Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

What projects are available?

A list of potential student research projects are published on our website annually. Prospective students are also encouraged to contact laboratory heads directly to discuss these projects or raise potential new research questions, provided the questions fit with the existing Institute research programs. The final project that is decided on by yourself and the supervisor may differ from the listed project as research is constantly evolving. 

Will I need a scholarship?

PhD students do require a scholarship. Applications for University and externally funded scholarships are awarded by merit and relevant experience. Students should discuss this with their prospective supervisor.  

Honours students and Masters students at the Institute are awarded the Alan W Harris Scholarship, an allowance of $5000 in total to support their studies, paid on a fortnightly basis for the duration of the course.

When do applications close?

Honours applications close in November. The application has two phases, an application to the Institute and an application to the University of Melbourne.

Domestic and international students may submit their PhD applications at any time; however, please be aware of scholarship closing dates.

What are the selection criteria?

Prospective PhD students are expected to have achieved a high academic standard (H1 or greater than 80 per cent grade average), demonstrated potential for successful completion of research project, demonstrated interpersonal skills and strong referee support.

Honours candidates need to have a high H2A or greater discipline specific average grades (more than 78 per cent average across third year subjects) to be considered for our Honours program. In addition, candidates also need to satisfy the Honours entry requirements for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne.

Are Masters degrees available?

Students enrolled in certain University of Melbourne Masters of Science courses can undertake the research component of their degree at the Institute, usually in the fields of bioinformatics or computational biology. Masters students are part of our research teams and are physically located at, and conduct their research project in, the Institute's Parkville campus.

How many places are available?

We do not have a set number of Honours, Masters and PhD places. The number of places may be restricted by supervisor availability; and for PhD students the applicants’ ability to secure a scholarship. Applicants should consult the student research projects list and contact a laboratory head or supervisor to discuss placement.

If I’m accepted, what resources are available?

Students are provided with their own computer (including relevant software), IT support, free access to scientific journals, assistance with design and printing scientific posters, photocopying, printing, telephones, remote internet access, interlibrary loads and funding for conference travel (awarded on merit). Morning and afternoon tea is also provided daily.

Students are also provided with laboratory space, equipment and consumables as required for your project. In addition, students can access experienced staff and services encompassing flow cytometry, customised media, washed and autoclaved equipment, animal technicians, histology, monoclonal antibody facility and imaging.

When would I start?

Honours students begin in February and finish in November. There is no mid-year intake in the Honours program.

PhD students generally begin in February or March. However, PhD students can start at any time depending on individual circumstances, in negotiation with supervisors.

Is there coursework for Honours?

Our Honours students are enrolled in the Honours course through the Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne. As with all Honours courses at the University of Melbourne, our Honours students are required to complete coursework in Semester 1 in addition to commencing their research component.

The coursework is designed to broaden your knowledge in medical biology and build skills that enhance your research capabilities.

How many hours a week are involved?

Scientific research is not a 9-5 job. Depending on your experiments, you may find yourself working extended or irregular hours depending on the research needs as well as attending scheduled seminars, workshops and/or doing coursework (for applicable degrees). Prospective students should discuss lab time expectations with their supervisors. A student’s recreational leave is also negotiated directly with your supervisor. 

Are Institute seminars mandatory?

Each week two Institute-wide seminars are held, both are mandatory attendance for students. The Postgraduate Lecture Series provides students with an understanding of a topic they may not have previously been exposed to in coursework or projects.

The Wednesday Seminar Series provides presentations on various medical research topics delivered by Institute staff, students and invited guests. Each research division holds a weekly seminar – attendance at your divisional seminar is also compulsory.

In addition, there is a PhD completion seminar series on Monday afternoons. All of our completing PhD students are required to present in this series.

Do I have to give a seminar?

Students are expected to give a seminar every six months on their work, plus a final Institute seminar upon completion.

Is there a student association?

The Walter and Eliza Hall Student Association (WESA) is governed by a student committee, elected by the students. The association provides advice, coordinates guest speakers, sporting activities, entertainment evenings and the annual student retreat. The student retreat is fully funded by the Institute.

Where can I find out more information?

The Institute holds two Open Day events each year, generally in September. Staff and students are available to discuss potential projects and Institute life over refreshments.