Graduate research

The Faculty of Arts has an outstanding reputation for research. It attracts high achieving graduate students who benefit from working with internationally recognised scholars and their global networks. Arts is the oldest faculty at the University of Melbourne, a premier institution that is ranked 41 in the world for Universities and 18 in the world (and No. 1 in Australia) for Arts and Humanities (QS World University Rankings 2021).

How to apply for a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts (PhD) or a Masters by research

The Faculty of Arts only accepts applications for Graduate Research study to commence in Semester One. No mid-year intake is offered.

Deadline for applications

Applications from Closing dates Outcomes notified
International applicants* 31 August 08 October
Domestic applicants
International applicants*
31 October 13 December

To be considered for Graduate Research Scholarships applications must be complete and received by the closing dates. Application outcomes will be available approximately eight weeks after the application closing date.

*International applicants

  1. To be considered for Graduate Research Scholarships please make sure that you submit a complete course application before 31 August. Most international Graduate Research Scholarships will be awarded in October
  2. If you are successful in obtaining a scholarship, you must commence your courses by the first day of Semester 1 of the academic year you have been made an offer for
  3. Please ensure you have allowed adequate time for your student visa application to be processed between your admittance into the course and the late date you must start your course
  4. In order to be eligible for consideration for a Graduate Research Scholarship, applicants must have met the University of Melbourne English Language Entry Requirements by the application closing date

Application process

Please note: The School of Historical and Philosophical Studies has recently introduced an Expression of Interest process for prospective students and supervisors. For more information please visit the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies Graduate Research web page.

Ensure you check with the School you are interested in applying with for any school or discipline-specific Graduate Research application requirements.

Step 1: Ensure you meet the minimum entry requirement

Please familiarise yourself with these courses before deciding on the course most suitable to you.

The Faculty of Arts offers three research degrees:

Please check if you are eligible for consideration by viewing our entry requirements before you proceed further.

If you do not meet the minimum entry requirements for direct entry into our graduate research degrees, you may wish to consider undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) as a pathway into Graduate Research. For further information please email Arts Graduate enquires.

Step 2: Finding a Supervisor

Before you can submit an application, you will need to contact a potential supervisor and establish whether appropriate supervision is likely to be available for your proposed research.

You can look for potential supervisors by:

When contacting a potential supervisor, you should include:

CV (resume) In your CV please highlight your academic achievements and any relevant professional experience
All your higher education transcripts Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual mark received in your university-level qualifications to date
A 2,500-word research proposal The research proposal is the starting point for your thesis. It should include a brief introduction and conclusion, and the following outline:
1. The specific area of your intended research, with a clear title
2. A brief summary of the key literature in this field, including a short bibliography and summary of key relevant works
3. A sketch of the key research questions you hope to answer
4. A description of the methodology required to conduct this research
A 5,000-word writing sample Please include a sample of your written work typically your Honours or masters thesis, or a recent essay or paper that you think demonstrates your research and writing abilities. Please provide a very brief explanation of the context, ie. whether this is a chapter from your thesis, or a 4th year essay, or a paper writing in a particular context. Ensure both documents are labeled with your name, the School to which you are applying and the date.

Step 3: To submit an application

To submit an application, please visit our online application web pages:

Please note: you may proceed with your application only when you have confirmation that supervision is available.

Quote the course code in your application:

  • DR-PHILART for Doctor of Philosophy – Arts
  • MR-ARTSTHS for Master of Arts (Thesis Only)
  • MR-ARTSAST for Master of Arts (Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis) – Philosophy only

You will be asked to submit the following documents with your online application:

  • A copy of an email or letter indicating that your nominated supervisor has agreed to support your application
  • A current CV outlining your all complete and incomplete academic qualifications and work experience, and details of any research publications (if relevant)
  • A copy (or copies) of all higher education transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and numeric marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation. If you are still studying, you can apply now before completing your degree by including current transcripts of at least up to the first semester of your final year studies. Students apply from a University of Melbourne Honours or Master program do not need to submit transcripts.
  • A 2,500-word research proposal
  • A 5,000-word writing sample

Important information

  1. Your research proposal will assist the School selection committee to make a qualitative assessment amongst the many applications received for available places. It will also enable the School selection committee to ensure that appropriate expert supervision is available, as well as the resources necessary to facilitate your proposed research. The School selection committee recognises that it is common for research proposals to go through different stages of development, and your proposal is considered indicative, rather than binding, in all details.
  2. Ensure both research proposal and writing sample documents are labelled with your name, the School to which you are applying and the date.

