Current research students
Information about Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) supervision panel membership and timelines, as well as symposia requirements, grants and fieldwork funding.
- Coursework Information
PhD supervision panels
Supervision panels are intended to ensure Research Higher Degrees (RHD) candidates receive ongoing support towards the successful completion of their thesis, by ensuring access to a wider range of academic staff for feedback and support. The supervision panel will play an important role at several stages in the candidate's candidature, meeting to discuss the research progress reports at the milestones identified in the timelines table below.
The purpose of the supervision panel is:
- to improve candidate's experience by providing a wider range of academic staff committed to a candidate's progress
- to expand the feedback a candidate receives on the progress of their work
- to increase the breadth of ideas and insight to which candidates are exposed
- to ensure that the candidate has access to academic advice at all times, in particular in the absence of her/his main supervisor
- to provide advice to the candidate about opportunities during or after their degree (including conferences, exchange programs, tutoring, relevant workshops, grant opportunities and publishing)
- to improve completion patterns by providing candidates with structured planning of their research work
Supervision panels must consist of at least three members of staff.
Two supervisors: The principal supervisor (who will be responsible for regular supervision) and the associate supervisor (who may take over regular supervision when the principal supervisor is absent for more than two months, and also read a full, final draft of the thesis before it is sent to examiners). In cases of co-supervision, both co-supervisors will form part of the panel
A panel chair nominated by the RHD Coordinator: The Chair is intended to constitute an independent advisor, able to make suggestions to the student and supervisors about progress and expectations as to performance, based on relative comparisons with the RHD cohort generally. It is not expected that a Chair will have detailed substantive knowledge about a candidate's field of research; nor is a Chair expected to ask detailed substantive questions about a candidate's topic, chapters, confirmation report etc.
All panels will include representation of senior academic staff, including at least one panel member at Level D or E.
As a minimum requirement, Advisory Committees must meet annually for both full-time and part-time Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) candidates:
PhD panel meeting Full-time candidates Part-time candidates Minimum written requirement
5,000 words (max.)
As agreed by panel
20,000 words (non-inclusive of confirmation materials)
As agreed by the panel
36 months and each expected completion date
72 months and each expected completion date
If requiring extension: a 2,000-word report + 30,000 words of completed chapters
Research based on travel can affect panel scheduling. Where possible, planning at the Confirmation stage should schedule trips to not clash with supervision panel meetings. If a panel meeting is to be delayed for more than one month due to travel, this decision should be clearly recorded by the panel chair on the candidate's file, and notified by the School Research Officer to the Graduate School.
Research higher degree candidates are required to make a public presentation of their work at the University as part of confirmation (formal review for Masters candidates) and completion. The School organises three research symposia per year to give candidates approaching these milestones the opportunity to fulfill this requirement, and calls for papers are sent prior to each Symposium date.
Candidates should submit a brief (100 words) abstract with title to the Research Support Officer at least two weeks before the symposium to be included in the program. Once the program has been finalised, the Research Support Officer will notify candidates and their supervisors of the time of presentations. The candidate's supervisors must attend the presentation, with the advisory committee chair facilitating the session.
Probationary candidature is normally for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 12 months (or 3 and 6 months for Masters candidates) ending with confirmation. A 20-30 minute confirmation presentation (allowing time for questions) must be held within this time.
Completion presentations will normally be no less than an hour (allowing time for questions) and should be held 3-6 months prior to submission for PhD candidates and 3 months prior to submission for Masters candidates.
Grants are available from numerous sources on and off campus to help graduate research students meet the costs associated with their research. The most common grants are listed below, but other 'one-off' grants become available from time to time. Visit the SSPS Scholarships web page to view all awards offered by the Faculty of Arts and the Melbourne Scholarships website for all University scholarships.
School Graduate Research Funding (also known as RAGS)
This is the School's own fund for supporting graduate research students who wish to travel within Australia or overseas to access key source material not available locally, conduct surveys or other research projects, access data sets or to present at conferences.
