Overview of course structure
Step 1: Before finalising your enrolment into the PhD and MA, read up on the course structure here, particularly around the PhD Coursework Component.
Overview of PhD Coursework Component
All Doctor of Philosophy – Arts (PhD) graduate researchers and any Master of Arts – Research (MA) graduate researchers considering conversion to a PhD in the Faculty of Arts are required to successfully complete a 25-point component of compulsory coursework in parallel with regular meetings with your supervisor, providing you a rounded research training experience, with some identifiable subsidiary knowledge and skills.
The PhD Coursework is to be completed before Confirmation, which normally occurs at the end of the first year of candidature (full-time) or two years of candidature (part-time). It consists of 25 credit points, made up of a two-part workshop (12.5 points) and two electives (6.25 points each).
The PhD Coursework is designed to offer high-level engagement with the key literature and research in the discipline(s) in your research area, to assist with your preparation for Confirmation, and to enhance your cohort experience with PhD colleagues and academic staff.
- The two-part workshop focuses on the intellectual frontiers of your core area of study and enhances the preparation of your research project, through a comprehensive understanding of the relevant literature, and through formulating and discussing your project proposal in relation to the current literature
- The electives provide graduate-level engagement with contemporary work in your own or cognate disciplines, as a source of intellectual enrichment and – if necessary – may also provide development of specific knowledge and expertise necessary for your thesis work
The workshop and electives will be assessed; however, the award of the PhD will be based solely on the result of the 80,000 word dissertation. Consequently, work written for the coursework can, if appropriate, be incorporated into the final thesis.
The PhD workshop (12.5 points) is comprised of a series of discipline based seminars during Semester 1 (6.25 points) and a whole cohort intensive on two full Fridays within the start of the month (6.25 points). It is taught in discipline groups and is designed to enhance the critical, theoretical and methodological skills necessary for PhD study and for Confirmation.
Graduate researchers choose one of the eight available streams, which are:
- Researching Media and Culture
- Researching Ideas
- Researching Images
- Researching Language
- Researching Politics and Policy
- Researching Society and Culture
- Researching Texts
- Researching the Past
The first component of the workshop is designed to enhance your awareness of the range of contemporary scholarship and methodology in your discipline or interdisciplinary area.
The intensive component of the workshop focuses on the common challenges of designing a research project at PhD level. These include framing research questions in the context of the existing research literature, selecting and developing an appropriate and refined research strategy, and clarifying the stages of a research project. The subject will be collaboratively taught to reflect the diversity of approaches to research across the many disciplines in the faculty.
Graduate researchers must achieve a minimum grade of H2A (75%) or above in their workshop assessment as a necessary hurdle requirement for confirmation.
Choosing a PhD workshop
In some cases, supervisory panels, disciplines or Schools will require their graduate researchers to take particular workshops. Some workshops may be restricted to graduate researchers with cognate disciplinary expertise in that area of study.
It is recommended that you discuss your workshop and electives selections with your supervisor before you complete your coursework enrolment. For more information, please visit the University Handbook web page.
With the guidance of your supervisory panel, you will select two 6.25-point electives, which are completed prior to Confirmation. These electives are designed to give you an enhanced knowledge of leading-edge research work and theoretical approaches to doctoral research in the humanities and social sciences.
The list of available electives is designed to encompass the diversity of disciplines across the Faculty. Substantive content will include current research projects being conducted by senior Faculty staff, graduate seminars offered by distinguished visiting scholars, leading-edge research in specific disciplinary fields, and high level research methods.
Some electives are run as a regular seminar (such as weekly or fortnightly) and some are offered as intensives over several days.
Graduate researchers must successfully pass (50%) each elective as a necessary hurdle requirement for Confirmation.
Choosing PhD Electives
In some cases, supervisory panels, disciplines or Schools will require their graduate researchers to take particular electives. Some electives may be restricted to graduate researchers with cognate disciplinary expertise in that area of study. With the consent of your principal supervisor and relevant subject coordinator, you may be permitted to substitute one or two of the electives (not by credit points) with a subject/s considered necessary for your research and at an equivalent level. For example, one 12.5 credit is not a direct substitute for two 6.25 credit point elective. Language study, academic English or specialised subjects that will aid your research are examples of permissible exceptions. Any application for substitution will need to be approved by the Deputy Associate Dean.
Once you have received the approvals from your principal supervisor and relevant subject coordinator, attach the written support and approvals, as well as a brief explanation of the reasoning behind the request to the Graduate Research Enrolment Request Form for the consideration of the Deputy Associate Dean.
It is recommended that you discuss your workshop and electives selections with your supervisor before you complete your coursework enrolment. For more information, including available subjects, please visit the University Handbook web page.
Handbooks (PhD and MA)
View the relevant University Handbook below for course requirements:
Doctor of Philosophy – Arts (DR-PHILART)
Master of Arts (Thesis only) (MR-ARTSTHS)
Master of Arts (Advanced Seminar & Shorter Thesis) (MR-ARTSAST)
View the commonly used terms or phrases that you may come across throughout your candidature.