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, undertaken as a full dissertation or combined with a design project, 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 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.

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Through our unique breadth and transdisciplinary focus, 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.

The University of Melbourne has described three broad research areas for institutional focus: understanding our place and purpose; fostering health and well-being; and supporting sustainability and resilience. In our Faculty we are crucially placed to address all these complex problems and have embraced them in our own research directions and challenges. Our research is led by expert individuals who are internationally recognised leaders in their fields, and in collaborative groups, and research centres and institutes embedded within the Faculty.

As testament to our strengths and diversity, in the 2012 Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA) assessment, the Faculty was awarded the highest rating for outstanding performance well above world standard (rated 5 and top nationally) for research in Architecture; and in Urban and Regional Planning (rated 4 and in the top four institutions nationally). Explore our web pages to discover more about the unique work we do.

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

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 an annual research day 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 support 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 (from October 2014).

Candidature Support

Guidance and support for graduate researchers is provided by the dedicated support team in the faculty's Research Office 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.