I am thinking to apply for a PhD Programme in Australia. But having a look at the websites of almost all the universities, I got to know that the amount of stipend per year a PhD candidate gets is quite low in comparison to the fee. Is it with the whole world, or its just the case with Australia?

  • 6
    Fees are waived in US for doctoral students with teaching assistantships. I don't know if this is true in Australia.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jan 11 at 0:12
  • 3
    @Buffy Or any other assistantship or fellowship most often; US PhD programs have a listed tuition cost but no one should ever pay it unless they are independently wealthy.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jan 11 at 0:44
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    More precisely, STEM PhDs should never pay tuition. Other fields, not to mention medical or law school, are different.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jan 11 at 2:03
  • @JonCuster Honestly I'd extend it to all fields for PhD; medical and law school are not PhDs.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jan 11 at 15:25
  • @BryanKrause - For better or worse, many of the liberal arts PhDs get minimal support from their program. Many end up working part time to keep afloat. They may get a tuition break, but often no stipend. Whether that is right or wrong, or why people apply and attend is a different question.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jan 11 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


For Australian PhD programs, assuming you get the standard RTP scholrship (which is the standard scholarship 90+% of domestic students get) there are two independent components, the tuition fee offset, which covers all tuition fees which the university states they would charge and a stipend of approximately $30K AUD per annum.

For the RTP scholarship, the stipend lasts 3.5-3.75 years while the offset lasts 4 years. Essentially, you would only potentially have to pay tuition fees if you take longer than 4 years full-time study to submit your thesis.

For most students in my school, time from start to submission takes around 3.75-4 years, so many students have to go without stipend for a few months near the end, but I have not met anyone who was charged for tuition fees.


According to this University of Sydney page, the Research Training Program scholarship includes a stipend and pays the tuition fees.


From a European perspective, fees for PhDs are uncommon in most major countries. You either get a stipend or a salary, but generally PhD students do not pay to do their PhD. Keep in mind, however, that the height of stipends and salaries varies widely (e.g. Germany >> Italy, STEM >> humanities and so on).

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    I'm not sure I fully agree to this. If you count the UK as part of the "European perspective"; it is true that paying tuition fees is uncommon -- those would be covered by the PhD bursary, which would also pay a monthly stipend for the students' living expenses. During my PhD in France, I was a salaried employee, but actually, I had to pay the tuition fees myself, out-of-pocket. Fortunately, these were only about €400/year, so while it felt like a massive hit on my student finances, it was definitely manageable.
    – penelope
    Commented Jan 11 at 13:58
  • I agree that it's not quite correct, however, tuition fees in the European, without the Anglosaxen, system are not the same as tuition fees in the latter. Another example from Switzerland: PhD Salary ~ 45K/y, tuition fee for PhD 400/y.
    – Mayou36
    Commented Jan 11 at 16:12

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