The Melbourne School of Government is committed to extending opportunities for graduate study to under-represented groups, including Indigenous Australians, individuals from disadvantaged circumstances, and recipients of various Australia Award Scholarships provided by the Australian Government for international students.

Indigenous Australian Students

The Melbourne School of Government is committed to increasing representation of Indigenous Australians in tertiary education. We provide a number of ways to assist applicants from Indigenous backgrounds in accessing places in our graduate programs.

Graduate Access Melbourne - for Indigenous applicants

The Graduate Access Melbourne program increases your chance of getting into the course of your choice and ensures a number of Commonwealth Supported Places are reserved for Indigenous Australians. Indigenous applicants should apply for a Masters by Coursework program at the Melbourne School of Government and then complete the relevant Graduate Access Melbourne form.

Application dates, details, and the relevant form are available from the Graduate Access Melbourne web page.

Graduate Access Melbourne Bursaries

These bursaries are offered as one-off payments worth up to $5000. The School of Government hopes the bursaries can assist Indigenous applicants with meeting the costs of commencing a new study program.

All Indigenous applicants who submit a Graduate Access Melbourne application (see previous) will automatically be considered for a bursary.

Further information about the bursaries is available on the Graduate Access Melbourne web page.

University of Melbourne scholarships

The Indigenous Scholarships and Awards Committee (ISAC) was established in 2006, providing a number of Indigenous scholarships, bursaries and book vouchers to Indigenous students.

Further information about the application process for scholarships and financial aid is available on the Murrup Barak Scholarships and Financial Aid web page.


Indigenous students studying any Masters program at the Melbourne School of Government may be eligible to receive ABSTUDY entitlements from the Australian Government. ABSTUDY offers assistance with education and living costs.

Further information about Abstudy, and ways to finance your graduate studies, can be found on the Options to finance your graduate study web page.

More information

Murrup Barak, Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development

The Murrup Barak, Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, provides support to all Indigenous Australian students enrolled at the University, as well as those wishing to apply to study.

With a dedicated team of student support professionals, the Institute offers information, advice and support on a wide range of academic, cultural and personal matters to help make your transition to University studies easier. For more information please see the Murrup Barak website.

Indigenous studies at The University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne has a high priority to consult and work with Indigenous Australians in order to assist Indigenous communities in meeting their social and educational needs and aspirations. The Murrup Barak website provides a comprehensive listing of, and link to, all Indigenous related activities at The University of Melbourne.

Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Tour

The annual Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour takes place in October or November of each year, taking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university undergraduates who have completed at least two years of their course of study to visit overseas institutions in the United States or United Kingdom. This initiative gives participants who are interested in postgraduate study an insight into the realities of undertaking postgraduate study overseas.

The group of successful applicants leave Australia in late October and spend approximately 3 weeks in the US visiting Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia and NYU, and approximately 10 days in the UK at Cambridge and Oxford. At these premier educational institutions, participants meet with key admin staff and faculty from each university, as well as current students in the areas of the participants’ interest. All costs associated with travel, accommodation and meals are covered by Aurora and its supporters. In 2014, two students from the Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne joined the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study tour. Read about the experiences of Nathan Bird (BA(Hons)) and Luke Patterson (Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced)) to learn more:

University graduates are also welcome to apply. Applicants are advised that they should have maintained a Distinction average or equivalent throughout their studies.

For more information please visit The Aurora Project website.

I was part of the first ever Indigenous team from The University of Melbourne to take part in the Indigenous University Games. The University helped us travel to Newcastle to participate, where we were undefeated. Outside the University, I have taken part in the Oxfam Change Course, mentoring Indigenous students who are undertaking development projects in their communities.

Diana David, Bachelor of Arts (Extended)

I chose to do Masters by research over Masters by coursework because I wanted the freedom to follow my own ideas and theoretical interests. And by enrolling in a Masters rather than a PhD, I felt I was giving myself the chance to get back into the swing of study without the level of pressure that is attached to a PhD. It is also a good opportunity to further develop my academic skills, expand my knowledge of relevant theory, and get to know the staff in my department before embarking on a doctorate.

Emily Direen, Master of Arts (Research)

At the refugee camp, I learnt that life could be better and that it takes hard work and determination to make a change. I believe I can make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged through advocacy. I believe gaining a better understanding of how public policy is derived, developed, applied and reformed will enable me to advocate for positive social change at both a grass roots and federal level.

James Lojogo Lombe Simon, Master of Public Policy and Management

Graduate Access Melbourne Students

Graduate Access Melbourne (GAM) aims to minimise barriers and broaden access to graduate coursework study at the University of Melbourne. The Graduate Access Melbourne (GAM) scheme is open to Masters by Coursework applicants in the Melbourne School of Government.

The primary purpose of Graduate Access Melbourne is to guide the Faculty’s allocation of a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) on the basis of equity, during intakes when CSPs are available.

Equity-based CSPs are awarded to GAM applicants who are identified by the Selection Committee as most in need of support and assistance.

Eligible Graduate Access Melbourne applicants are also automatically considered for a GAM bursary, which provides a one-off grant of $5000 to help you meet the costs associated with graduate study. It is worth noting that GAM bursaries are limited in number and are normally awarded to GAM applicants who have demonstrated significant levels of socio-economic hardship. Furthermore GAM bursaries are normally awarded to full-time coursework Masters students.

We strongly encourage you to submit a GAM application if you have current and compelling circumstances of disadvantage that are likely to have a significant impact on your graduate level University studies.

To apply for GAM you must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or the holder of a permanent Humanitarian Visa. You must also be able to demonstrate your capacity to succeed in the Masters program for which you have applied, normally through satisfying course entry requirements. Finally, you must qualify for one or more of the following criteria:

  • Recognition as an Indigenous Australian
  • Previous status as a refugee or current holder of a humanitarian visa
  • Disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances
  • Disability or chronic medical condition
  • Difficult personal circumstances

To apply for the Graduate Access Melbourne scheme, you should apply for the relevant Masters by Coursework program of interest, and then complete the accompanying Graduate Access Melbourne form. 

Application dates, details, and the GAM form are available from the Graduate Access Melbourne web page.