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Australian Commonwealth Government RTP Scholarships

Scholarship types

A scholarship may provide one or more of the following types of support:

  • A stipend scholarship provides support for the general living costs of a HDR student through fortnightly tax free payments for the standard duration of their academic program
  • A fee scholarship will meet the full or partial cost of a HDR student’s tuition fee. Tuition fee scholarships do not cover the Student Services Amenities Fee or other student fees that may be introduced by USQ from time to time.
  • A scholarship allowance may provide assistance to students with ancillary costs. Ancillary costs may include, but are not limited to:
  • a standard Overseas Student Health Cover that covers either:
    • a student for the standard duration of their academic program
    • a student, their spouse and dependents (if any) for the standard duration of the academic program
  • relocation costs
  • a HDR thesis submission payment
  • a travel allowance
  • project consumables and operating expenses


HDR scholarships can be funded from a number of sources, including, but not limited to:

  • the Australian Commonwealth Government through the Research Training Program (RTP)
  • other Commonwealth Government sources
  • USQ (including faculties, schools, research institutes and research centres)
  • individual and corporate donors to USQ
  • other organisations

The provision of the funding through the RTP is governed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines.


RTP Stipend scholarships

Each year the Department of Education set a minimum and maximum rate of stipend. At USQ all students will receive the same stipend rate which will be set between the minimum and maximum amounts. The level of the stipend will not change during the period of candidature as the commencing rate will be set to take into account the Customer Price Index (CPI) for the following three years.

RTP selection process

The RTP Stipend scholarships are awarded on merit after a competitive selection process.

Duration of a RTP Stipend scholarship

The duration of a RTP Stipend scholarship is normally three years for a student undertaking full-time doctoral studies. Scholarship recipients may apply to the Office of Research Graduation Studies (ORGS) to extend their scholarship payments up to a maximum period of six months by submitting a Variation to Candidature request form. Scholarship extensions will only be considered and approved by the Director (Research Training and Development) if the student is making satisfactory progress and if the circumstances for the delay of the project was outside the control of the student.

Periods of study undertaken towards the program prior to the commencement of the scholarship will be taken into account. Stipend recipients on approved part-time studies, or those students receiving a tuition scholarship only, will have the duration of their scholarship adjusted accordingly.

Eligibility requirements for RTP Stipend scholarships

To be eligible for an RTP Stipend scholarship a student must:

  • be a domestic student or an overseas student enrolled in an accredited HDR program of study
  • be enrolled or eligible to enrol full-time in a HDR academic program, or be the recipient of an approved part-time scholarship
  • have completed a Bachelor Degree with First Class Honours, or be regarded by USQ to have an equivalent, or higher level qualification
  • have not completed a degree at the same or higher level as the HDR program to which they are applying for
  • have not previously held a similar scholarship for which they are applying unless it was terminated within six months of the scholarship commencing
  • not be receiving a stipend from another source which is greater than 75 per cent of the student’s RTP stipend rate. Income unrelated to the student’s program, or income received for the student’s program but not for the purpose of supporting general living costs is not to be taken into account
  • not be a sponsored student receiving similar funding from their Government, or other organisation

RTP Stipends scholarships offered by USQ are not transferable to other universities.  The RTP Stipend scholarships are to be taken up at USQ and students are expected to complete their candidature at the USQ.

Recipients are permitted to work as long as their work does not interfere with their study. If applicable, any work undertaken would also have to meet the conditions of the student visa. 

On request to the ORGS, a RTP stipend recipient may be permitted to enroll part-time. Normally such a request would only be approved in demonstrated extenuating circumstances.

Part-time scholarships are not available to students who are seeking to work full-time. USQ will require part-time scholarship recipients to convert to full-time if the reasons for which the part-time student was granted no longer applies.

If a student is part-time the rate of stipend will be 50% of the full-time rate.

Part-time scholarship payments are liable for tax.

Leave entitlements for RTP Stipend recipients

Scholarship recipients are entitled to receive up to 20 working days paid recreation leave and ten working days paid sick leave for each year. These leave entitlements may be accrued over the life of the scholarship but will be forfeited when the scholarship finishes.

Scholarship recipients are entitled to receive additional paid sick leave of up to a total of 60 working days for illness where the student has insufficient sick leave entitlements available, provided that a medical certificate has been provided by the student to USQ.

Sick leave entitlements (including additional sick leave) may also be used to cover leave for students with family caring responsibilities, subject to USQ’s Human Resources procedure.

Students who have completed 12 months of their scholarship are entitled to a maximum of 60 working days paid maternity, subject to USQ’s Human Resources procedure.

Students who are partners of women giving birth while receiving a scholarship and who have completed 12 months of their scholarship, may be entitled to a period of paid parenting leave at the time of the birth or adoption, subject to USQ’s Human Resources procedure.


RTP Fees Offset scholarships

The RTP Fees Offset scholarships will meet the full cost of the tuition fees required by USQ.

Allocation of a RTP Fees Offset scholarships for domestic students

Normally all Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, and New Zealand citizens commencing a HDR program will be awarded a RTP Fees Offset place. The RTP Fees Offset place covers the full cost of the program fees for a HDR student up to a maximum period of four years for full-time study, or up to eight years part-time study for a Doctoral program, and up to a maximum period of two years for full-time, or four years part-time for a Masters by Research program.

If a student's RTP Fees Offset entitlement expires before completion of the program, the student will be required to pay full tuition fees.

Students eligible for a RTP Fees Offset place are those who:

  • have not used any RTP Fees Offset, or Research Training Scheme (RTS) funding in the previous three years, at any Australian university; or
  • have already used the RTP Fees Offset funding and have successfully completed a HDR program. Once a student completes a HDR program, full entitlements of the RTP Fees Offset funding are restored.

Eligibility requirements for RTP Fees Offset scholarships

To be eligible for a RTP Fees Offset scholarship a student must be a domestic student or an international student enrolled in a HDR program at USQ. In addition, the student must not be receiving an equivalent award of scholarship from the Commonwealth designed to offset HDR fees.

Allocation of a RTP Fees Offset scholarship for international students

USQ may call for applications from international students to apply for a RTP Fees Offset scholarship. The RTP Fees Offset will fully offset the cost of the international student tuition fees for the standard duration of the academic program. The RTP Fees Offset scholarship for international students will be awarded after a competitive selection process. The nature of the competitive process would normally take into account:

  • previous academic results
  • the research topic and its relevance to USQ’s strategic research priorities
  • research publications and presentations, if any
  • the progress of existing student (if applicable)


RTP Scholarship conditions

The Australian Commonwealth Government’s contribution to the RTP scholarships must be acknowledged on all published material relating to the research project via a statement identifying the support received through the RTP scheme.

Suspension or Withdrawal of Scholarship

If the student is unable to continue in the program for any reason, he/she must notify the ORGS immediately. The scholarship will be suspended or withdrawn.

The scholarship will cease upon submission of the thesis for examination, or at the end of the scholarship period, whichever comes first.

Students are expected to make satisfactory progress in their studies. Progress will be monitored by the submission of regular progress reports. In addition, students will be required to meet any milestones imposed by USQ. If USQ does not consider the progress to be satisfactory, the scholarship will be withdrawn.

Students whose scholarship has been withdrawn will be notified in writing, and will be advised of their right to appeal through the Student Compliant and Appeal policy.