Solve global problems through material design

Do you want to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges? Have you got a background in engineering, chemistry, metallurgy, textile science, applied science or molecular modelling?

At the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) our research is uncovering cleaner, safer energy; tackling the war on waste; reducing the harmful impacts of industries on our environment; and potentially saving billions of dollars for the global economy.

We are always on the lookout for high-quality Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates who are curious problem solvers with a passion for research. Higher degrees by research are fee-free for domestic candidates.

By completing a higher degree by research at IFM, you will:

  • Unlock higher earning potential — Deakin postgraduates earn 36% higher salaries than undergraduates
  • New career opportunities — not available to those without an HDR degree
  • Attain skills valued by every employer — we’re the #1 ranked university in Australia for postgraduate employment
  • Become an expert in your field of work — we’re in the top 1% of universities for global research impact, meaning you’ll contribute to a field you’re passionate about
  • Learn from world-leading researchers and supervisors — ranked among the top 1% globally
  • Access a globally connected research community — via our network of 500+ leading organisations across 65 countries
  • Access world-class facilities — enhancing your skills development
  • Study at a world-leading university — Deakin is ranked in the top 1% of universities globally

Completing a PhD at IFM 

How do I apply? 

If you are interested in becoming a student with IFM, please complete our Expression of Interest form.

Specific projects will also be listed in the 2023 project booklet (Coming October 2022).

Want to learn more about your potential supervisors? Check the about us page.

How long will it take?  

At Deakin, students are expected to complete their PhD in three years (full-time study). However, because life happens and research does not always go to plan, some people need a little longer. When you enrol, your maximum candidature date is set at four years (full-time study). 

Can you complete a PhD in less time?  

The minimum period of candidature for a PhD is two years. However, it is very uncommon due to the volume and quality of work required to satisfy the requirements of the degree. It takes time to become an expert in your field after all! 

If you are looking to undertake a similar program in just two years, consider a Master by Research at IFM (in Engineering or Science) instead. Completing a Master can be a great way to expand your research skills before committing to a PhD. It is also possible to transfer from a Master to a PhD during your candidature. 

How is the degree examined? 

The length of a standard PhD thesis (or dissertation) at Deakin is around 80,000 words. At IFM we also require students to complete an oral examination (similar to a defence, or Viva voce in other countries) usually completed over Zoom. 

What is PhD Xtra

Deakin students benefit from an individual learning plan and additional training opportunities as part of the PhD Xtra program. 

Can I get a scholarship?

Australian Government and Deakin funded scholarships are available to help pay for course fees and living costs, and a number of our projects come with externally funded scholarships. Our current project and scholarship opportunities can be found here (filter by level of study to ‘Higher Degrees Research’).

Learn more about Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) at Deakin including entry requirements, here.



Dr Zoe Smith - Senior HDR Support Coordinator