Southern Cross GeoScience regularly has opportunities for post graduate students. Potential students interested in completing an honours, masters or PhD project with Southern Cross GeoScience are encouraged to contact the Centre.
PhD positions are currently available with Assoc. Prof. Ed Burton.
This fully-funded position will resolve previously unexplored aspects of iron-sulfur geochemistry in anoxic aqueous environments. The position will remain open until filled. The specific topic can be tailored to the applicants interests, as long as there is a focus on the formation and transformation of metastable iron sulfide minerals in soils or sediments, and/or the implications of such behaviour for trace element mobility. Examples of suitable topics include:
- arsenic mobility in flooded soils,
- iron mineralogical controls on wetland soil biogeochemistry,
- iron sulfide formation and element mobility in sulfidogenic environments,and
- schwertmannite stability in wetland soils.
If you are interested in collaborating or undertaking a PhD project on this topic, please contact Assoc. Prof. Ed Burton email@example.com
Undertaking Higher Degree Research at Southern Cross GeoScience - FAQ
Successful completion of a research project is one third motivation, one third hard work and one third academic excellence. With unrivalled research expertise supported by well-equipped facilities, personal supervision and an international reputation for excellence (ARC ERA 5 ranked in Geochemistry), SCU GeoScience provides every advantage to succeed during your Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master by Research (MSc).
What is a Higher Degree by Research (HDR)?
A Higher Degree by Research is a term that collectively refers to degrees such as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Master by Research (e.g. MSc).
Despite the names of these higher degrees, PhD's and MSc's do not necessarily focus on philosophy, with research routinely undertaken in areas as diverse as earth sciences, geochemistry, molecular biology, law, business, health as well as many other fields.
An HDR student produces new knowledge and expertise to their chosen field that is innovative, relevant and progressive. HDR students are groundbreaking with their research in whatever discipline they choose.
What qualifications do I need before I can start an HDR?
The most common qualifications for entry into an HDR are a Bachelor's degree with honours, or a research Master's degree.
Other acceptable qualifications include a postgraduate qualification with at least one year of full-time equivalent study with a significant research component, or relevant research experience. For further information see here.
How long does it take to do a PhD or an MSc?
A PhD is expected to take three years, while an MSc is expected to take two years to complete based on a full-time study load. However, SCU allows PhD candidates to take up to four years for their PhD studies.
What must I do to be awarded an HDR?
Candidates will need to produce a thesis based on their own original research that represents a significant new contribution to their discipline. For a PhD, this thesis needs to be no more than ~100,000 words, while an MSc requires a thesis of no more than ~50,000 words.
Can I choose any topic for my thesis?
Prospective HDR candidates can choose from a wide range of research expertise within our Special Research Centre Southern Cross GeoScience (SCGS) including geochemistry, soil science, geology/geomorphology, oceanography, archaeology or geochronology to name a few.
It is a good idea to first decide on the general area of research that appeals to you. The next step is to discuss your ideas with the Director of Higher Degree Research Training from SCGS. Please find the research area and interests of particular academics within the Centre at: the Centre's People Page where you can access the individual Academic Staff Page.
The criteria that will be used to assess your application include the significance of the research, that the research can be completed in an acceptable timeframe and that there is adequate funding, facilities, and supervision to support your project.
Can I take a break from my HDR studies and return at a later date?
Domestic students (those who hold citizenship in Australia or New Zealand, or permanent residency in Australia) can interrupt their HDR studies for up to 12 months in total over the duration of their studies. International students can only be granted an interruption on compassionate or compelling grounds.
All HDR students (both domestic and international) are entitled to sick and/or parental leave on approval by the SCU HDR Committee, as well as up to 20 working days of recreational leave per year.
Can I study an HDR part time?
Domestic candidates may enrol part-time, but there are some conditions for international candidates.
International candidates who hold a student visa are not eligible for part-time enrolment. Only international candidates who are studying remotely, or who hold an alternative visa, can enrol part-time. Please be aware that you should always verify the conditions of their visa with the SCU International Office.
Full time candidates are expected to study for at least the equivalent of a standard five-day working week for 48 weeks of the year. A part time candidate is expected to study for 50% of that quota.
Can I study remotely or should I work from SCU's Lismore campus?
Southern Cross GeoScience (SCGS) offers HDR candidates access to outstanding facilities and world-renowned research experts who are integral to the success of their project. As a result, the majority of candidates study close to the Lismore campus. The University does understand that some candidates need to study remotely due to personal circumstances, and permission may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Candidates wishing to study remotely must be able to demonstrate that they can maintain satisfactory contact with their advisory team, that they have access to all necessary facilities needed for their research, and that they are making satisfactory progress.
International candidates who are living in Australia on a student visa are unable to study remotely due to the conditions of their student visa.
Can I do an HDR in a different area to what my previous degree is in?
A successful HDR application must show that the applicant has a sufficient research background, must demonstrate that the project is significant to the field of research, that the research can be completed in an acceptable timeframe, that appropriate academic expertise is available, and that adequate funding and facilities are available.
Therefore, applicants who propose to undertake research in a field that is different to their previous tertiary qualifications will need to demonstrate that they have sufficient background knowledge in the new discipline.
Who do I contact to discuss my interest about studying an HDR at SCGS?
Your first point of contact should be the Director of HDR Training for SCGS (A/Prof Anja Scheffers – firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Research Training Unit, and a list of contact details can be found here.
Once you have discussed your proposed research, if you have any further questions about applying for admission to study for a HDR at Southern Cross University, please contact the Research Training Unit at SCU here.
To apply, please follow the step-by-step process outlined here.
Can I start an HDR at any time during the year?
Candidates can commence their studies at any point during the year, but those who are applying for scholarships should note that they will benefit most from their enrolment, by selecting a starting date according to relevant scholarship deadlines.
Can I apply for an HDR before I have completed my Masters/Honours?
Often HDR applicants will need to both talk to either prospective HDR supervisors and/or the HDR Director as well as apply for scholarships that will support their intended HDR candidatures, well before they have been awarded their Honours or Masters degrees. However, when formally applying for admission to study an HDR, an applicant will need to include the results from the highest tertiary qualification they have attained. It is therefore advisable for an applicant to have completed their Honours or Master's degrees before formally applying for admission to an HDR.
How much does it cost to do an HDR?
Domestic students (who have citizenship in Australia or New Zealand or permanent residency in Australia) are not required to pay tuition fees during their HDR candidature as they are covered by the Australian Government's Research Training Scheme.
International candidates are required to pay tuition fees, which vary according to the Faculty or Institute of enrolment. Further information can be discussed with the SCU Research Training Unit under the link here.
What scholarships are available for HDR candidates?
SCU offers a wide range of scholarships for both domestic and international HDR candidates that may cover tuition fees and the cost of living. Scholarships can be awarded individually, or as a combined package, depending on financial and eligibility requirements.
Many scholarships are awarded on a merit basis, and interested applicants should click here for more information. Unfortunately SCU cannot advise as to the likelihood of an applicant being awarded a scholarship prior to their application.
If I am an international applicant, how do I prove my English proficiency?
International applicants will need to prove their English proficiency when applying for admission to an HDR, and the best method is by achieving the required levels by taking a recognised English test such as IELTS or TOEFL. Please see for further information here.
While this information relates to the HDR program within SCGS, candidates should refer to the Research Training Unit's website (see here) for the most up to date procedures, forms, and general information. The RTU is available to offer advice and support to anyone who is considering HDR study at SCU.
Student Liaison Officer, Research Training Unit
t: +61 2 6620 3414
f: +61 2 6626 9145
Updated: 04 December 2013