Frequently asked questions by those considering a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or a Masters by Research.
Why would I choose the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne over other institutions?
The Faculty of Arts has an outstanding reputation for research and attracts high achieving graduate students who come here to benefit from internationally recognised scholars with global networks. We are the original and oldest faculty at the University of Melbourne, a premier institution that is ranked 41 in the world for Universities and 16 in the world for Arts and Humanities.*
* QS World University Rankings 2020
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 by Research (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 subjects do I enrol in for a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or Masters by Research degree?
Enrolment in an ongoing thesis subject specific to each discipline within each School is required until the submission of the thesis for examination.
Doctor of Philosophy – Arts students (and any MA students considering converting to a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts) are required to complete a PhD coursework component. Masters of Arts (Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis) students are required to complete some coursework subjects as part of their degree.
For more information please visit the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences website.
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 Bachelor of Arts (Degree with 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. See Areas of study for further details.
The minimum entry requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy – Arts is completion of a four year Bachelor of Arts (Degree with 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 graduate diploma research experience. Research experience must also be relevant to the proposed topic of research.
How do I know if my application for entry and a scholarship will be competitive?
Your application will be assessed primarily using academic performance as indicated by academic transcripts. However, The Arts Graduate Research Selection Committee takes into consideration your academic achievement, research proposal, research ability and experience, publications, and the ranking (ie THE or QS) of your previous institution.
Graduate Research degrees in Arts have a two-part entry requirement:
- applicants are expected to have achieved the minimum WAM required for the qualifying degree (75/H2A for PhD and 70/H2B for MA); and
- have completed a substantial research component (ie thesis) with the minimum result required for the qualifying degree (80/H1 and 75/H2B for MA)
To be competitive for admission and scholarship, students should aim to achieve a minimum WAM of 80 for PhD and 75 for MA.
The table below contains examples of University of Melbourne (UoM) equivalent scores against common scoring systems from other institutions. This table is only a guide. Meeting these scores does not guarantee admission or scholarship. Offers for candidature are made at the discretion of the Arts Graduate Research selection panel. The mark/GPA you would generally need to have achieved at your Institution to meet the UOM equivalent is in italics.
UoM Equivalent 80% 85% 92% Scores as a % H1 and Pass H1 = 70 P = 50 70 75 84 H1 = 70 P = 40 70 76 89 H1 = 80 P = 60 80 84.5 92 H1 = 85 P = 50 85 89.5 95 H1 = 90 P = 60 90 93.5 97.5 GPA out of 20 17 17.9 20 10 8.7 9.3 10 5 4.35 4.65 5 4 3.48 3.7 4
How will my transcript be assessed?
Academic achievement is assessed holistically with emphasis on the FINAL TWO YEARS of relevant study as indicated below:
A 4 year Bachelor degree only Usually the third year score will make up one-third of the final score and the final year will make up two thirds of the final score. Only technical subjects are taken into consideration. A 4 year Bachelor degree plus a one year Masters The final year of the Bachelor will make up one third of the final score, and the Masters will make up two thirds of the score. Masters by Coursework ≥ 1.5 years The score will be based on the average of all subjects – often listed on the transcript as a cumulative GPA. This score will only be used if all the subjects are technical, otherwise the results from individual technical subjects will be combined to calculate GPA. Masters by Research If the qualification is ungraded, examiners’ reports and / or a copy of the thesis will be required for assessment. Please submit your examiners report and / or thesis with your application.
It is expected that an applicant will have completed their tertiary studies and/or any relevant professional experience in the 10 years prior to the intended study period for the intended graduate research degree.
Using the above tables, you can now determine the following:
- Have you completed the equivalent of an Australian 4-year Honours degree?
- Have you completed the equivalent of an Australian 1, 1.5 or 2-year Master degree?
- What was the overall result for your Honours / Masters?
- Did you complete a substantial research component / Thesis equivalent to 25% of one full time year of study?
- What was the result for the research component?
