International students are valuable in universities for their knowledge and the enhancement of institutional culture. Australian Universities (AUs) have implemented higher degree by research (HDR) programs, wherein the international HDR students can gain necessary independent research skills and competencies required in the global labour market. However, current research (Rooij et al., 2018), indicates that some HDR programs fail to address the complex needs of international HDR students, resulting in study completion delays and higher attrition rates across AUs’. To address this problem, it is critical to understand the academic adjustment issues that international HDR students have experienced to provide an effective and supportive research environment by ensuring that students have more equitable access to campus resources and educational services. International HDR students’ academic adjustment experiences are influenced by cultural aspects and other variables, such as previous academic experiences, and most recently, the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, these variables have an impact on academic adjustment, which is one of the most powerful predictors of attrition (Rooij et al., 2018). Academic adjustment refers to the processes for managing the challenges that allow students to develop skills throughout the HDR process (Wasylkiw, 2015) but little research has taken cultural aspects and COVID into consideration. To understand more about international HDR students' unique experiences in AUs, this study uses Berry’s (2005) acculturation theory to investigate and explore the cultural aspects of academic adjustment for international HDR students studying education discipline at AUs’. The study uses a mixed-method approach that includes an online survey and semi-structured interviews. The findings add to the growing body of knowledge about the varied experiences and variables that influence academic adjustment. Hence AUs’ may create a more conducive research environment by ensuring that international HDR students have more equitable access to campus resources and educational services. Berry, J. W. (2005). Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29(6), 697-712. van, R., Ellen, J., & Wim, v. d. G. (2018). First-year university students’ academic success: The importance of academic adjustment. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 33(4), 749-767. Wasylkiw, L. (2015). Students’ perspectives on pathways to university readiness and adjustment. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(3), 28-39.