Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest level of academic study and is suitable for those who want to become an expert in their field or make the transition to an academic career. The PhD is equivalent to three or four years of full-time study. Candidates undertake a significant research project which allows them to develop their research, analytical skills, and make a contribution to original research and knowledge in their chosen field.

UQ Business School is internationally renowned for its research and PhD students play an important part in its vibrant research culture. In the recent Excellence in Australia (ERA) review, the School was rated equal number 1 in Australia for research in business and management. The School’s reputation allows it to attract leading research academics and the most talented research students.


The PhD program provides research training to foster your independent research skills. You will develop the capacity to formulate a significant problem, master the appropriate conceptual and methodological skills, and relate the research topic to a broader framework of knowledge in the relevant business area.

The program focuses on the production of a thesis of around 80,000 words based on research that represents a significant new contribution to your area of expertise. You will work with an advisor throughout your PhD studies. He or she will act as a mentor to guide you through the project while helping you to realise your academic potential.

A PhD will enhance your employment prospects and allow you to establish yourself as an expert in your field. You will also benefit from having advanced the research and knowledge in your specialist area, and have proof you are capable of completing a complex project at a world-class standard.

UQ Business School areas of research expertise

UQ Business School is renowned internationally for its research work. Our research focuses on seven different areas: Accounting, Business Information Systems, Finance, Management, Marketing, Strategy, and Tourism.

Find a PhD supervisor

Research training

Research higher degree training provides students with the opportunity to acquire graduate attributes through a variety of learning experiences that may vary according to the discipline. These include:

  • required coursework
  • supervision and mentoring by advisors
  • preparation of confirmation document, seminar presentation, and receipt of feedback
  • preparation of thesis chapters and receipt of feedback
  • writing and editing manuscripts for publication and receipt of feedback
  • contribution to preparation of research tenders and grant applications
  • participating in and presenting at seminars
  • conference attendance and presentation (oral and/or poster)
  • feedback on oral presentations
  • opportunities to perform and display work, and receive feedback
  • participation in training, courses/workshops/seminars/debates/case studies
  • participation in team work and collaborative projects
  • assisting advisors in reviewing journal articles
  • co-supervision/associate supervision with advisor (for example, Honours students)
  • co-teaching or contribution to teaching with advisor
  • applying for travel scholarships and other grants
  • opportunities to network with international experts in your discipline (for example, conference attendance, interacting with international visitors, international thesis assessors, publishing in international journals)
  • membership of and participation in professional organizations.

Research workshops

The research workshop series showcases leading research by national and international researchers. These seminars cover a wide range of business topics from different perspectives and provide an opportunity for Honours students to meet and learn from leading practitioners, researchers and academics.

Research Colloquium

The annual Research Colloquium  provides an opportunity to showcase your research to faculty and fellow students while receiving support and constructive feedback.

Are you an Australian (domestic) student? Find out more about the Doctor of Philosophy program.

Are you an international student? Find out more here.


What outcomes to expect from your degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduates have a wide range of career opportunities in industry and academia.

How to shape your career

As a UQ student, you have access to a range of services to prepare for a successful career:

  • The Careers and Recruitment Centre – to help you find opportunities and manage your career. Career consultants provide a wide range of services to identify the career options and get the job you want. They can support you with everything from careers guidance and workshops to arranging placements, providing access to employers and practical assistance with CVs and applications.
  • CareerLinks program - giving you access to direct advice from industry guests.
  • Networking events - to help you establish connections with industry professionals.
  • Employer presentations on campus - an opportunity to meet graduates currently employed and understand what the employer is looking for in a new hire.
  • UQ Careers Fair - an annual university wide event for students to meet with over 130 potential employers to source information on career opportunities.
  • Global Experiences Expo - discover how you can take part in UQ’s global programs. Study overseas as part of your degree, get support to work, learn or volunteer on a short trip.
  • Career Development Framework - The UQ Graduate School’s Career Development Framework provides directed, experiential learning to help connect you with industry. It ensures that you gain the necessary leadership, professional and research skills that will enhance your career prospects and help shape you into a future knowledge leader.


Domestic and international student enquiries

To find out more about applications or programs for Australian (domestic) and international students, call +61 7 3346 8100 (open 9.00am to 5.00pm from Monday to Friday, except university and public holidays) or email RHD_enquiries@business.uq.edu.au.

You can also visit the UQ Graduate School site.

Financial assistance

Find out more about fees, charges and financial assistance.

Find details on scholarships.

Eligibility (PhD and MPhil)

For the PhD, the standard appropriate basis of admission is a University of Queensland bachelor's degree with honours class IIA or higher.

Alternatively, your application will be considered if you have a:

  • Bachelor's degree with honours class IIA or higher from approved universities; or
  • research master's degree; or
  • a coursework master's degree with a research thesis component of at least 25% (and a grade equivalent of  6.0 on the 7-point UQ scale in the thesis) and an overall GPA (grade point average) equivalent to 5.75 on the 7-point UQ scale; or
  • Bachelor's degree plus at least one year of full-time equivalent postgraduate study that includes a significant research component or at least two years of documented relevant research experience, including research publications.

You may have the option to cut short your research by transferring to the Master of Philosophy program.

