International applicants for PhDs in Ecology & Evolution

New Holland Honeyeater. Image credit Dr Jessica McLachlan New Holland Honeyeater. Image credit Dr Jessica McLachlan


For general enquiries please contact:

Scott Keogh (HDR Convenor) - or
Rod Peakall (Head of Division) -

Application Deadlines

  • 15 April – International and Domestic Applications
  • 31 August – International Applications
  • 31 October – Domestic Applications

Application details available here

Are you a high-achieving student interested in pursuing a PhD? Do you want to work with top researchers, in a welcoming multinational department, in a liveable, peaceful city, in a beautiful country? Then check out the Division of Ecology & Evolution at the Australian National University.

Our Science: We provide an outstanding research environment with a world-class reputation. Our staff include global leaders in molecular ecology, phylogenetics, evolutionary genetics and ecology, behavioural ecology, and macroecology. We research a wide range of topics – from orchid interactions with pollinators and mycorrhizae to cuckoo-host arms races; from the evolution of genomes to that of languages. If you are interested in doing a PhD with us check out our Research Groups below, and contact prospective supervisors.

Diverse students: Right now we are home to PhD students from Bangladesh, Brazil, New Zealand, Indonesia, Iran, Sri Lanka, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, U.S.A., Canada, Northern Ireland, Russia, Italy, and Uzbekistan. We even have a few Aussies!

Our values: We work hard to provide quality supervision and we take pride in creating an atmosphere that values intellectual rigour, inclusivity, mentorship, community, social activities and enjoyment of science. Our PhD students are well supported through internal funding, including for conference travel, and our research facilities are superb. We have a thriving community of PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows, and our graduates go on to productive careers in many areas of science and beyond. Warning though – once you arrive in Australia you won't want to leave!

Location: The ANU is situated in the capital city of Canberra, which is the country’s most liveable city. We are surrounded by bushland. There are sometimes kangaroos on campus, and always possums. We are across the street from the beautiful National Botanic Gardens. Due to the many embassies in Canberra there are frequent cultural evenings, art exhibits, film festivals and music events; and the politicians ensure there are countless restaurants and bars to relax in after work.

The Australian National University: We have an international reputation for research excellence. The ANU consistently ranks in the top 50 universities in the world (e.g. 31 on QS World Rankings).

Candidates: Fully funded International PhD scholarships are highly competitive at the ANU. To be a viable candidate you need: (1) excellent undergraduate marks; (2) a Masters by Research with a high mark; or an equivalent large Honours thesis; or (rarely) equivalent proof of research experience. (3) While it is not essential, if you have published papers this is a big bonus.

What do I do? First, contact potential supervisors from the list of staff on the Research Groups above (include your CV and grades). If they are interested in supervising you (conditional on you having funding), then contact the Graduate Program Convenor, Professor Celeste Linde (, by 31 August 2023 with: a detailed CV, full academic transcripts, the name of your potential supervisor and a brief description of a research project that you and your potential supervisor have discussed. We will then compile a short-list of applicants and invite them to formally apply to the ANU. Our system is designed to avoid discrimination on the basis of which country or institute you studied at. Rich or poor, North or South. As long as it is a reputable, accredited institute you are eligible.

How it works: For now, we are assuming that your personal finances are such that you need an ANU fellowship to do a PhD*. We don't want to waste your time, or make you pay an application fee unnecessarily. We will therefore only recommend you apply for a PhD if you have a viable chance of winning an ANU scholarship. Even then it is still a very competitive process (we can make no promises). There is no separate scholarship application. You simply apply for a PhD and tick a scholarship box. Entry to the PhD program is open to applicants with a Bachelor degree and having completed (or in the process of completing) an Honours or Masters research (as opposed to coursework) degree that comprises at least a half year, full time research component and a thesis (5,000-10,000 words). Applicants with significant research experience and publications may be deemed eligible if their achievements can be justified as equivalent to completing an Honours/Masters degree.

The application form is here, along with general information on how to apply and the details about the Doctor of Philosophy program.
But read on now as you need to plan ahead in case you are shortlisted. In brief, your PhD application, due by 31 August, requires:

  1. Academic transcripts & graduation/completion certificates from your Bachelor and Honours/MSc degree (in their original language and, if needed, a translation), with grading scale information.
  2. A current CV, include scholarships or prizes, publications and conferences.
  3. Research proposal (this is quite short and your potential supervisor can help you with it).
  4. Proficient in English: For many countries a current IELTS or TOEFL certificate is required (see ANU policy). Note: You can state this is pending. If awarded a scholarship you must then pass the test.
  5. Three referee reports. You need to enter your referee details on the application form. The system then automatically sends them a link to complete an online form. NB: You need to ensure your referees are willing and able to write letters and do so promptly. Plan ahead and alert them.

* If you have the possibility of PhD funding from your home country or elsewhere let a potential supervisor know.