Graduate Research Study Abroad Students at Melbourne

This page is not about students coming to do research at the University of Melbourne from an exchange partner institution participating in an exchange program through their home institution; if this applies to your student go to Graduate Research Students on Exchange to Melbourne instead.

This page is about students coming from a non-exchange partner institution or where the exchange partner will not support an exchange for your student. These students come as a study abroad research student, SA-RES. They may be charged fees or you can choose to waive the fees after consultation with your faculty or graduate school.


What's on this page



Students wanting to apply to do research here in a non-award capacity can come as study abroad students but the following requirements apply and are non-negotiable:

  • the minimum period is three months up to a maximum of two years with special permission;
  • the must be enrolled in degree at an overseas institution recognised by the University of Melbourne and the purpose of their application is to undertake research towards a degree at her/his home institution;
  • the student must have the written support in the form of a letter, signed and on University of Melbourne letterhead, OR an email from the official email account of an academic staff member of the University of Melbourne confirming that he/she has agreed to act as a temporary supervisor of the research while the student is here explicitly stating the period of time for which the student will be at the University of Melbourne researching; and
  • the student can only start her/his research here at one of four times during the year: 1 February, May, August or November (note that student can arrive within up to three weeks of the first of the month but their official start date will remain 1 February, May, August or November).

If these requirements can be met the student can apply to come here as a study abroad research student.

Visits Less Than Three Months

Students wanting to visit the University for less than three months to undertake research as part of their course may be able to apply for a visitor visa. Please advise the student to contact the nearest Australian high commission or embassy to confirm that the visitor visa is appropriate for their visit.



Students should contact individual academics and make arrangements that suit the Melbourne research group and the student’s planned time away from their home institution.  Arrangements within individual faculties/schools vary but the pre-application process is the responsibility of the student and supervisor here at Melbourne.

Once the supervisor has provided written confirmation to the student that he or she is willing to act as temporary supervisor for the agreed period of research at Melbourne, the student will need to complete an online application.



While this program has been set up to allow for the charging of Study Abroad Research fees for time spent doing research at the University of Melbourne, it is at the discretion of the appropriate faculty authorities as to whether fees will be chaged. Supervisors unfamiliar with the process should contact the faculty's Graduate School Advisors to discuss how the process works for the waiving of those fees where applicable.



Students applying should be sent the link to this page: Research Students on Study Abroad

All research students wanting to come here for a period of non-award research apply on-line for the course SA-RES.  The application asks for:

  • The name of their home institution
  • The duration of their stay
  • A transcript
  • A study plan (if they plan to do any subjects here otherwise they can submit a blank form)
  • A copy of the details page of their passport
  • How they meet the English language requirements (see below)
  • Sponsorship
  • Any discipline-specific requested additional information

In response to the last point, all research students are required as part of the application to provide the following additional information:

  • a one page description of their research project/thesis topic and how the research they hope to undertake at the University of Melbourne will contribute to their thesis; and
  • the written acknowledgement of the academic staff member of the University of Melbourne confirming that he/she has agreed to act as a temporary supervisor of their research while they are here including the period of time they will be here.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must meet the University's English language requirements. Most do so by having studied at an institution that teaches and assesses entirely in English or, if not the institution, then they are or have completed a course taught and assessed entirely in English. Those who cannot meet the requirement that way, must complete an approved test of the English language and achieve at least the specified scores. Note that study abroad and exchange students need only meet the minimum general scores.

English Waiver
Alternatively, where the supervisor is satisfied, and has evidence, that the student has sufficient English skills to meet the needs of her/his research project particularly in relation to any resulting safety needs in laboratories, for example, then an application can be made to the Dean of the faculty, or delegate, to waive the English requirement.

When Complete
On the last page of the instructions the student is asked to forward the acknowledgement email to Melbourne Global Mobility to indicate that her/his application is submitted. Please draw this to the student's attention as this is how we are aware the application is ready to be processed.


Subject Enrolment

The information sent to the student with the CoE includes instructions on how to complete the administrative enrolment. This refers to activating her/his my.unimelb account which generates an email address and a log-in. It also allows them to go on and enrol into their subjects. All of these students will have a research subject enrolment for which subjects have been specifically created for these study abroad research students. These are placeholder subjects only.

Note, there are two types of subjects: 25 points for three months and 12.5 points for six weeks. A student arriving on 1 May for seven and a half months in Engineering, for example, would enrol as follows:

  • Visiting Graduate Research - Engineering VGRS90305 (3 mths)
  • Visiting Graduate Research - Engineering VGRS90305 (3 mths)
  • Visiting Graduate Research - Engineering VGRS90605 (6 wks)
  • Departure

Availability: 1 May
Availability: 1 August
Availability: 1 November
15 December

These subjects should be planned on the student's record and the student enrols when he/she has completed the administrative enrolment. Speak to your faculty's research office if you require assistance with this.



If you are unsure of any part of this process you can contact Stuart Hibberd at MGM.

T: +61 3 8344 0342
E: stuarth [at]


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