Finding a suitable university, program, or supervisor

First step: questions to ask yourself

Friends who were interested to study in Australia, or to apply for a scholarship to Australia, usually asked me how to find a suitable university, program, or supervisor. Well the first thing to ask yourself is, what subject do you want to study in Australia? Do you prefer to live in a particular city? Or probably you have been reading journal articles and you know exactly with which Professors you want to work with?

If you have made your mind about what subject you want to study in Australia, especially for master courses, you can search for suitable programs in this website:

Course Guide

If you prefer to live in a particular city, you can search universities by location in the link below, and then browse each of the universities in that city to see if they have courses or programs that matches you study interest.

University search based on location

Or, if you want to choose a university based on their rankings, you can check the link below, and then browse the home page of the top universities to see if their programs or research topics match your interest.

Ranking of Australian universities


Second step: do your research

After you have browsed universities as above, you might have found several universities that interest you. Do your research about these universities especially about programs and research topics they are offering. Look up for departments that are pertinent to your interest and for institutions within the university that might conduct research or programs of your interest. Once you have found the programs, look at eligibility requirements, required IELTS scores etc. for your future reference so you can make a target about your IELTS scores and about the documents that might be required from you.

If you are planning to do PhD in the future, and currently looking for masters program, make sure that the master program that you are planning to apply is eligible for further PhD studies. Some, but not all, master by course work programs, especially those with none or less than 50% research component are not eligible for a PhD. So it is advisable to check if the master program you are applying to is suitable to continue a PhD.

If you are a muslim, you might want to know if there is a muslim student association in that university and if there is a praying facility for muslim students to pray in or around the university. As Indonesian, you might also want to know how to contact and get information from the Indonesia Student Association in the university. This contact is especially useful when you start looking for accommodation.

If you feel like it, you can contact the graduate school or the program convener of the program you are interested in to inquire further information via E-Mail.


Third step: contacting potential  supervisors

For those of you who are planning to apply for a masters by research or for a PhD, it is important to contact potential supervisors before applying for scholarships. This is important to discuss about potential research projects and probably to develop a research proposal together. Don’t contact only one, contact several people. If you are not sure how to contact one person or if you are not sure which supervisor to choose, you can contact a student convener or graduate admission officer of the department or institution you are interested in and tell him/her about the field of your interest and inquire if there are projects or researchers on that field in the department or institution. Most likely you would be given the contact address of relevant persons or your E-Mail would be circulated in the mailing list of the department or institution, and if you are lucky you will get several responses.

It would be very tactful to have a research proposal draft, a CV, and probably the copy of your transcript sent as attachments of your introductory E-Mail. This can be helpful to draw the attention of the potential supervisor to you. If he/she is interested, he/she might inform you what projects he/she has in her lab, send you sample papers to read, and suggest changes or additional sections in your research proposal.  Or if the research you suggest is not suitable with his/her lab, he/she might suggest to you who you can contact and who is more expert in the field you are interested in. Don’t loose hope if there is no reply to your introductory E-Mail. Contact other potential supervisors and hopefully there will be someone who will give you the awaited response.