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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Engineering

Managing facultyEngineering
Abbreviated titlePhDEng
CRICOS code041044D
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton, Gippsland, Sunway)
Off-campus (Clayton, Gippsland, Sunway)
Contact details



The PhD is awarded by the University to candidates who write and submit a thesis that represents a significant contribution to knowledge or understanding and which demonstrates the capacity to carry out independent research. Major areas of specialisation include those outlined below.

Research areas

Chemical engineering

Research in the Department of Chemical Engineering falls into 4 major areas: a) Energy, Fuels, Biorefining and Sustainable Processing; b) Biotechnology, Food and Pharmaceutical Engineering; c) Functional Nanomaterials; d) Surface & Colloidal Science and Molecular Rheology. Within these diverse research areas, technologies being developed include clean coal conversion processes, CO2 capture, advanced particle engineering, interfacial and adsorption science, pulp and paper technology, rheology, biochemical engineering, food engineering, solid-liquid separations, corrosion, design and synthesis of adsorbent materials using nanotemplating techniques, and nanostructured materials and membranes.

Civil engineering

Structural engineering, geoengineering, water resources and environmental engineering, transport and traffic engineering.

Electrical and computer systems engineering

Computer systems and software engineering, control engineering, electronics, telecommunications engineering, electrical power systems, biomedical engineering and robotics.

Materials engineering

Engineering light alloys, advanced polymer science and engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering, electronic and magnetic materials, thermo-mechanical processing, corrosion, nanomaterials, materials characterization, modelling and simulation of processes and properties, structural and functional ceramics.

Mechanical engineering

Aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, turbulence, structural mechanics, aerospace engineering, composites, heat transfer, micro/nano fluid and solid mechanics, biological engineering, robotics, mechatronics, railway engineering and maintenance engineering.


The objective of the course is for students to demonstrate a thorough understanding of relevant research techniques in their field through a review of the relevant literature. They will also demonstrate their ability, under supervision, to apply relevant research techniques to their chosen field of study. Through their research they must make an original contribution to their field of study.

Students will also be able to:

  • identify and define a research question
  • identify the appropriate research methods to address the research question
  • demonstrate mastery of their chosen research methodology
  • communicate their research findings in a format appropriate to their academic discipline
  • write up their research into a high quality document containing all the required components of a PhD thesis.


Probationary candidature

A candidate for a PhD will normally undertake the first year of studies on probation. During this probationary year, the candidate may be registered either for a Master of Engineering Science (Research) (MEngSc(Research)) or for a probationary PhD. Candidates who do not possess an honours degree in either the first or upper second class must register initially for an MEngSc(Research) degree.

Probationary PhD and MEngSc(Research) candidates are assessed after 12 months candidature and, if suitable, may convert to full PhD candidature. The transfer to full PhD status will be initiated by the Research Graduate School Committee in the case of a candidate who is registered for a probationary PhD or by the candidate's department or school in the case of a candidate who is registered for a MEngSc(Research). In either case, on receipt of a positive recommendation concerning the candidate's progress during the first year of research, the candidate will be permitted to transfer to full PhD candidature.

The maximum period of candidature for PhD is four years (full-time) or eight years (part-time). In most cases, where a candidate has converted from the MEngSc(Research),candidature for PhD is backdated to the start of MEngSc(Research) candidature.

Full-time and part-time candidature

The guidelines for part-time PhD candidature are the same as the 18 points listed in 'Full-time and part-time candidature' for the MEngSc(Research), save that part-time PhD candidates must also attend the department, faculty, centre, school or unit for not less than six of the first 24 months of candidature.

In engineering, the six months attendance requirement for each candidate will be specified at the time of admission. Each case is considered in terms of the candidate's demonstrated experience and aptitude for research.

All requests for admission to part-time candidature and for transfer from full-time to part-time candidature will be decided on their merits. The duration of candidature is three to four years for full-time candidates and eight years for part-time candidates.

External candidature

In special circumstances, external candidature for the PhD is available for interstate and international students. All external candidates are admitted on a probationary basis. Those admitted directly to PhD must attend on-campus for the first six months of candidature. After this period, a minimum of 15 days of attendance per year at the department for the duration of candidature is required. Apportionment of these days is determined on a case-by-case basis. A portion of this attendance can be off-campus, provided that the candidate is able to interact with the principal or associate (university) supervisor during this time. Proposals for programs considered equivalent to 15 days of residency will be considered by the faculty as they arise.

Regular interactive communication between candidate and supervisor should take place at least once a month via telephone, video conference or other interactive communication.

Candidates may be permitted to transfer between standard and external candidature in special circumstances, as assessed on a case-by-case basis. External candidates are permitted to transfer to external PhD candidature under the same guidelines which apply to standard candidature. All external candidates are admitted on a probationary basis.


Candidates are required to complete a thesis (normally not exceeding 100,000 words) in one of the areas of specialisation outlined under 'Course description'. The thesis must represent a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the discipline concerned and should demonstrate the capacity to carry out independent research.


Doctor of Philosophy