How to apply

The UNSW Australia Business School welcomes Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from applicants intending to apply for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in the Business School.

The aim of the EOI process is to provide you with a preliminary assessment of your application and to identify a potential supervisor for your proposed research. All potential applicants are required to send an expression of interest (EOI) to the UNSW Business School Research Office before formally applying for admission to the university.

On the basis of the EOI, applicants may be invited to submit a formal application for admission.

Read through our How to Apply (pdf) for an overview of the application process.

Step 1: Check that you meet the academic requirements and English requirements

The minimum academic entry requirement for the PhD is:

  • A four year undergraduate degree with honours class IIA or better in a related discipline*; OR
  • A strong research masters degree in a related discipline*; OR
  • An equivalent academic qualification or level of experience

The minimum academic entry requirement for the MPhil is:

  • An undergraduate degree AND
  • A coursework Master’s degree in a related discipline* with an overall grade of Distinction (75 per cent) or better;
  • OR

  • An undergraduate degree AND
  • An equivalent academic qualification or research output in the form of publications or relevant work experience.

* The notion of a related discipline can be interpreted broadly. The table below lists the types of non-business disciplinary backgrounds which may be suitable for admission to selected programs. This list is not exhaustive and interested applicants with backgrounds other than those listed may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

BackgroundEligible to apply for PhD/MPhil in
Anthropology and Sociology
  • Marketing
  • Management
Computer Science, Software Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Information Systems
Engineering and Physics
  • Banking and Finance
Geography and History
  • Management
  • Business Law & Taxation
  • Management
Mathematics and Statistics
  • Actuarial Studies
  • Banking and Finance
  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Management

UNSW English language requirements

All applicants, whether domestic or international (for admission into any UNSW program), who do not have an assessable qualification undertaken and assessed in English, must provide evidence prior to enrolment that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission.

UNSW Higher Degree Research (HDR) Self-Assessment Tool

We recommend you use the UNSW HDR Self-Assessment Tool before submitting your EOI. If you do use the Self-Assessment Tool, please attach the outcomes to your EOI.

Step 2: Find your research area at the UNSW Business School

Please visit the 8 disciplinary Schools’ pages to get more information about our research and to view our academic staff profiles. Please do not contact potential supervisors directly. We will examine your research potential and, if appropriate, match your interests with an available supervisor when assessing your EOI. We do, however, ask you to propose a School in our EOI form, and you may choose to nominate a supervisor in the form if you have a preference after reviewing profiles.

Step 3: Prepare your documents and submit a completed EOI to the Research Office

Your EOI should include the following documents:

  1. A completed EOI questionnaire.
  2. A research proposal

    Your research proposal must be sufficiently detailed to enable the University to determine whether it is possible to provide adequate supervision and resources to support your research. The proposal is also used to assess your capacity to undertake research. It should be 3-7 pages in length for PhD applicants and demonstrate:
    • Clear aims and objectives
    • Some consideration of method
    • A good command of the English language
    • That you are capable of independent and critical thinking
    • Also it should include:

    • A discussion of the issues you would like to explore (why it is important and interesting)
    • Background literature supporting your project
    • An explanation of the way your project would significantly add to the understanding of the topic
    • A bibliography of your background literature
    • MPhil applicants may submit a brief 1-2 page research proposal which indicates their area of interest.

      If you are accepted into our PhD or MPhil program, your research topic may be reviewed or refined during the course of your enrolment.

  3. A current Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume
  4. Academic transcripts for all degrees
  5. 2 recommendation letters or Referee report forms

    Usually referees are people who can evaluate your academic background and suitability for completing independent and original research. Referees are usually academics, but they may also be past employers. Please note if you are applying for a scholarship you need to use the appointed Referee Report form.
  6. A GMAT for applications in Marketing; A GRE for applications in Economics*. (For other Schools we recommend (but do not require) the following: Accounting = GMAT; Banking and Finance = GMAT/GRE; Information Systems = GMAT; Management = GMAT; Risk and Actuarial Studies = GMAT/GRE; Taxation and Business Law = GMAT/GRE.)
    * Under exceptional circumstances submission of the GRE may be waived.
  7. Any other relevant information available, such as an English score, an abstract of a thesis completed for your previous degree/s, etc.

Please email your completed EOI to the Business School Research Office - no zipped files please.

The research programs start from either Semester 1 (early March) or Semester 2 (end of July). Please leave enough time to apply for a visa if required.

If you are aiming to apply for a UNSW Research Scholarship (APA, UPA, IPRS, UIPA, TFS) it is strongly recommended that you lodge your EOI with the Business School Research Office at least 4 weeks before the closing date of the Scholarship application.

Step 4: After submitting your EOI

An acknowledgement will be emailed to you after your EOI is received by the Business School Research Office. Your EOI will be evaluated in light of the university and School’s requirements. Your EOI will also be assessed to see if the School has supervision capacity for your proposed research topic. You may be contacted to have a brief interview.

Please allow at least 4 weeks for your EOI to be considered. You will be informed whether you should make a formal application for admission.

Step 5: Scholarship application

Please note by ticking the box on the EOI form you have not applied for a scholarship.

All scholarship applications need to be sent to the Graduate Research School (GRS) by the advertised closing date. There are strict deadlines and no extensions are possible.

Scholarship information can be found at Postgraduate Research Scholarships

NB: After you have applied for a scholarship, we are happy to forward any referee reports to the GRS for you.

Please also be aware before you apply that the process is highly competitive and you need to have a 1st class Honours Degree or equivalent qualifications to be considered for a scholarship.

Any questions about scholarship applications can be addressed to or