Course Description

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) indicates advanced knowledge and expertise and high-level research, conceptual and writing skills. It is a sustained piece of research and writing that examines a specific problem and, upon completion, makes a significant new contribution to knowledge. This takes the form of an 80,000 - 100,000 word thesis or combined thesis and design dissertation. The duration of the PhD program is 4 years full-time (8 years part-time for domestic students only).

World-class research

Melbourne School of Design has an international reputation for excellence in research and graduate research and as a leader in built environment and urban research. Our researchers are experienced scholars, leading debate and engaging with industry, policy-makers and the community towards real-world outcomes.

Across our core disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, property and construction, our research focuses on the following themes:

Supporting your research


The supervisory relationship is an integral element of undertaking a graduate research degree. As a graduate research student in the MSD, you will have access to academic leaders across built environment disciplines. You will be mentored by at least one principle supervisor and also have access to other academic expertise and support through a supervisory panel throughout your candidature.

Training opportunities

Each year, you will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and advanced seminars in research theories and methods specifically tailored to the built environment. These training opportunities are designed to build on your previous learning and to support you at each stage of your research candidature. You can also participate in thesis writing programs and weekly research seminars and other Faculty forums to present and discuss ideas with staff and fellow research students. You can also attend the regular public lectures that are held across the year featuring international guest speakers as well as leading local practitioners.

Funding and resources

The MSD provides a number of funding opportunities to support graduate research students to undertake their research. PhD students can apply for funding to contribute to their travel to attend conferences and to conduct research fieldwork. Our graduate researchers are part of our academic community and can access excellent facilities including dedicated workstations, computers and printing, meeting rooms and workspaces in our award-winning building.

Candidature Support

Guidance and support for graduate researchers is provided by the dedicated support team in the faculty's Research Office, led by Assistant Dean (Research Training) Dr Ajibade Aibinu. The team offers a comprehensive induction process for new candidates, supportive guidance throughout candidature and maintains clear policy and process information on the MSD's website for current graduate researchers. Our strong network of graduate researchers organise events and activities that support one another and promote an engaging cohort experience.

Our Graduate Researchers

The MSD Graduate Research website offers useful and relevant information for current candidates. Here you can also see profiles of our current confirmed candidates, including summaries of their research projects. 

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