Doctor of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences)

Independent, original research for your discipline, industry and community

The Doctor of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences) is the highest Arts and Social Sciences degree offered by Southern Cross University.

Students will contribute to independent research that makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the arts, humanities or social sciences.

Research fields include social policy, social welfare, history, politics, communication, cultural studies, new media, visual arts, music and creative writing. PhD projects in the Faculty of Business, Law and Arts may produce a multi-modal output, combining creative work/s and academic thesis or exegesis.

Southern Cross University's Faculty of Business, Law and Arts contains distinguished researchers whose supervision will see you become part of a vibrant and multidisciplinary learning community.

Our researchers regularly publish in national and international journals, exhibit and perform in major artistic venues across Australia and internationally, and supervise postgraduate students in a wide range of areas.

Academic staff in the Faculty of Business, Law and Arts can provide supervision for various discipline areas. Please search for a supervisor on our Find a Supervisor page.

Meet your supervisors

Lady looking through books on a shelf

Research Highlight: Southern Cross University is home to the internationally renowned Centre for Children and Young People. It is widely acknowledged for research focused on advancing the rights, wellbeing and participation of children and young people in their families, schools and communities. The Centre has attracted more than $8 million in external funding, including seven prestigious Australian Research Council-funded projects.


Faculty Duration Location CRICOS Code Contact

Faculty of Business, Law and Arts or

Faculty of Health 

3 years, 6 months  Lismore, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour 097528K

Associate Professor Michael Charles

Professor John Hurley


Research degrees in the Faculty of Business, Law and Arts or the Faculty of Health generally do not involve coursework, though a coursework program may be defined for a candidate where warranted. The candidate and supervisor work together to decide on a field of research, plan methods of investigation, and where appropriate, data collection.

"I am passionate about helping other people make their dreams come true and amplifying their stories and their music."

Thomas Dick

PhD Graduate, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

Course fees

Domestic students:

Eligible applicants can apply for a Research Training Program-supported place. This will provide a tuition fee offset funded by the Australian Government's Research Training Program. Southern Cross University will then supplement this cost to cover the full program tuition fees.

If unsuccessful in obtaining a Research Training Program place, students may be required to pay fees.

Applications are considered on a case by case basis and the process can be highly competitive.

International students:

Course fees for International Students are $26,000 per annum, unless a tuition fee waiver has been approved as per the below detailed information. 

A request for a tuition fee offset can only be approved by the Dean, Graduate School providing there is support from the Principal Supervisor, DHDRT and Assocaite Dean (Research). For a request to be considered, the following criteria need to be taken into account:

  • Academic quality of the student is of high standing
  • Appropriate level of English proficiency (International English Language Test Score (IELTS) Academic (or equivalent) equal to or above 7.0, with a minimum 7.0 in Writing and no other band less than 6.5)
  • Expected research outcomes, quality of project and how it fits with the Supervisory team research areas
  • Whether the Faculty and Supervisory team have the resources and facilities to support the project
  • If the HDR applicant is not on a scholarship, evidence must be provided that they can support themselves during their candidature.

The Dean, Graduate School, will assess the request according to these criteria together with the application for admission to candidature and will seek further clarification if the above-mentioned criteria are not satisfied. If the tuition fee offset is approved by the Dean, this is recorded in the Student Administration System and conveyed to the student in the letter of offer for admission to candidature.

Tuition Fee Offsets that are not approved will mean the applicant will be required to pay full fees. If it is not obvious that the HDR applicant’s project will enhance the research output of the University and that of the Supervisory team, fees will apply.

Admission requirements

To qualify for admission to a PhD, applicants must:

  • Possess a degree equivalent to a Bachelor's degree from the University with first-class Honours or second-class Honours, first division, or
  • Possess a degree equivalent to a Masters degree from the University, with a Relevant Research Component, or
  • Submit other evidence of relevant professional qualifications and experience, or research experience, to satisfy the Dean (Graduate Studies) that the applicant possesses a level of relevant research experience equivalent to an award in either clause (4)a or (4)b; and satisfy such additional requirements for admission to a PhD candidature, if any, as may be prescribed by the Dean (Graduate Studies).

All candidates are expected to be proficient in English comprehension and expression.

Apply online now

Research proposal

Students can explore research in a range of areas, such as:

  • Humanities, including creative writing, poetry, celebrity authors, mental health, social work, cultural and gender studies, international relations, racism studies
  • Media studies, including live audio-visual performance, machine relations, film and politics, media culture
  • Creative and Performing Arts, including contemporary singing and/or instrumental performance, composition, music education, music production, musicology, new media and computer music, visual arts
  • Social Sciences, including social policy, aged care, LGBTI studies, social inclusion, child protection, child abuse in sport, social policy, and identity.

The Faculty of Business, Law and Arts is home to two research clusters that place a strong focus on social and environmental issues. These are:

  • Diverse and inclusive communities
  • Environmental arts and humanities

Contact the Graduate School


T: +61 2 6620 3219

T: +61 2 6626 9186