Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Further information

Please contact  the Convenor or Administrator (students).

For further information, please refer to the degree page of the Programs and Courses website.

Program: 9520XPHD

The PhD program takes three to four years full-time study from the date of commencement. The main requirement is the completion of a thesis, in the English language, of not more than 100,000 words on an approved topic. In addition, research students are required to complete coursework as part of their degree; this will include training on research methods, ethics and other topics as deemed appropriate by your supervisory panel.

Staff members of the School of Demography provide most supervision. Supervision is also provided from outside the School if the student could benefit from other expertise. In some instances PhD students undertake fieldwork as a part of their research, and all contribute to the seminar series of the School of Demography.

PhD students are encouraged to undertake independent research - choosing the topic, developing the research plan, and carrying out the analysis on their own, with advice from their supervisory panel. However, it is also possible for PhD students to become involved in large ongoing research projects, either at ANU or in their home institution, and to take a part of those projects as the subject of their dissertation. The main goal of the PhD program is to complete a substantial piece of research that makes a real contribution to demographic knowledge and that establishes the student as a fully-fledged professional in the field.

As part of the promotion of this professionalism, the School of Demography encourages and provides support for PhD students to participate in national and international academic conferences, and provides opportunities to participate in the teaching activities of the School and the Faculties. Emphasis is on fostering both the spirit and skills needed to work independently.

Entry requirements

The usual minimum entrance requirement to the PhD program is an undergraduate degree of acceptable standard (First Class or Upper Second Class Honours) from a recognised university and a proven capacity for research. In practice, most PhD applicants have a Masters degree in a field related to population. Overseas applicants must satisfactorily demonstrate that they meet the University's minimum entry requirement for English. Students who have completed a Masters Degree with the School of Demography or Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute may apply for admission to the PhD program if they have maintained a performance of Distinction level or above and have a demonstrated aptitude for research.

Applications for admission to doctoral studies must be accompanied by a detailed research proposal on a topic of importance to the demographic field. The PhD proposal should reflect originality and potential for a substantial contribution to knowledge. Applicants are considered on their academic record, the merit of their thesis proposal, and the statements provided by referees.


Applications for entry to the PhD program can be made at any time but consideration for ANU scholarships and International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) is made in the second half of the calendar year. Information about deadlines for applications can be found on the Research scholarships page, or obtained from the Student Administrator. IPRS and other international scholarship applicants should have their applications lodged by 31 August. Australian applicants for Australian Postgraduate Research Awards should lodge applications by 30 October each year. All applicants are encouraged to contact the School of Demography well in advance of the filing dates to discuss their proposed research topics.

How to apply

Before submitting a full application please forward the following documents to Associate Professor Edith Gray (Head of School, School of Demography), and Professor Zhongwei Zhao (HDR Convenor) at They will review the information provided and advise candidates how to proceed.

  1. Up to date CV
  2. Scanned copies of your university transcripts
  3. 1-2 page research proposal
  4. Scanned IELTS or TOEFL results

Once advised that a full application should be submitted, the procedure for entry into the PhD program involves a detailed consideration of applicants' previous research experience and proposed research to be undertaken for the PhD thesis. For this reason PhD applicants need to expand on their original research proposal, describing in more detail the topic, data sources, and methodology of their proposed project.

Further information on PhD study and admission.

Information related directly to demography can be obtained from the Student Administrator or the convenor.

When applying online, you should fill in the 'Search for Programs and Awards' as follows:

  • Academic Group: ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
  • Academic Career: Research
  • Award Type: Doctor of Philosophy

Apply online

Further information for applicants

Applicants must submit the following materials according to the instructions on the application forms:

  • A curriculum vitae setting out the applicant's previous educational and work experience.
    A statement of the duties carried out by applicant in the course of their current or recent employment.
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts for all tertiary courses attended by the applicant, giving details of all subjects undertaken and of the grades obtained in each subject.
  • Provide the names and addresses of three referees qualified to speak with first-hand knowledge of the applicant's academic ability. Applicants should provide each referee with a copy of the Referee's Questionnaire and request that they submit this, along with a written report, directly to Student Records. Referees should not wait for a request from the University before submitting their documents.
  • Where applicable, the result of an English language test (see language requirements).
  • PhD applicants are encouraged to attach copies of any research reports or theses they have written.

Apply online


For information on fees, please refer to the degree page of the Programs and Courses website.


Updated:  20 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications