This question is about Higher Degree Research in Australia.

I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Statistics at an Italian university, and I have planned to go to Australia in the future for postgraduate studies. My final goal is to get admitted into a PhD program (in Statistics or related fields), so there are two possible routes: [1] MPhil/Master by Research (without Honours degree), then PhD; [2] Honours degree then PhD; ([3] PhD directly? the odd is 0 I guess)

In order to get admitted to a MPhil program, most Australian universities require applicants to have a bachelor honours degree, a full-time one year study after getting bachelor's degree. A few universities require me to have some research experience if I only have bachelor's degree (3 years), but I am not clear how much research experience I do need.

In Italy, it takes 3 years to finish bachelor's program, and basically there is no "formal" research component in my course structure other than completing the bachelor's thesis (short one - 15 pages). I reached one of my favourite professors, asking him for research experience. He said he might be able to supervise me from the next academic year. Of course, if it comes true, I will do it seriously. CGPA is not a problem for me, and I have a really good understanding of what I am studying. However, it is still a 3 years degree with no formal research component, and at the moment, I have no networking with any professor in Australia. I will reach them in the future (as it is required).

It is costly for an Honours degree in Australia. There will be some advanced courses to take and a honours project. Of course, in the worst case scenario, I am willing to do it to fulfill the requirement for HDR programs. However, it would be better if I start with MPhil first. There will be a chance that I will get postgraduate scholarship (RTP scholarship). It will be kinda a "jump" if I go straight into research program. However, there will be likely a few months gap between my graduation day and the day I go to Australia, so I can spend this time filling the knowledge gap if there is any. I am always willing to learn. I have curiousity for what I do, and I am a self-disciplined student.

I know that sometimes (many times) at Australian universities, many professors made exceptions to accept a student who has not fulfilled the academic requirement for a specific program, but normally they (people I know) were already students at the universities where the professors were working. I, on the other hand, am a student at an Italian university.

It is a really long post. I truly do not know what my question is. Probably, I want to know if it is too bad to apply for a MPhil program without an Honours degree in Australia. Is it a problem if I skip the honours program? Will I miss many important skills and knowledge comparing to those who do honours degree?

  • 1
    ASK the institution(s) you might be thinking of applying to. The right kind of administrator will love giving advice. And it is enormously refreshing for them to find potential applicants actually thinking about what they are applying for, not just ticking boxes. That sort of thing tends to get remembered if and when you do apply. Aug 28 at 9:14
  • @MartinKochanski I had an opportunity to talk to admission advisors and professors at the university that I am going to apply. They said my qualification was eligible for the MPhil program, and from MPhil I could proceed into PhD in just one year, and they encouraged me to apply for MPhil instead of Honours. Thank you for the wise advice. I took it :)
    – edelweiss
    Aug 31 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


In Australian universities, an "Honours" and "Masters" are pretty close to interchangeable. There is some random variation in terminology among universities and programs.

Keep in mind that Australian universities often offer these degrees primarily as a way to get money from international students.

  • Yes I am aware of that too. That is why I just want to go directly to MPhil program. There is RTP scholarship for MPhil students, but I do think they give preference to PhD students.
    – edelweiss
    Aug 27 at 23:33

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