Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

As a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate, you will uncover new knowledge either by the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative reinterpretation of known data and established ideas. Your research will use an in-depth understanding of theories and concepts to develop practical solutions for real-world problems.

Doctor of Philosophy is a higher degree obtained after a period of study primarily devoted to an extensive research project, culminating in the submission of a thesis.

The thesis must, in the opinion of the examiners, be a substantial original contribution to the knowledge or understanding of any field through the discovery of new facts, the formulation of theories or the innovative reinterpretation of known data and established ideas. It must also demonstrate your capacity to conceive, design and complete independent research.

Faculty of Engineering and Science

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Engineering and Science
  • Environmental Science
Faculty of Business

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Business
Faculty of Humanities

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Humanities


The aims, objectives and learning outcomes are as follows:

Aims: Graduates will have undertaken a programme of independent supervised study that produces significant and original research outcomes culminating in a thesis for independent examination by at least two external expert examiners of international standing.

Objectives: The research in the programme of learning will be conducted over a period of at least two year and typically this will constitute two-thirds or more of the qualification. The programme may also include advanced coursework or training to enhance the capacity of the student to make a significant contribution to knowledge in the discipline studied.

Learning outcomes: As demonstrated in the AQF level 10 criteria and MQF doctoral level:

1. Knowledge

Graduates will have a systematic and critical understanding of a substantial and complex body of knowledge at the frontier of the discipline of study.

2. Skills

Graduates will have expert, specialized cognitive, technical and research skills to independently and systematically

Engage in critical reflection, synthesis and evaluation.

Develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge or professional practice.

Disseminate and promote new insights to peers and the community.

Generate original knowledge and understanding to make a substantial contribution to a discipline of study.

3. Application of knowledge and skills

Graduates will apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authority, judgment, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and leading practitioner or scholar.

Academic Qualifications

  • Graduated with or qualified for the award of the degree of Master within the University which requires the completion of a publicly available thesis or research project to an acceptable standard.

  • Graduated with, or qualified for, the award of the degree of Bachelor with First Class Honours or Upper Second Class Honours or GCPA 3.30 equivalent within the University.
  • Graduated with or qualified for the award of the degree of Bachelor and completed a Postgraduate Diploma or its equivalent, or completed a Master’s degree by Coursework, with, in both cases, a course-weighted average of not less than seventy percent within the University and demonstrated the capacity to undertake significant research.
  • In exceptional circumstances:
    • Graduated with or qualified for the award of the degree of Bachelor;
    • Has substantial:
      • Relevant peer-reviewed publications or conference papers, or exhibitions; and/or
      • Research experience; and
    • Demonstrated the capacity to undertake significant research.
      NOTE: An Application for admission based on this criterion must be approved by the Dean, Graduate School.
  • Obtained qualifications from another institution which are recognized by tertiary admission authorities in Australia and which are deemed to be equivalent to, or a satisfactory substitute for, any of the qualifications prescribed in the three points listed above.
  • Enrolled in a research Master’s degree for the equivalent of at least one semester full-time, and shown exceptional ability in the conduct of the early stages of the research project which is clearly capable of being extended and converted to Doctoral level.
  • Conversion of enrolment from Master’s to a Doctoral program requires the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.

English Requirements

All courses at Curtin University Malaysia are taught in English.

Any one of the tests in the following table can also be accepted as satisfying Curtin University Malaysia’s English language requirement:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)*  
Writing 6
Speaking 6
Reading 6
Listening 6
Overall Band Score 6.5
GSC/ GCE O Level
English, English Literature, English Language, First Language English, English General Paper or English as Second Language C
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)* 79 Internet based (Band minimum W-21, L-13, R-13, S-18)
WA Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE) English or English Literature 50%
Western Australia Universities Foundation Program (WAUFP), English Language and Australia Cultural Studies (ELACS)
Cambridge English: Advanced/ Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) Test taken prior to 2015: 58

Test taken from 2015: 176 with 169 in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking

Cambridge English: Proficiency/ Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) Test taken prior to 2015: 60

Test taken from 2015: 190 with 176 in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
Listening 50%
Reading 50%
Speaking 50%
Writing 50%
Overall score 58%
GCE Advanced Subsidiary Level
English, English Literature, English Language, First Language English, English General Paper or English as Second Language C
GCE Advanced Level
English, English Literature, English Language, First Language English, English General Paper or English as Second Language E
General Certificate of Education, Advanced Ordinary Level Additional English offered by the Joint Matriculation Board  C
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Grade of 4 or above in one of the following subjects:
English A: Literature (SL) or (HL);
English A: Language and Literature (SL) or (HL);
Literature and Performance (SL);
English A1 (SL) or (HL);
English A2 (SL) or (HL);
English B (HL)
English as a Second Language (ESL) Pass

*Results for IELTS and TOEFL are valid for two years.

Applicants who do not meet the above requirement (or qualifications not listed above) will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and provided with alternative pathways where necessary.

Completion of a bachelor degree course in which English was the language of instruction is also considered as meeting the English language requirement. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Enrolment in the PhD shall be for a minimum period of two (2) years and a maximum period of four (4) years for full-time study, or a minimum of four (4) years and a maximum period of eight (8) years for part-time study. However, international candidates must enroll as a full-time student.

Consumables Support

HDR Consumables Reimbursable Items List

  • Travel, accommodation, and living expenses related to fieldwork;
  • Stationery, photocopying, printing and postage;
  • Transcription from interviews, and translation services;
  • Lab consumables purchased through an approved University provider (where not provided by the Enrolling Area);
  • Workshops and training courses (including registration, travel, accommodation and living);
    Specialist textbooks/manuals, journals (where not readily available in the Curtin Library);
  • Phone costs – Purchase of phone cards for participation calls to survey recipients (where access to a Curtin phone is not available);
  • Professional subscriptions for the duration of study;
  • Thesis binding, editing and proof-reading costs;
  • Research incentives (e.g. movie tickets/vouchers for participants) on the express written permission (email) of the supervisor (this will never include tobacco or alcohol);
  • Creative production costs – e.g. Art and design equipment and supplies (inclusive of set design, technical support, post-production/editing, studio hire, film/developing);
  • Travel for off-campus students to supervisory meetings (this may extend to travel interstate or overseas where relevant);
  • Specialist software (project specific);
  • Safety equipment (project specific); and/or
  • Conference related expenses, where the Doctoral Conference support funding has already been utilised.

Curtin Malaysia Postgraduate Research Studentship (CMPRS)

An awardee will receive a stipend of RM2100 per month and fee waiver for a period of 3 years. In return, awardees are expected to contribute a maximum of 8 hours of teaching load per week and learning and teaching (L&T) activities during the semesters.

Faculty’s Full or Partially Fee Waiver

Please contact respective faculty for all the details.

Other Scholarships and Financial Aid

Please contact Loans and Scholarship Office (Student Service Department).

Each research student joins one of the vibrant research communities based on the chosen research area. You can find more information regarding research areas by visiting the relevant academic area:

Faculty of Engineering and Science
Contact for enquiries:
Associate Professor Dr. Ramasamy Nagarajan
Associate Dean of R&D

Faculty of Business
Contact for enquiries:
Dr Joseph Sia
Associate Dean of R&D

Faculty of Humanities
Contact for enquiries:
Dr Anita Jimmie

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