Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is a University degree governed by Resolutions set down by the Academic Board. Candidates should be familiar with the Academic Board documents Postgraduate: Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Policy and University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is undertaken by independent research in an aspect of the visual arts. The degree is awarded for the successful completion of an approved program of supervised advanced research, which makes an original contribution to knowledge.
The PhD candidature represents an opportunity to explore a single research topic reflecting a critical exploration of the history, theory and practice of art; the development of new materials or technologies; the relationship between visual art and society, and/or the relationship between visual art and other disciplines. A PhD provides you an opportunity to prepare career and research options beyond studio practice.
Duration of the degree is three years (six semesters) to four years (eight semesters) full time or six to eight years part-time. Candidates are expected to study full time in their first year of candidature unless there are exceptional circumstances such as major personal hardship or health problems.
At the beginning of your course you are required to nominate one of the following methods of candidature:
- a thesis comprising a substantial body of creative work plus a written text examining the histories and theoretical underpinnings of the creative work, both of which demonstrate an original contribution to knowledge; or
- a substantial written thesis that, through a sustained investigation, demonstrates an original contribution to knowledge in the field of the history and theory of contemporary art.
In Option (1), the creative work must represent a significant and coherent solo exhibition. You must obtain a pass for both the written text and creative work for the degree to be awarded.
The length of the written thesis to be agreed through consultation between you, your supervisor and the Director of the Graduate School. Any changes would have to be approved by the supervisor and the Director of the Graduate School. The expectations for Option (1) are in the vicinity of 40,000-50,000 words, and in the vicinity of 60,000-80,000 words for Option (2).
The Academic Board of the University of Sydney has agreed that a probationary period of twelve months for the PhD should be usual practice. Consequently, the first year of the PhD program at SCA is a probationary year for all candidates. Progress is discussed at the annual review and the review panel is authorised to recommend a change of probationary enrolment to normal candidature. Unsatisfactory progress or other problems could result in recommendation of extending of probationary period or transferring to a Masters by research (not available for candidates who have already completed a Masters by research).
PhD Seminar Program
All first year PhD candidates attend a compulsory Seminar Program in the first semester of their candidature. The seminars are designed to introduce candidates to the principles of practice-led research and scholarly definitions of knowledge and research. Candidates present short accounts of their research projects, and learn research methods, note-taking skills and strategies for building evidence-based argument.
Second and Third Years
Graduate School Forum
All PhD candidates are required to attend the Graduate School Forum once they have completed the first semester of their candidature, and must present a paper each year on the current state of their research. Each presentation session is chaired by a fellow candidate.
Candidates who are unable to attend a presentation must have their supervisor's support and request approval in writing from the Director of SCA Graduate School.
Thesis Submission and Examination
At the end of your final year (the third or fourth year of full time candidature), you must submit for examination:
- a thesis comprising a substantial body of creative work for exhibition plus a written 40,000 to 50,000 word text examining the histories and theoretical underpinnings of the creative work, both of which demonstrate an original contribution to knowledge; or
- a substantial 60,000 to 80,000 word written thesis that, through sustained investigation, demonstrates an original contribution to knowledge in the field of the history and theory of contemporary art.
Candidates undertaking the dual outcome are required to present both components of the thesis at an oral examination chaired, in a non-voting capacity, by the Director of the Faculty's Graduate School or his/her nominee. The oral examination must take place during a Postgraduate Degree Show unless there are exceptional circumstances such as major personal hardship. The written component must be submitted five (5) weeks prior to the oral examination date.
Please refer to http://sydney.edu.au/sca/graduate_school/current_students/your_study/phd.shtml for more information on particular requirements for PhD study at SCA Graduate School.