Doctor of Social Sciences
The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.
The Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) is a professional doctorate which allows you to pursue a higher degree of rigorous scholarship while advancing your 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. 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 gender and cultural studies, government and international relations, museum studies, peace and conflict 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.
Please note: The units of study listed below are subject to change and are to be used as a guide only.
Further course information
Areas of research
Doctor of Social Sciences candidates may undertake research in one of the faculty's five schools. These are the Schools of Economics; Languages and Cultures; Letters, Art and Media; Philosophical and Historical Inquiry; Social and Political Sciences.
Further information about research courses
Research at Sydney
Your research at Sydney
Research at The University of Sydney is dynamic and always evolving; inspiring the active mind and providing new tools and ways of thinking that lead to innovation. A postgraduate research degree is a training exercise in which the candidate acquires knowledge of research methods and experience in planning, performing and publishing research under the guidance of a supervisor. The success of that training is assessed through a thesis, which in the case of a PhD is expected to provide some evidence of originality and thereby make some significant contribution to knowledge, at least some of which is publishable. A successful research master’s thesis will likewise demonstrate a grasp of training in research methodology but may make a less original contribution than a doctoral thesis. Over the years, The University of Sydney has consistently outperformed other Australian universities in the measure of research performance used by the Australian Government to allocate funding. The numbers are impressive, but what really matters is the research this funding supports. This exceptional outcome is testament to the breadth, depth and scale of Sydney’s research enterprise and demonstrates the superior quality of Sydney researchers in the eyes of their research peers
The supervisor is that member of the academic or, as appropriate, senior research staff, appointed to take primary responsibility for the conduct of a student's research candidature. The supervisor must be available at all stages of the candidature for advice, assistance and direction and is responsible for the progress of the candidature to the head of department/school and the faculty or college. At least one associate supervisor is also appointed. The role of the supervisory team will change over the course of the candidature but will generally always comprise: ensuring sufficient resources are available to support the candidate; providing advice about an initial research plan; ensuring that the candidate is aware of the particular research skills to be acquired and that appropriate techniques are established for gathering and analysing data; monitoring progress made within the context of the research plan; agreeing on a timetable for frequent and regular contact and acknowledging the need for periodic review of these arrangements; establishing agreed indicators of progress; providing regular and constructive feedback on written analysis and drafts; and providing sound advice about relevant administrative matters.
The University of Sydney offers a number of research scholarships to outstanding domestic and international students. Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and citizens of New Zealand are domestic applicants. Scholarships information for domestic applicants http://sydney.edu.au/scholarships/research/ Overseas nationals (citizens of all other countries) are international applicants. Scholarships information for international applicants http://sydney.edu.au/future_students/international_postgraduate_research/costs_scholarships/scholarships/index.shtml
The Research Training Scheme (RTS), http://sydney.edu.au/future_students/domestic_postgraduate_research/costs_scholarships/costs.shtml administered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), provides course fee exemptions for Commonwealth-funded higher degree by research (HDR) students for the duration of an accredited HDR course, up to a maximum of four years full-time equivalent study for a doctorate by research (including a professional doctorate which meets the research program criteria), and two years’ full-time equivalent study for a master's by research. RTS students may be enrolled full-time or part-time.
Progression and completion
A candidate for the Doctor of Social Sciences will have an annual review of progress, in which the candidate will be required to provide evidence of progress in their research and towards the completion of their thesis. On the basis of the evidence provided, the faculty will recommend the conditions of candidature to apply in the following year, and may request a further review at the end of a semester.
If a candidate is not progressing satisfactorily towards the completion of the degree, they may be asked by the faculty to explain why their candidature should not be terminated.
Annual progress review
The Academic Board has determined that all research candidates are required to undertake an annual progress review (APR). The APR comprises a written report and a mandatory interview. The report requires written statements from the candidate, the supervisory panel, the staff member responsible for coordinating or directing research within the department, and the Chair of the review panel. The interview is conducted by the review panel, which should include the participation of an academic staff member or members from outside the department. Members of the candidate's supervisory panel may be present for part of the interview, but the interview must provide the candidate with the opportunity to speak freely to the review panel without the presence of supervisors. On the basis of evidence provided and the interview, the head of the department recommends the conditions of candidature to apply for the following year.
In order to complete the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, a candidate shall complete an approved course of advanced study and research as follows:
(1) To satisfy the requirements of the degree candidates must:
(a) complete any specified probationary requirements; and
(b) complete 12 credit points of coursework;
(c) conduct research on the approved topic; and
(d) write a thesis embodying the results of the research; or
(e) produce a significant creative project and a thesis embodying the results of the research;
Thesis submission requirements and examination procedure as set out in the Academic Board resolutions for this course and the Higher Degree (HDR) Rule 2011.
The Doctor of Social Sciences is a professional doctorate degrees which will allow candidates to pursue a higher degree of rigorous scholarship as well as advance their professional practice. In that sense, the degree will be distinct from the more purely research approach associated with the undertaking of a PhD. The nature of the units of study required in the coursework component will vary from discipline to discipline, reflecting different career and professional skills required in each.
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
How to apply
(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).
Applying for admission
To apply for a research degree, you may be expected to contact the appropriate faculty with an expression of interest before submitting a formal application. When you submit a formal application online, you will be required to upload some or all of the following documents electronically with your application:
(i) a certified academic transcript or transcripts for your previous study, if they were not completed at The University of Sydney;
(ii) a CV, providing a summary of your work experience and other relevant activities;
(iii) up to two academic references;
(iv) a research proposal;
(v) a one page cover letter outlining your reasons for applying;
(vi) 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);
(vii) English language qualifications (if your prior study was completed at an institution where English is not the medium of instruction).
Some courses have further, specific admission requirements, including other documentation or the submission of a portfolio of work, and/or an interview as part of the application process - see Additional application requirements
Additional application requirements
You must provide references from at least two academics who are familiar with your studies and are qualified to comment on your previous academic achievements and your capacity to undertake a research degree.
Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee
This 2015, 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 2014 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 2015, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are 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.
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.