The number one reason you are not getting a reply from your prospective supervisors is that you want them to supervise you on your proposed projects. So, even if they somehow agree to supervise you, you have to compete with a large number of international candidates, who might have better academic records, a better number of publications, and better test scores (IELTS/TOEFL/GRE) and have applied for the same scholarships.
But what if I tell you that there is a smart way to find a Fully Funded Scholarship. What if your prospective supervisor might have secured some funding/grant and is also looking for someone like you but you might be knocking at the wrong door. Well, you might have guessed by now that I am talking about finding a funded project of your interest instead of just finding a supervisor.
I call it “Being a Smart Beggar Approach” and it helped me in getting a scholarship for Ph.D. at the University of Melbourne right after my BS. Just a spoiler, I had no publications or English Language Test Scores (IELTS/TOEFL) at the time of applying for that opportunity.
So, I would strongly recommend you to spend a little more time exploring searching websites of the Australian Universities. Because if you apply for an available/potential project then your chances of getting a reply from the professor would increase a lot and if you are successful in convincing your supervisor then it would be much easy to compete for scholarships. And many times these positions/projects are supported by supervisors (fully funded) so you won’t have to compete for a university scholarship.
However, this process isn’t easy and I have gone through this by myself and I know that it’s quite frustrating. So, to help you guys, I have compiled a list of Potential MS/PhD Projects available on the websites of different Australian Universities that you might be looking forward to applying for. I hope this would help you.
- MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY
Macquarie Projects Database: All Faculties
- MONASH UNIVERSITY
Monash Projects Database: All Faculties
3. THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW CASTLE
- PhD scholarships and Opportunities: Multiple Disciplines
4. THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE: Engineering and IT Projects Database
5. UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA
- Available PhD Projects: Multiple Faculties
Tip: Select the relevant faculty after opening the link.
6. UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY
- UTS Projects Database: All Faculties
7. WESTERN SYDNEY UNIVERSITY
8. AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
- ANU College of Engineering & Computer Data Science
- ANU College of Health & Medicine and ANU College of Science
- Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
- Fenner School of Environment & Society
- Mathematical Sciences Institute
- Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics
- Research School of Biology
- Research School of Chemistry
- Research School of Earth Sciences
- Research School of Physics
- Centre for Advanced Microscopy
Tip: Don’t forget to change the ‘Project Status’ option to ‘Potential’ projects, if available.
9. CURTIN UNIVERSITY
10. UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
11. ICRAR (ASTRONOMY RELATED PROJECTS)
Joint Venture of Curtin University and The University of Western Australia
12. UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES (UNSW)
- School of Biomedical Engineering
- School of Chemical Engineering
- School of Computer Science and Engineering
- School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
- School of Physics
- Australian Defense Force Academy Projects in Engineering, IT, Science and Business
13. DEAKIN UNIVERSITY
14. THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
15. QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
- QUT Research Topics Database: All Faculties
- Faculty of Health Database
16. RMIT UNIVERSITY
- RMIT Projects Database: All Faculties
- Sometimes these databases aren’t up to date so there might be new openings or a professor might have found a prospective student. But it is rare!
- Some project databases have advanced search options, so do give them a try. Moreover, all these universities have ‘find a supervisor’ or ‘find a researcher’ type advanced search facility that you may use to quickly find professors working in your interesting topic.
- IELTS/TOEFL is required by most of the Australian Universities however it is not a requirement to contact a professor. So, even if you don’t have these tests, don’t worry. Even some universities allow you to provide University English Proficiency Certificate at the initial stage of your application.
- Mostly there is no application fee to apply for research-based MS/PhD in Australia, so you have nothing to lose.
- Australian universities have deadlines to apply for scholarships so do keep them in mind before applying to any of them.
- Most of these positions are for PhD. However, the good thing is that you can directly apply to PhD if you have done a 4 years Bachelors’s degree with a research component (Like Final Year Project). If you apply after MS, then PhD is about 2 years and after BS, PhD would take 3.5/4 years. However, this is general info and you should definitely check the admission requirements of your university.
- A common misconception is that you need to have a lot of publications and skills to compete for these scholarships and so a lot of people don’t even apply. But the main thing the supervisors are looking forward to is how much you are willing to learn and how your past course/project relates to their project. Publications are definitely a plus but never a requirement, especially if you are applying right after BS.
- Searching on a single professor for a week and then writing a well-crafted email is always better than sending the same email to 20 professors in a week. They have spent years in academia and at first glance, they would easily identify how much effort you have put in to write this email and exploring their profile.
- The Scholarships are usually Fully Funded that typically cover your Stipend (about 30000 AUD per year), Full tuition Fee waiver, Overseas Health Cover (OSHC), and Relocation Allowance (2000-3000 AUD one time). However, exact details vary for different scholarships.
- If your first email leaves a good impression then you might be asked for an interview (or maybe a couple of interviews), especially if the position is funded. Be curious and prepare for your interview like you are already studying in his/her lab. Do your homework, mention your claims with facts from the research papers and ask good questions that really show that you want to work with him/her.
The most important step to get a scholarship is to apply for it. The first and the most important step to study a research-based MS/PhD degree in Australia is to convince a professor to supervise you, the rest is straightforward. There is no application fee and you don’t even need language tests to contact a supervisor.
So, you have nothing to lose. I would suggest you to read the guidance posts mentioned above and then see the scholarship application deadlines of different universities and one by one check the available projects. Find a topic that you really like and then read the profile of the professor in-depth to write a well crafted professional email.
Note: I have tried my best to provide as much info as I can and all the views are based on my own experience in availing a scholarship. So, if you feel that something can be improved then please mention it in comments. Moreover, I would really appreciate it if you can provide links to more projects available on the websites of Australian universities to make this list more comprehensive. And finally, just a humble suggestion, general questions regarding the application process can be cleared by visiting the university websites and by following the above-mentioned guidance posts. If you still have any questions then instead of personal message feel free to comment here so others may also benefit from it.