How to apply

A checklist on how to apply for a research program that covers the selection criteria, identifying whether supervision is available, your research proposal and a writing sample as well as the submission process.

Completing the application form is one of the final steps in the process. Please read through the application checklist before proceeding with your application.

1. Selection criteria

Ensure you meet the selection criteria.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) entry requirements and regulations
  • Master of Arts (Thesis only) entry requirements and regulations

    In addition to the Graduate Research Degrees University requirements (see the Study Graduate research web page), the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences (GSHSS) requires applicants to submit a 2,500 word thesis proposal and 5,000 word writing sample (details below).

If you do not meet the requirements, please refer to the Study website for information about programs and pathways. For further information please email Arts graduate admissions team.

All applications must also satisfy the University's English Language Requirements.

2. Identify if supervision is available

Identify a potential supervisor via Find an Expert website .

Once you have found a potential supervisor you can contact them with your research proposal and writing sample. If they agree to supervise your project, you would then make a formal application.

3. Research proposal

A research proposal is viewed as being as significant as your academic marks; a research degree application cannot be assessed without a research proposal, even if your marks are high.

The research proposal is a statement of what you want to research. A research proposal is not a statement of your beliefs or of something you want to prove, it is a topic or question that you wish to examine objectively. It must focus on a particular issue or research question; the research proposal should not rely on a discipline in which you are not trained.

The research proposal is the starting point for your thesis. It should include a brief introduction and conclusion, and the following outline:

  • The specific area of your intended research, with a clear title
  • A brief summary of the key literature in this field. A comprehensive literature review is not required, but a short bibliography and summary of key relevant works should be included
  • A sketch of the key research questions you hope to answer
  • A description of the methodology required to conduct this research
  • The word length of the thesis proposal should be approximately 2,500 words long

This information 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.

4. Writing sample

To further assist in the selection process, you are required to provide a 5,000 word sample of your recent work. For example, this might be one or two chapters from an Honours 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.

5. How to submit an application

Domestic students

  • Please read the Graduate research Domestic applications How to apply information and then use the student portal or the online form to apply
  • Submit by the application deadline - October 31. Applications not submitted with the required documentation in time for this selection round cannot be considered for entry. Late or incomplete applications will be held over until the next selection round in the following year

International students

  • International students can submit an application at any time, however we encourage students to submit prior to any relevant scholarship application deadline. For more information on deadlines please see the Faculty of Arts Graduate research scholarship web page
  • For more information including information for schools and parents, course brochures and events for future students, please see the Study Connect with us web page
  • Please read the Graduate research International applications How to apply information and then use the student portal or the online form to apply, or apply through one of The University of Melbourne's Overseas representatives