By choosing to study a Doctor of Philosophy at UNSW, you can make a significant, original contribution to knowledge and understanding in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

A PhD in Arts, Design & Architecture will provide you with advanced specialist research training and expert knowledge in an international context. It will open doors to academic research and professional roles nationally and internationally.

Constructing your thesis

You'll demonstrate excellent research skills by producing a high-quality thesis in your field of interest. Your research will be supervised by scholars who are progressive thinkers, creators and national leaders in their fields.

Your thesis will provide evidence of your independent investigation and summarise the research you've completed over three to four years.

You'll be considered an integral part of the Arts, Design & Architecture research community and can mix with a diverse grouping of enquiring and adventurous scholars.


The minimum length of candidature is 3-years and the maximum length is 4-years.

Candidates are required to submit a thesis for examination not exceeding 100,000 words in length.

Research areas

We offer supervision in a wide range of subject and research areas that contribute to the faculty's research strengths. UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture encourages interdisciplinary collaboration within the faculty and across the university.

Find a research supervisor

Entry requirements

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree requires one of the following qualifications:

  • a completed undergraduate degree with Honours 2-1 or equivalent (for example, at UNSW, this is graded as distinction level or 75%+)

  • a completed Masters by Research degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification that includes a substantial research component written as an academic thesis, awarded at or above distinction level or equivalent

  • in exceptional circumstances, sufficient evidence of research experience that demonstrates exceptional research skills and the ability to undertake the proposed research program.

All applicants must meet the English language entry requirements of the university.

Art, Design & Media

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Art, Design & Media requires a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the fields of fine art, sculpture, moving image, performance art and more. You’ll produce a thesis reflecting independent thought, critical analysis and expert knowledge of the discipline in an international context.

Built Environment

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)–Built Environment is a research degree that provides you with the opportunity to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge in an area of built environment research. You’ll acquire advanced, specialised research training and produce a thesis giving evidence of critical and independent thought.

Built Environment (practice-based PhD)

The practice-based PhD is aimed at practitioners operating within or across the broad range of disciplines represented in the school, from architecture and design to planning and construction. You’ll apply the knowledge, skills and methodologies gained within a broader framework of critical and rigorous scholarly enquiry.

Creative Practice

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Creative Practice consists of a portfolio of creative work combined with a research thesis. You’ll engage in innovative, creative research that expands our knowledge and experience of the cultural and social world.


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education combines specialist research training and expert knowledge of education in an international context. The PhD enables you to complete advanced research with renowned, expert academics. You'll contribute original research to teaching practice and address complex educational theories and issues.


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) within the School of Humanities & Languages focuses on research areas in history and philosophy, foreign languages and literature, linguistics, and translating and interpreting. You'll undertake a substantial piece of original research in your chosen field, guided by expert academic supervisors.

Indigenous Studies

UNSW is committed to improving the educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians and creating greater awareness and understanding of Indigenous societies, culture and history. The PhD by Research in Indigenous Studies provides students with the cultural and research support required guided by our expert research supervisors.

Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences is globally recognised for their engagement in theoretical and empirical research affecting positive change locally and internationally. The PhD degree will allow you to pursue rigorous scholarship in Social Sciences, expanding our knowledge of the social, cultural and political forces that shape the world today.