As soon as you receive your letter of offer from the university, you should contact (1) the English Postgraduate Coordinator (Research) to let the Department know on what date you intend to commence your candidature; and (2) your supervisor to arrange a first meeting. (If you are taking up an APA or UPA you should also inform the Research Training division of the Research and Scholarships Office of your date of commencement so that they can initiate payment.)
Welcome/ Induction Programmes
At the beginning of both semesters incoming postgraduate students are welcomed to the university. These events are organised by the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the individual departments within the faculty contribute to the programme. Students will be advised of the details regarding the Welcome on enrolment and it is strongly recommended that you make every effort to attend. Information on these events can also be found on the University and Faculty homepage in the weeks leading up to the beginning of the semester.
You should make contact with the English Postgraduate Coordinator (Research) as soon as possible for additional information.
The First Year Postgraduate Research Seminars
As indicated above, you are required in the first year of candidature to attend the First Year Postgraduate Research Seminars held on Tuesdays between 3pm and 5pm in S226 Seminar Room (Woolley Building, Media and Communications entrance on Level 2). In first semester these seminars cover various practical, methodological and critical aspects of academic research and postgraduate life. In second semester, you are required to give a 20-minute paper to the seminar in which you outline your research project and its progress or present a particular aspect of your project. Your supervisor will attend the seminar at which you present your paper, if possible, and you should consult her or him in the preparation of your paper.
The Departmental Research Seminars
The English department holds a series of seminars throughout the semester in the S226 Seminar Room (Media and Communications entrance, level 2 John Woolley Building), at which papers are presented by staff, visiting academics, and advanced research postgraduates. The Departmental Research Seminars offer an excellent opportunity to develop your own academic range and confidence as you get to know other students and staff in the department and develop a greater sense of belonging to a lively academic community. As a member of the seminar you will become more aware of the variety of research being carried out in the department and in the discipline. Postgraduates offering a paper will find this a friendly and constructive forum.
Critical Literature Review and First Chapter
All students are required to write a comprehensive research plan and a review of the critical literature pertaining to their topic of 7500-10,000 words, to be submitted to the Postgraduate Co-ordinator by the end of their first semester (by the November interviews for part time students or by the end of December for students commencing in the middle of the year). The Co-ordinator will then pass them on to individual supervisors who will either judge them acceptable or return them for revision. All students must submit a draft of their first chapter or equivalent to their supervisor by the end of their second semester of candidature. These two elements, amounting to 15-20,000 words in total, along with attendance at the seminar, are formal requirements for progression. The first year of your candidature is a probation year and the department and your supervisor will look upon it as such.
A number of academic refereed journals are edited by members or past members of the department (please see the departmental homepage for up-to-date information):
- Philament (an online journal of postgraduate scholarship)
- Sydney Studies in English
Philament is a free online journal of postgraduate scholarship in the fields of cultural studies and the literary arts, edited and published by students from the University of Sydney, but with interdisciplinary and intercampus links. It is designed as a conduit for uninhibited academic debate, critical discussion, and creative expression over a broad range of topics within the literary arts and cultural studies and accepts submissions in the form of long and short articles, reviews, fictional work, and visual or multimedia experiments. All academic articles are refereed by scholars with substantial knowledge of the relevant field. The Philament editorial collective is comprised of postgraduate students from the Department of English at the University of Sydney and all incoming students are encouraged to become involved.
Professional Commitment and Research Culture
All candidates are expected to participate in the research culture of the department and in broader scholarly communities within and outside the University. In the department, a marker of this participation is attendance at the Research Seminars during Semester. This is the time when the Department as a whole gets together for exchange and debate in a convivial atmosphere. As a marker of participation in national and international scholarly communities, candidates are required to deliver a conference paper at a conference held outside the University of Sydney and/or to prepare and submit part of their research for publication to an accredited scholarly journal in the second or third year of their candidature. Postgraduates are also encouraged to attend meetings of research clusters in their area(s) of interest. Details of these meetings will be advertised at seminars, by email and on the departmental website.
Teaching in the Department
The Department of English usually requires tutorial assistance with its large undergraduate units of study and recruits from amongst its own postgraduates. All postgraduate students are notified (usually during the month or so before the beginning of each semester) and expressions of interest and CVs are solicited by the Chair of the Department. We respect the fact that the experience of teaching is an important part of academic training and, while we cannot guarantee it, endeavour to try and find teaching work for all interested postgraduate students at some stage during their candidature. You should talk it over in the first instance with your supervisor (who will be consulted by the Chair during the appointment process) and respond promptly when the call for expressions of interest goes out.
Careers after a Research Degree
Career opportunities are difficult to predict but many of our postgraduates have gone on to careers in academic research and teaching; the creative industries and information management; policy and public service. We are keen to assist our graduates as they make their plans.