Conditions of the grant
- Students must be currently enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) or Masters Degree by Research in the School
- Applicants are required to apply for matching funding wherever possible
- This is most relevant to those conducting fieldwork or research that requires travel - you must first apply for funding from the Faculty of Arts Graduate Research in Arts Travel Scheme (GRATS) or PhD Fieldwork Scheme. The school contribution for these schemes draws from your $2500 or $1250 maximum (see below)
- Grants must be spent within 12 months of approval
- Evidence that the funds were spent for the purposes they were awarded for may be requested
- Applicants are expected to minimize costs wherever possible
- Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) students must have their candidature confirmed and Masters students must have passed their formal review. PhD students who are beyond 3.5 years of candidature and Masters students who are beyond 1.75 years of candidature must make a special case as to why the funding will specifically aid a timely completion. This aspect must also be referred to in the supervisor’s endorsement
Value of grants
- Funding will be awarded of up to $2,500 per candidature for Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) students, and $1250 per candidature for Masters by Research students
Permission to Study Away from the University
All students studying overseas must submit an Application to Study Away form through the Student Portal and must arrange travel insurance for the duration of the trip.
Please note: Students whose study away period is 3 months or more, must arrange for local supervision whilst they are away from the University. This information must be supplied in the Study Away form.
- The completed application must have the endorsement of the student's supervisor and the Head of School
- Applicants should clearly identify the relationship between the activities to be carried out under this grant and their thesis
- An application to attend a research workshop or conference will be considered only if the student is delivering a paper
- Completed applications should be typed or filled out on a word processor
- Applications should be submitted to the School Research Officer for consideration by the Head of School
Please note: If you are applying for funding from GRATS or another grant scheme that has a school-contribution as a requirement, you do not need to fill out this form.
Future research students
The School of Social and Political Sciences is at the forefront of research in the social sciences in Australia. We have a team of dedicated academic staff who can offer supervision for research higher degrees in the disciplines of Anthropology, Development Studies, Political Science, Criminology and Sociology and across a comprehensive range of areas. The School provides a dynamic and rewarding environment with reading groups, seminars, conferences and postgraduate journals all contributing to the engagment of the program.
- Coursework Information
Prospective students wishing to apply for a graduate research degree (PhD, Master by Research) should establish whether supervision is available for their proposed research. Potential supervisors can be found through the School of Social and Political Sciences Our staff web page, or via the Find an Expert I'm looking for a research supervisor web page. Rather than sending your proposal to numerous staff in the first instance, please choose the most relevant person based on their listed research interests and most recent publications and, if they are unavailable, ask for their recommendations for an alternate possibility. Once you have identified a potential supervisor/s, please email them the following:
- A 2,500 word research proposal with a clear title
- A short resume or CV, including full contact details and educational background
- Transcripts of previous study
Should supervision be available, you can then follow the next steps in the process in order to apply via the Admissions and applications Graduate research degrees web page. Your application will then be assessed against the entry requirements for the degree - please note that an agreement to supervise is conditional upon acceptance into the research degree program and does not constitute an offer in itself.
Please note: the Graduate Research program within the School is increasingly focused on enrolled, full-time PhD students who hold a scholarship.
The Faculty of Arts has one admission round for domestic students per year, the deadline for which is 31 October. International applications may be submitted at any time, but please note that students may only commence at the beginning of semester one each year.
Complete the 'Application for admission to Graduate Research Degree candidature and scholarship form' on the Admissions and applications Graduate research degrees web page.
The following documentation must also be included with the application:
- Certified academic transcripts, including an explanation of the grading system used by that institution
- A copy of the 2,500 word research proposal
- A 5,000 word writing sample
- Two written academic references. The references should assess the applicant's research abilities to date (skills in identifying research areas, carrying out independent research, motivation and organisation, writing skills, ability to meet deadlines, etc), as well as your research potential
Please note: If you have recently completed honours, Graduate Diploma in Arts, Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) or a Masters by Coursework with research component, in this School, you do not need to provide academic references.
The University offers a number of scholarships which can be applied for in the graduate research application form.
Research Support Officer
School of Social and Political Sciences