The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is an interdisciplinary degree offered by UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture. It allows you to investigate and create new knowledge in your field of interest through independent investigation, compiling a 20,000–25,000-word thesis. You will be trained in research methodology and engage in the critical evaluation of literature at an advanced level. MPhil students are well placed to progress to independent research at doctoral level.


The MPhil has the flexibility to be undertaken as a written thesis or as a research by design thesis (with a proportionally reduced written component). The program requires submission of either a scholarly written thesis (maximum 40,000 words) or a combined design output and scholarly written component (maximum 25,000 words).

This program involves a minimum of 1.5 years full-time study, maximum two years. The master's thesis should be submitted for examination within two years of full-time study.

Students must complete 72 Units of Credit (UOC) when taken as a standalone program.

The coursework component of the program normally comprises three courses (totalling 18 UOC).

Research areas

Arts, media & design: a research degree with an examinable coursework component, taken over three sessions and comprising 72 units of credit. The thesis may take the form of a written dissertation or a combined submission, comprising a studio/production component or curated exhibition and a written dissertation.

Arts & social sciences: you will complete one common compulsory course, one specialisation-specific course and one discipline-specific course, each focusing on research training from broad, foundational work through trans-disciplinary study to specialisation. 

Students must complete at least one of the specialisations from:

Built environment: A research degree that may be undertaken as a written thesis or as a research by design thesis.

Entry requirements

The minimum requirement for entry into the Master of Philosophy postgraduate degree is an appropriate undergraduate degree in the relevant discipline from UNSW or a qualification considered equivalent from another university or tertiary institution at a level acceptable to the faculty’s Higher Degree Committee, usually at honours level.

Learn more about the English language requirements.

Arts, Design & Media

The Master of Philosophy (Arts, Design & Media) will prepare you for work and research in a global environment. The degree combines interdisciplinary coursework and thesis work. You’ll join a research community and be guided by academic experts in your field of interest, applying new skills to help solve complex, real world challenges.

Arts & Social Sciences

At UNSW, our Master of Philosophy (Arts & Social Sciences) students are provided with outstanding program support within a vibrant research community. Work with increased independence under the guidance of expert supervisors, completing academic coursework and producing a research thesis. Your research makes a contribution to human knowledge.

Built Environment

The Master of Philosophy (Built Environment) is a research degree that includes a coursework component. You’ll have the flexibility to undertake the degree as written thesis or as a research by design thesis. The MPhil aims to develop research competence, creative thinking, problem solving and self-directed learning.