Master of Philosophy

Welcome to the RegNet Master of Philosophy (MPhil). An MPhil can be a pathway to the RegNet PhD, or it can be an opportunity to apply regulation and governance insights to explore a problem that interests you in the fields of social justice, sustainability and wellbeing.

MPhil students share in the resources of the RegNet PhD program, which is distinguished by its interdisciplinary outlook, Asia-Pacific orientation, stimulating curriculum, world-class supervisors, collegiality, global networks and multiple career pathways.

In Australia, the MPhil is also called a Higher Degree by Research (HDR). Learn more by looking at the following pages and by contacting us.

The Master of Philosophy award will take between one and two years of full-time research to complete. It can also be completed as a part-time degree. This award is conducted in English and is delivered principally on the basis of a research thesis comprising of original written work, most typically limited to 60,000 words.

Students are also required to take 18 units of formal coursework. In semester 1, students complete Regulation and Governance (REGN 9052) and Governance and Social Theory (REGN 9053). In semester 2, students complete Methods in Regulation and Governance (REGN 9076). In addition, students can participate in a suite of workshops to facilitate their research.


At RegNet, MPhil students have a primary supervisor and a panel of supporting supervisors. The primary supervisor chairs the panel. RegNet supervisory panels for PhD students are typically made up of experienced professors, mid- and early-career researchers working in the student’s field of interest from the ANU and may include one or more colleagues from disciplinary or professional areas that relate to the student’s topic.

Not sure who might be the supervisor for you? Under the ‘supervisors’ tab you can view available supervisors and their interests and get in touch.

If you are interested in working with a supervisor not on this list, please contact RegNet directly ( in advance of the application deadline.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Master of Philosophy generally requires Bachelor degree with First Class Honours or Upper (though First Class Honours is often required for a scholarship) or its international equivalent. Admission may be granted if you can demonstrate that you have a background equivalent to these qualifications.

All applicants must meet the University’s English Language Admission Requirements for Students.

Indicative fees

Domestic students

Domestic research students are not required to pay tuition fees as they are enrolled under the Research Training Scheme. The RTS provides funding for the research program up to a maximum of two years (full-time) for a Masters program.

International students

Annual indicative fees for international students for 2020 are A$46,080.


Domestic students (i.e. citizens of Australia and New Zealand and permanent residents of Australia) are eligible for an Australian Government Research Training Program (AGRTP) Stipend Scholarship. The AGRTP is funded by the Commonwealth government and provides support to students completing a research degree program.

The AGRTP International Fee Offset Scholarship provides support for a research program up to a maximum of two years (full-time) for a Masters program, and up to four years for a PhD program (or part-time equivalent).

All other students (whether domestic or international) are required to pay International Student Fees (ISF) unless these are covered by a scholarship.

Most RegNet students are successful in obtaining scholarships to fully or partially fund their study in Canberra. AGRTP and AGRTP international Fee offset Scholarship applicants are very competitive. Thus, international students should consider applying to other eligible schemes, such as the Australia Awards Scholarships

If you enrol in additional subjects/courses during your enrolment you may incur tuition fees.

To meet ANU scholarship application deadlines, prospective students should express their interest in the RegNet HDR Program (see ‘How to apply’ tab) at least one to two months in advance of the scholarship deadline

Application deadlines

HDR applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. However, please keep in mind that: (a) there are deadlines for scholarships; and (b) there are significant advantages to commencing study at the beginning of the Australian academic year (February).

Key dates

The closing date for the Australian Government Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship is 31 August for international applications and 31 October for domestic applications.

International students should check the Australia Awards websites for latest information on application deadlines.

For further information and advice, see the College of Asia and Pacific website and ANU pages on Master of Philosophy (MPhil) study.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

See the ‘Scholarships and admissions’ tab on this page.

Step 2: Explore your options

Please look through the RegNet website to see what types of projects are currently being pursued by students and supervisors, and view the ‘supervisors’ tab on this page.

Note: Please do not contact potential supervisors at this stage of the process.

Step 3: Express your interest

To express your interest in pursuing a research degree at RegNet, email electronic copies of the following documents to RegNet directly (
1. Completed expression of interest form (PDF, 904KB)
2. Curriculum vitae (CV)
3. Academic transcripts
4. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)/ Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) results (if applicable)
5. Thesis proposal (5-10 pages)

Please note that your expression of interest form & accompanying documentation should be submitted 1-2 months prior to any formal application process directly to the School.

All applicants should include a section in their application detailing the viability of their project in the context of COVID restrictions. This section should either (a) explain how the project is not dependent on travel and/or fieldwork and therefore feasible regardless of restrictions in these domains; or (b) provide a 12-month plan outlining how the project will proceed if the current restrictions on fieldwork and travel continue. Applicants should discuss the viability of their research project under COVID restrictions with their proposed supervisors prior to submitting the application.

