Postgraduate study in the Drug Discovery Biology theme

The Drug Discovery Biology (DDB) doctoral PhD offers an elite program in a world class scientific environment to ensure our graduates are not only specialists in their chosen scientific field, but also have an understanding of diverse topics, techniques and practices relevant to drug discovery. The doctoral program is a four-year program; the first year includes taught elements that constitute an advanced course in drug discovery with three rotational research projects, allowing students to explore potential doctoral research areas. The first year provides a strong grounding in biomedical research and facilitates the development of technical skills. The rotation program enables candidates to make an informed choice of their final area of research prior to commencement of their three-year PhD project. For more information on the structure and content of our program download our Doctoral Program handbook [PDF588 KB].

Areas of doctoral research

Research within DDB adopts multidisciplinary approaches to understand drug targets in biomedicine and disease and how such knowledge informs drug discovery. A major focus of DDB is research on G protein coupled receptors that are the largest group of drug targets comprising more than 40% of medicines currently in use. Our approach seeks to understand G protein coupled receptor and ion channel function at the molecular level, the cellular level and in whole organisms. The DDB theme within the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, is a world leader in the study of novel paradigms affecting receptor function, in particular: allosteric modulation, biased agonism, receptor trafficking, and compartment-dependent signalling. We aim to understand how these mechanisms impact receptor function, and how they can be exploited for drug discovery.

We offer a wide range of opportunities for translational research in the following broad disease areas:

  1. neurological disease;
  2. pain & inflammation;
  3. metabolic disease;
  4. cardiovascular disease;
  5. cancer.

The first year rotations will foster cross-disciplinary research between different therapeutic areas.

Why choose us?

Candidate selection

We are committed to attracting the best candidates to the DDB Doctoral Program. Accordingly, we encourage applications by outstanding candidates from preeminent Australian and international institutions. To enter into the DDB Doctoral Program, candidates will need to meet Monash University’s eligibility requirements. Additional criteria for entry into the program includes:

  • outstanding academic transcript(s) and CV
  • supporting letters of recommendation
  • exceptional performance on interviews.

Eligibility FAQs

1. What are the options if I am an international student that does not meet Monash's eligibility requirements?

If you do not have an Australian honours research degree equivalent, there are a limited number of scholarships available to fund outstanding international students to complete a one-year honours research degree within DDB prior to entry into the four-year doctoral training program. Students entering through this route would complete a PhD within 5 years including the honours research year. This is equivalent to the average timeframe of a doctoral candidature from the USA.

2. For an international student, what would constitute an Australian H1 honours equivalent?

  • A 4-5 year bachelor degree with proof of a research component that is deemed by the faculty to be equivalent to a 4-year honours degree in Australia.
  • A master’s degree with a research component constituting at least 25% of one year of study, or a postgraduate diploma with a 25% or higher research component.
  • A first or senior authored paper in a discipline-relevant peer-reviewed journal.
  • Referee reports that verify a candidate directed and undertook a confidential research project (e.g. commercially sensitive industrial research) where they contributed to experimental design, data analysis, and generation of confidential reports.

Enquire about your eligibility

How to apply

For entry into the DDB Doctoral Program, you will need to:

  1. Determine that you meet Monash's eligibility requirements
  2. Email an expression of interest to the DDB Higher Degree Research Committee
  3. Eligible applicants will be interviewed by the DDB Higher Degree Research Committee. For more information regarding our interview process, download DDB PhD interview guidelines [147 KB]. Successful interviewees will be given an invitation to apply.
  4. Apply for our doctoral program via the online form

Applicants are expected to obtain Australian Government, Monash University, or an equivalent scholarship.

Important deadlines

There are two intakes per year for entry into the DDB Doctoral Program.

For March 2020 commencement

  • Domestic Applicants – for Admission in 2020
    • Expression of interest deadline: 16 October 2019
    • Final Application deadline: 31 October 2019
  • International Applicants – for Admission in 2020
    • Expression of interest deadline: 16 August 2019
    • Final Application deadline: 31 August 2019

For September 2020 commencement

  • Domestic Applicants – for Admission in 2020
    • Expression of interest deadline: 17 May 2020
    • Final Application deadline: 31 May 2020
  • International Applicants – for Admission in 2020
    • Expression of interest deadline: 15 March 2020
    • Final Application deadline: 31 March 2020