Doctor of Philosophy (Social Work)
Education and Social Work
The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.
The University of Sydney is Australia's premier research University, and the Faculty of Education and Social Work is a world-class research centre in the humanities, human services and related fields offering an outstanding range of innovative research courses.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work is normally completed full-time over four years and candidates undertake supervised research culminating in an 80,000 word thesis.
Further course information and outcomes
Further information about research courses:
How to apply
Applicants may apply to enter the Doctor of Philosophy by one of two qualifying pathways: direct entry or pathway A. In both instances, admission is subject to acceptance of the intending applicant's research proposal of 1,000 words, which must address criteria specified by the faculty, on the faculty web site.
Applicants may qualify if their research proposal is accepted, by a potential supervisor, and they satisfy one of the criteria listed below:
a bachelor degree with first or second class honours in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis based on primary data, not only a literature review, or a master's degree by research in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis that draws on primary data, or a masters degree by coursework with a 12,000-15,000 word research thesis or dissertation that draws on primary data, not a literature review, with a grade point average of at least 80% in the degree.
Pathway A entry
Pathway A entry is open to applicants whose research proposal is accepted by a potential supervisor and who satisfies one of the following criteria:
a bachelor degree with first or second class honours in an appropriate area of study, but which did not include a research thesis, or
a masters degree by coursework (with no thesis or dissertation component) with a grade point average of at least 75% and an amount of scholarly writing and/or research expertise which, in the opinion of the admissions committee, is equivalent to a master's research thesis. Copies of these must be submitted with the application.
Applying for admission
1. Find a supervisor within the University whose academic background aligns with your research. You may visit Research Supervisor Connect to start.
2. Contact a research supervisor either through Research Supervisor Connect or email and provide:
• your academic/educational background and research experience with examples such as an academic transcript
• your CV/resume
• the area of interest for your PhD
• why you believe your research topics align with this supervisor
3. In conjunction with your supervisor, develop a preliminary research proposal of at least 500 words that outlines the subject area, objectives and significance of your research.
4. International applicants need to obtain two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements. Referee reports should be supplied on our template.
5. If you intend to study part-time towards a PhD, you will also need to supply:
• evidence that shows you will have sufficient time available to plan and carry out the research under the supervision of the University, and complete the course within the maximum period allowed for a part-time PhD enrolment
• a declaration from your employer (if relevant) confirming that you will be permitted to take the time required to effectively pursue your studies.
6. Your research proposal should be submitted along with your CV, academic referee reports, academic transcripts and other supporting documents.
7. Applications are made via the University’s online application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply Now’ button on the right hand side of this page.
Additional application requirements
You will be required to upload all of the following documents when you submit your application:
• certified academic transcripts for all your previous tertiary study, if they were not completed at The University of Sydney
• CV, providing a summary of your work experience
• two academic references (international applicants)
• cover letter outlining your reasons for applying
• research proposal
• statement of capacity to undertake part-time candidature (if applicable –domestic applicants)
• evidence that your supervisor supports your application. This can be PDF copies of emails between you and your supervisor
• proof of your Australian residency status (a certified copy of the main page your Australian passport, or a certified copy of the main page(s) of your own passport with evidence of your visa)
• English language qualifications (if your prior study was completed at an institution where English is not the medium of instruction).
Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee
This 2016, tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student represents the fee that is payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.
Annual review for postgraduate domestic tuition fee
Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.
Additional incidental fees
For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.
Potential for inaccuracy
Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information in this prospectus, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.
The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents
Please note that if you are classified by the University as a Research Training Scheme student in accordance with the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2010, you will be exempt from the payment of any SCA or tuition fees for courses undertaken as part of a Research Masters degree and Research Doctoral degree. More information about your eligibility for this Scheme is available here.
International tuition fees for postgraduate students
This 2016, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2016, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.
Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.
Additional incidental fees and health insurance
For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. The University's Future Students' webpage has further information about these additional incidental fees for postgraduate coursework students and postgraduate research students.
In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.
Potential for inaccuracy
Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.