Graduate research

Application process

Application processes by School

Here we include key specifications from the Schools regarding their processes. If there are no specifications, please go to Faculty-level processes below.

SHAPS (Historical and Philosophical Studies): Expression of interest

The School of Historical and Philosophical Studies has recently introduced an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for prospective students and supervisors. Before submitting an EOI please consult with a prospective supervisor. The Discipline Research Chairs will review the EOI and notifiy you if your request is successful.

Current Discipline Research Chairs are as follows:


Discipline Research Chair

Classics and Archaeology

Dr Lieve Donnellan


Dr Petronella Nel


Dr  Ángel Alcalde


Dr Darrin Durant


Associate Professor Holly Lawford-Smith

Step 1. Decide which course you are interested in applying for:

Step 2. Determine if you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Step 3. Approach a potential supervisor using the Find an Expert Supervision Enquiries form or via the School’s Our People web page. Please ensure you provide a CV, Research proposal and academic transcripts (Bachelor and Master / Honours) when contacting your nominated supervisor/s.

Step 4. Discuss your research interests and plans with the potential supervisor and confirm they wish to support your application.

Step 5. Complete the EOI form in consultation with the potential supervisor.

Step 6. The EOI will go to the Discipline Chair for review.

Step 7. The Discipline Chair will approve or reject your EOI and copy in the potential supervisor as well as the Arts Graduate Research team.

Step 8. If approved, proceed to make a formal application online, and upload the approval email as part of your evidence of correspondence with your nominated supervisor.

Please note: This is approval to make a formal application ONLY. Your application will still be considered by the School and Faculty Selection Committee. This is not a guarantee of a course and scholarship offer.

In the event your EOI is not approved we recommend you make enquiries with other Universities or discuss reapplying for a future admission period with your nominated supervisor.

If you are unsure about any of the instructions or considerations above, please email the Arts Graduate Research Team.

Complete the EOI form now

SCC (Culture and Communication): Prospective Creative Writing students – research proposals

Here are some guidelines to assist you in developing a proposal for a research higher degree in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne (Master of Arts or PhD).

The creative PhD at the University of Melbourne is developed and marked as a single thesis, with two major elements: a dissertation and a creative work.

Each part usually contributes 50% to the overall word count. It is possible to increase the dissertation above 50%, but the creative work cannot be more than 50%.

One way to understand the unity of the creative PhD thesis is to consider that there is one overarching research question or hypothesis, which is approached within the thesis in two different manners, a scholarly one and a creative one.

The dissertation is not an exegesis. The dissertation does not offer a commentary on the creative processes or the intentions of the writer. The dissertation is intended to stand independently as a scholarly work making an original contribution to its field or discipline. In creative writing, this field is often interdisciplinary, but it can be characterised as a discipline interested in writerly questions, that is questions that take into account creativity, creative processes, the decision-making that goes into a creative text, cultural and technological influences on writing, questions of genre boundaries (including emerging genres, hybrid genres), and questions that address issues in conceiving of writing as a craft. This is a broad description and it is not exhaustive, but it does indicate that most dissertations are investigating aspects of the act of writing.

In your proposal you should make it clear what your research question is, and how this question fits with or responds to an ongoing critical discourse. You should identify the fields or disciplines you will draw upon, what models of analysis you will adopt, and what critical and creative texts you wish to discuss in your dissertation.

The creative work will need to be articulated in your proposal with some detail, understanding that as with all creative works there will be room for re-considerations and re-drafting. You should show how your creative work addresses or arises from your research question.

Your proposal should include an indicative list of the texts you will consult.

Faculty Level Process

Important dates

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

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

Applications from Closing dates Outcomes notified
International applicants* 31 August (recommended) First week of October
Domestic applicants
International applicants*
31 October First week of December
*International applicants
  1. To be considered for Graduate Research Scholarships we strongly recommend you submit a complete course application before 31 August. The majority international Graduate Research Scholarships will be awarded in September
  2. If you are successful in obtaining a scholarship, you must commence your course 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 last date you can 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

How to apply

Step 1: Ensure you meet the minimum entry requirement

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

Familiarise yourself with the courses before deciding on the course most suitable to you.

The Faculty of Arts offers three research degrees:

Need help? Use the below Checklist to help you determine if you are eligible.

Pre-Application Checklist

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 about graduate pathways 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:

  1. Finding current research degree opportunities with supervisors
  2. Searching the University’s Find an Expert directory to contact a potential supervisor with your research proposal
  3. Browse the Faculty of Arts School websites to understand their research strengths and contact a potential supervisor from their people page.

Find current Research Degree opportunities at Arts

Search the Find an Expert directory

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, as well as the institution's grading system
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.

Please note: if you do not receive a response from a supervisor within five working days, follow up with an email to the contact email address listed on their Find An Expert profile. We recommend that if you do not receive a response in two weeks that you consider contacting another supervisor.

Step 3: Submit an application

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

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

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

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.

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.

    Domestic students experiencing compassionate or compelling circumstances (including illness, disability, care responsibilities or personal hardship), may be eligible to apply for the Fay Marles Scholarship or the Frederick Blake Shepherd Scholarship. Applications close on 31 October.

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

  • Enrolment

    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.

  • 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. Your application will be assessed based on your ability to meet our degree requirements and complete your course in a timely manner. Please ensure that if you are considering a transfer from your current course that you discuss the following with a nominated supervisor:

    • Reasons - what are the reasons for transferring?
    • Confirmation - have you met your current university's Confirmation requirements?
    • PhD Coursework – If you have not been confirmed in your current candidature, how will you complete the Arts PhD coursework component before Confirmation?
    • Completion - do you have a plan for completion of your course within 3 years from the initial enrolment date when you started your current research degree? You will also need to provide evidence of satisfactory progress in your current program.
    • Residency requirements - will you be able to meet the University of Melbourne's residency requirement if your transfer is successful?
  • Fees

    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.

  • Residency requirements

    All candidates must have a plan that includes spending at least one-third of their candidature on campus. The residency requirement is deemed especially important during the period of probationary candidature and while completing the PhD coursework component.  Please note that the University does not offer entirely distance or online supervision. Throughout your candidature, it is expected that you will attend the University to fully benefit from planning, conducting and writing up your research. This on campus presence is essential for fostering a vibrant research culture and cultivating a sense of belonging within your respective school’s research community.

    For more information on residency requirements please see the Melbourne Policy Library Selection and Admission Policy (MPF1295).

  • Computer Resources

    To support you in your studies you should bring your own laptop for University use. Some of our shared workstations are equipped with monitors and power sockets to allow you to connect your own device to the University network for internet access and printing  facilities.

Frequently asked questions

For those students considering a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts or a Masters by Research please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Frequently Asked Questions