Advice for undergraduate students wishing to study a PhD

Undergraduate students wishing to study a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree should ideally do three things:

  • Focus on getting the best marks you can. This is because your marks and/or grades (which are based on your marks) help to decide what scholarship opportunities you will have access to. Undergraduate research scholarship programmes and the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP) stipend are examples of such scholarships you may want.

  • Apply for what undergraduate research scholarship programmes you can that you can comfortably fit into your study schedule. Many of these programmes can be conducted part-time over the summer, when most full-time Australian bachelor's degree students have at least a month of time off. These provide you with research experience, which can be invaluable. This is mostly because not everyone that thinks they want to do research turns out to be well-suited to it. It is best to find this out, one way or the other, before you start your first research degree, as a research degree involves substantially more research than these scholarship programmes do. These scholarship programmes usually also come with $2,000 or more and some even come with all-expenses-paid trips to where you are to deliver a presentation on your research.

  • Consider what degree you are going to study next. My article on meeting the entry requirements of Australian PhD programmes should cover your options assuming you are a domestic student in Australia currently studying a bachelor's degree. If you studying a lower degree than a bachelor's degree (e.g. an associate degree), starting and finishing a bachelor's degree should be your next step before starting any of the research degrees mentioned in the aforementioned article.