Graduate Certificate in Research

The Graduate Certificate in Research is a postgraduate program (AQF 8) that provides the opportunity to develop advanced research skills and is a pathway to study Master’s by research or Doctorate.

This degree will be suited to those with ambition to do a Master’s by research or Doctorate but do not meet the usual admissions requirements. It provides an entry pathway to research higher degrees in as little as six months. It is also suited to professionals in a range of industry, government and community settings wishing to expand their research capability.

The degree content will be tailored to suit your current employment context and/or areas of research interest through any of the Federation University Institutes, and students will have access to supervisors across the Federation University Institutes and Research Centres.

Upon successful completion of this degree, graduates are invited to apply for a PhD opportunity of their choosing with conditional entry offered by Federation University.


Example Program Structure: Students will undertake a research project (30 credit points) of their choice, supervised by an academic in their research field, along with electives (totalling 30 credit points) to complement their research training and strengthen their research skills.

Course Code: RE4

Locations: Ballarat (Mt Helen), Gippsland (Churchill), Berwick, and Online.

Duration: Students may commence in either Semester 1 or Semester 2. Domestic students may study part-time or full-time (6 months full-time / 12 months part-time). International students are expected to enrol full-time.

Staff Study Scholarships: Full-time staff may apply to have fees waived, subject to the approval of the GRS and any relevant Institute.

Fees: Full Fee-paying place is $11,700 for domestic tuition fees. Students may be eligible for FEE-HELP to assist pay all or part of tuition fees

Entry requirements

Successful completion of Australian Master’s by Coursework in any field; or overseas equivalent, or extensive work experience in a related industry with an undergraduate degree, to be assessed on a case by case basis.

International students must have completed IELTS English language assessment with an overall band score of 6.0, with no band less than 6.0 or equivalent, plus the equivalent academic admission requirements described for domestic students.

Students who have completed a Bachelor degree, and also worked in industry for at least 5 years, may also be eligible for entry into the Graduate Certificate of Research. Prospective students with significant industry experiences should contact the Program Coordinator to discuss their eligibility for this degree.

Eligibility for entry into a higher degree by research: The main purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Research is to be a pathway into higher degrees by research. For a student to become eligible for entry to either a Master’s by research, or PhD, they must have achieved the following minimum grades:

For entry to Master's by research: whole of program course grade average = 70% (H2B equivalent), with at least 70% in the core project component.

For entry to Doctor of Philosophy: whole of program course grade average = 75% (H2A equivalent), with at least 70% in the core project component.


Step 1 Assess your eligibility.

Prospective students should check their eligibility to the Graduate Certificate in Research (GCR) with the entry requirements listed above and can discuss their eligibility with the Program coordinator.

Step 2 Find a project and supervisor.

It is a good idea to do your groundwork to find a project and supervisor. Make appointments to talk with a range of academic staff about your research interests and decide whether you can work well within their research group.

You can find information about Federation University research centres and groups at or explore research projects suitable for your Graduate Certificate, along with staff profiles in each Institute

Some questions to help decide what research you want to work on:

  • What research conversations do you enjoy and want to join?
  • What research methodologies interest you?
  • What research skills would you need to develop?
  • How will the research topic help you in your job or higher education ambitions?

The Program Coordinator can also assist students find potential supervisors and projects.

Step 3 Find electives that will develop your research skills and complement the project.

Prospective students will need to select electives (totalling 30 credit points) to complement their research training and strengthen their research skills. It is a good idea to discuss electives with your supervisor and program coordinator. Electives can be chosen from any institute across the university at the AQF level 8 or 9

Example program structure

Step 4 Apply for GCR

Prospective students can complete an online application for entry to the Graduate Certificate in Research (RE4). You will also need to complete a research proposal form that you have agreed on with your prospective supervisor.

Applications are open for semester 1 and 2 student intakes and students can enrol full-time or part-time.

The earlier you start planning your application and project the easier you will find the degree.

Step 5 Accept your offer

You will need to formally accept your offer. Once you accept your offer, please get in touch with your supervisor to discuss your requirements (e.g. ethics approval or amendments, lab safety training) for your project prior to starting your research work. Semester 1 intake typically starts at the end of February and Semester 2 intake starts at the end of July. You should also discuss with your supervisor and program coordinator the electives

Step 6 Enrolment

Once you have accepted your offer, you can enrol in your Graduate Certificate Courses including RESPJ 4001 Research Project and elective(s).

Example Timeline and Milestones

Full-time Mode is outlined below. In part-time mode, it is suggested that students complete the elective course(s) in their first semester, and then enrol in the RESPJ4001 Research Project in their second semester.

BEFORE SEMESTER (e.g. February or July)

  • Get enrolled with a confirmed project, supervisor and electives.
  • Develop your topic and do a preliminary search for information
  • Identify resources or training you will need (e.g. EndNote, safety training, research integrity training)
  • Make a regular meeting time with your supervisor
  • Make a research plan and set milestones (e.g. project goals, select methodology, timeline)
  • Brush up on your library skills (e.g. FedCite) and/or access a Learning Skills Advisor

DURING SEMESTER (Semester 1: March – June or Semester 2: August - November)

RESPJ4001 Research Project Hurdle Tasks

  • Week 2 Project plan  submitted
  • Week 6 Brief project progress report
  • Week 10 Draft of Thesis or creative work
  • Week 12 Submission


  • Please see your course outline for assessment tasks and due dates. Remember some of these assessment tasks will feed into the development of your Thesis or creative work (e.g. Literature review, research design proposal).


  • Thesis or creative works are examined during SWOT vac - examination period.
  • Semester 1 2023 results released:
  • Semester 2 2023 results released:
  • Upon successful completion of this project degree, graduates are invited to apply for a PhD opportunity of their choosing with conditional entry offered by Federation University.