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Overview

The Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) 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 (12 credit points) 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 DSocSci 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 Social Sciences 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 and Social and Political Sciences.

What you'll study

Changes to higher degree research in 2021

From 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

To apply for a research degree, you may be expected to contact the Postgraduate Research Coordinator with an expression of interest before submitting a formal application. When you submit a formal application online, you will be required to upload some or all of the following documents electronically with your application:

  1. a certified academic transcript or transcripts for your previous study, if they were not completed at The University of Sydney;
  2. a CV, providing a summary of your work experience and other relevant activities;
  3. up to two academic references;
  4. a research proposal;
  5. a one page cover letter outlining your reasons for applying;
  6. proof of your Australian residency status (a certified copy of the main page your Australian passport, or a certified copy of the main page(s) of your own passport with evidence of your visa);
  7. English language qualifications (if your prior study was completed at an institution where English is not the medium of instruction).

Some courses have further, specific admission requirements, including other documentation or the submission of a portfolio of work, and/or an interview as part of the application process - see Additional application requirements

Completion requirement

In order to complete the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, 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 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

  1. To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean or Associate Dean, an applicant must:
    • hold or have completed the requirements for:
      • a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, with first or second class honours, in a relevant subject area; or
      • a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, in a relevant subject area, 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 from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, in a relevant subject area; and
    • have a minimum of five years' recent, full-time employment or professional experience in a relevant field.
  2. The Dean or Associate Dean may admit to candidature an applicant who does not meet the requirements of sub-clause (1), provided that the applicant holds a qualification or qualifications that, in the opinion of the Dean or Associate Dean, are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).
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.