Please note: if your thesis was marked on a pass / fail basis please provide a copy of your thesis and / or examiners reports with your application
- Was the most recent qualification completed within the last 10 years?
- If you answered ‘No’ to the above question, have you completed any relevant work or publications since your qualification?
If you answer ‘No’ to the above questions we recommend you consider courses that will provide a pathway to Graduate Research, such as:
How do I find a supervisor?
To assist you in researching potential supervisors, the University’s Find an Expert directory lists the research areas and enables you to search by topic, name, faculty or school.
When contacting a potential supervisor, you should include:
- CV / resume
- Undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts
- A one sentence summary of your research interests and background
- A 2,500-word Research proposal outlining:
- The specific area of your intended research, with a clear title
- A brief summary of the key literature in this field, including a short bibliography and summary of key relevant works
- A sketch of the key research questions you hope to answer
- A description of the methodology required to conduct this research
You can also visit individual School pages to locate their academic staff:
How do I apply once I’ve checked the entry requirements and located a supervisor?
When you have confirmation that supervision is available, you may proceed with your application.
For instructions please visit the Study Graduate Research web page.
The following documents must be included 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 research and work experience relevant to your proposed field of research, and details of any research publications (if relevant)
- Copies of all higher education transcripts, completion statements (if relevant) and grading schemes showing numeric grades.
- A 2,500-word Research proposal
- A 5,000-word writing sample
We strongly encourage you to apply with your complete grades from your most recent studies and if applicable, after the outcome of any submissions of publications or proposals to journals or publishers. We also strongly encourage applicants to apply with all required documents approximately 2 weeks prior to the closing date to ensure academic and employer referees can complete an academic and employer referee report in time for the deadline.
There is no separate application form to apply for a scholarship; the Graduate Research Application form includes a scholarship application section. However, in order to be eligible for consideration for a Graduate Research Scholarship, applicants must have met the English language requirement by the application closing date for that particular round.
Scholarships may be awarded to highly ranked applicants, who have qualifications from Institutions that are of a similar ranking to the University of Melbourne. Please refer to international rankings for such as the QS World University Rankings, for an indication of where University of Melbourne is ranked, and where your pervious institution may be ranked in comparison.
Please note: Only applications that are submitted with all required documentation can be assessed. Any further documentation that is submitted after the full application risks not being taken into consideration.
I am enrolled in a PhD program at another Australian University and wish to transfer into the Doctor of Philosophy – Arts. What is the process?
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 prior to confirmation. Generally only unconfirmed students who have been enrolled for 6 months or less (full-time equivalent candidature) can successfully transfer, though some exceptions exist.
To discuss your options in advance of any application please email Arts Research.
How many contact hours per week will I be required to study as a part-time Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or Masters by Research student 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 six to eight hours per day, Monday to Friday.
Masters by Research and Doctor of Philosophy – Arts students are encouraged to be part of the on-campus experience.
Do I have to be living in Melbourne while I study?
Research students 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).
- If I am an international student, how do I apply?
When should I lodge my application for entry?
For important dates and information about applying for a graduate research degree please visit our Graduate research web page.
Who should I contact about the supervision of my research project?
For more information about identifying your research interests and seeking potential supervisors please visit our Graduate research web page.
What are the tuition fees for graduate research programs?
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).
For details about calculating your fees, the cost of living in Melbourne, and the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), international students should consult the Study Fees web page.
What scholarships are available?
The Melbourne Scholarships program is one of the largest and most comprehensive in Australia, supporting approximately 3000 high achieving students at the University. Scholarships are allocated annually via a competitive selection process.
The Faculty of Arts recognises academic achievement and attracts outstanding students from within Australia and around the world.
What activities and events can I participate in while I am studying?
The Faculty of Arts has extensive facilities, and offers a wide range of support services for Doctor of Philosophy – Arts and Masters by Research students.
Academic schools offer graduate candidates a wide range of activities and events.
For more information please check individual school websites.