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University of South Australia (UNISA)

Adelaide , South Australia ,Australia

Masters by Research (Indigenous, Australian Studies)

A research degree is an advanced program of study allowing you to investigate a topic relevant to your field. Under the supervision of world-class researchers, research degree students learn and apply advanced research methodologies to produce new knowledge and provide solutions to the world’s challenges. Completing a research degree means becoming an expert in your field. It’s your opportunity to take a topic that interests you, explore it in depth, tackle intellectual, creative and practical challenges, and communicate your findings.

You can study a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Professional Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy (by Portfolio of Publications) and Masters by Research.

UniSA research is inspired by the challenges and opportunities of today. In the 2018 Australian Research Council Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation of Australian universities, all of our assessed research was rated at world class or above. We are vibrant, outward-facing and responsive. We partner with industry, government and communities to seek answers to questions that arise in the real world. Our research themes are:

An age friendly world
Transforming industries
Scarce resources
Healthy futures
Transforming societies

The transformed PhD
UniSA intends to deliver industry and end-user informed research that supports employer-relevant curriculum. To achieve this, and to produce entrepreneurial and business-aware graduates, we have developed the transformed PhD.

We have added a structured component to research degrees including enhanced skill development, supervisory panels and a technology-enabled oral defence of the thesis. Through these activities you will develop a set of professional, transferable skills relevant to our knowledge-based enterprise economy.

The aim of the transformed PhD is to increase your employment prospects in any career path. You will possess the knowledge, expertise and confidence to meet the emerging needs of academia, industry, government and the community.

Four good reasons to do a research degree
Challenge yourself. You will need to work hard, be dedicated and think analytically at a high level. You will tackle completely new research and different research methods, or extend research already undertaken.
Increase your career opportunities. A research degree provides evidence of independent thought and the ability to manage a research project in a given timeframe. Your research could allow you to develop a new specialisation, academic field or career. A research degree at UniSA will also allow you to develop a skillset which sets you apart, putting you at the centre of your professional development.
Make your ideas public. Your research findings may be published, presented at conferences, provide a commercial return and have a positive impact on society.
Contribute to society. Discover new methods, understandings and techniques, and solve a real-world problem.

Research students have the opportunity to complete exciting and innovative research topics that span areas such as:

social work
human services
Aboriginal and Australian studies
Our research is also facilitated by a range of different research groups, including:

Australian Centre for Child Protection: dedicated to research that focuses on practical tools and techniques that benefit front-line staff in child and family protective services so that they can truly help children and families.
Centre for Workplace Excellence: giving organisations the knowledge to empower them to achieve excellence in organisational productivity and employee wellbeing.
Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Research Hub (CSN-RH): undertaking state-of-the-art research on the human mind, brain and behaviour.
Behaviour-Brain-Body Research Centre: bringing together expertise in sleep, nutrition and activity to understand their combined impact on chronic illness.
Find a supervisor and research area
To find a research area, you'll need to match your qualifications and interests to the research programs and degrees offered at the University of South Australia. Browse our research degrees. Once you’ve done that, you will need to find a supervisor. A supervisor is an academic staff member who will work with you throughout your research degree. In your online application we will ask you to provide the name of your proposed UniSA supervisor. Learn more and find a research supervisor.

Campus Information


In Adelaide’s leafy eastern suburbs, Magill hosts programs in the areas of education, humanities and social sciences.


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Application Processing Time in Days: 15

Minimum English Language Requirements

English Level Description IELTS (1.0 -9.0) TOEFL IBT (0-120) TOEFL CBT (0-300) PTE (10-90)
Expert 9 120 297-300 86-90
Very Good 8.5 115-119 280-293 83-86
Very Good 8 110-114 270-280 79-83
Good 7.5 102-109 253-267 73-79
Good 7 94-101 240-253 65-73
Competent 6.5 79-93 213-233 58-65
Competent 6 60-78 170-210 50-58
Modest 5.5 46-59 133-210 43-50
Modest 5 35-45 107-133 36-43
Limited 4 32-34 97-103 30-36
Extremely Limited < 4 < 31 < 93 < 30

Job Opportunity Potential

Teaching and Research

UniSA has an excellent reputation in teaching and learning and an enviable record of achievement in graduate employability. Our teaching focuses around preparing students to be work-ready through relevant and industry-informed curricula. UniSA ensures its teachers motivate, challenge and stimulate students’ learning, with our research activity informing our teaching across our broad discipline profile.

