University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Doctor of Philosophy

The University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 provides a framework for all higher degrees offered by research at the University, ie masters degrees by research, doctorates by research, and higher doctorates by research.

Course structure and requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidates may complete the degree by:

(1) a thesis comprising a substantial body of creative work for exhibition plus a written text examining the histories and theoretical underpinnings of the creative work, both of which demonstrate an original contribution to knowledge, or

(2) a substantial written thesis that, through a sustained investigation, demonstrates an original contribution to knowledge in the field of the history and theory of contemporary art.

This degree is awarded for the successful completion of an approved program of supervised, advanced research which constitutes an original contribution to knowledge.

The length of the written thesis will be agreed through consultation between the candidate, the supervisor and the Director of the Graduate School. Any changes would have to be approved by the supervisor and the Director of the Graduate School. The expectations for Option (1), dual outcome, are in the vicinity of 40,000–50,000 words, and for Thesis Option (2) – in the vicinity of 60,000–80,000 words.

The course is offered over three to four years full-time or part-time equivalent. International students may only study on a full-time basis. The first year of candidature is a probationary year.

Candidates deemed to be making unsatisfactory progress at the end of the first year will be given the option of converting to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree if such a move is considered appropriate on academic advice. This option does not apply to candidates who already have an MFA or equivalent.

Candidates are expected to have regular meetings with their supervisors.

First-year PhD candidates attend the Seminar Program. The seminars aim to develop the proposed research project and extend research and critical skills. Candidates make a presentation on their project and engage in peer group discussion on written and visual aspects of their work.

From second year onwards candidates attend and present a paper on the current state of their research at the Graduate School Forum. This program provides an opportunity for candidates to present aspects of their research to the faculty and postgraduate colleagues. All PhD candidates are required to attend each presentation.

For information about the examination process at SCA please refer to the Postgraduate Research Guide. Essential Information for PhD candidates and supervisors.