2021: February and July

4 years

2021: A$14,850*
* fee per semester

Application due dates:
We are currently accepting applications for this course.


Become an independent and highly sought-after researcher with a Doctoral Degree (PhD) in Creative Arts at Victoria University.

PhD in Creative Arts program

We offer an advanced research program for our doctoral degree in the arts, across our research focus areas.

Conduct original research in an area of interest to you and of broader significance to VU, industry and the community. This research will inform your creative work. You will be assisted by an experienced research supervisory team.

The PhD includes:

  • producing a creative work informed by substantial research
  • an accompanying analytical written component or exegesis (thesis by creative project)
  • a component of required coursework, usually undertaken in the first year
  • participation in both formal and informal learning opportunities.

Our learning opportunities enable you to develop your research skills and other generic and transferable skills.

You will also learn to be an effective communicator through the presentation and defence of your research in a wide variety of contexts such as:

  • refereed academic outlets appropriate to your field (e.g. ranked journals, academic conferences, book chapters, monographs)
  • public presentation to broader audiences.


Our PhD in Creative Arts will give you the opportunity to undertake advanced study in your chosen discipline, if you are a high-achieving graduate in:

  • Arts
  • Professional and Creative Writing
  • Music
  • Screen Media
  • Creative Arts
  • Marketing Communication.

You’ll undertake a significant research (thesis) and creative project with the guidance of an academic supervisor, as well as coursework subjects in one of our main research programs:

  • creative writing (fiction, poetry, plays, memoir, autobiography, creative non-fiction)
  • visual arts (video, performance, installation)
  • journalism (print, online)
  • media arts (film, television, radio and digital media)

Conducting your own research allows you to further explore an area of interest as well as contributing to your discipline.

We offer opportunities to embed your research in top creative industry organisations. Our partnerships include collaborations with:

  • SBS Television
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne
  • Baryshnikov Art Centre (NY)
  • Malthouse Theatre.

Our researchers in creative arts and writing combine skills and methodologies in creative arts research with more traditional humanities and social science research, including narrative and ethnographic research, and textual and archival research.

Our Creative Arts students have the opportunity and guidance to create major creative work, such as published novels, as part of their PhD.

We offer various research scholarships for our PhD students. Victoria University has several generous research scholarships for successful applicants. There are also externally funded scholarships from dozens of organisations, some of which aimed at postgraduate students.

VU Research gives you opportunities to:

  • connect with other researchers
  • participate in research festivals and competitions
  • develop your research skills
  • get funding for your research
  • publish and promote your findings.

We offer support for graduate researchers including:

Find out more about graduate opportunities at VU.

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Opportunities for creative collaborative include The Malthouse Theatre.

Award-winning artist Paola Balla is one of our researchers within the Moondani Balluk Academic Unit.


PhD graduates are prepared for a wide range of roles in government or the public service, community and non-government organisations and media.

Our graduates often go on to work in the following areas:

  • academia
  • journalism, writing or strategic communications
  • arts administration and management
  • government and policy work
  • community sector professional roles
  • creative arts.

Career options with this qualification vary greatly depending on discipline. Some example average annual salaries for potential jobs are:


Course structure

The PhD is a research based degree with a maximum duration of 4 years (full time) and 8 years (part time). 

As well as enrolling in Research Thesis units, Doctor of Philosophy students will be required to complete two coursework units, ROP8001 and ROP8002.

Students who are post Confirmation of Candidature and who are progressing well may, with the approval of their supervisor, undertake ROP8003 Doctoral Industry Project Placement as a 0 credit point elective unit, to strengthen their connections to industry and build transferable professional skills. 

An average result of 70% is required in the compulsory coursework units in order to proceed to candidature confirmation. Ongoing progression is subject to policy and procedures for candidature management as per the VU HDR Policy.

Coursework units

Research Thesis units

Elective unit

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. expert understanding of a substantial body of theory and its practical application at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including substantial expert knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to the field.  
  2. intellectual independence and cognitive skills to undertake a systematic investigation, reflect critically on theory and practice and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, including identifying, evaluating and critically analysing the validity of research studies and their applicability to a research problem.  
  3. expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to: design, develop and implement a research project/s to systematically investigate a research problem; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge; manage, analyse, evaluate and interpret data, synthesising key ideas and theorising within the context of key literature.  
  4. expert communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions; to disseminate and promote new insights; and to cogently present a complex investigation of originality, or original research, both for external examination and to specialist (eg researcher peers) and non-specialist (industry and/or community) audiences through informal interaction, scholarly publications, reports and formal presentations.  
  5. capacity to reflect on, develop and evaluate strategies for achieving their own learning and career goals.  
  6. intellectual independence, initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning.  
  7. ethical practice and full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs.  
  8. autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and independent scholar.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take and optional elective units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.


Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course. Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

Find out more about how to apply for our courses, and our commitment to admissions transparency.

Entry requirements

Achieved an IELTS, (Academic Module) result with an overall score of 6.5 (no band less than 6) or equivalent and completed a Masters degree or a relevant four year undergraduate degree with Honours or its equivalent at a high standard.

Find out if you meet the entry requirements, including English language and academic requirements.

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course chair or academic adviser.

How to apply

We are currently accepting applications for this course.

Methods of applying:

International students can apply directly to Victoria University using our online application system, or apply through an education agent.

Direct online applicationFind an education agent

If you have questions about your application, you can:

Information and fees listed above are for non-resident students. Fees are accurate at the time of viewing and will be subject to annual increases. Some courses require students to purchase equipment or clothing that they will need in the course. These equipment or clothing costs are not included in the course fees listed above – check your Letter of Offer for an estimate on non-tuition-fee-related expenses.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this course information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that course information is current with the Student Contact Centre.