Frequently asked questions

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.

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. Please email Arts Research in advance of any application to discuss your options.

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?

International students should apply online through the Study Graduate research International applications web page.

Please visit our Graduate reserarch web page and ensure you have completed the steps listed in the Application Checklist before applying.

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).

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).

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.

For more information please visit the Faculty of Arts Graduate research and Scholarships and prizes web pages. 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?

Academic schools offer graduate candidates a wide range of activities and events. For more information please check individual school websites.

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.