Postgraduate Research

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences supports and pursues the University's goal of excellence in research, encouraging research of national and international standing, and identifying and enhancing fields of basic, strategic and applied research. Many of the Faculty's distinguished academic staff have recognised international standing and include Federation Fellows and Fellows of Learned Academies and Societies.

Postgraduate Research Subject Areas

 

Postgraduate Research Courses

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers the following postgraduate courses by research:

Professional Doctorates

Detailed information about the degree, thesis submission, the role of the Supervisor and the examination for the award of the degree can be found in the Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Handbook. Applicants interested in pursuing a higher degree by research should consult the Faculty office for advice about their study options.

Master of Arts (Research)

One to two years full-time / Two to four years part-time

The Master of Arts (Research) is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to extend their studies beyond their undergraduate degree primarily by thesis but do not have an undergraduate Honours degree or other qualification that would allow entry into a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The satisfactory completion of the MA (Research) degree is a qualification for admission to higher degree research candidature.

The MA (Research) can be undertaken in a range of subject areas by research and thesis only, or a combination of thesis and coursework, as outlined below. It is not possible to upgrade from an incomplete Master of Arts (Research) degree to higher degree research candidature. The MA (Research) has different admission requirements from both the Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The MA (Research) may be undertaken in the following ways;

  • Two postgraduate units of study (12 credit points) and a thesis of 26,000 – 28,000 words; or
  • One postgraduate unit of study (6 credit points) and a thesis of 28,000 – 30,000 words; or
  • A thesis of 30,000 – 35,000 words.
  • A thesis on an approved topic is researched and written under the supervision of a member of the academic staff.

Admission Requirements

(1) To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean or Associate Dean, an applicant must hold or have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, with a major in a relevant subject area, completed with a distinction average.

(2) The Dean or Associate Dean may admit to candidature an applicant who does not meet the requirements of sub-clause (1), provided that the applicant holds a qualification or qualifications that, in the opinion of the Dean or Associate Dean, are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).

Master of Philosophy

One to two years full-time / Two to four years part-time

Candidates for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) research and write a thesis of 40,000 - 60,000 words on an approved topic under the supervision of a member of the academic staff.

Admission Requirements

(1) To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean or Associate Dean, an applicant must hold or have completed the requirements for:

(a) a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, with a minimum Honours Second Class, Division 1 in the subject area in which the applicant wishes to proceed; or

(b) a master's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, completed by coursework, in a relevant subject area, with a Distinction average for the coursework component and which contained an independent research component that comprised 25% of the requirements for the award of the degree and for which the applicant achieved a result of Distinction or above; or

(c) a master's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, in a relevant subject area, completed by research.

(2) The Dean or Associate Dean may admit to candidature an applicant who does not meet the requirements of sub-clause (1), provided that the applicant holds a qualification or qualifications that, in the opinion of the Dean or Associate Dean, are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).

Policy on upgrade from MPhil to PhD

Upgrade from MPhil to PhD is not “automatic” and may not be used to gain extra candidature time. It is recommended that:

MPhil candidates seeking to upgrade should demonstrate an ability to conduct research at PhD level by:

(i) providing a detailed thesis outline satisfactory to the department

(ii) providing satisfactory chapter drafts of not less than a total of 25,000 words or equivalent (completed during the MPhil candidature)

Normally application to upgrade from MPhil to PhD should be made prior to the fourth semester (full-time equivalent) of MPhil candidature.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Applicants wishing to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences must demonstrate that they possess the necessary academic background in the field of study they wish to pursue. In order to provide a quality assurance framework for entry, the Faculty offers the following two pathways to admission into the PhD.

(1) Direct Entry

(a) To be eligible for direct admission by the Dean or Associate Dean to candidature for the Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must have completed all the academic requirements for:

(i) a Master's degree in a relevant subject with an overall pass average of 75% or above; or
(ii) a Bachelor's degree, in a relevant subject, with first or second class Honours.

(b) Candidates who do not meet these criteria may still be eligible for direct entry if appropriate experience, and alternative qualifications, in the chosen field of study can be demonstrated.

(c) The Coordinator of the PhD program may, at his or her discretion, require a candidate to enrol initially in one of the University of Sydney Masters degrees in an appropriate area of study rather than the PhD.

(d) Individuals who have qualifications that are borderline on the minimum requirements for entry should consult with the appropriate PhD Coordinator before making an application.

(1) Indirect Entry

(a) An applicant who has been awarded an honours second class, first division (2:1) in a relevant subject area may be admitted into the PhD.

(b) Such applicants must :

(i) complete a minimum of one academic year, full-time (or part-time equivalent) of a Master of Philosophy (MPhil);
(ii) meet all applicable progression requirements for the MPhil program;
(iii) complete 25 000 words of a thesis to the satisfaction of the department; and provide evidence that their research is of a sufficient scope and depth to sustain a doctoral thesis

These constitute the minimum requirements for eligibility and do not guarantee admission. This remains at the discretion of the relevant supervisors and departments. The University must certify that there are sufficient supervisory and other resources and facilities available to enable your candidature to be completed successfully. Applicants should be aware of the very high expectations of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science PhD program. The Faculty advises that prospective students with an Honours degree awarded in the second class or a Master’s degree without a thesis component should consult the Postgraduate Research Coordinator of the relevant department before making an application.

Doctor of Arts and Doctor of Social Sciences

Three to four years full-time / Six to eight years part-time

The Doctor of Arts (DArts) and Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) are professional doctorates which allow candidates to pursue a higher degree of rigorous scholarship as well as advance their professional practice. The professional doctorate is designed to respond to the rapid changes taking place in the professional workplace which create demands on professionals such as journalists, creative writers, anthropologists, linguists, policy advisers, managers, and others to upgrade their qualifications.

Leading employees are increasingly expected to be more aware of the changing environment of their professional practice, more focused on the specific developments of their field, and more skilled in research and analytical techniques. Further training at the upper levels of the discipline such as that offered to professional doctorate candidates can develop the sophisticated intellectual and applied knowledge and skills that are increasingly in high demand.

The professional doctorate comprises two postgraduate research methods units of study and research leading to a thesis of 60,000-80,000 words for candidates not also submitting a significant creative project, or a thesis of 20,000-30,000 words for candidates also submitting a significant creative project under the supervision of a member of the academic staff. You may complete research in various areas within this discipline such as creative writing, digital cultures, gender and cultural studies, government and international relations, museum studies, peace and conflict studies, performance studies, political economy or sociology and social policy.

The exact nature of the significant creative project will be determined by the disciplinary norms of the department through which a student is enrolled. Applicants must discuss their proposed significant creative projects with the department to ensure that the department has the relevant expertise to supervise the projects. Examples of significant creative projects include novels, biographies and memoirs, sets of short stories, poetic works, plays and other performance scripts, performed pieces, audio and/or video works, documentaries, collections of feature articles, and documented interventions in public debates, such as submissions, reports and major essays.

Admission Requirements

(1) To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean or Associate Dean, an applicant must:

(a) hold or have completed the requirements for:

(i) a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, with first or second class honours, in a relevant subject area; or

(ii) a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, in a relevant subject area, with a substantial portfolio of published/professional work (such as books, films, TV programs, creative work and/or government reports) equivalent to or greater than an undergraduate honours thesis; or

(iii) a master’s degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, in a relevant subject area; and

(b) have a minimum of five years' recent, full-time employment or professional experience in a relevant field.

(2) The Dean or Associate Dean may admit to candidature an applicant who does not meet the requirements of sub-clause (1), provided that the applicant holds a qualification or qualifications that, in the opinion of the Dean or Associate Dean, are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).