Referee reports

To support your application, you will need to nominate two referees who can comment on your academic ability and research potential. We recommend that at least one report from someone who has supervised your thesis/dissertation or research work.

All referee reports must be submitted using the online tool. On submission of your application, your referees will be emailed a link to access the online referee form and they must provide their references using this online form. You will be notified when they submit the reference. Your application may be deemed as incomplete if the referee reports are not submitted before the application closing dates.

Please note: students who have completed honours or a master degree through the University of Melbourne need only to provide two University of Melbourne referee contacts, and are exempt from providing referee reports.

Ungraded thesis

If you have a completed a thesis or research component that is marked on a pass/fail basis, provide a copy of the thesis. The examiner’s report and an Academic Report of Ungraded Thesis Form. Send the form to the most senior academic staff involved in the assessment of your thesis/research component and request them to complete and return the form before the deadline of the round that you are applying for.

More information

Scholarship applications

To apply for the Graduate Research Scholarships no separate application is required. You will be automatically considered for these scholarships.

Please note: In order to be eligible for consideration for a Graduate Research Scholarship, applicants must have met the University of Melbourne English Language Entry Requirements by the application closing date.

For all other scholarships please follow the relevant application instructions and complete the scholarship application section in the online form.


If you are successful in obtaining an offer for a place, you must complete your enrolment and commence your course by the first day of Semester 1.

All commencing graduate researchers are invited to an Orientation Welcome Session before the start of the semester. At this session you’ll be introduced to your Graduate School, learn about our facilities and services, and get a chance to meet coordinators and peers from your program. For more information please visit the Faculty of Arts Orientation and Induction web page.

Graduate Researchers completing a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts degree are required to complete 4 coursework subjects in the first year. For more information about coursework requirements and candidature management please visit the Faculty of Arts Graduate Research web page.

Residency requirements

Graduate researchers must be resident in Victoria for at least one third of their candidature. For more information on residency requirements please see the Melbourne Policy Library Selection and Admission Policy (MPF1295).

Transferring applicants

Transferring students apply through the same application process as new applicants. Please note, however, that the ability of students to transfer into the Doctor of Philosophy – Arts has been severely limited because of the requirement to complete the PhD coursework in the first year prior to confirmation. Generally only unconfirmed students who have been enrolled for 6 months or less (full-time equivalent candidature) can successfully transfer.


Domestic students do not pay tuition fees for research study. These students are offered graduate research places under the Commonwealth Government’s Research Training Program (RTP).

International students should consult the Study Fees web page for details about calculating your fees, the cost of living in Melbourne, and the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

For more information about fees please visit the Students Fees web page.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Masters by Coursework and a Masters by Research?

The Masters by coursework degree involves studying specified subjects that require attendance at classes and the submission of assignments. Some Masters by Coursework degrees also require the completion of a minor thesis (usually 14,000 words) as part of the course.

The Masters by research degree requires the completion of a thesis of 20,000 words (shorter thesis) or 30,000 words (major thesis). Candidates in the Masters by Research work independently with support from their supervisor and School. Attendance at regular classes is not a requirement of the Masters of Arts (Thesis only). However, students who elect to enrol in a Masters of Arts (Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis) will be required to attend seminars.

What academic background do I need to be eligible for entry into a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or Masters by Research degree?

The minimum entry requirements for a Masters by Research is a four year BA (Honours) degree with a research component or equivalent in the area of study, with an Honours thesis result of H2A (75%) equivalent and an overall honours result of H2B (70%) equivalent. Some streams of the masters by research degree may have additional special application requirements.

The minimum entry requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy – Arts is completion of a four year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree with a research component or equivalent in the appropriate area of study or closely related area, with an honours thesis result at least equivalent to an H1 (80%) and an overall honours result at least equivalent to an H2A (75%) at the University of Melbourne.

Applicants without the required honours degree may still be considered with significant fourth year, masters or research experience. Research experience must be relevant to the proposed topic of research.

How many contact hours per week will I be required to study as a full-time Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or Masters by Research student?

Resource needs vary between students and the ‘how’ and ‘where’ of your research practices will determine your need to be on campus. Regular meetings with your supervisor will require you to attend campus either fortnightly for full-time candidates or monthly for part-time candidates. You will also attend Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or Masters subjects depending on the requirements of your degree. Full-time students should be prepared to undertake independent study (research and writing) for 40 hours per week. Masters by Research and Doctor of Philosophy – Arts students are encouraged to be part of the on-campus experience.