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Scholarships at NDARC

NDARC offers scholarships to students who wish to undertake higher degree research (HDR) on drug and alcohol-related projects that align with NDARC’s key areas:

  • Epidemiology and emerging trends

  • Mental health and physical comorbidities
  • Prevention and early intervention
  • Treatment and harm reduction
  • Drug policy 
  • Criminal justice system
  • Priority populations
    • People with mental health conditions
    • Young people
    • Older people
    • People in contact with the criminal justice system
    • Culturally and linguistically diverse populations
    • Women, children and families
    • People identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or intersex

A number of NDARC projects and supervisors are currently seeking HDR candidates, please visit HDR scholarship projects for more information. Alternatively, you may propose your own project and supervision team within NDARC’s research areas.

Scholarship award amount and duration

NDARC offers a competitive scholarship stipend and support package. The scholarship amount awarded to full-time HDR candidates is $37,684 per annum, tax exempt. The PhD scholarship duration is three years (with the possibility of a 6-month extension). The MRes and MPhil scholarship duration is two years. 

In addition, up to $10,000 is available for professional development activities and $5,000 for associated research costs across the period of candidature. There are also opportunities for HDR candidates to be offered additional paid employment to work on priority projects across the Centre.

About the Centre

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) was established at the University of New South Wales by the Commonwealth Government in 1986 to extend the knowledge base required for effective treatment of individuals with alcohol and other drug-related problems and to enhance the overall research capacity in the drug and alcohol field. The Centre is highly regarded, both nationally and internationally, for its contribution to drug and alcohol research.

Since NDARC’s inception, more than 80 students have successfully completed an HDR program at the Centre (PhD and Masters), with a success rate of over 90%. NDARC has a strong cohort of HDR students with a focus on diversity and equity of access. The Centre provides a highly supportive study environment with excellent facilities including desk space, regular training opportunities, computer access and statistical support. 

NDARC students and staff publish in general medical and health journals and the most influential specialist drug and alcohol publications. The Centre’s research is multi-disciplinary in nature and of high practical relevance to governments and policy agencies, communities, providers of clinical services and non-government organisations. 

HDR graduates have career opportunities in a range of organisations, including Australian and international universities, the World Health Organization/United Nations, the delivery of clinical services, and with policy agencies such as NSW Health, NSW Family and Community Services and local health districts.

There are a number of pathways into our HDR programs, and NDARC staff are keen to support entry for potential students from a range of backgrounds and with varied educational qualifications. NDARC is particularly committed to building research capacity among Aboriginal researchers and encourages consultation with us about different HDR pathways that may be available. If you have queries about this, please feel free to email NDARC.HDR@unsw.edu.au and a staff member will contact you to talk about your options.


Information about eligibility is provided in the NDARC Conditions Briefly, to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

  1. Meet UNSW requirements for enrolment in a Higher Degree Research Program: https://www.unsw.edu.au/research/hdr
  2. Meet residency and visa requirements
  3. Not be concurrently enrolled in a separate HDR program at either UNSW Sydney or another university during the tenure of the NDARC-based candidature
  4. Have applied or are in the process of applying for an externally-funded HDR scholarship (e.g. Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, National Health and Medical Council Postgraduate Scholarship)

Consideration will be given to full and part-time, domestic and international applicants (consult UNSW’s guidelines for eligibility and tuition scholarship options for international students).

Evidence of previous research or study (e.g. honours or masters degrees) is desirable for entry to HDR though not essential for entry some programs (e.g. MRes or MPhil degrees), as is experience in the drug and alcohol sector or related fields, such as psychology, public health, criminology, sociology, medicine, pharmacology, health economics and biostatistics.

Successful candidates are required to enrol in the UNSW Sydney HDR program through the School of Population Health (SPH) in the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Successful applicants will receive support via NDARC's HDR training and development program. Knowledge of UNSW’s EEO/AA principles and policies will be required.

How to apply

All interested applicants are invited to complete this application form and submit it to ndarc.hdr@unsw.edu.au and any supporting documents.

Applications for scholarships are accepted throughout the year. Interviews of shortlisted applicants will be held regularly.

Applications for admission to candidature are accepted throughout the year. Please note that applicants can commence study in any 2024 term of UNSW’s academic calendar. Applications must be submitted by the application deadline for the intended study period (Term) to ensure the Term Start Dates complete the acceptance and enrollment processes.

Please visit HDR scholarship projects to see available projects for commencing students. Students can also pitch project ideas to potential supervisors.

Email ndarc.hdr@unsw.edu.au  with any queries.

This advertisement does not intend to limit the scope of possible HDR research projects or enrolment options but to highlight the most important aspects of NDARC’s HDR program. The aspects mentioned above may be negotiated within the confines of UNSW’s HDR policies and procedures.