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Postgraduate researcher presenting

Postgraduate research

Challenge your thinking

Undertake in-depth research in an area you're passionate about with the guidance of some of the world’s brightest and most accomplished academics.

A higher degree by research will open up a new world of ideas and possibilities, deepen your insights, and develop your capacities for practical application in your current career or position you to carve out a new one.

We conduct a diversity of research that spans more than 50 departments and centres. You will have the opportunity to work alongside distinguished researchers in a supportive, scholarly environment and access to world-class facilities.


Our researchers are finding solutions to the world’s most pressing issues by changing the way they look at them.

Course options

The PhD is our premier research award and the highest qualification on the Australian Qualifications Framework:

A professional doctorate is designed to respond to the rapid changes taking place in professional workplaces that create demands on industry professionals to upgrade their qualifcations:

A master's degree by research is the second-highest qualification on the Australian Qualifications Framework and can be a pathway to study at a PhD level: 

Our specialisations:

  • Anthropology
  • Arabic Language and Cultures
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Asian Studies
  • Celtic Studies
  • Chinese Studies
  • Classics and Ancient History
  • Creative Writing
  • Digital Cultures
  • Economics
  • English
  • European Studies
  • Film Studies
  • French Studies
  • Gender and Cultural Studies
  • Germanic Studies
  • Government and International Relations
  • Graduate School of Government
  • Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
  • History
  • Indian Subcontinental Studies
  • International and Comparative Literary Studies
  • International Security
  • Italian Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Korean Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Media and Communications
  • Medieval Studies
  • Modern Greek
  • Museum and Heritage Studies
  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Economy
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Social Policy
  • South East Asian Studies
  • Spanish and Latin American Studies
  • Studies in Religion
  • Theatre and Performance Studies
  • US Studies
  • Educational History, Sociology and Philosophy
  • Educational Systems: Administration, Management and Leadership
  • Health and Sport
  • Learning Sciences: Psychology of Education
  • Research on Teaching and Learning
  • Social Structures, Inequalities and Social Justice
  • Social Work and Social Policy
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

To support the research capabilities and success of HDR students, and in response to a changing world, we are introducing a new coursework component to our PhD degrees and broadening the coursework options for our other postgraduate research degrees.

You will have the opportunity to create a distinct research pathway by selecting from 270+ units from any faculty – a first of its kind in Australia – with study areas ranging from specialist analytical methods and professional engagement courses, to discipline-specific subjects.

Application deadlines - We accept applications for higher degree by research all year round. There are four research periods each year when you can start your study with us.

Higher Degree Research fees - Learn more about tuition fees and scholarship opportunities for domestic and international students

How to apply - Find out how to apply for a postgraduate research degree

Why complete a postgraduate research degree with us?

  • Experience one of the most comprehensive arts and social sciences faculties in Australia, where your area of study is only limited by your imagination.
  • Boost your qualifications and stand out from the crowd with no fees for domestic students (fees are covered by the government Research Training Program fee off-set). Please note that fees apply for international students - refer to the relevant course page on Sydney Courses for details.
  • Work alongside some of the most acclaimed academics in the country, who have made groundbreaking discoveries and helped inform public debate on the key issues of our time.
  • Benefit from access to our world-leading research centres and institutes.
  • Conduct your research in a faculty with a competitive international standing, ranked 22 in the world* for Arts and Humanities and 24 for Social Sciences* in 2020.

*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

Lisa Heinze

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Arts and Social Sciences
Several years ago, I completed a master’s degree by coursework that included a research component and I really enjoyed the experience. I knew I wanted to do more research, but also wanted to make sure I researched something I was truly passionate about. After several years working as an environmentalist and writing a book about sustainable living, I saw a need for more research on fashion and sustainability – the perfect opportunity to work on a PhD. When I complete my PhD, I hope to teach and advocate for climate, sustainability.
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Balin Cupples

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Education
The enjoyment and success I experienced within the Coach Education course prompted me to further explore an area within the coaching field that I was passionate about. Professionally I have been able to implement knowledge and skills gained. This has played a role in attaining a full time position within the sport coaching industry.
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