Admission to a Ph.D. program within Australia and New Zealand requires the prospective student to have completed a Bachelor's Degree with an Honours component or a higher degree (such as post graduate Master's Degree by course work or a Master's Degree by research).

In most disciplines, Honours requires an extra year of study including a large research component in addition to coursework. In some special disciplines such as law, engineering and pharmacy, Honours is automatically awarded to high achievers of the normal four-year program. In order to obtain a Ph.D. degree, students are usually obliged to gain a First Class Honours, but they also may sometimes be admitted with a high Second Class Honours, which is usually known as a 2A, or Second class Honours Division I). A student who fails to achieve a First or Second class Honours may alternatively apply for a Research Masters course and then upgrade to a Ph.D. after the first year, pending sufficient improvement.
In Australia, there is sometimes a scholarship offered to Ph.D. students. The most common one is the government-funded APA - Australian Postgraduate Award. This scholarship provides a living stipend to students of approximately AU$ 20,000 a year, tax free. A similar scholarship that matches the Australian Postgraduate Award amount is also offered but then also funded by most universities. With the tightening of research funding in Australia in the recent years, it is now hard to obtain these scholarships. Because of a continual increase to living costs of the students, many of them are forced to live under the poverty line, without exception to the Ph.D. students. There is an alternative to the more common University scholarships and APA for the Australian students: they also may have other sources of scholarships offered by schools, commercial enterprises and research centers. In the case of a scholarship provided by a commercial enterprise, the amount is determined between the university and the organization, but it also is very often set at the APA rate, in Industry roughly AU$7,000 more than the usual APA rate. There also is a possibility for Australian students to tutor undergraduate classes and do guest lectures, which is actually much like a teaching assistant in the USA, in order to generate income. The duration of an Australian Ph.D. scholarship is set to 3 years, while a six month extension is possible upon citing delays out of the control of the student.

Australian citizen and other eligible Ph.D. and Research Masters students in Australia are not charged course fees - these fees are paid for by the Australian Government under the Research Training Scheme. Coursework Masters and International students must pay course fees, unless they receive a scholarship to cover them.