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Overview

Candidates for the degree of Master of Arts (Research) (MA (Research)) conduct research and write a thesis on an approved topic. All research is done under the supervision of a member of our academic staff.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sydney is consistently ranked as one of the world's best places for research in the humanities and social sciences.

The MA (Research) is offered in disciplines ranging across the visual arts and art history, archaeology and classics, diverse languages and their cultures, economics, English language and literature, ancient, medieval and modern history, philosophy, the global political economy and international governance, sociology and cultural studies, media and communications and social work.

If you choose to continue with further research, the MA (Research) offers an internationally recognised pathway to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

As a part of their training, MA (Research) students at Sydney are required to complete some coursework early in their candidature. Students have access to a range of specialist units of study that will develop their research skills.

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 for the MA (Research) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are assessed in two rounds annually. There are two closing dates per year for applications: 31 March (for admission in July of the same calendar year) and 30 September (for admission in March the following year). You should apply as early as possible. Late or incomplete applications may not be considered in the current round.

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 for the MA (Research) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are assessed in two rounds annually. There are two closing dates per year for applications: 31 March (for admission in July of the same calendar year) and 30 September (for admission in March the following year). You should apply as early as possible. Late or incomplete applications may not be considered in the current round.

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

MA (Research) candidates in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences undertake research in over 40 subject areas based in the faculty’s six schools. These are the Schools of Economics; Education and Social Work; Languages and Cultures; Art, Communication and English; Humanities; and Social and Political Sciences.

Research may also be undertaken in association with the University of Sydney’s humanities and social sciences research centres or groups.

What you'll study

Coursework in higher research degrees

The MA (Research) at the University includes a coursework component to support the development of research skills. MA (Research) students complete 6 credit points of coursework chosen from a pool of 270+ units from across all faculties. The pool comprises a range of development opportunities that include specialist analytical methods, professional development units and discipline-specific subjects relevant for research students. Refer to the Interdisciplinary Studies handbook.

There is no separate tuition fee cost for the coursework units of study you will undertake. This cost is covered by the tuition fee for your course. See the ‘Your Fee’ section for fee information. Additional non-tuition course costs vary depending on the units of study.

You will be able to see and enrol in any of the units available, subject to capacity constraints and your own background. Note that the faculty may elect to make certain units compulsory for a given MA (Research) degree pathway.

Units of Study

Applying for admission

To apply for admission follow these steps:

  1. Find a potential supervisor within the Faculty whose academic background aligns with your research. You may visit Research Supervisor Connect [Research Supervisor Connect] for help. You can also use the University website to search for a lead supervisor in an appropriate discipline area. If you need assistance finding a supervisor, please contact Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Admissions (fass.hdradmin@sydney.edu.au).
  2. When contacting your potential supervisor you should describe your academic educational background, and include an academic transcript and CV (resume). You should also include a research proposal (approximately 1000 words); refer to How to write a research proposal for guidance. You should explain why you want to undertake the MA (Research) and how you believe your research topic aligns with the supervisor’s own research.
  3. Your potential supervisor may offer you advice on developing a research proposal before you submit your application. You will need to provide a written statement from your potential supervisor that they have agreed to supervise your project.
  4. Obtain two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements and research potential.
  5. If you intend to study part-time towards the MA (Research) (international student visa holders must enrol full-time), you will also need to supply: evidence that shows you will have sufficient time available to plan and carry out the research under the supervision of the University, and complete the course within the maximum period allowed for a part-time MPhil enrolment, and a declaration from your employer (if relevant) confirming that you will be permitted to take the time required to effectively pursue your studies.
  6. Applications are made via the University’s online application portal. Submit your application together with:
  • your research proposal,
  • your CV (curriculum vitae, resumé),
  • two academic referee reports,
  • your post-school academic transcripts,
  • a written statement from your potential supervisor that they have agreed to supervise your project,
  • supporting documents, such as identification and evidence of residency status.
  • other supporting evidence as required.

When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply Now’ button on the right-hand side of this page.

Completion requirement

To satisfy the requirements of the degree candidates must:

  • complete any specified probationary requirements and other specified milestones; and,
  • undertake a minimum of 6 credit points in units of study from Table R within the first year of candidature (or equivalent); and,
  • conduct research on an approved topic, and,
  • write a thesis of a minimum of 20,000 and upper limit of 40,000 words (including footnotes).

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 MA (Research) you must have completed the equivalent of one of the following in a subject area related to your proposed research area:

  • bachelor’s degree or equivalent; or
  • master’s degree by coursework

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.

Graduate opportunities

While completing the MA (Research), students gain deep understanding of one or more subject areas, as well as developing analytical, problem solving, communication and project management skills. These skills are highly valued by prospective employers. Our MPhil graduates pursue careers in industry, the public sector, education and research organisations.

Domestic students

International students

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