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Please note: This course will no longer be available from 2022 onwards. Please apply for Doctor of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences) instead.

The Doctor of Arts (DArts) is a professional doctorate which is designed to respond to the rapid changes taking place in professional workplaces that create demands on industry professionals to upgrade their qualifications.

The degree involves units of coursework training and a thesis of 50,000-80,000 words, for candidates not also submitting a significant creative project, or a thesis of 20,000-30,000 words for candidates also submitting a significant creative project.

The DArts differs from a PhD. The thesis component may have a tighter word limit than a PhD thesis, and it should be focused on questions of professional practice, such as policy analysis and advice in the case of the social sciences, or critical exegesis in the case of theses accompanying creative works.

The exact nature of the significant creative project will be determined by the disciplinary norms of the department through which a student is enrolled. Applicants must discuss their proposed significant creative projects with the department to ensure that the department has the relevant expertise to supervise the projects.

Examples of significant creative projects include novels, biographies and memoirs, sets of short stories, poetic works, plays and other performance scripts, performed pieces, audio and/or video works, documentaries, collections of feature articles, and documented interventions in public debates, such as submissions, reports and major essays.

From 2021, Higher Degree by Research students will be required to complete some coursework as part of their candidature. Students will have access to a range of specialist units of study relevant for research students.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

Applications are open all year round. Apply well in advance (at least 6 weeks prior to your start date) to allow for a timely response to your application. If your application cannot be processed in time, it will be considered for the next possible research period. Separate scholarship application deadlines apply.

Starting date

Research Period 2: Start date 1 Mar

Research Period 3: Start date 1 Jul 

Refer to key research dates on the `How to Apply website.

Applications are open all year round. Apply well in advance of your start date to allow for a timely response to your application and necessary visa and travel arrangements. If your application cannot be processed in time, it will be considered for the next possible research period. Separate scholarship application deadlines apply.

Starting date

Research Period 2: Start date 1 Mar

Research Period 3: Start date 1 Jul 

Refer to key research dates on the `How to Apply website.

Research areas

Doctor of Arts candidates may undertake research in one of the faculty's five schools. These are the Schools of Economics; Languages and Cultures; Literature, Art and Media; Philosophical and Historical Inquiry; Social and Political Sciences.

What you'll study

Changes to higher degree research in 2021

In 2021, the University is introducing a new coursework curriculum to support research success. Students will complete 12 credit points of coursework and be able to choose from a pool of 270+ units from any faculty. The pool comprises a range of development opportunities that include specialist analytical methods, professional development units, and discipline-specific subjects relevant for research students. Browse all available units here.

There is no separate tuition fee cost for the coursework units of study you will undertake, it is part of the tuition fee for the course. See the 'Your Fee' section for fee information. Additional non-tuition course costs vary depending on the units of study.

Units of Study

Applying for admission

Prospective students with an Honours degree awarded in the second class or a Master's degree without a thesis component should consult the Postgraduate Research Coordinator of the relevant department before making an application.

  1. Find a supervisor within the University whose academic background aligns with your research. You may visit a Research Supervisor Connect to start.
  2. Contact a research supervisor either through Research Supervisor Connect or email and provide: your academic/educational background and research experience with examples such as an academic transcript your CV/resume the area of interest for your PhD why you believe your research topics align with this supervisor.
  3. In conjunction with your supervisor, develop a preliminary research proposal of at least 500 words that outlines the subject area, objectives and significance of your research.
  4. Obtain two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements. 

Completion requirement

In order to complete the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Arts, a candidate shall complete an approved course of advanced study and research as follows:

  • complete any specified probationary requirements; and,
  • complete 12 credit points in units of study from Table R; and,
  • conduct research on the approved topic; and,
  • write a thesis embodying the results of the research; or
  • produce a significant creative project and a thesis of embodying the results of the research.

Thesis submission requirements and examination procedure as set out in the Academic Board resolutions for this course and the Higher Degree (HDR) Rule 2011.

Admission requirement

To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Arts you must have a minimum of five years' recent, full-time employment or professional experience in a relevant field and completed the equivalent of one of the following in a subject area related to your proposed research area:

  • bachelor's degree with first class or second class honours or, a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney with a substantial portfolio of published / professional work (such as books, films, TV programs, creative work and / or government reports) equivalent to or greater than an undergraduate honours thesis; or
  • a master's degree.

These constitute the minimum requirements for eligibility and do not guarantee admission. This remains at the discretion of the relevant supervisors and departments. The University must certify that there are sufficient supervisory and other resources and facilities available to enable your candidature to be completed successfully.

Career pathways

This professional doctorate will allow you to pursue a higher degree of rigorous scholarship while advancing your professional practice as a journalist, creative writer, anthropologist, linguist, policy adviser or manager, among other areas. This degree will enable you to become more aware of the changing environment of your professional practice and developments within your field, and increase your knowledge of research and analytical techniques. You will develop sophisticated intellectual and practical skills that are in high demand.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.