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Overview

Candidates for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) research and write a thesis of 40,000-60,000 words on an approved topic under the supervision of a member of the academic staff, and complete at least one unit of study (6 credit points) from Table R.

Research can be undertaken in any one of the Faculty's schools including the School of Economics; Literature, Art and Media; Languages and Culture; Philosophical and Historical Inquiry; and Social and Political Sciences.

Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences extends across a diverse range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, embracing traditional, emerging and cross-disciplinary subjects. Staff in the Faculty enjoy international reputations in their chosen fields, reflected in the high level of publications generated by Faculty academics each year.

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

MPhil candidates in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences may undertake research in over 40 subject areas located in 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.

Research may also be undertaken in association with prominent humanities and social sciences research centres or groups.

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. Masters students will complete 6 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.

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

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

To satisfy the requirements of the degree candidates must:

  • complete any specified probationary requirements; 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 30,000 to 40,000 words.

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 Master of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences) you must have completed the equivalent of one of the following in a subject area related to your proposed research area:

  • a bachelor's degree with first class or second class honours master's degree by research; or
  • a master's degree by coursework with an independent research component such as a thesis, dissertation or research project with a minimum overall pass average of 75% or above.

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.

Course opportunities

The faculty is home to more than 90 research and teaching centres incuding the the faculty’s newest research centre, the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC). Along with our world-renowned schools, these provide abundant research opportunities with academic staff members who are experts and leaders in their fields of research.

Graduate opportunities

Through the completion of the MPhil degree, students gain deeper understanding of a subject area and develop analytical, problem solving, communication and project management skills. These skills are highly valued by prospective employers. MPhil graduates may pursue careers in industry, academia and research organisations.

Domestic students

International students

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