Candidates who do not meet the entry requirements for entry to the PhD program may wish to consider the following alternatives:

How to Apply (PhD and MPhil)

Step 1: Check that you meet the minimum academic entry requirements

The minimum academic entry requirement for the PhD is:

  • An Australian bachelor’s degree with honours class IIA or better from approved universities; or
  • A strong research master’s degree; or
  • A coursework master’s degree with a research thesis of at least 25% (and a grade equivalent to 6.0 on the 7-point UQ scale in the thesis) and an overall GPA (grade point average) equivalent to 5.75 on the 7-point UQ scale; or
  • A bachelor’s degree plus at least one year of full-time equivalent postgraduate study that includes a significant research component or at least two years of documented relevant research experience, including research publications.

Step 2: Identify interest in a particular supervisor within the UQ Business School that you would like to enrol under

Applicants are required to identify a supervisor on the online application. The UQ Business School requests all applicants to not make direct contact with academic staff prior to making an application. The UQ Business School endeavours to match applicants with a supervisor after an application has been submitted and assessed for eligibility to help streamline the administration process. To identify a supervisor at the School you may wish to work with please review the UQBS staff directory and/or the UQ Researchers website.

When completing the online application, please enter the name of a supervisor you are interested in working with in the “Supervisor’s Name” box. Once your application is received, the UQ Business School will contact this individual on your behalf to see if they are available to supervise you. If the proposed supervisor is not available, the UQ Business School will circulate your application to other academics at the school that have similar interests.

If you are unsure which academic you would like to work with, please place the name of the UQ Business School Research Director, Professor Robert Faff, in the ‘Supervisor’s Name” box on the online application, to proceed. Once your application is received, the UQ Business School will identify your area of interest and circulate your application to relevant academics at the school.

Step 3: Prepare a research "pitch" and extended abstract

At The UQ Business School we ask applicants to submit a two-page research "pitch" and a separate extended abstract – both relating to their proposed thesis topic. These two items are used by the UQ Business School to:

  • assess your capacity to undertake research;
  • gain a first impression of the viability and potential importance of your proposed topic; and
  • determine whether it is possible to provide adequate supervision to support your research.

It is important to note that, should you be accepted into the program, the topic will be reviewed and refined during the course of your enrolment.

3.1 Research Pitch

To complete your research pitch you should:

  1. Access a copy of the paper titled "Pitching Research", authored by Professor Robert Faff, from SSRN:
    N.B. to successfully access the paper you might be required to register with SSRN and search for this paper from a logged in setting. Should you have any difficulties with this process please email Professor Faff for assistance/advice:
  2. Read the "Pitching Research" paper, taking particular note of the pitch template developed therein.
  3. Make an assessment of how applicable this template is to your research setting. The most challenging cases will be those involving a “qualitative” research design. In such cases (but as a last resort) you can elect to avoid the pitch requirement – include in your EOI submission, a one page document that simply states: “Pitch component declined due to inappropriate fit with my area of research interest.” In this event, see the extra instructions (below in 3.2), relating to the extended abstract component.
  4. With a key aspect of your proposed research thesis in mind, populate the pitch template as best you can, guided by the advice and examples given in the paper. Please note that your pitch should NOT attempt to cover your full (proposed) thesis topic, rather it should focus on a key component of your choosing that (from your perspective) makes sense within the context of the pitch template.

3.2 Extended Abstract

In no more than 500 words, your extended abstract should tell a coherent and connected "story" about your proposed area of study. While this should link clearly to the pitch you prepared in section 3.1 above, it also should take the opportunity to paint the "bigger picture" regarding the broad scope of research that you hope to pursue in your thesis.

Your extended abstract should present/show:

  • A clear and descriptive title
  • Overall research question
  • Clear aims and objectives of the research
  • A brief reference to core methods
  • A good command of the English language
  • That you are capable of independent and critical thinking

For those electing to decline the pitch component, as discussed in Section 3.1 above, your extended abstract should have the following extra dimensions/characteristics:

  • 1,000 – 1,500 words in length
  • 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 concise bibliography of your background literature

Step 4: Apply online

Please go to http://www.uq.edu.au/grad-school/how-to-apply to apply online for the PhD program.

The following documents are required to support your application for PhD at UQ Business School:
• Academic CV
• Academic transcripts for all post-secondary study undertaken, complete or incomplete, including the institution grading scale
• Award certificates for all completed post-secondary study
• Evidence for meeting UQ’s English language proficiency requirements
• Research “Pitch” and or the Extended Abstract ( See step 3)

Other documentation may be required and requested depending on your individual circumstances, for example:
• 2 referee reports from persons who can best comment on your prior research experience, which are to be submitted directly to UQ
• A scholarship offer or financial guarantee, if you have already been successful for scholarship or sponsorship.
• Evidence of change of name.
• Proof of citizenship, if you are not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand by birth.
• Prior research higher degree details

• If any of your documentation is in a language other than English, UQ will require a copy of the original language document and an officially translated copy.
• UQ will accept scanned copies of your original documents. If you enrol at UQ you must retain your original, hardcopy supporting documentation for the duration of your studies.

Deadlines for applications can be found at: http://www.uq.edu.au/grad-school/scholarships-and-fees