Future research students
Information for prospective students regarding the Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) or Masters by Research program.
For information about how to apply and the application timeline, please refer to the Faculty of Arts Future Graduate Research web page:
You can search for scholarships offered by the University of Melbourne on the Scholarships website:
Prospective Creative Writing students – research proposals
Here are some guidelines to assist you in developing a proposal for a research higher degree in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne (Master of Arts or PhD).
The creative PhD at the University of Melbourne is developed and marked as a single thesis, with two major elements: a dissertation and a creative work.
Each part usually contributes 50% to the overall word count. It is possible to increase the dissertation above 50%, but the creative work cannot be more than 50%.
One way to understand the unity of the creative PhD thesis is to consider that there is one overarching research question or hypothesis, which is approached within the thesis in two different manners, a scholarly one and a creative one.
The dissertation is not an exegesis. The dissertation does not offer a commentary on the creative processes or the intentions of the writer. The dissertation is intended to stand independently as a scholarly work making an original contribution to its field or discipline. In creative writing, this field is often interdisciplinary, but it can be characterised as a discipline interested in writerly questions, that is questions that take into account creativity, creative processes, the decision-making that goes into a creative text, cultural and technological influences on writing, questions of genre boundaries (including emerging genres, hybrid genres), and questions that address issues in conceiving of writing as a craft. This is a broad description and it is not exhaustive, but it does indicate that most dissertations are investigating aspects of the act of writing.
In your proposal you should make it clear what your research question is, and how this question fits with or responds to an ongoing critical discourse. You should identify the fields or disciplines you will draw upon, what models of analysis you will adopt, and what critical and creative texts you wish to discuss in your dissertation.
The creative work will need to be articulated in your proposal with some detail, understanding that as with all creative works there will be room for re-considerations and re-drafting. You should show how your creative work addresses or arises from your research question.
Your proposal should include an indicative list of the texts you will consult.
Current research students
Information for currently enrolled graduate researchers in the Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or Master by Research program regarding supervision panel membership and timelines, as well as symposia requirements, grants and fieldwork funding.
School induction and Enrichment activities
Orientation and induction
The Faculty of Arts provides an orientation welcome session for new graduate researchers at the beginning of each year. After the orientation session, there will be a local induction to the School of Culture and Communications.
During semester, the various disciplines within the school hold staff and graduate research seminars in which local and guest speakers read a research paper, followed by discussion. You are strongly encouraged to attend and are welcome to offer papers or suggest visiting speakers. Details of the events are circulated by email.
The Culture and Communications Graduate Committee (CCGC) holds a seminar for graduate researchers on Thursday lunchtimes during semester. These informal seminars provide an opportunity to workshop new material and to meet with other students. This seminar is also a great forum for confirmation and completion hurdle requirements. Seminars will generally consist of two 20-minute papers or one 40-minute completion seminar, with time for questions. The seminar is currently being held at 1pm on Thursdays, usually in John Medley (Building 191), 4th Floor Linkway Room.
The CCGC also hosts two Work-in-Progress days per year, commonly known as WIP Days. This is an opportunity for the Schools’ graduate researchers to present their Confirmation, Completion and Work-in-Progress Seminars in front of their advisory committees and to a broader academic audience. Graduate researchers are invited by the CCGC to register to present on WIP Day prior to the events.
University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association (GSA)
The University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association (GSA) is your voice on committees and a great provider of community and social activities for the thousands of graduate students at the University. GSA also provides the only independent advocates on campus specifically for graduate students, so if you run into any trouble in your degree, give GSA a call on +61 3 8344 8657 or drop by the Doug McDonell (Building 168) for advice. GSA manages a range of graduate-only study spaces, lockers, computer labs, meeting rooms and carrels in the Graduate Centre as well, available for all of the University’s graduate students.
Culture and Communication Graduate Committee (CCGC)
The Culture and Communication Graduate Committee (the CCGC) is the School of Culture and Communication’s Graduate Student Association. It is an independent, student-run committee which aims to provide fair and equitable representation for all graduate researchers within the School. Formerly known as Dis/course, the committee receives funding from both the University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association (GSA) and from the School itself. With this support, the CCGC works to build a spirit of collegiality among graduate researchers and provide support and training for both research and coursework students. This includes running a variety of social events; acting as the graduate researcher voice within both the school and the university; running a weekly seminar series that provides graduate researchers with an opportunity to present their work to peers in a supportive and friendly environment; and providing workshops aimed at giving assistance to graduate researchers with various aspects of academic life.
