Higher Degree by Research (HDR)

Why Study for a Higher Degree by Research?

A higher degree by research involves in-depth study and commitment to understand existing information or to develop and analyse new data or ideas.  The processes and research you conduct will result in new knowledge you can contribute to this field of thought.

In the School of Communication and Arts Higher Degrees by Research can be taken in the following programs:

Fields of study in our School include many disciplines such as Media and Communication Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies, Film and Television studies, Writing, Journalism, Art History, and Drama.  We also offer specialist programs in Art History by Exhibition (PhD) and Creative Writing (MPhil and PhD).  Please visit our Research Areas to further explore potential thesis topics and supervision.

Applying for Higher Degrees by Research

Becoming a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student in the School of Communication and Arts requires you both to meet the entry requirements of the UQ Graduate School (UQGS) and also to gain the support of the School. The School only supports applications from candidates who clearly demonstrate the ability to complete high-quality HDR theses. Obtaining its support is not an automatic process and requires that you do more than simply meet minimum entry requirements. We recommend that you start the School application process 2-3 months before the UQGS’s deadlines for online applications. This will allow you sufficient time to gather documents and to prepare a research proposal, and the School sufficient time to review your application.

There are 4 stages to gaining The School of Communication and Arts support. Throughout this application process, you must send your application materials only to the School’s Higher Degree by Research Liaison Officer (HLO), who will be your primary point of contact. The HLO will liaise with, and assist, you throughout the whole process. The HLO in the School of Communication and Arts is Mrs Diana Marsh. Her email address is hdr.commarts@enquire.uq.edu.au.

Step 1: The Expression of Interest

The first step is to send an email to the HLO that expresses your interest in, and qualifications for, HDR candidature.

Please complete the Expression of interest form and email it to hdr.commarts@enquire.uq.edu.au.

You must describe the proposed topic of your HDR thesis, and identify your proposed principal and associate supervisors.

You will have to attach your full academic CV, your academic transcripts and an academic writing sample of at least 2000 words. If you have IELTS or TOEFL results please attach.

The HLO will send your email to a HDR Deputy Director in the relevant discipline. If he or she judges that you meet UQ’s entry requirements, that the School has the capacity and the expertise to supervise you, and that the proposed supervisory arrangements are appropriate, you will have passed step 1 and will be invited to write a full research proposal.

Step 2: Writing the Research Proposal

Your detailed research proposal should be approximately 1,000 words, excluding the bibliography. It must cover the following points:

Research Question: What is the major problem or issue that your thesis will attempt to address? What major question will it try to answer? What will your thesis be about?

Significance: Why will your thesis be significant? What makes it important or original? In what scholarly field will it make a contribution to knowledge? In short, why does it matter?

Relevant Scholarship: What does current scholarship say about your major question? How does your thesis relate to what is already written on the topic?

Method and Evidence: What methods will you use to conduct your research? Will you use particular theories and/or schools of thought? What evidence or texts will you be using? How will you conduct your research? What will the outcomes be?

Step 3: Gaining the Support of the Supervisors and the HDR Deputy Director

Your prospective thesis supervisors will review your research proposal. If they are satisfied with the proposal, you will be invited to an interview, in person or via the internet, with them and the HDR Deputy Director. If they judge that you have the ability to complete a high-quality HDR thesis, they will inform the School’s HDR Director that you have their support.

Step 4: Gaining the Support of the HDR Director

If the School’s HDR Director judges that the case has been made for the School to support your application, you will be invited to submit an online application to the UQGS.

Further Information

More information about UQGS entry requirements for HDR admission and HDR scholarships can be found on the UQ research degrees page. In order to find prospective supervisors whose expertise appropriately matches your area of interest, you will need to browse the profiles of the School's academic staff.

Students must complete Advanced Research Methods coursework in the first semester of enrolment so we do not accept applications for remote candidature unless the student already holds a relevant research Masters degree and has successfully completed a thesis and research methods training.

flow diagram that summarises the four stages for gaining the School's support for your HDR application can be downloaded.