Ph.D.- Arts

Course 101AA (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

This is a
New Generation course
, part of the
Melbourne Model
and is available from 2008
Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 056954J
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Research Higher Degree
Duration & Credit Points: Students are expected to complete this research in 3.00 years full time, or equivalent part time.


Associate Professor Timothy Lynch

Associate Dean (Research Training)


For currently enrolled students:

For future students:

Course Overview:

Please note that 101AA PhD - Arts program will no longer be accepting new applications as of the 1st January 2016, the program from 2016 will be offered as DR-PHILART Doctor of Philosophy - Arts. Please refer to the correct handbook entry for program information for commencing students from 2016.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy signifies that the holder has undertaken a substantial piece of original research, which has been conducted and reported by the holder under proper academic supervision and in a research environment for a prescribed period.

The PhD thesis demonstrates authority in the candidate's field and shows evidence of command of knowledge in relevant fields. It shows that the candidate has a thorough grasp of the appropriate methodological techniques and an awareness of their limitations. The thesis also makes a distinct contribution to knowledge. Its contribution to knowledge rests on originality of approach and / or interpretation of the findings and, in some cases, the discovery of new facts. The thesis demonstrates an ability to communicate research findings effectively in the professional arena and in an international context. It is a careful, rigorous and sustained piece of work demonstrating that a research 'apprenticeship' is complete and the holder is admitted to the community of scholars in the discipline.

In scope, the PhD thesis differs from a research Masters thesis chiefly by its deeper and more comprehensive treatment of the chosen subject. It is written succinctly, in English, unless approval has been given for the thesis to be written in a language other than English. The normal length of a PhD thesis is 80,000 words, exclusive of words in tables, maps, bibliographies and appendices. Footnotes are included as part of the word limit. The thesis should not exceed 100,000 words (or equivalent) without special approval from the Research Higher Degrees Committee.

Learning Outcomes:

Doctoral degrees at the University of Melbourne seek to develop graduates who demonstrate academic leadership, increasing independence, creativity and innovation in their research work.

Students who complete the PhD Arts should have:

  • an advanced ability to initiate research and to formulate viable research questions;
  • a demonstrated capacity to design, conduct and report sustained and original research;
  • the capacity to contextualise research within an international corpus of specialist knowledge;
  • an advanced ability to evaluate and synthesize research-based and scholarly literature;
  • an advanced understanding of key disciplinary and multi-disciplinary norms and perspectives relevant to the field;
  • highly developed problem-solving abilities and flexibility of approach;
  • the ability to analyse critically within and across a changing disciplinary environment;
  • the capacity to disseminate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication to a variety of audiences;
  • a capacity to cooperate with and respect the contributions of fellow researchers and scholars;
  • a profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship;
  • an advanced facility in the management of information, including the application of computer systems and software where appropriate to the student's field of study;
  • an understanding of the relevance and value of their research to national and international communities of scholars and collaborators;
  • an awareness where appropriate of issues related to intellectual property management and the commercialisation of innovation; and
  • an ability to formulate applications to relevant agencies, such as funding bodies and ethics committees.

The University provides a variety of opportunities in addition to the supervised research program, to facilitate a students' acquisition of these attributes.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

PhD thesis of 80,000 words. The award of the PhD is based solely on external examination of the PhD research thesis.

Three compulsory coursework subjects (25 points in total) undertaken in the first year of probationary candidature:

  • One Arts PhD Workshop taken over two consecutive semesters, held fortnightly in semester one and as an intensive in Semester 2 (2 x 6.25 = 12.5 points)
  • Two Arts PhD Electives (2 x 6.25 = 12.5 points)

Please note the following:

  • all students are required to complete one PhD Workshop (12.5 points total) and two PhD Electives (12.5 points total) from the list below with the approval of the student’s supervisor.
  • in some cases, supervisory panels, disciplines or Schools will require their students to take particular Electives or Workshops.
  • some subjects may be restricted to students with cognate disciplinary expertise in that area of study.
  • language subjects that are essential to the student's research thesis may be substituted for one PhD Elective (6.25 points) with approval from the student's supervisor and require the endorsement of the subject coordinator and Faculty.

Subject Options:

Arts PhD Research Workshop Subjects

One Arts PhD Workshop taken over two consecutive semesters (12.5 points total)

Please note the following:

All students are required to select one Arts PhD Workshop with approval from their supervisor (2 x 6.25 points = 12.5 points total).

The Arts PhD Workshop is taken over two consecutive study periods:

  • six fortnightly classes in Semester 1, and
  • an intensive workshop in Semester 2

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
July, Semester 1
July, Semester 1
July, Semester 1
July, Semester 1
July, Semester 1

Arts PhD Elective Subjects

All students are required to select two Arts PhD elective subjects (2 x 6.25 points = 12.5 points total)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Not offered in 2016
Not offered in 2016
Not offered in 2016
Semester 2
March, Semester 1
Not offered in 2016
Semester 1
Not offered in 2016
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:

  • a four-year honours degree in a relevant discipline which includes a substantial research component, equivalent to at least 25% of one year of full-time study. Applicants should have achieved a minimum weighted average of 75% in the final year subjects, or (University of Melbourne) equivalent, with a minimum result of 75% for the research component; or
  • a Masters degree in a relevant discipline which includes a substantial research component, equivalent to at least 25% of one year of full-time study. Applicants should have achieved a minimum weighted average of 75% or (University of Melbourne) equivalent with a minimum result of 75% for the research component; or
  • a qualification and professional experience considered to be equivalent;


  • a research proposal;
  • referee reports (except for applicants who have graduated from the University of Melbourne within the last 5 years); and
  • the endorsement of a prospective supervisor.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In selecting applicants, the selection committee will consider applicants’:

  • prior academic performance and, if relevant, professional qualifications;
  • understanding of the research question to be explored;
  • demonstrated ability in academic writing;
  • performance at an interview;
  • motivation and capacity to complete the course in a timely manner;
  • relevant prior research and/or professional experience; and
  • referee reports.

3. The selection committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Selection and Admission into Graduate Research Courses Policy.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the University’s English language requirements for graduate courses. The minimum English language requirements for this course are: Band 7

Core Participation Requirements:

All PhD candidates are required to complete the equivalent of at least 12 months full-time (24 months part-time) advanced study and research in the University unless studying at an outside institution approved by the Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC). The RHDC will not approve entirely distance supervision or entirely on-line supervision for research higher degree students.

Throughout their candidature candidates are expected to attend the University in order to benefit from planning, conducting and writing up their research within a University community and environment.

The residency requirement is deemed especially important during the period of probationary candidature. During probationary candidature the student is expected to interact on a regular basis with the supervisor, the department (including staff and other research students) and the University, so as:

  • to build the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the proposed research program
  • to acquire an understanding of the standards and requirements for a PhD awarded by the University
  • to make use of support programs and facilities provided by the Melbourne School of Graduate Research throughout candidature.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.

Graduate Attributes: None
Links to further information:

Application Procedure
Detailed information for prospective PhD students regarding the application process, including the application form is available at

It is important to note that there is a separate application form for local and international students.

PhD applicants should discuss their research interests with a potential supervisor at the department in which they would like to enrol prior to submitting an application.

The Find an Expert website may assist you to find an appropriate supervisor. Prospective PhD candidates should also investigate department websites for information on current research and contact details. Department websites are easily accessed from faculty homepages.

For information on application closing dates please see the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences website at

Which scholarship can I apply for?
Students can find information about graduate research scholarships offered by the University of Melbourne at the Melbourne Scholarships Office.

Facilities and Supports:
MSGR makes available a broad range of Programs & Services available to graduate research students.

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