Under the headline: ‘Melbourne University Gains Status from the War’, the Melbourne Herald of 25 August 1941 asserted that it had finally achieved the status of a ‘premier university as distinct from an intermediate institution on the road to Oxford’. There was a well-founded view, especially in the Science Faculty, that all that was required to consolidate the war-time gains was the establishment of a research degree and increased funding for research activities. The former proved easier than the latter. Attempts by the Science Faculty to introduce a PhD in 1924 foundered for lack of support from other universities, and again in late 1945 Melbourne University led the way when it adopted regulations for the first degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Australia. The first PhDs were awarded to Erica Wolff (Arts) and R. H. Myers (Science) in 1948.
In 1950 J.S. Rogers, fresh from Mildura, was appointed to the new position of Dean of Graduate Studies and the Standing Committee on Research of the Professorial Board recommended the publication of an annual Research Report.
As the demand for post-graduate enrolments grew in the 1960s the University devoted the substantial Williams Bequest to PhD scholarships to supplement those available from the Government. In 1965 these were supporting 209 students. It was the Commonwealth Government however which provided the major funding support through scholarships and grants. From 1958 a hundred post-graduate scholarships were made available and the number increased in 1963. In 1965 the allocation of the funds for scholarships and research passed to a new body, the Australian Research Grants Committee (ARGC).
The management of research students and funding remained with this and the PhD committees until 1975 when the Dean of Graduate Studies was replaced by a Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) who chaired a new Committee on Research and Graduate Studies.