Doctor of Philosophy, Regulation and Governance

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Further information
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Jensen Sass
Jensen Sass

The Doctor of Philosophy, Regulation and Governance is a unique doctoral program that applys regulation and governance insights to solve critical problems that enhance the world’s social justice, sustainability and wellbeing. In the RegNet PhD, you are not just a student – you are a colleague.

What sets us apart from other PhD programs internationally?

An interdisciplinary outlook

Whether your background is in anthropology, criminology, development studies, history, international relations, law, political science, psychology, public health, sociology or another social science, this degree gives you the critical theory, research and communications skills you need to bridge different fields of knowledge. You will choose the the disciplinary mix that works for you and we will support you with the necessary skills and training.

An Asia-Pacific orientation

RegNet draws on the expertise at the Australian National University, which is the world leader in research focused on Asia and the Pacific.


RegNet is renowned as a place where you will find supportive peers, friendly staff and world-class faculty committed to your success. Together, we work to make every student’s experience a rich and fulfilling one.

Educational excellence

We offer a demanding curriculum that fulfills your intellectual curiosity. Our formal coursework, hands-on workshops, peer-learning modules, fieldwork and independent study are guided by experienced supervisors. We develop your theoretical and methodological sophistication and expand your understanding of regulation and governance in a globalized world.

World-class supervisors

RegNet academics are renowned for the quality of their supervision. View the ‘supervisors’ tab to see who is currently available to work with incoming students.

Global Networks:

Our adjunct faculty and visitor programs draw renowned scholars from the world’s leading universities and think tanks. Our global network opens doors for our graduates in Australia and overseas.

Multiple career pathways

You will study with a cohort of Australian and international peers who are seeking to make a policy impact with their work in universities, the public sector, regulatory agencies and non-governmental organizations. We produce highly trained scholars who go on to be leaders in their fields.

In Australia, the PhD is also called a Higher Degree by Research (HDR). Learn more by looking at the following pages and by contacting us. For information on CAP HDR programs, please see the CAP HDR Student Guide.

Apply now
Further information
Enquiries to:

Jensen Sass
Jensen Sass

A PhD normally takes between three to four years full-time or up to eight years part-time. Students are required to submit a thesis of up to 100,000 words that makes a substantial contribution to the relevant scholarly literature and demonstrates how their research relates to their discipline. PhDs by publication are also possible, but require consultation and approval by your primary supervisor.

PhD 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, PhD 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.

Apply now
Further information
Enquiries to:

Jensen Sass
Jensen Sass

Admission criteria

Requirements for admission to a Doctor of Philosophy degree

  • An Australian bachelor’s degree with at least second-class honours (Upper first-class honours may is required by some programs) or the international equivalent, or

  • Another degree with a significant research/thesis component, or

  • A combination of qualifications, research publications and/or professional experience related to your field of study

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

Application deadlines

PhD applications are encouraged for a Semester 1 start (Semester 2 cohorts will be considered on a year-by-year basis). Applications must be complete with all required documentation and referee reports by the relevant deadlines in order to be assessed. Please keep in mind deadlines for various funding schemes may be earlier than the deadlines listed in the table below.

Prospective students must allow adequate time to explore potential supervisors, develop and revise a research proposal, and for assessment of their application. We suggest commencing this process 3 to 6 months ahead of any scholarship or admissions deadlines. An Expression of Interest is required a minimum of 6 weeks ahead of an admissions decision.


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 a doctoral research program for a minimum of 3 years, up to a maximum of 4 years.

International students

Annual indicative fees for international students in 2020 were A$46,080. International students are required to pay International Student Fees (ISF) unless these are covered by a scholarship.


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 four years for a PhD program (or part-time equivalent). 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.

Apply now
Further information
Enquiries to:

Jensen Sass
Jensen Sass

Step 1: Check your eligibility

See the ‘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

Prospective students must allow adequate time to explore potential supervisors, develop and revise a research proposal, and for assessment of their application. We suggest commencing this process 3 to 6 months ahead of any scholarship or admissions deadlines.

To express your interest in pursuing a research degree at RegNet, email electronic copies of the following documents to

(1) A brief thesis proposal of 2-3 pages

(2) A copy of your CV

(3) A list of potential supervisors – please note, we ask that you do not contact potential supervisors directly.

Please see the ‘supervisors’ tab at this link for a list of academics affiliated with RegNet:

ANU also has a helpful guide on writing a research proposal -

Our HDR team will reach out to prospective supervisors on your behalf. Our HDR Administrator will put you in contact with a potential supervisor should we have availability and a suitable match.

Step 4: Connect with potential supervisors and develop proposal

In the event that we have a suitable match for supervision, you will be asked to attend an interview (this can be done over phone/videoconferencing if you are not based in Canberra). Please note supervisors may request additional documentation at that time, such as academic transcripts or writing samples.

At this stage you will also be expected to further develop your thesis proposal based on supervisory feedback to 5-10 pages for admissions and scholarship assessment.

Step 5: Make a formal application to the ANU

Once a supervisor has interviewed you and signed off on your proposal, our HDR Administrator will invite you to complete an expression of interest form (separate to the expression of interest in Step 3) and to apply through the ANU online application process. The RegNet PhD program code is 9560XPHD.

See information on the ANU application here.

Please note your application is NOT complete until your referee reports have been received. Referee reports must be received by scholarship and admissions deadlines. Referees will receive the report template to complete only after you submit your application to the ANU. Therefore, leave appropriate time between submitting the application and the scholarship/admission deadline for your referees to complete and send their reports. These reports must be sent confidentially and directly to the University rather than to you.

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 6: Get ready!

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

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