Pursuing HDR degrees at Curtin Malaysia

A higher degree by research (HDR) from Curtin University will enable you to pursue a specialist area in your field, build knowledge in your profession and contribute to important research for industry and community.

HDR programmes at Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia), Curtin University’s largest international campus and global hub in Asia located in Sarawak, and coordinated through its Curtin Malaysia Graduate School, lead to world-recognised and widely respected Curtin Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) qualifications.

Deputy Dean of Research and Development at Curtin Malaysia and Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, Associate Professor Agus Saptoro, said the Curtin Malaysia Graduate School’s mission is to promote, advance and support graduate education, through both taught and research programmes, and to enhance the graduate student experience. To fulfil this, it works in close collaboration with Curtin Malaysia’s management, its academic units and graduate students.

The Curtin Malaysia Graduate School assumes academic leadership for graduate education at Curtin Malaysia and provides oversight for policies and standards for all its graduate programmes. The School also provides general administrative support for staff and students in relation to the graduate programmes, service to prospective students, and advocacy for graduate education and graduate students both on campus and in the professions.

The popularity of research-based programmes at Curtin Malaysia is gaining momentum as the Curtin Malaysia Graduate School and the campus’ three faculties (Engineering & Science, Business and Humanities) actively seek eligible candidates to conduct research into crucial fields of study in line with the national agenda to spur home-grown research.

The HDR programmes are built around supervised theses or substantial portfolios of work and candidates have to show originality and contain material worthy of publication.

“Research degrees are not just for candidates intending to enter academia or pure research. While a research degree is particularly suitable for students who have demonstrated strong research skills during their final project at undergraduate level, it is also suitable for experienced working adults who need in-depth study of a topic to further their careers,” said Associate Professor Saptoro.

Through the years, Curtin Malaysia has established a thriving community of staff and students engaged in research and, with the establishment of the Curtin Malaysia Research Institute (CMRI) in 2011, the campus’ multi-disciplinary research arm, and the Curtin Malaysia Graduate School in 2015, the number of HDR students has increased substantially. At present, there are 95 HDR students.

“Our HDR programmes help candidates become highly employable and graduates with doctorates tend to command top salaries. There is a high demand from employers for HDR holders because of their expertise and also because they are known to possess excellent management skills, are able to work independently, and use critical thinking skills to solve problems,” said Associate Professor Saptoro.

He added that those who are goal and achievement-oriented, who seek challenges and aim to broaden their horizons through higher level study are ideal candidates for such programmes.

HDR programmes at Curtin Malaysia include the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programmes in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Applied Geology at the Faculty of Engineering and Science; Accounting, Economics and Finance, and Management at the Faculty of Business; and Media, Culture and Creative Arts at the Faculty of Humanities.

In addition to the MPhil programmes, there are the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programmes focused on Engineering and Science, Business and Humanities.

MPhil programmes normally require one to two years of supervised individual research study, and the successful completion of the MPhil indicates the candidate has contributed significantly to the field of study and is capable of carrying out independent research.

PhD programmes, meanwhile, usually take at least three years of research study and candidates are expected to uncover new knowledge through the discovery of new facts, the formulation of new theories, or innovative interpretation of known data and established ideas. It is also expected that the results from a doctoral research study are publishable in reputable academic journals.

Study support for research students is provided through full or partial fee waivers or Curtin Malaysia Postgraduate Research Studentship (CMPRS) grants.

Research students can join any of the research clusters within the Faculties or the Curtin Malaysia Research Institute. Clusters within the Faculty of Engineering and Science focus on Energy and Environment-related issues such as computational engineering science, renewable energy, hydrology and environmental geochemistry, geomechanics, intelligent systems, signal processing and communications, materials and structures, bio-process technologies, bionanotechnology, and environmental science, to name a few.

The foci of research clusters at the Faculty of Business include entrepreneurship and organisational performance, governance and disclosure, financial markets and macroeconomic dynamics, marketing and tourism, business information systems and organisational research, and rural entrepreneurship.

At the Faculty of Humanities, research is focused on the role of media in today’s society, the evolving New Media channels, and cultural and indigenous studies.

Alongside the research clusters in the Faculties, the Curtin Malaysia Research Institute, which was established to promote research excellence, also encourages multi-disciplinary and collaborative research in big data analytics, water management, indigenous futures and community engagement, sustainable food, health informatics and genomics, and bioprocess technologies.

The newly-completed, state government-funded Sarawak Biovalley Pilot Plant Facility for biotechnological research, and the completion of a new Engineering Research Laboratory this year, and a Digital Centre of Excellence in the next two years, will also significantly boost research and knowledge accumulation at the campus.

Eligible HDR candidates are actively being sought to conduct research into crucial fields of study.

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