an advanced academic qualification, seen as a requirement for the majority of academic and advanced research positions in a wide range of fields and industries.

The aim of the PhD is to foster the development of independent research skills. These skills include the capacity to formulate a significant research question, to develop mastery of appropriate conceptual and methodological skills, and to relate the research topic to a broader framework of knowledge in a relevant disciplinary area.

But in addition to becoming a “specialist” in your chosen field, a PhD also provides more generic training to engender graduate attributes such as leadership and communication skills, critical thinking skills and an ability to productively work as part of a team, all of which are applicable to a broad range of career opportunities that reach well beyond the confines of your research proposal!

How long does it take?

A PhD at the IMB is 3-4 years duration, the MPhil is of 1-2 years duration. There is no mandatory coursework; your project starts immediately. There is, however, a wide range of voluntary workshops available as part of IMB’s contribution to the UQ Career Advantage Program, which offer sessions that “value add” to your knowledge base and work to improve your CV.

How much does it cost?

Domestic student fees
Australian students (including Australian citizens or permanent residents and New Zealand citizens) are currently exempt from paying tuition fees for PhD and MPhil studies.

International student fees
The full-time enrolment on campus tuition fee is AUD$32,200 per year in 2014, which is indexed annually. Please see the UQ Study website for more information.

For other fees and expenses to be considered please see the UQ Graduate School website.

Why choose IMB?

Students who choose to study at IMB join a student cohort of over 130 students from around the world, studying in areas from bioinformatics to biomedical research to biofuels. IMB prides itself on its student experience. Some of the advantages of being an IMB student include:

  • Being part of one of Australia’s leading institutes for molecular bioscience research, undertaking interdisciplinary research through its four Divisions
  • Gaining access to IMB’s outstanding facilities
  • Receiving excellence in supervision (our advisors have won awards for this!)
  • Receiving up to $2000 of travel funds for attendance at national and international conferences
  • Being assigned a dedicated computer and desk with a comprehensive suite of scientific and general software, excellent IT support and extensive printing facilities
  • Exposure to internal, national and international researchers and potential collaborators through weekly seminars and meetings
  • Additional skill training in commercialization, communication, media training, and thesis writing as part of IMB’s Career Advantage program
  • Contributing to global industry networks with national and international researchers via collaborative research
  • Being part of a vibrant IMB student body, supported by the IMB student association SIMBA, the IMB Science Ambassadors program and the Early Career Researchers Committee
  • Undertaking research in a purpose built Institute while still benefiting from everything UQ has to offer as a research and teaching university with excellent national and international rankings.

How to apply for an MPhil or PhD

Am I eligible?

All PhD and MPhil applicants (domestic and international) must satisfy academic requirements (including a sufficient duration of relevant research experience) for acceptance into UQ’s Research Higher Degree (RHD) Programs, and UQ requirements for English language proficiency.

For further details, please visit the UQ’s Graduate School website.

Academic requirement for a PhD

The standard basis of admission is a UQ bachelor’s degree with honours class IIA or better. The University accepts the following as equivalent to the standard basis of admission, subject to the Dean, UQ Graduate School’s approval of the qualification:

  • a bachelor’s degree with honours class IIA or better from elsewhere.
  • a research master’s degree
  • a coursework master’s degree with a research component of at least 25% of an academic year and an overall GPA (grade point average) equivalent to 5.5 on the 7-point UQ scale
  • a postgraduate degree, of at least one year of full-time equivalent, with a research component of at least 25% of an academic year and with an overall GPA of 5.0 on a 7-point scale and other demonstrated research experience equivalent to Honours IIA will be considered for PhD entry on a case by case basis
  • a bachelor’s degree plus at least two years of documented relevant research experience, including research publications.

Academic requirement for an MPhil

The standard basis of admission is a UQ bachelor’s degree with honours class IIB or better. The University accepts the following as equivalent to the standard basis of admission, subject to the Dean, UQ Graduate School’s approval of the qualification:

  • a bachelor’s degree with honours class IIB or better from elsewhere.
  • a bachelor’s degree plus at least one year of full-time equivalent postgraduate study that includes a significant research component (usually regarded as a minimum of
  • 25% of an academic year of research or research training).
  • a bachelor’s degree plus at least two years of documented relevant experience.

English language requirements (as of 2013)

Students must complete either an IELTS, TOEFL or another acceptable equivalent test and achieve the required score in order to automatically meet UQ’s English language requirements. In some cases, a UQ committee may deem that the applicants have met the University’s English Language requirements if the applicants can provide evidence that they are proficient in each of the English language skills through education, professional environment or residence in Australia during a sufficient period of time. These cases are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

IELTS requires a minimum overall score of 6.5 with a score of 6 in every sub-band. Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requires a minimum overall score of 90, with 21 for writing and at least 20 in the other categories. Paper-based TOEFL requires an overall score of 570 with a TWE (written) of 5 and 54 in reading and listening.

Test results are valid for two years from the date of the test, and must be valid upon commencement at UQ. Institutional test results are unacceptable for entry.

How do I apply for an MPhil or PhD?

As a research higher degree is a big commitment, it is important to take time to thoroughly explore the range of research opportunities on offer. If you find something that interests you, make contact with a potential supervisor by email or phone. Details on the application process can be found on the IMB postgraduate website.

In brief:

  • Read the 2014 student research training handbook and visit the IMB Lab Heads profile pages to identify the IMB Lab Heads whose research best matches
  • your interests.
  • Contact the relevant Lab Head, directly, by email, providing a brief summary of your academic qualifications, an academic CV/resume detailing your research experience, publications, prizes etc, and provide a strong indication of your research interest and indicate whether you hope to undertake PhD or MPhil study.
  • If the Lab Head perceives a strong research match, they may request more information via a pre-application process and will contact your referees.
  • If the process continues further, the Lab Head will interview you by either Skype (ideally) or telephone to discuss potential projects, assess more deeply your understanding of the research area and determine your ability to articulate your ideas in the medium of English.
  • Once the Lab Head has confirmed their willingness to supervise you, you can either download an Application for Admission and Scholarship form from the UQ website or contact the IMB Postgraduate Office staff members who will assist you with the application process. The Lab Head will assist you with completing the research proposal section and will also contact the Postgraduate office to alert them of your application, particularly if you are also applying for the next UQ Scholarship round (there are 4 a year), as timing will be critical.
  • Once you have completed the application and attached supporting documents (electronically at first), submit the full application package to the IMB Postgraduate Administrative Officer.
  • If your application meets all academic requirements of the program, and you can demonstrate that you will meet English language requirements, then the IMB will complete the School Recommendation form and lodge your application by the deadline for the next UQ scholarship round.
  • The Graduate School will notify you directly of the status of your offer of a place in the program and the outcome of a scholarship application, if applicable.
  • We look forward to your enquiry!
Research higher degree program section

Admission & Scholarship Information for Domestic Students

Admission & Scholarship Information for International Students

Guides for Students

IMB Scholarships

These Awards/scholarships are designed for potential PhD students of very high research potential who would not otherwise be funded at this time. This potential may or may not be reflected in academic achievement but must certainly be indicated by s...

Student intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) includes any invention, discovery or idea you may have, or contribute to, as part of your research. Most students perform their research as part of a group and it is rare for an individual to solely generate...

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