The IR Department at ANU is one of the leading centres in the world for PhD students.

Our PhD program equips you with the critical, analytical and communication skills necessary for a career at the forefront of scholarly and public debates. We provide a stimulating, supportive intellectual environment conducive to learning and the exchange of ideas. We encourage rigorous, innovative scholarship and respect diverse perspectives on, and approaches to, research.


The PhD programme takes between two and four years. Both domestic and international applicants to the program can apply for scholarships that last for up to 3.5 years of your candidature. These scholarships match any on offer in Australia and compare favourably to our international peers.

PhD students work under the direction of a supervisory panel, usually consisting of three faculty, which bring together expertise tailored to your needs. Your time in the department is governed by a series of ‘milestones’ that you need to pass through at certain times. This ensures that you finish your thesis in a timely fashion and that any issues or concerns are brought to our attention as soon as possible.

Milestones in the IR Department include:

  • Research and methods training during your first year.
  • Research integrity training and ethical clearance for fieldwork.
  • An initial project proposal 9–12 months after enrolment.
  • Annual plans that provide details of your work schedule for the next 12 months.
  • Annual reports that detail your progress against your previous plan.
  • Mid-term reviews that outline how your project is progressing.
  • Thesis reports delivered towards the end of your candidature.
  • A public seminar to help disseminate your research.

We view PhD candidates as a professional appointment, the equivalent of a full-time job. We expect you to work regularly in the Department, join in Departmental activities such as workshops and seminars, and contribute to the thriving intellectual life of the Department.

When you join the Department as a PhD student, you are considered to be a full member of our academic community, working closely alongside faculty. You will be provided with office space in the Hedley Bull building and will have access to the ANU library system consisting of several world-class libraries. PhD students will also commonly be given opportunities to do some paid teaching during their candidature.

We recognise that to become a leading thinker you need to present your work at conferences and conduct fieldwork. We offer generous funding (currently $7,000) for each of our PhD scholars over the course of their candidature for these activities.


We are keen to hear from prospective PhD scholars. If you are interested in applying for a PhD with us, we ask that you review the information on this page and, if you meet the requirements, prepare an ‘Expression of Interest’. Please note that the Department does not offer MPhil degrees.

Academic eligibility

To gain admission to the PhD program you will need to have at least an upper second-class honours degree (in the Australian system) or its equivalent if you are an international applicant. In the US system this equates to a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5. We have a strong preference for this degree being in International Relations or a cognate field. As the IR Department only accepts a few PhD students each year, we rarely accept applications from students who do not possess a first class honours degree or a GPA of 3.75.

Meeting these requirements does not automatically mean that you will be offered a place. Final decisions are based on a range of factors, including available supervisory support. At the same time, admission does not automatically mean that you receive a scholarship. The two are handled separately. More information is available on the fees and scholarships page.

English language requirements

The University requires international students whose first language is not English to provide evidence of English language proficiency. It uses the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and requires an overall band score of 6.5, with no individual scores below 6. The test needs to be dated within the last two years. More information is available here: Policy: English Language Admission Requirements for Students.

Domestic students

Expressions of interest from domestic applicants can be sent to the department’s Deputy HDR convenor at any time.

A domestic applicant who wishes to be considered for an ANU scholarship is required to submit a full application through the ANU Application Manager by either 31st March or 30th September. This timeframe is designed so that we can help you finalise your application package before the scholarship committees meet.

Applications that are submitted after 31st March but before 30th April, or after 30th September but before 31st October, will be considered for the relevant scholarship round. However, these applications risk being incomplete at the time of consideration and will not have benefitted from the department’s review process.

For non-ANU scholarships where formal acceptance to a university is a requirement of the scholarship, prospective students must express their interest in the department’s programs to the Deputy HDR convenor at least two months before the deadline for these scholarships.

International students

Expressions of Interest must be sent to the department’s Deputy HDR convenor no later than 31 May.

An international applicant who wishes to be considered for an ANU scholarship is required to submit a full application through the ANU Application Manager by 31 July at the latest. This timeframe is designed so that we can help you finalise your application package before the scholarship committees meet.

Applications that are submitted after 31st July but before 31 August will still be considered. However, these applications risk being incomplete at the time of consideration and will not have benefitted from the department’s review process.


Applying: Stage 1

The first step in your application is to prepare an ‘Expression of Interest’. This is not a formal application to the University. Instead, it helps you make contact with the Department and gives us an opportunity to assess whether you meet the entry requirements, what the nature of your work is, and what faculty might be suitable, and available, for supervision.

The Expression of Interest has three parts to it.

  1. An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  2. Academic transcripts from your previous degree(s).
  3. A PhD proposal.

The PhD proposal should be a document of 3,000-4,000 words, which includes: a clear statement of the central question you wish to address, an explanation of why this question is interesting and how it contributes to existing debates in IR, a brief statement of the methodology you propose to use, and a draft timeline for completion of the thesis. This proposal should also include a bibliography of key works.

This document is very important – it is our first step in assessing your potential to undertake a PhD with us.

Where do I send my Expression of Interest? What happens next?

Once you have prepared an Expression of Interest, it should be forwarded to the Deputy HDR Convenor in the Department (currently Luke Glanville). We ask that potential students do not contact individual staff members first. All inquiries should be directed to the Deputy HDR Convenor.

The Deputy HDR Convenor will review your Expression of Interest to assess whether it meets our requirements. If they believe it does so, the Expression of Interest will be forwarded to other colleagues. This allows us to arrive at a preliminary assessment of your application and establish whether supervisory support is available.

At this point, the Deputy HDR Convenor will send you an email outlining the Department’s decision on whether we wish to proceed with your application.

Stage 2: Formal application

If your Expression of Interest has been accepted, the next stage is to make a formal application to the university for admission and for any relevant scholarships. The application process for admission and university scholarships is combined, so you will only need to submit one set of documents and forms.

The Deputy HDR Coordinator, or another relevant staff member, will work with you to refine your proposal and shape your application to maximise your chance of scholarship success.

When applying, pleasure ensure that you apply to the following course:

Doctor of Philosophy, International, Political and Strategic Studies, with the course code 9510 and the Graduate Research Field Pol. Sci. and Internat. Rels.

When filling in the application, you will be asked who you have already contacted. Please indicate that you have contacted the Deputy HDR Convenor.

We are keen to hear from prospective PhD Scholars. Please direct all inquiries to the Deputy HDR convenor via email.

Before you contact the Deputy HDR convenor, please review the information on academic eligibility and English language requirements. If you meet these, prepare an ‘Expression of Interest’ before contacting individual academics.

Deepak Nair Department of International Relations

Dr Deepak Nair

HDR Convenor
Department of International Relations

Luke Glanville.jpg

Associate Professor Luke Glanville

(Please contact for admissions related queries)
Deputy HDR Convenor
Department of International Relations