There are three main requirements for becoming a UNSW graduate student:
- Being accepted in the Graduate Research School, and
- Accessing funding to support you while undertaking research full time for three years.
- Finding a supervisor
Australian students should see the Graduate Research School web pages for details on how to Apply for an Scholarship at UNSW (deadlines are around end of October for Semester 1, around end of March for Semester 2) and how to Apply for Admission (deadline around mid-December and late-May).
Prospective students from overseas (in addition to Applying for Admission) will have to pay tuition fees. Again there are Scholarships available (see UNSW International Research Scholarships for details - deadlines are a few months earlier than for Australian scholarships). Your home country may also have scholarships available to support overseas study.
These scholarships are very competitive. You will need to have a four-year undergraduate degree (or undergraduate degree followed by a Masters degree) equivalent to at least First Class Honours level (in the Australian/UK system) - this is roughly equivalent to a GPA in the US system of better than ~3.6 (see this link for more details). It will also be essential to be able to obtain good references from researchers who know you and can recommend that you have the potential to be a research scientist. If you have published papers from Honours or Masters research projects this will greatly strengthen your case.
A key step in these application processes is finding a potential supervisor. Your first point of call should be the web pages of the relevant ACA researchers and contact them to find out about research projects they may have available.