Graduate Research

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

Master of Philosophy

An internationally recognised masters (by research) degree, advancing our student’s skills in conducting independent and sustained research. The thesis demonstrates a critical application of specialist knowledge and makes an independent contribution to existing scholarship.

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Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) indicates advanced knowledge and expertise and high-level research, conceptual, creative and writing skills. It is a sustained piece of research that examines a specific problem and, upon completion, makes a significant new contribution to knowledge.

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World-class research

We carry out creative, fundamental and applied research projects into the past, present and future of our built and natural environments. Our research makes real and lasting impacts and critically informs the teaching of future generations of practitioners, researchers and designers.

Our research is led by experts who are internationally recognised leaders in their fields, and through dynamic research units, centres and institutes embedded within the Faculty.

Creative practice

Design and Creative Practice research is actively supported in the Melbourne School of Design (MSD). Creative Practice research is driven by speculation and experimentation and foregrounds creative and critical design theories and methodologies. A wide, cross-disciplinary spectrum of approaches to this mode of research are fostered, including art, design, architecture, landscape architecture, heritage, urban design, placemaking and indigenous knowledges, digital design and fabrication technologies. The MSD welcomes applications to undertake doctoral research via Creative Practice. A Creative Practice PhD thesis brings practice and a written dissertation together by situating creative projects within a field of knowledge and in relation to a broader disciplinary and societal frame.

Supporting your research


As a graduate research student in the MSD, you will have access to academic leaders across built environment disciplines. You will be mentored by your principal and co-supervisors and can access other academic expertise and support through a dedicated advisory committee 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 attend regular research seminars. You can also attend our public lecture series 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 support conference presentation and to conduct 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. The team offers comprehensive support for graduate researchers throughout their candidature. Our thriving Research Students Association offers another avenue of support, hosting  events and activities that promote an engaging cohort experience.