The CCGC provides services and representation for all graduate researchers within the School: Art History, Arts and Cultural Management, Australian Indigenous Studies, Creative Writing, English and Theatre Studies, Media and Communications, Publishing and Communications and Screen and Cultural Studies. All graduate researchers are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings, raise issues regarding any aspect of candidature, offer suggestions and organise activities. The annual AGM is held at the end of year BBQ, while a general meeting is held at the Work-In-Progress day at the end of first semester, and all graduate researchers in the school are strongly encouraged to attend a meeting and get involved. For more information on the running of the CCGC, please refer to our constitution.
Any graduate researcher in the School may join the committee or get involved with the events that they organise. If you are interested email Culture and Communication Graduate committee or come along to the AGM at the end of year BBQ, or the general meeting at Work in Progress day.
Reading and Research Groups
The School hosts a dynamic community of postgraduate researchers, working across and between the range of disciplines covered by Culture and Communication. Students and staff organise and participate in a variety of reading and research groups, in addition to the more formal university programs. Designed to support high-level or intensive study of significant texts, topics and themes, these groups contribute strongly to the excellence of the research environment of the School.
Please note that the following details are subject to change: if you are interested in attending any of these groups, it would be advisable to contact the relevant coordinator first. If anyone wishes to change or alter any information on this list, please email the Advanced Study Group Coordinator. Many of these groups also have dedicated and up-to-date websites: if available, these are provided with the group listing itself.
Advanced Study Group Coordinator
School facilities and resources
Information about School study spaces are available via the Faculty.
Managing your candidature and progress
The Arts Graduate Research page is the first point of contact for Faculty of Arts specific candidature requirements.
The University’s Graduate Research Hub provides information guides for graduate researchers, including the Confirmation process, submitting your thesis and examination.
Faculty of Arts candidature milestones and requirements
The Faculty sets out a minimum requirement that you must satisfy at each milestone. Please refer to the Confirmation and progress reports web page that details out the requirements for each milestone. Discuss with your Advisory Committee the content needed to satisfy the milestone requirements.
You will be required to provide all the necessary documentation (ie. reports, chapters, words of thesis, etc.) to your Advisory Committee at least 10 days prior to your review meetings. This will allow time for your Advisory Committee to review your progress and discuss it during the meeting.
Your Advisory Committee may require additional reports or chapters on top of the Faculty requirements, as different projects will have varying structures. Ensure that you discuss this with your Advisory Committee and agree to the expectations well in advance of each progress review.
Confirmation and completion seminars
As part of the Confirmation and Completion processes, graduate researchers are required to give a seminar about their research. Usually, these seminars take place at the School’s Work-in-Progress Day.
If you are unable to present at the SCC Work-in-Progress Day, you can arrange to present your Confirmation or Completion seminar on an ad-hoc basis. You will need to consult with your advisory committee to find a suitable date and time. Once you have finalised those details, please submit a Confirmation / Completion seminar booking form. The Arts Graduate Research team will arrange a room and publicise the details of the seminar.
School Funding Scheme
Grants and funding are available from numerous sources on and off campus to help graduate researchers meet the costs associated with their research. The most common sources are listed below:
School Funding Scheme
The School Funding Scheme provides funding to graduate researchers within the School to enrich their research and candidature.
The funding covers:
- Travel funding: The School Funding Scheme is generally used to support applications for Faculty travel schemes that require a School contribution. The required School contribution will be outlined on the application page for these schemes
- Conference presentations: Graduate researchers can seek assistance with the cost of travel to either an international or national conference on the condition that they are presenting a paper related to their research topic. Applicants applying for funding for a conference must be able to clearly demonstrate that the workshop or seminar is significant for their field of research
- Other research/fieldwork related expenses: A graduate researcher may seek assistance with the cost of travel to obtain material from libraries and/or archives that will substantially improve their thesis. Other external expenses that will be covered, but which must be directly related to research/fieldwork include:
- Photocopying or printing expenses
- Translation costs
- Equipment/consumables essential for fieldwork research
- Software and external hard drives
- Relevant training courses
- Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) candidates: $2,500 over the entire candidature
- Masters by Research candidates: $1,250 over the entire candidature
- Applicants must be enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) or Masters by Research (Thesis only or Advanced Seminar and Master Thesis) in the School of Social and Political Sciences
- Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) and Masters by Research (Thesis only or Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis) candidates must be confirmed prior to the release of Scholarship funds and the commencement of activity
- Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) applicants who have exceeded 3.5 years full time candidature (or equivalent part-time) and Masters by Research applicants who have exceeded 18 months of candidature must make a special case as to why the funding will specifically endorse timely completion. This aspect must be referred to in the supervisor’s endorsement
- Graduate researchers undertaking travel for research must first apply to Study Away via the Graduate Research Study Away web page
When to apply
There are no deadlines to apply for the School Funding scheme, and you can apply at any point during your candidature. Please note that you cannot apply for travel funding pre-Confirmation or on a final extension of candidature.
