Your Questions about Research

Give me the quick facts!

  • With a PhD degree, your initial salary will be $23,000 higher per year.
  • You will enjoy higher employability (85% instead of 79% full-time employment rate).
  • With a scholarship, you get paid $33,637 per year tax-free (2024 rate) while doing your PhD/MPhil and can make up to $18,000 per year tax-free, e.g. by tutoring.
  • If you do your PhD at QCR, you will get a $5,000 per year tax-free top-up if your research topic is aligned with our research programs.
  • Your supervisors might have additional tax-free top-ups available, depending on the project and project partners.

Sign me up – I want to know about upcoming research opportunities!

We can keep you in the loop and send you an email, e.g., when a new Research Assistant position opens up, or when we have new PhD or MPhil positions available, or when we organise research-related events.

Just fill out this form.

Find your Answer

How can I get involved with research?

First of all, awesome that you are interested in research! Here is how you can get involved:

  • You can work with one of our researchers as a Research Assistant and get paid $44 per hour. More information further down on this page.
  • You can do a PhD or MPhil research degree with us. Read on below for more information.
  • You can sign up for a Vacation Research Experience Scheme (VRES) project. This pays $2,000 for 120-150 hours of work over 6-19 weeks during the summer break (late Nov – mid Feb). Applications for VRES projects are typically in August each year. They are posted here, but even better is to talk to one of our academics (maybe someone who is teaching one of your units?) and see if you can create an interesting project together.
  • You can join the Future Research Careers initiative with the Faculty of Engineering. For this, you work full-time for 3 weeks over the winter break (June/July) and get paid $4,925 ($44 per hour). During Semester 2 you keep working one day per week full-time and earn an additional $4,268.

PhD and MPhil Questions

Why should I do a PhD or MPhil degree?

  • Enhanced career prospects: Employers often value candidates with a PhD, as it demonstrates advanced problem-solving skills, the ability to work independently, and a strong commitment to the field. This can lead to increased job opportunities and potentially higher income over time.
  • Networking and collaboration: During your PhD you will work closely with other researchers, academics, or industry partners. This can help you build a strong professional network that may be valuable when seeking employment or collaborating on future projects.
  • Deepen your expertise: A PhD allows you to specialise in a specific area, helping you to become an expert in that field. This deeper knowledge can provide a competitive edge when seeking specialized roles in the industry.
  • Research opportunities: During your PhD, you will have the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research, develop novel solutions, and contribute to advancements in a field of research. This experience can be highly rewarding and open doors to a research-oriented career in industry or academia.
  • Personal fulfilment: If you have a genuine passion for a research area and enjoy the challenge of tackling complex problems, a PhD can be a highly rewarding experience that allows you to delve deeper into the subject matter.

Yes, you get paid!

  • You’ll start with a tax-free base scholarship that pays $33,637 per year.
  • The QUT Centre for Robotics will pay you an additional tax-free $5,000 per year if your research topic is aligned with our research programs and you are supervised by one of our Chief Investigators.
  • Your supervisors might have additional top-ups available, depending on the project or project partners, e.g. an additional $5,000.

With this, you already have an annual tax-free income of at least $38,637. Additional tax-free top-ups from industry or supervisor projects are possible.

True or false? “You have to pay a tuition fee to do a PhD.”

False! With your scholarship comes a fee-waiver, so you do not have to pay any tuition fees!

Additional Income

In addition, PhD students often also work as teaching assistants to help us teach undergraduate units. Depending on the type of learning activity, you can get paid $148 per hour for a tutorial or $98 if you teach the same tutorial the second or third time in a week. Leading a Prac session pays $49 per hour.

Let’s look at a concrete example. If you teach a 1-hour tutorial twice per week, you’ll get paid $148 for the first and $98 for the second tutorial. If in addition you have 3 hours of Prac per week, you’ll get an additional $147. This adds up to $393 extra per week. Doing that for both semesters (13 weeks each) is another $10,218 of income for you. On top of your $38,637, that is over $48,800 tax-free annual income. Pretty good!

By the way, this income corresponds to a $58,250 pre-tax salary in industry, which – if you consider the higher income you’ll enjoy after finishing – is not far off from the $70,000 you would expect to earn as a freshly graduated engineer with a Bachelor’s degree.

Will I earn more money after doing a PhD or MPhil degree?

Yes! With a postgraduate degree such as a PhD or MPhil you can expect to earn around $23,000 more per year, even 6 months after starting a job.

Let’s look at the median salary 6 months after graduating. In Engineering, with a graduate degree (i.e. Bachelor/Hons) you can expect to earn $70,000 6 months after graduation. If you have a postgraduate degree (i.e. a PhD or MPhil), that goes up to $93,000!

This data is from 2021 (see for the details), but the gap between undergraduate and postgraduate income will always be there.

You can also expect this pay gap between graduates and postgraduates to widen over time as you will have more and better career opportunities as a postgraduate. For example, according to the average salary in Australia across all industries and career levels is $110,811 for postgraduates compared to $73,440 for graduates.

Can I work in industry with a PhD or MPhil, or do I have to work at a university?

The skills you develop during your PhD are highly valuable for a career in industry. You will be an excellent candidate for a wide range of industry positions!

In fact, by far most of our PhD/MPhil graduates start a rewarding career in industry after finishing their degree.

Some of our graduates like research at QCR so much that they stay for another few years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, before moving into industry or transitioning to an academic career path.

Here are just some of the amazing companies our researchers work with after completing their research degree with us:


How will a PhD affect my employability?

You will be in high demand, even more than your peers with a Bachelor’s degree.

The full-time employment rate for postgraduates in Australia in 2022 was 84.7%, compared to 78.5% for graduates, according to the QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey 2022.

With a PhD degree, you are not just becoming an expert in a specific field of research. Even more valuable is that you learn how to find solutions to complex and new problems. Knowing how to do that unlocks new career paths and prepares you to do important and fulfilling work in the future, despite technological progress and rapid changes in the economy.

Did you know? 19 out of the 20 largest ASX-listed companies now have PhD graduates among their senior executive teams.

True or false? “With a PhD I will be overqualified for jobs in industry.”

False! You will be in high demand and have a higher chance of finding full-time employment in Australia, currently 85% instead of 79%.


Questions for Research Assistant Work

How much can I earn when working as a Research Assistant while doing my undergraduate degree?

You will typically earn between $44 and $55 per hour, depending on your experience and the project demands.

Work arrangements can be very flexible and depend on the project and supervisor. Some of our Research Assistants work just a few hours per week, and others work full-time multiple days per week.

Depending on the project, you might work over a few weeks, months, or even a full year.