Postgraduate Research Application Procedures

Formal application is made through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences website.

Decisions are made on the basis of merit in previous tertiary studies in English or an area of study deemed equivalent, and availability of appropriate supervision. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by a letter from the Registrar. Enquiries about the progress of an application may be made, after allowing a reasonable time, to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences office or the International Office.

Applying to the Department

Applications for all research degrees must include

  1. a 750-1000 word research proposal which should be forwarded, along with copies of
  2. academic transcripts
  3. a CV
  4. a piece of recent written work (a published article or a recent essay), to the English Postgraduate Co-ordinator (Research)

prior to formal application through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or the International Office. The Co-ordinator can then determine whether or not the applicant satisfies the requirements and if the Department is likely to be in a position to offer supervision. A final decision cannot be made, however, until all the applications for each round have been received and reviewed by a departmental committee comprised of the Co-ordinator, the Chair of the Department, and other interested members of staff. Only then will we be in a position to confirm the offer of a place and give applicants a definitive account of their supervisory arrangements.

The Research Proposal

The research proposal is an important part of the application as your supervisor and associate supervisor will be selected on the basis of this proposal. You must be as precise as possible in describing your proposed topic and give an indication of the primary texts you will be reading. Significant changes in the research topic may result in the department’s being unable to provide adequate supervision.
Your proposal should also state the aims of your project, indicate its conceptual framework, anticipate its methodology, and include an outline of background reading already completed. As far as possible, it should establish the viability of your project and the extent of its originality. All proposals are different, but you could begin with a very brief outline of the broad field of study in which you wish to place your work and then move on to the issue/s that your work is going to address. (The University of Sydney Learning Centre has published Writing a Thesis Proposal, available from the Centre.)

Human Ethics Clearance

You may wish to include fieldwork involving interviews or recording of some kind in your project. In this case, it is your responsibility, in consultation with your supervisor, to obtain clearance from the University of Sydney Human Ethics Committee before the commencement of the project. For further information see the Human Ethics Committee website.

Postgraduate Arts Research Centre (PG ARC)

All English postgraduate students are eligible to apply for space in the Postgraduate Arts Research Centre (PGARC). There are computers, printers, and photocopying facilities in PGARC.
A PGARC ‘completion space’ (PGARC II) is available for research degree candidates who are in the final semester of their project. Students will need to apply through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.