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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 to the University of South Australia (see Enrolment information for more details) for the number of days you are active in your research degree in the relevant research period that 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 relevant census date. 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 Research Period is 18 points and the Unit Value for undertaking a full-time program for a year (two Research 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 on a daily consumption basis. Both full-time and part-time domestic research degree students will pay for each day that they exceed their RTS allocation.

Fees are calculated based on a formula which takes into account the number of days the student is active in their research period, the total number of days in the research period, and the fees for that research period.

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

Note: Research Periods is the new research degree student terminology for Research Periods.

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 are automatically enrolled each year and will remain enrolled in each calendar year following their initial enrolment until:

  • all components of the degree program have been completed and the final thesis is submitted and the student is conferred, or
  • withdrawal, suspension or termination of enrolment

From January 2016 students will either be enrolled in a Research Period 1 and Research Period 3 enrolment pattern, or a Research Period 2 and Research Period 4 enrolment pattern. This will depend upon their initial enrolment date. You will be advised of you Research Period enrolment pattern in your enrolment letter.

The dates for the Research Periods which take effect from January 2016 are as follows:

Research Period


Research Period 1

January 1 - June 30

Research Period 2

April 1 - September 30

Research Period 3

July 1 - December 31

Research Period 4

October 1 - March 31


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 census dates for the Research Periods which take effect from January 2016 are as follows:

Research Period

Census Date

Research Period 1

April 19

Research Period 2

July 19

Research Period 3

October 19

Research Period 4

31 December


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