Doctoral study at Elam

Toby Raine, DocFA candidate, 'Man Crush' (Detail), 2016

Types of doctoral study

Elam promotes expanding both your knowledge and your practice through creative outputs and research. At Elam, you are able to choose one of three ways to complete your doctoral study, depending on your research preferences. 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The traditional PhD thesis is a formal piece of advanced research, with a final examined thesis of up to 100,000 words. Your thesis serves as a contribution to the field of contemporary art research on both a local and international level.
You can find out more about the University’s PhD programme here.

You may also like to consider completing your PhD with a creative practice component. This allows you to submit an exhibition or performance as examinable work alongside a thesis of up to 60,000 words. There are some specific guidelines around the admission requirements relating to the amount of writing in your Master of Fine Arts (MFA), as well as the timing of the examination for creative works. Studio space may be available when relevant to the proposed project.
You can find out more about the creative practice component here.

Doctor of Fine Arts (DocFA)
The DocFA requires you to undertake a specific research project, so is a studio-dominant degree. Like the PhD, it is expected to be a contribution in its chosen field, and requires a written thesis to a maximum of 30,000 words. This allows you to work on advanced level research in a manner relevant to medium-based or post-medium practices throughout the course of the programme. Final submission can take the form of an exhibition, performance or participatory events in fine arts (approved in advance). Studio space may be available when relevant to the proposed project.

You can find out more about the DocFA here.

Doctoral supervisors

We understand that decisions about where to undertake doctoral study are often based on the calibre of the supervisors and the quality of the candidate-supervisor relationship. Elam staff are internationally recognised artists, makers and researchers. Take the time to browse the profiles and research interests of our available doctoral supervisors here. Please note at Elam you are not required to have secured a supervisor before making an application.

Statement of Research Intent

As part of your application, you’ll need to submit a Statement of Research Intent, outlining your project, the context within which it will make a contribution, and how you intend to carry out your study. If you intend to undertake the PhD with creative practice component, you’ll need to submit that document in addition to the University’s general document. 

Please contact the Postgraduate Adviser for the appropriate SRI for your course of study.

Postgraduate Adviser

We encourage contacting our Postgraduate Adviser before you submit your Application for Admission (AfA) for more specific information and advice about doctoral study at Elam. They can help you with understanding how long the application process can take, how to write your statement of research intent and which supervisors are appropriate for your research. 

Postgraduate Adviser: 
Dr Ruth Watson 
Phone: +64 9 923 9958

Additional information

The following links may be relevant to you as you consider your doctoral study:

You may need to contact our Student Centre or the School of Graduate Studies at different points of your planning and application process. 

Creative Arts and Industries Student Centre
Level 2, Building 421
(Architecture and Planning Building)
26 Symonds St
Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

School of Graduate Studies
Graduate Centre, East Wing, ClockTower
22 Princes Street