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Handbooks Courses Units
Monash University

Doctor of Philosophy

Course code: 0020 ~ Course abbreviation: PhDArts ~ Up to 4 years full-time, up to 8 years part-time ~ Managing faculty: Arts

Study mode and course location

On-campus* (Berwick, Caulfield, Clayton, Gippsland, Malaysia)

External* (Berwick, Caulfield, Clayton, Gippsland, Malaysia)

    * Studies in Critical Theory and Music Composition only available on-campus (Clayton)

Course structure

Course requirements

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by 100 per cent research is available in a range of disciplines and is taken by submission of a thesis on a topic (decided in consultation with staff in the students' chosen discipline) approved by the school. For detailed descriptions of supervised research disciplines available, refer to relevant entries under `Areas of study'.

The PhD may also be undertaken by a combination of thesis and coursework in the discipline of critical theory, or as a variation in creative writing or music composition (see below).

Variations in course structure

The Doctor of Philosophy offered in the disciplines of creative writing, critical theory and music composition varies in course structure as follows.

Creative Writing

The PhD in Creative Writing is designed to enable candidates to engage intellectually with their creative process and to acquire professional qualifications in the area of creative writing. The program consists of 100 per cent research. Candidates will be required to submit a piece of their own creative writing together with an exegesis both of which must be produced during candidature and under supervision. Each component must be no less than 35,000 words, the combined word total of the creative writing and the exegesis not to exceed 100,000 words or be less than 75,000 words. For the purpose of this course, `piece of creative writing' will be understood to be constituted by a novel or a group of short stories or a play or a group of plays or a sequence of poems or a portfolio of words of various genres. The `exegesis' will be understood to be constituted by a piece of critical writing focused on the student's piece of creative writing, the writing of which will itself be considered as an act of research into the nature of literary creativity. The exegesis will involve thoroughly researching the various aspects of the creative writing project: the characteristics of the genre, the influence of the context and the shaping elements in a work of art.

Course coordinator

Dr Chandani Lokuge

Critical Theory

The PhD by research and coursework consists of two 12-point coursework units and a 60,000 to 75,000-word research thesis on an approved topic.

The two 12-point units will be selected from:

Candidates taking the PhD by research only may enrol in individual units. These units are also available to other Arts faculty PhD students working in the general area of literary and cultural studies, subject to approval by the graduate coordinator of the discipline of enrolment. With the permission of the director, CRT6000, CRT6010 and CRT6020 may also be taken by Master of Arts candidates (66 per cent research).

Course coordinator

Professor Andrew Milner

Music Composition

The PhD in musical composition is designed for composers to develop a research-based composition folio that makes an independent and original contribution to knowledge. The program consists of 100 per cent research in the form of musical composition. In consultation with the supervisor, a candidate will plan and develop a substantial, research-based folio of original compositions. A candidate will be required to submit a composition folio consisting of both musical scores and sound recordings. The overall duration of the submitted music would normally be between 50 and 80 minutes. Depending on the complexity of the submitted music, however, the overall duration may deviate considerably from the given range. Candidates present at least 50 per cent of the music submitted in their folio in public concerts. The supervisor guides the candidates in the performance and recording of their musical works. Together with the folio of musical compositions candidates submit a critical commentary of between 20,000 and 25,000 words that demonstrates their capacity to articulate the conceptual and aesthetic basis for their folio of compositions, to assess their compositional work in the context of contemporary music and sonic art, and to research and convey creative processes involved in the production of sound and music. The commentary must be scholarly in character, and, at minimum address the following: (1) explication of a research-based argument that provides the conceptual basis for the folio and its contribution to knowledge, (2) compositional approach, process, and techniques, (3) aesthetic placement and stylistic predecessors, and (4) performance context.

Course coordinator

Dr Thomas Reiner