How to apply
Please fill out the online application form.
You will need to provide:
- Your student and course information
- The total amount of funding requested
- The purpose that funding is required
- A letter of support from your supervisor, confirming that the sum requested is justified; the value of the item, training or travel to your research project; and the dates and purpose of travel (if applicable)
- A budget outline, including receipts and quotes
- A declaration that you agree to the terms and conditions
Faculty Funding Schemes
The Faculty of Arts offers three main funding schemes:
GRATS offers assistance with accommodation and/or travel costs of graduate researchers in the Faculty of Arts undertaking research and/or presenting at a conference.
AGRIG is intended to support graduate researchers who need to conduct substantial research overseas, but do not meet the methodological or lengthy immersive research requirements of the PhD Fieldwork Grant Scheme.
The PhD Fieldwork Grant Scheme supports graduate researchers who are required to conduct extensive, field-based research.
You can search for scholarships available for current graduate research students on the University of Melbourne Scholarships website.
School and Faculty Funding FAQs
What counts as reasonable for my travel costs?
- While you should be budget conscious, you do not need to choose the absolute cheapest option. You should aim for a balance between low cost and practicality, for example, a slightly more expensive air fare is acceptable if it will significantly reduce your travel time and/ or the departure/ arrival times are more reasonable
My candidature will not be confirmed when the application round closes, but will be when I travel. Can I still apply now or do I need to apply retrospectively?
- You can apply before you are confirmed (if you are within three months of confirmation) but you will only be eligible to receive the funding once you’re confirmed. In this situation, you would be offered the award conditional on successful confirmation
Can I take personal leave during my study away? And what will be funded?
- You can include short periods of personal leave (formal leave of absence) or recreational leave (informal leave built into your candidature) during your time away but you may need to insert a period of formal LOA between two separate periods of study away depending how long your personal leave is. [more specific detail needed]
- Only costs related to your research activity will be funded. For example, the transport costs to and from the location of your research activity will be funded but any detours or other travel would not be covered
Do I have any other funding options for travel?
Yes. Other travel funding is available through smaller schemes, usually with quite targeted criteria (ie demographic of applicant; discipline area; type of research activity; travel destination). It is worth checking the options at:
The amount of funding I can request will only cover a small portion of my trip. What do I do?
You can apply to other schemes for funding to supplement any amount offered by a faculty scheme. Key points:
- the total amount that you are granted from various schemes should not exceed your expenses
- you will need to justify your income and expenditure as reasonable in your budget
- you should declare any grants from other schemes to awarding bodies
- you will need to fulfil all terms and conditions for each scheme that grants you funds
I have used all of my School Funding Scheme but my supervisor agrees this trip is essential to my research. Are there any funding options for me?
It is essential to plan out your proposed fieldwork and travel requirements with your supervisor early in candidature so that you have sufficient funds to support any applications to faculty funding schemes. If these resources have been exhausted and you still need to conduct essential travel, you may need to identify other funding sources such as the additional schemes at the links above.
What if my costs change between the estimates I supply and when I book them?
The sums awarded for GRATS, AGRIG and the PhD Fieldwork scheme are based on quotes or receipts, taking into account what may be considered reasonable costs. Additional sums are not awarded for any costs greater than those quoted.
Please keep in mind that travel funding is a contribution towards your travel costs and may not cover all your expenses.
What if my plans change during the trip?
It is not a significant issue if the changes are simply to your dates of travel but do not affect your departure and return date.
If the changes are to your destinations, you need to check for DFAT warnings and avoid if at all possible any affected countries or areas. You may no longer be covered by university insurance. You should also advise the university of any new destinations within your travel period so we can contact you in case of any emergencies.
If your return date changes, you should advise the faculty. If you plan to return later than originally approved in your study away application, you may need to submit a supplementary study away application to bridge the gap.
What if I don’t spend the amount granted?
The sums awarded for GRATS, AGRIG and the PhD Fieldwork scheme are based on quotes or receipts, taking into account what may be considered reasonable costs. You should be able to account for the sum granted to you on a broad level in your report to faculty, but you do not have to repay any funds exceeding your actual, final expenses.
What expenses will the School Funding Scheme pay for?
Aside from the expenses mentioned above, you may apply to the School Funding Scheme for minor sundry research related expenses such as (but not limited to):
- Graduate research business cards
- Data sticks, external hard drives
- Relevant training courses (eg in specific methods of analysis or using specific software/ programs)
- Essential books not available online, in the library, or via interloan
- High quality image files (eg of art works)
- Where to get help