How to apply for admissions & scholarships to study in Australia: Undergraduate & Postgraduate coursework applicant guide

How to apply for undergraduate, and postgraduate coursework programs and secure a scholarship to study in Australia Applying for undergraduate or postgraduate programs and scholarships to study in Australia is a much easier process than applying for research degree programs and scholarships . Research degree scholarships and admissions entry requirements are more complex and very competitive. The application process for an undergraduate or postgraduate work degree program is not that complex as these are not both research degrees.  In general, the whole application process can be done online (you can equally download the forms) or via approved University agents in your home country. This is however limited by geographic location. Some countries can only apply via agents. This information is all found on the University websites, including the registered or approved agents.  Generally, to apply for both admissions and scholarships, you wil

How to apply for scholarships in Australia- Research Degree Applicant Guide

                                         scholarships for international students

How to apply for scholarships to study abroad guide: Masters/PhD Research Degree Programs in Australia

This is the most popular form of question we receive almost every day. How do I apply for a scholarship to study in Australia? Or how do I apply for a scholarship to study abroad? Truth be told the whole application process is complex especially for research degree programs, however the easiest way to navigate through is to know in advance exactly what you are looking for and how to go about it.

Before starting your application, you should already know what it takes to get the scholarships ie the requirements, make sure you meet these requirements and be eligible to apply. This will avoid time-wasting on your part. 

Things to check before lodging your application:

  • Be sure to you meet all the eligibility criteria for the scholarship
  • Make sure you have kept as many referees as possible for recommendation letters.
  • Make sure to have friends who can review your application before submission
  • Make sure your documents are all ready. (See a list of expected documents at end of the post)

If all the above steps have been met, you can then go ahead and start your application. Generally, the application for graduate research scholarships is done at the time of applying for your course. The same application process is used for both admission and/or scholarship via the University Online Application Portal. In some cases, there is an option to indicate the scholarship you are interested in while applying for your chosen course. In other cases, you don't need to indicate or select as you will be automatically considered for any eligible scholarship if offered a place to study at that University. 

Applications for admissions and scholarships to study in Australia can be done in two ways: You can either apply for admissions and scholarships via advertised projects or by developing your own research project and indicating interest in a scholarship. More details on this would be provided as we move ahead. 

  • So for example, after finding a scholarship online from a platform like ours, you will have to _visit the institution's website and if it was a general scholarship open to any course of your choice, _identify a research course/program you are interested in, _apply for a candidature and being considered automatically for the scholarship if eligible.  
  • In another situation, it can be a project-specific scholarship, in this case, you must choose a project from a specific list of projects, contact the nominated supervisor of the project to discuss the suitability of your application and the project-specific requirements and submit your candidature. 
  • You can equally develop your own project and send an expression of interest to the University, the university in most cases would assist you to find a suitable supervisor, if successful, you would be invited to submit an application for candidature.

Below we present in detail the general process to apply for a research degree program (Masters or PhD) scholarship to study in Australia in five major steps. This is a common procedure for Canada, the USA and many other European countries also. 

After you have identified a course of interest Eg Environmental Engineering(or a specific project)including the available scholarship, to apply, the first step is to :

  1. Check to see that you meet the minimum entry requirements, then 
  2. Contact potential supervisors for supervision approval, next
  3. Submit an expression of interest
  4. lodge your application 
  5. Wait for the outcome. See these steps in detail below:

                         apply for scholarships

Step 1- Check scholarship requirements (entry requirements). 

As mentioned above, to be successful with research degree scholarship applications, the very first step is to check to see that you meet all the minimum entry requirements before lodging any application. You are always free to contact the University for any enquiry on how to meet a certain requirement. If there are available projects, familiarise yourself with them and keep the name of any supervisor you find interest in his/her project. Familiarise yourself with his/her works and research as you will need to find a prospective supervisor later on. Check other available scholarships also on the University website and the entry requirements

See General Masters/PhD research degree scholarship requirements here to study in Australia. The same criteria go for other Universities abroad

Step 2- Contact potential supervisors. 

how to contact potential supervisors

You will have to contact potential supervisor/s and submit an expression of interest. You should get in touch with a potential supervisor. This is another whole process. You might be wondering what you will be discussing with him? You will have to discuss your research interest with him and see that he gives you the approval to continue with your application. In most Australia Universities and other Universities abroad, they will request proof of approval of supervision from the prospective supervisor before your application can go to the next step. Sometimes you will have to just state his name in your application form/EOI or submit a screenshot of the approval email from him. Getting approval from a potential supervisor is your First Key to success! 

Where do you find potential supervisors? Universities have staff websites where you can visit and identify potential supervisors in your area of interest. Finding the right researcher to become your supervisor is a very important part of your application. 

As a major tip before contacting a potential supervisor,  ensure you have familiarized yourself with the supervisor’s academic portfolio. Make sure they are suitable for your proposed research area

In some cases the supervisors have a list of available projects, if you are interested in any of the projects,  you can apply for them or propose your own project and apply. Most PhD programs have available research projects. 

