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Fees and enrolment for research degree students

It is important that you read the following information about fees and enrolment. Conditions regarding fees vary depending on whether you are an Australian or international student. Your continued enrolment in your research degree program depends on your annual Reviews of Progress.


Fees for domestic students*

Under the Australian Government's Research Training Scheme (RTS), Australian research degree students are exempt from tuition fees for a limited time only. Students who exceed these times are liable to pay tuition fees.

  • Doctoral students are exempt from tuition fees for up to the equivalent of 4 years full time.
  • Masters by Research students are exempt from tuition fees for up to the equivalent of 2 years full time.

Fees for domestic candidates who exceed their RTS allocation

The fee for research degree students who exceed the time allocated will be set at the equivalent of Student contribution amount - Band 2.

This is a tuition fee payable up-front in full to the University of South Australia on or before the census date (see Enrolment information for more details) for the relevant period of study you are enrolled in.

Fee-relief scholarships – UniSA assistance

If you are eligible, you are encouraged to apply for a fee-relief scholarship. If your application is successful, you will be exempt from the payment of tuition fees to the University for a limited time.

FEE-HELP – government assistance

If you are liable for fees and do not receive a fee-relief scholarship, you may be eligible for FEE-HELP to defer some, or all, of your tuition fees. Eligible students are required to complete a 'Request for FEE-HELP Assistance' form before the census date (31 March and 31 August). FEE-HELP assistance forms are available at Campus Central 

Calculating the tuition fee payable

For administrative purposes, all research degree students are enrolled in programs, courses and non-timetabled classes, even though most do not undertake courses or attend classes. These courses are converted to a 'load' value known as EFTSL (Equivalent Full Time Student Load), which is a measure of the study load for a course in the research degree program.

The Unit Value for undertaking a full-time program at UniSA for a study period is 18 points and the Unit Value for undertaking a full-time program for a year (two study periods) is 36 points. All research degree courses have a Unit Value of 18 points and therefore an EFTSL of 0.5.

Tuition amounts for research degree students who have gone overtime are calculated per Unit of Study, which is equivalent to a 'course' at UniSA.

  • Full-time research degree students who exceed their tuition fee-free time allocation will pay for 18 units of study in each study period. 
  • Part-time research degree students who exceed their tuition fee-free time allocation will pay for 9 units of study in each study period.

Current fees are available on the Student contribution amount - Band 2 webpage.

Note: Study Periods is the new terminology for Semesters and Terms.

Fees for international

International research degree students either:

  • pay full tuition fees to the University for the duration of their research degree program
  • have tuition fees paid on their behalf if they are sponsored by their home government or university, or hold a Commonwealth-funded scholarship – for example, an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS), or have been awarded a University of South Australia scholarship which includes payment of tuition fees.


UniLife student services

Membership of the UniSA student services provider UniLife is voluntary. Students will not be considered members until they opt-in via the myUniSA student portal.

Enrolment information

The Graduate Research Centre enrols:

  • all research degree commencing students
  • research degree continuing students who make satisfactory progress into their research degree program. Enrolment occurs during January and February each year once the report of the student's progress is received.

All research degree students should check their enrolment on myUniSA. If you have any queries about your enrolment, please email research.students@unisa.edu.au

Census dates

The Australian Government requires that a reporting date be determined for each Unit of Study being offered in an academic year. These are known as 'census dates' and the University is required to report the student load to the government on those dates.

The applicable census dates for higher degree by research students are 31 March and 31 August.


* Please note: 'domestic' refers to Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents of Australia