I want to apply for a PhD in Australia and I wrote a professor (who has an open position) with my CV. He was very positive in his mail and encouraged me to apply for that position. Now I want to know who is the decision-maker in taking a student and offering funds? I mean is it like the professor asks people to apply but the ultimate decision-maker is the university itself? Or the professor can take anyone if he wants to. What is most likely to be in Australia? Also, is it true the scholarship committee focuses solely on GPA, rather than research work? I mean is it possible if the GPA is not high but research experience and works are excellent?

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    There are two possible scenarios: (i) the professor has scholarships from a funding source, which could be from the industry or the Australian Research Council (ARC), or (ii) the scholarships are provided by the university. For (i), it is up to the professor to decide. For (ii), multiple committees are involved in the decision process. What the committee focuses on varies. If you have an excellent research record, but a relatively poor GPA, you may still get a scholarship. However, there are usually candidates with a high GPA and good research record. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:19
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    @Prof.SantaClaus That's an answer that belongs in the answer box.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:20
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    Why not ask the professor? "Could you confirm the source of this scholarship, and what the selection process will be?" is an entirely reasonable question. Whenever you apply for something, you ought to know who you're trying to convince and what they're looking for. There is no way random strangers on the internet can answer this for you - only the professor can give you a definitive answer.
    – avid
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 0:07

1 Answer 1


For Australia, both the supervisor and the university might reject a PhD student. Universities may often reject PhD students for inadequate language ability even if the supervisor wants the student. These decisions are based on a threshold, not based on who else applies.

Some supervisors have funding they can use to pay PhD students at their discretion, but most PhD students are funded through a university program. The fact that a position has been advertised does not mean the supervisor necessarily has funding for that position. For funding by a university, research experience is essential. Marks (not called GPA in Australia) are also considered. There is a fixed amount of funding available, so decisions depend on who else applies.

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