If you are unable to find a potential supervisor, contact the Graduate Research School. They will send your EOI to suitable supervisors who may be interested in your proposed project.

At this stage of your application, it is good to already have a developed research plan.

Learn more on how to contact potential supervisors when seeking for research degree studentship position

Step 3- Complete an EOI.

 If you meet the program's minim entry requirements and got approval from a potential supervisor, you can then submit an Expression of Interest(EOI).  Most Australia Universities, not all will ask to submit an EOI for a research degree program. This is also being done in most Canadian, American and European Universities. In some Universities for your EOI  to be accepted, you must get in touch with a prospective supervisor would is ready to work with you and provide evidence of his approval. Usually in the form of a confirmation email. 

What is an EOI? An Expression of Interest (EOI) is a preliminary application form that enables the University to determine the student's eligibility. This form is usually available on the research degree application website. You will have to download the form in most cases, fill it out and submit it to the Graduate Research School. Usually, Candidature Management Advisors will evaluate your EOI and may invite you to complete an application online if you are deemed eligible. If are applying for any specific University project of interest, you will have the opportunity to mention that here and the name of the supervisor.

An Expression of interest will usually demand a  short description of the student's proposed area of research and a summary of academic qualifications, including grades. 

 If your  (EOI) is successful, you will then be invited to submit a final application for the research degree program.

Some Universities, however, require applicants to first submit an EOI, and if deemed eligible for the program, they then send a request for you to find a supervisor in your area of research interest prior to beginning your application.

Step 4- Complete your application/Apply

If your EOI  was successful, you have gotten approval from a supervisor who is ready to work with you, and you will be invited to complete your application online. In this process you will  have to prepare and submit :

  • Draft a research proposal. 

Part of your application for a research degree will include submitting a research proposal. This is another major Key document to your success. A good proposal shows you have a clear vision of the research topic and will help frame your project and thesis. In most cases, there is already a template with instructions that you will have to use. This mostly covers a section in the EoI form.

If you have a project in mind, it's highly encouraged to draft a research proposal earlier before contacting a potential supervisor. In the case where you are applying for one of the University projects, you will need to draft a research proposal that links you to that research project. It is highly recommended to look through the previous works of the prospective supervisors at this stage also.

Research proposals play a core role in securing admissions and scholarships to study abroad. It should be able to propose a research project with the main goal to illustrate your idea or research question in this discipline. It is a well-planned and comprehensive piece of work that requires some fundamental research skills. While writing this project, you should be able to establish why your idea is relevant, you should be able to identify gaps in knowledge and demonstrate how your research intends to fill those gaps etc...

You can read more here about how to write a captivating research proposal for scholarship application.  I recommend you take your time on this.

  • Statement of purpose(SOP). 

Usually, there is a template for this also available on the application website. In some cases, you will have to download and write, in other cases, you can just do it online

  • Referee reports.

 In most cases, Universities will recommend you nominate two or three referees for research degree programs. Hope you have been staying in good tense with your  previous supervisors, academic or work

  • Scholarships-indicate the specific scholarship you are applying for

While filling out the online application form, you will find the available scholarship sections, here identify the specific scholarship you are interested in. However, in most cases, once you have been given an offer of candidature, you are automatically considered for the available scholarships. There is no separate application as the application for graduate research scholarships is done at the time of applying for your course. The same application process is used for both admission and/or scholarship.

With the above-mentioned research proposal and statement of purpose, below is a summary of expected documents you should get ready for your application. 

Summary of expected documents to get ready for your application:

  1. Academic curriculum vitae(CV)/Resume
  2. academic transcript
  3. Degree Certificate
  4. English Language documents(For Non-native speakers)
  5. Passport
  6. References/Letters of recommendations
  7. Previous research program information

Step 5-Wait for the outcome and pray.

 Once all this is completed, you can then go ahead and submit your application and any other requested document. You will be advised on the outcome of your application usually via email. 

If you are successful, you will be advised of the outcome of your application with the relevant scholarship you applied for. If unsuccessful, an application for the scholarship may result in an offer of candidature only.

If successful, applicants have a limited period to either accept or decline an offer of candidature and/or scholarship, so as to commence their candidature.

How to accept your offer? To accept your offer and the scholarship, just follow the instructions in the email accompanying your offer.

Once you have indicated your acceptance of the offer, you will receive an acknowledgement email with further instructions about the commencement of your candidature. You will equally receive an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) for visa requirements. This is the document (CoE) you will use to apply for your visa

That was the whole research degree application process in a summary. Hope you find this helpful. 

Final tips: apply for as many scholarships as possible. I can't keep the number of schools I submitted applications for scholarships abroad. I was lucky to receive an offer from three different schools. I ended up with a problem of choice. You can make your case be the same also.! good luck!

Also, check these 6 tips on how to be successful with your scholarship application

Other related links mentioned in this post you should equally check:

Don't hesitate to leave a comment below, tell us about your experience in applying for a scholarship abroad, your difficulties, and how we can assist you if you need any help. 
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