Hi I and a Student from Sri Lanka and I do have 2 Bachelors degrees one with a Class (2nd Class Honors) and another General degree. However I do wish to enroll to a PhD program, possibly in Australia. Is it possible to do so. I have studied mainly in the stream of Cyber Security.

I tried with applying for a few Universities and some hadn't replied as well. However one of my colleagues had received a scholarship for PhD with the same results.

Can anyone explain the feasibility of the things that I have mentioned about?

  • What does 2nd Class Honors mean? Googling suggests it is a UK term and there's an upper 2nd Class Honors and a lower 2nd Class Honors. One answer (academia.stackexchange.com/a/134656/22768) to the question assumes you have low second class, but I don't see evidence in the question that that's the case.
    – user2768
    Aug 14, 2019 at 8:33
  • 1
    @user2768, it's mentioned in the title, but not in the body of the question. One of the OP's comments also mentions this, and what looks like a GPA score.
    – Emma
    Aug 14, 2019 at 9:01
  • @Emma Missed that! I don't know why users don't make questions easy to read...
    – user2768
    Aug 14, 2019 at 9:03
  • I think this question is too narrow, but if it could be generalised, it can be a very useful one. "How to get a PhD position with low undergrad scores?"
    – Davidmh
    Aug 14, 2019 at 9:29
  • Do you have research experience? I don't know about Australia, but in Sweden, with most professors, a good MSc thesis will be far more important than grades. Coming from Sri Lanka your university will be mostly unknown, so that does plays against you.
    – Davidmh
    Aug 14, 2019 at 9:32

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately with your record. you have zero chance of getting an international student scholarship from Australia (formerly called "IPRS" and now "Australian Government Research Training Program International Fee Offset Scholarship"). Best to be realistic about this from the get go.

Equally, I cannot think of any academic who would be likley to provide a scholarship based on your record (low second class) and no evidence of research potential. If you have a friend who did so, I think there must have been extraordinary circumstances (e.g. research publications) or else it was a very low tier university.

The only possibility you have is to get funding from Sri Lanka and then try to find a supervisor in Australia who will accept you. This funding needs to have two parts - (1) money to pay the substantial fees that Australia charges overseas students and (2) money to support you living in Australia which is not cheap even living the student life.

The reality is that you are competing with people who have evidence of research capacity. This comes usually through published papers. If you have not done any research that is publishable in the past the options are to work in the literature and produce a review paper on a topic of broad interest. This is a path that I have seen used successfully in the past. Alternatively do you volunteer in a research lab, do you have experience in research procedures that you have developed through spending time in a research lab?

Without some evidence of a capacity for research, it's hard to be at all positive about your chances of achieving your goal.

Sorry to blunt!

Best wishes

  • At many universities a 2-2 is below even the entry requirement, let alone a scholarship. Aug 14, 2019 at 7:06
  • Thank you for your answer. I do have a final year research publication but not in a journal though. However thanks for being realistic Aug 14, 2019 at 8:23

You probably have two options for Australia at least. One is more likely than the other:

Apply for an RTP (Research Training Program) formerly known as an APA (Australian Postgraduate Award) which is funded by the Australian federal govt. However, I have only included this as an option for the sake of completeness. These are highly competitive and based on research potential. At this stage of your academic career, assuming you have no publications, this will more than likely boil down to your GPA. I guess you have to be in it to win it though. This requires residency or citizenship.

The other, more likely approach, is to find a potential supervisor with similar research interests who has funding either directly from the university through a named scholarship, or is in receipt of funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC). You can find the names of these researchers directly on the ARC website. Visa requirements here are just that you have the right to pursue tertiary education. It has probably changed since I did it. But, for what it’s worth my visa was subclass 457.

  • 1
    I'm guessing the questioner is an international student. If I'm not wrong, both of your suggestions require a student to hold permanent residency or citizenship. Aug 14, 2019 at 5:16
  • Well actually, yes the RTP requires residency. The others do not and only require a postgrad visa. This is how I got my PhD. I’ll update. Aug 14, 2019 at 5:18
  • Yes I am an international student :) Aug 14, 2019 at 5:19
  • The Second class Honors is actually a Second class Lowe div Honors. 3.15/4.00 Aug 14, 2019 at 5:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .