What you can study - research degrees
Within the School of Art, Architecture and Design, research degree students engage in an intensive individual program of research under the guidance of an experienced supervisor with research expertise in a specific area.
The School has an active visiting scholars and artists program, and a vibrant postgraduate student culture, fostered through ancillary programs, including a critical reading group, work-in-progress seminars, studio critiques and social functions, in which all candidates are encouraged to participate.
- Study Art, Architecture or Design
- What you need to consider
- Fees and scholarships
- How to apply (eligibility, scholarships, finding a supervisor)
To do a research degree in Art, Architecture, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture or Visual Communication Design, you need to choose a research topic and find a supervisor.
|Program name||Program code||CRICOS code||Program length|
|Master of Visual Arts||MMRD||024083E||2 years|
|Master of Architecture||MMRD||013177A||2 years|
|Master of Design||MMRD||013571B||2 years|
|Doctor of Philosophy (Architecture)||MPHD||015041B||4 years|
|Doctor of Philosophy (Design)||MPHD||070417F||4 years|
Discipline areas include Architecture, Design and Visual Arts.
Discipline areas include Architecture, Design, Design by Major Studio Project, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Visual Arts, Visual Arts by Major Studio Project and Visual Communication.
Academic requirements for research degrees
- Appendix 2a: Guidelines for the presentation of the thesis, or exegesis
- Appendix 2b: Guidelines for the presentation of Artefact thesis
Supervision is available for projects in all specialisation areas, as well as in contemporary art and design history, and theory and criticism. The main areas in which academic staff could supervise a research project leading to a Masters or PhD are:
- Postmodernism, critical theory and post colonial studies
- Art history, European, trans-Atlantic and Australian modernist and post modernist art history
- Contemporary studio practice, including sculpture, painting, printmaking, ceramics, glass, textiles, photography, drawing, digital media
- Contemporary art theory - Asia-Pacific region
- Contemporary craft history and theory
- Feminist studies in visual art
- History and theory of design, material culture and design
- History and theory of architecture (19th and 20th centuries)
- Australian architectural, urban design and planning history
- Conservation and management of heritage places
- Cross-cultural design and garden history
- Post-structuralist philosophy and architecture
- Aesthetics and meaning in industrial design
- Sustainable architecture and design, practice and theory
- Language-based writing about design
- Spatial relations, bodies and movement
- Contemporary Australian visual arts and curatorial practice.
Before applying for entry to a research degree, as a prospective research student you should consider:
Are you eligible to do a research degree?
Degrees by research are offered each year by the School of Art, Architecture and Design to a limited number of suitably qualified applicants on a case-by-case basis.
- Applicants for research degrees are expected to hold a good honours degree or equivalent in a visual art or design-related discipline.
- International applicants need an IELTS score of IELTS 6.5 (academic) or equivalent
Suitable candidates will be looking to enhance and improve their creative and conceptual skills through investigation of a specific research topic. Before applying for a research degree, you should identify:
- a suitable research topic (areas of expertise are listed below under each discipline below)
- a potential supervisor from amongst the staff in the School qualified to supervise your topic.
The School advises you to contact a Portfolio Leader well in advance of submitting your application.
See How to apply for more details.
Do you have a suitable research project?
The intended focus or area of your research project should be something you know enough about to determine whether it is really a viable, 'researchable' topic. See Defining your research topic (PDF file 274kb, download Adobe Acrobat) for more information.
Successful applications usually outline a well-defined research problem or area of focus linked to a body of literature that discusses some of the issues relevant to the proposed topic. If you are uncertain of your proposed topic, try to define what you want to do or find out.
Is a research degree supervisor available?
A research degree supervisor in the School of Art, Architecture and Design or elsewhere in the University of South Australia with an interest in your area must be available and willing to supervise the proposed project over the two or three years required to complete it.
Principal Supervisors must be on the University's Register of Postgraduate Research Degree Supervisors. See the list of research degree supervisors within the School or search the Directory of Research Expertise
Can you submit a portfolio?
All applicants to a research degree within the School of Art, Architecture and Design must submit a portfolio that includes:
- up to 15 images of original recent work
- Statement of academic qualifications
- Resume or curriculum vitae
See Portfolio submission for more information.
Cannot meet these criteria?
If you cannot meet the above criteria, you may be eligible to do a postgraduate coursework degree - for more information go to the relevant discipline (Art, Architecture, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Visual Communication Design and Sustainable Design).
Fees and scholarships
HECS exempt (no fees)
- Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) - closing date 31 October
- UniSA Australian Postgraduate Award (USAPA) - closing date 31 October
Other scholarships for Australian applicants - closing dates variable
Full fee paying
- International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) - closing date 31 August
- UniSA President's Scholarship (UPS)a> - closing dates 31 May and 31 August
- Other scholarships for international applicants - closing dates variable