PhD opportunities


We welcome PhD applications from strong Australian and international candidates. The Australian PhD admission and scholarship award procedure are based on the merit of individual candidates. Being one of the world’s highest quality universities, requirements for admission to The Australian National University are naturally high and PhD scholarships extremely competitive.

Other pages on this website should give you a reasonable idea of the scope of our science and study opportunities. We rarely advertise scholarships to address a specific research question. Rather, research ideas you suggest will be considered, provided you can explain how they will be a good match with our overall research goal, interests, and experience, relating your proposal to our research and publications.

To be considered for admission or scholarship you will need to demonstrate:

  1. Ability to pursue high-quality research and publications
  2. Understanding of, and affinity with, water and landscape processes
  3. Experience with biophysical modelling or data analysis using scripting languages (e.g., Python, Matlab, or R)
  4. Ability to work both independently and with others
  5. Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  6. Good command of English

If you do not require a scholarship and are only seeking admission for PhD studies, then the eligibility requirements are the same as detailed for domestic PhD scholarships below. International students will need to pay tuition fees if they have not obtained an international scholarship.


Both domestic and international students can apply for an Australian Government Research Training Program (AGRTP) stipend scholarship. This stipend has a value of around $27,000 per year over 3 years, with a possible 6-month extension. The stipend covers relocation and family and medical costs. You can find more information on AGRTP scholarships here.

These scholarships are competitive. To be eligible (and usually, successful), applicants must hold a Bachelors degree with first-class honours (i.e. graded 80-100%) or a research Masters degree from a recognised university, or equivalent background.

International students will most likely need an additional grant to cover ANU tuition fees (see below).

There are two application rounds per year: the first and main round has a submission deadline of 31 October and results available in November or early December, for a start the next academic year (February). Usually, some scholarships remain unawarded, in which case there is a second round the following May.

International PhD tuition fee waivers

In principle, international students need to pay tuition fees. These are ca. $37,000 per year and therefore exceed the value of a PhD scholarship. Hence, most international PhD students will need a further grant to cover these tuition fees.

International students can apply to Australian Government Research Training Program (AGRTP) International Fee Offset Scholarship. This stipend directly covers tuition fees. You can find more information on AGRTP fee offset scholarships here.

These scholarships are extremely competitive. Your ranking will depend on your Bachelors and Masters coursework results, as well as your research thesis mark, and any research outputs or relevant work experience you can demonstrate. The ranking process is complicated, but to have a reasonable chance of obtaining this scholarship, you need to demonstrate a Grade Point Average (GPA) between your Bachelors and Masters overall results of at least around 93% and a similarly high mark for your research thesis.

In order to be considered for this scholarship in the main round of scholarships offers, International students need to apply for admission by 31 August latest.

Other international PhD scholarships

There are several other programs offering scholarships that cover both living costs and tuition fees. These schemes often target specific countries or groups of countries. One example is the Australian Government’s Endeavour Program (see information here). Other country-specific scholarships can be found here.

Citizens from the People’s Republic of China are eligible to apply for an ANU-CSC Scholarship. These scholarships are provided through a jointly funded scheme between ANU and the China Scholarship Council.  More information on ANU-CSC scholarships can be found here. While these scholarships are still very competitive, they are usually slightly easier to obtain than AGRTP fee offset scholarships.

Submission deadlines vary between schemes. If you wish to apply for a scholarship that requires a formal ANU admission offer, you will first need to complete the ANU admission process (see ‘How to apply?’ below).

Supplementary Scholarship

There may be opportunities to apply for a Supplementary Scholarship (or ‘top-up’). These will be discussed as part of your application for admission or for a base scholarship,  and depend on availability given the chosen topic and funding organisation. Rules and amounts vary between scholarship types. In some cases, students already enrolled for a PhD at ANU or at another Australian university may still be eligible for a Supplementary scholarship if a mechanism for close research collaboration exists, or can be established. In other cases, a Supplementary Scholarship may be offered conditional on the candidate transferring to the Fenner School.

How to apply?

If you want to apply for a scholarship or for admission, take the following steps:

Step 1) Carefully read the information on this page as well as this information on the ANU admission process.

Step 2) Using the information elsewhere on this website, orientate yourself on the group’s research and some suggested research topics, to see if and how they might relate to your research interests.

Step 3) Identify the most appropriate researcher in our team to supervise your research. (Note (16/7/2019): Albert van Dijk has currently reached the maximum limit of the number of PhD students for which he can act as primary supervisor, but other researchers in our team may still be available.)

Carefully follow the instructions below (if you do not, you may get an automated response referring you back to this web page, or no response at all):

  • Start your email with “I have carefully read the information on PhD opportunities in the ANU Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics, and believe I meet the stated requirements.
  • State what scheme or scholarship you wish to apply for.
  • Also in the email, give a brief calculation of the average of the GPA or grades for your (a) undergraduate degree, (b) postgraduate degree, and (c) postgraduate thesis. If helpful, briefly explain the university’s grading system. This needs to show that you meet or exceed the indicative percentage mentioned above for the targeted scheme. Note: an official assessment will be undertaken at a later stage as part of the candidate ranking process and may produce a different calculation.
  • Attach the following documents as pdf:
    • Cover letter, briefly explaining your interest and motivation, the proposed research topic or general research area, how this fits with our group, and how you meet the general requirements (see above).
    • Curriculum Vitae, containing your personal particulars, education, work experience, any awards or publications.
    • Academic transcripts, showing the courses you have taken.
    • If not clear from your transcripts, an official statement on the overall scores or GPA results for your most recent undergraduate degree, post-graduate degree, and final thesis.
    • Any publications in English, including your Masters or Honours thesis.
    • If you are from a non-English speaking country, your English test results. At this initial stage, it is acceptable if the test is no longer valid, however, a current and sufficiently high TOEFL or IELTS test results will have to be submitted at a later stage (Step 5) if proceeding.

Step 4) If your candidacy appears potentially competitive, our HDR administrator will assess your transcripts and assign a formal equivalent GPA. You will be informed of the outcome.

Step 5) Depending on the outcome, you will be encouraged and supported to formally submit your PhD scholarship application. In that case, you will need to ask your referees to submit their assessments through the ANU online form.