International students are required to have a valid visa at all times. Applying for a visa can be a long process, so please take a look at the information on visas on the ANU website as early as possible.

Step 4: Meet potential supervisors

The Director of Education will inform you within three weeks of receiving your expression of interest whether there is a supervisor available to supervise your proposed topic. If there is, you will be asked to attend an interview (this can be done over phone/Skype if you are not based in Canberra).

Step 5: Make a formal application to the ANU

Once a supervisor has interviewed you and signed off on your proposal, the Director of Education will advise you to apply through the ANU online application process. The RegNet MPhil program code is 8560XMPHIL.

Step 6: Get ready!

You may find it useful to look at our recommended introductory readings on regulatory theory.

  • Is there coursework in the MPhil program?

    Yes, students enrolled in RegNet’s MPhil program are required to take 18 units of formal coursework. In semester 1, students complete Regulation and Governance (REGN 8052) and Governance and Social Theory (REGN 8053). In semester 2, students complete Methods in Regulation and Governance (REGN 8076).

    In addition, students can participate in a suite of workshops to facilitate their research. They may also undertake other coursework if their supervisor considers it necessary. Attendance at masterclasses and weekly research seminars is also compulsory.

  • Can I complete the MPhil remotely?

    In special circumstances, part-time students that live in Australia, but outside of the ACT, will be accepted into the program. However, they will be expected to spend a certain amount of time on campus over the course of their candidature.

    Full-time students are expected to be on campus 40 hours per week except when traveling for fieldwork or conference attendance.

  • What is a thesis panel?

    ANU MPhil students are supervised by a supervisory panel, rather than one single supervisor. The Chair of the Panel assumes primary responsibility for your supervision, and acts as the convener of your supervisory panel. Other members of your panel may be appointed as supervisors or advisors.

    Most panels have at least one primary supervisor and two supervisors. If you are applying to the RegNet program, the Chair of your Panel will be a member of the RegNet staff. However, your supervisors can be from other departments in the ANU or from outside the University.

  • What is a graduate research field?

    ANU graduate research fields bring together graduate students and staff that have common research interests but who may be located in different academic areas. Applications for the RegNet PhD program can be made in any of the following graduate research fields: Asia and the Pacific; economics; environment; gender studies; geographical studies; history; Indigenous culture; law; politics and international relations; public policy; and sociology.

    It is important to have the right research field recorded because your qualification will be a Master of Philosophy in the graduate research field. The Head of Postgraduate Programs and your prospective supervisor will advise you on which graduate research field you should declare.

  • What should I include in my thesis proposal?

    To be considered for the MPhil program, prospective students must submit a 5-10 page thesis proposal for review. Proposals should include the following:

    Title A precise and informative description of the project. Avoid acronyms and phrases such as “A study of …”

    Abstract A summary of the proposed research (approx 300 words) that includes the key research question or hypothesis, the rationale for the research, and the method to be employed in the study.

    Aims and significance A clearly focused statement of the overall purpose of the proposed research (ie, why is it important?).

    Research questions &/or hypotheses The questions that the proposed research will address and/or the hypotheses that will be tested.

    Literature review A preliminary review of the key research that has already been carried out in the field and identification of the gaps in the literature that the proposed research aims to fill.

    Methodology An explanation of what type of data will be required to answer the research questions or test the hypotheses and how the data will be collected and analysed.

    Timetable An indication of how the research will be carried out over the duration of a full-time (2 years) or part-time (4 years) candidature.

    Resources An indication of the funding that will be required over the course of the candidature (eg, for fieldwork) as well any special materials or training that may be necessary for the successful completion of the project.

    Institutional fit A statement on why RegNet is an appropriate ‘home’ for the project and an indication of potential supervisors/advisors.

    Bibliography A list of references cited in or relevant to the proposal.

  • Do I need a visa to study at the ANU?

    International students are required to have a valid visa at all times. Applying for a visa can be a long process, so please take a look at the information on visas on the ANU website as early as possible.

  • Do I need overseas health cover?

    Yes, all international students are required to purchase overseas health cover (OSHC) in order to obtain a visa. Price of OSHC can vary greatly by providers, so it is worth doing your homework to find the cover that suits you. Compare OSHC benefits and costs at OSHC Australia.

  • What are my housing options in Canberra?

    Please see the Housing Online website (a free service to help ANU staff and students find rental accommodation)

  • What is the cost of living like in Canberra?

    The cost of living in Canberra is quite high relative to other cities in many other countries. There is information on cost of living available on the ANU website which will give you an idea of the cost of everyday items, and housing rental costs in particular.

  • What are the childcare options close to ANU?

    There are a number of childcare providers on university campus. However, due to the high demand in Canberra and particularly at the university childcare centres, if you need childcare during your studies it is best to put your child on a wait list as soon as possible. For more information visit Childcare services on university campus.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet