How to apply

This information is for prospective PhD candidates and applies to both the standard PhD and PhD professional doctorate programs.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

To be eligible to pursue a standard PhD at the Australian National University, you must:

  • Already hold, or be about to complete, an Australian Bachelor Degree with at least Second Class Honours - Upper (though First Class Honours is often required for a scholarship) or its international equivalent, or, a Postgraduate Degree with a significant research thesis component, and;
  • have met the English language requirements (if you are an international student).

For the professional doctorate:

  • Admission is normally granted to applicants holding a Master by research degree or a Bachelor degree with First Class Honours or Second Class Honours Division A. Admission can also be granted to applicants who demonstrate a background equivalent to these qualifications.

  • 10 years of diplomatic experience or equivalent professional experience with public service or civil society organisations that focus on international, transnational or global affairs.

If you are unsure about whether or not you meet the minimum requirements, or have general questions about the PhD programs, email the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at

Step 2: Explore your options

Please look through the APCD website to see what types of projects are currently being pursued by students and supervisors.

At APCD, the Director of Studies is responsible for the PhD programs. HDR students have a primary supervisor and a panel of supporting panel members. The primary supervisor chairs the panel. APCD 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. The student’s topic must fall within APCD’s diplomacy focus.

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 APCD, email electronic copies of the following documents to APCD directly (

  • Prepare a cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Academic transcripts
  • IELTS/TOEFL results (if applicable)
  • a 5-10 page thesis proposal

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

Step 4: Meet potential supervisors

Following an internal review of your documents, the HDR Convenor 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 Studies will advise you to apply through the ANU online application process. The APCD PhD program code is 9510XPHD for the straight PhD and 9561XPHD for the professional doctorate pathway.

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

Due to the high demand in Canberra and particularly at 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. There are three childcare services on university campus:

Before coming to Canberra it is worthwhile investigating the cost of living, which is quite high relative to other cities in many other countries. Please take a look at the information on the cost of living available on the ANU website which outlines the cost of everyday items, and housing rental costs in Canberra.

Updated:  12 July 2020/Responsible Officer:  Bell School Marketing Team/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team