Teaching and learning excellence are at the centre point of our promotion criteria, performance management practices, and approaches to rewards and recognition for our academic staff.

Research at UniSA is inspired by challenges and opportunities, partnered with industry and communities, and underpinned by excellence. Our academics engage in interdisciplinary teams to translate their research into meaningful outcomes. Contributing to a research environment that is vibrant, responsive and outward-facing are the University’s research themes. The themes link our research strengths and address local and global socio-economic needs:

  • An age friendly world
  • Transforming industries
  • Scarce resources
  • Cancer
  • Healthy futures
  • Transforming societies

Our flagship institutes and strategic alliances include the Future Industries Institute, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, Sansom Institute for Health Research and the Centre for Cancer Biology. Further information about our enterprising research and research centres and concentrations can be found at our Research page.

Industry Connections

Real solutions don’t happen without great partnerships. We have partnered with local icons and international heavyweights to drive the advancements behind a better society. Across the University, we seek to match our research capability and strengths with the opportunities, challenges and needs of our partners, and maximise the mutual benefits of engagement.

With a growing presence on Adelaide’s cultural calendar and as a partner across arts, culture and sporting events, we’re acting on a social mission to enrich our society. Our campus spaces stimulate and foster creativity and innovation, support new models of learning, support our enterprise researchers and connect with the community.

Professional staff

As a professional staff member you get exposure to the research and teaching at UniSA, and work closely with leading academics who through research and teaching, are shaping the professionals of the future.

Professional staff support both staff and students, and this ranges from career advice services to students, finance, HR, marketing, facilities and management, research support – all of these areas are critical to supporting the day-to-day operations of departments and the university as a whole. There are numerous benefits and opportunities for personal development at UniSA.

A research higher degree will give you a competitive edge in the workplace. You may choose to pursue a career in academia, or in research with a research institution or university. Alternatively, you may choose to work in your chosen specialisation. For graduating students there are a range of employment options, including: 

ongoing research in Aboriginal Studies 
teaching and lecturing  
policy development 
government and non-government organisation involved in Aboriginal health, housing, education and employment 
child protection policy development
Advanced research experience may also be the gateway to the Australian Public Service or leading NGOs.

A research degree graduate of the University of South Australia:

understands current research based knowledge in their field and its methodologies for creating new knowledge. They can create, critique, and appraise new and significant knowledge.
is prepared for lifelong learning in pursuit of ongoing personal development and excellence in research within and beyond a discipline or professional area
is an effective problem solver, capable of applying logical, critical and creative thinking to a range of research problems
can work both autonomously and collaboratively as a researcher within a particular discipline or professional area and within wider but related areas
is committed to ethical action and social responsibility as a researcher in a discipline or professional area and as a leading citizen
communicates effectively as a researcher in a discipline or professional area and as a leading member of the community
demonstrates international perspectives in research in a discipline or professional area and as a leading citizen

PSW Opportunity

Bachelor Degree or Masters by Coursework Degree - 2 years - 3 years (Adelaide)

Masters by Research - 3 years - 4 years (Adelaide)

PhD qualification - 4 years - 5 years (Adelaide)

Admission Requirement / Eligibility Criteria

Admission requires applicants to hold or be eligible to hold:
an Honours degree or a Bachelor degree with honours; or
a relevant Bachelor degree (or equivalent) of at least 3 years with a minimum credit average; or
an appropriate Masters degree; or
satisfy the Dean of Research that their previous education, relevant professional experience and published research work is of sufficient quality and relevance to prepare the applicant for a research degree
IELTS (overall) 6.5
TOEFL iBT (overall) 79
TOEFL PBT (overall) 577
PTE 58
Cambridge CAE/CPE 177