Higher Degree by Research

Postgraduate research degrees at UQ are known as Higher Degree by Research (HDR), in which you can study the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil).

The School of Pharmacy welcomes graduates from diverse backgrounds to its HDR programs, providing opportunities to develop a variety of skill sets for their future careers.

Activities provide students with attributes sought after in careers related to the pharmaceutical industry, biomedical research, government agencies, clinical pharmacy, and academia.  HDR student events provide the opportunity to hear from past graduates about career opportunities after graduation and to further develop professional networks.

Prospective HDR students can select from potential research projects listed on our web site or work with our academic staff on developing a project tailored to their research passion.

Scholarships that provide financial support for tuition fees, living costs and travel are available.

    Entry prerequisites

    PhD students are required to have obtained a bachelor's degree with honours, class IIA or better.

    MPhil students are required to have obtained a bachelor's degree with honours, class IIB or better.

    Postgraduate Honours admission is assessed on completion of a bachelor degree, GPA and availability of supervisors.

    The University of Queensland accepts other qualifications as equivalent to the above. For a full description, please visit the UQ Graduate School website.


    Students must demonstrate that their current level of English language proficiency meets the University's English proficiency policy

    Students wishing to improve their English language skills can undertake intensive English language and communication training prior to commencing their HDR program at UQ’s Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ). For more information, see English language studies.

    How to apply

    Apply for admission and scholarships online. Additional information about HDR programs can be found on the UQ Graduate School website.

    Entry requirements:

    Detailed entry requirements are can be viewed here

    Application Process

    1. Find an advisor and project. Check out the list of potential research projects, as well as the academic staff available as HDR advisors.
    2. Email the potential advisor directly and ask if they are available as an advisor for your proposed HDR program. All applicants require the support of an academic staff member as an advisor.
    3. If an advisor and project are available, email pharmacy.rhd@uq.edu.au and you will be provided with instructions on how to prepare your documentation and apply for admission and scholarships online. Additional information about HDR programs can be found on the UQ Graduate School website.

    Important information and forms

    Students should familiarise themselves with the Graduate School website and the my.UQ HDR Information and services page which provide essential information for all HDR candidates.  School of Pharmacy policies and procedures for current HDR students can be found on the Pharmacy HDR Students Hub site which can be accessed via Learn.UQ.

    HDR seminars

    About HDR Confirmation Seminars

    All HDR Candidates begin their degree as provisional candidates. During the first half of their candidature (6 months for MPhil and 12 months for PhD), candidates are expected to present the background to their project, their work to date, and their aims and hypothesis for consideration by their Candidature Committee.

    This presentation consists of three components – a written submission, an oral presentation and an interview – after which, if successful, candidature is confirmed. This is a necessary step in the HDR process and it allows the School, the advisors and the candidates themselves to discuss the project, its progress and any difficulties that need to be resolved to make sure that studies can be completed within the allotted timeframe.

    About HDR Final Seminars

    HDR Students reaching the end of their candidature (18 months for MPhil and 3 years for PhD) are expected to give a seminar on their HDR work. Seminars should be approx 30 to 40 minutes in length and cover the background to the research work, research results and conclusions.

    Travel opportunities

    The School of Pharmacy offers travel grants to eligible HDR students.  This funding has allowed many students to attend conferences all over the world, where they present their research to an audience of their peers. It has also supported students to access international research facilities and resources to enhance their research project.

    Ms Nan Xie (2017)

    International Narcotics Research Conference (INRC) 2017

    Chicago, Illinois, USA July 9-14, 2017

    The International Narcotics Research Conference (INRC) is one of the most significant meetings for researchers and clinicians working in the field of opioid pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, and clinical studies. The first official meeting of the INRC was held in July 1969 in Basel, Switzerland as a satellite of the IUPHAR meeting. Since then, the INRC has been held annually for the last 47 years, and its membership has expanded significantly. This is a unique opportunity to bring together researchers from different specialties to identify novel mechanisms and therapeutic strategies for the treatment of addiction, chronic pain, and mood disorders.

    The INRC2017 program included more than seven symposia on diverse topics, and a fundamental philosophy of the INRC community is to engage trainees and highlight their contribution as young scientists. Within the meeting agenda, the organizing committee makes a concerted effort to include talks from postdoctoral fellows and graduate students and provides ample opportunity for engaging discussions between senior scientists and trainees. I presented my work as a poster with the title “Potential of Circulating Mu-opioid Receptor and Toll-like Receptor-4 Activation in Morphine-administered Mice” in the INRC2017.

    I had an opportunity to meet internationally-renowned scientists who regularly present ground breaking research in the conference, received a lot of positive feedback from experts in the field, and expand my insight into real-world problems in my specialization major by learning from others research.

    I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my supervisor A/Prof Marie-Odile Parat and the School of Pharmacy for supporting my research and providing funding to attend as well as present my work at this conference. I believe that network at seminars, workshops and conferences, and trying to get as many contacts as possible would help me to win the challenge of working cross-functionally to translate scientific ideas into things may really benefit people’s life,  and provide me the opportunity that would benefit my career development in the future.