Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Practice

Like other research doctoral programs at UNE, the Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Practice has the objective of qualifying candidates who can independently apply a substantial body of knowledge and skills/techniques to research and develop and communicate new knowledge.

The PhD in Creative Practice provides the opportunity to undertake practice-based research in in specialised areas.

Projects for this course must include two components: a creative work and a written exegesis. The types of creative work that may be considered are indicated below.

Admission to candidature depends on the availability of supervision and resources.

Primary supervision is based in Arts (see ‘Supervision’ below) and is potentially available from staff in this School in the disciplinary areas of English, Communications and Media, and Writing; Music; and Theatre and Performance.

UNE does not provide film, video and music production facilities, so projects in this area would require access to independent resources.

It is assumed that candidates entering the course will already have the advanced skills that are necessary to embark on higher degree research and relate creative practice to scholarship in their chosen field. Supervision assists candidates to apply their skills to complete a project that develops and disseminates new knowledge.

Creative work and exegesis

Both these components of the thesis are important. They are submitted and examined together. UNE does not prescribe set proportions for them, or separate ‘assessment weightings’.

Creative work

Subject to the availability of supervision and resources, the types of creative work that UNE promotes for higher degree research include the following (but not limited to), which relate to the Arts disciplinary areas.

English, Media and Communications, WritingTheatreMusic
FictionTheatre Performance (which might include acting, directing, devised work, physical theatre, documentary theatre, multi/intermedial performance, puppetry)Music performance
Non-fiction (e.g. life writing)Playwriting and/or adaptationExhibition
Creative non-fictionDesign and/or scenographyNotated and graphic score
AdaptationDrama pedagogyVideo recording
  Audio recording
  Other new media technologies and modes of presentation

The creative work should be the main basis for the design, research and communication of outcomes of the doctoral project.

The appropriate scale of the creative work may vary according to the nature of the artefact or performance, its medium, genre or style.

The creative work should demonstrate substantial knowledge of the expressive form of communication in which it is situated.


For a PhD in Creative Practice, the exegesis will not exceed 33,000 words, exclusive of preliminary and end matter such as acknowledgements, reference lists, etc. This is about one-third the maximum length of a traditional written PhD thesis (100,000 words) in the arts and humanities at UNE, but the role of the exegesis is still considered significant. By approval of the Principal Supervisor and the School Higher Degree Research Coordinator, the length of the exegesis may vary according to particular discipline contexts and modes of creative practice.

An exegesis requires more than wholly personal reflection on, or recounting of, the candidate’s own creative work and practice. It should articulate an argument growing out of the practice-based inquiry, or otherwise show how the thesis project contributes new knowledge, understanding or perspectives  within a disciplinary field. For this purpose, an exegesis can do many or all of the following:

  • Explain the subject, objectives, rationale and context of the creative work, which should normally include articulating a central question or problem that both components of the thesis investigate;
  • Situate the project in its field of creative practice and in relation to pertinent disciplinary concerns, problems or aspects of scholarship;
  • Document and reflect on the principles, methods and processes of their research and inquiry into the subject;
  • Explain opportunities and/or problems they have encountered, and how they have responded to them, in the course of the project;
  • Reflect on the structure and themes of the creative work, or decisions involved in finding its form;
  • Document interactions with others that inform the creative work; and
  • Comment on ethical considerations where relevant, and cite or present material (e.g., ethics clearances, interview questions) that helps to understand the research framework.

Further information

For further information about the admission criteria and general course requirements and rules for Higher Degrees in Creative Practice and those for the Doctor of Philosophy:


Supervision arrangements for Higher Degree Research programs in Creative Practice are managed in Arts.

General inquiries may be directed to the HASS Higher Degree Research Coordinator:

Supervision may be drawn from other Schools, depending on the nature of approved projects.

How to apply

Applications for admission must be made directly to Research Services at UNE using the Research Services Candidature Application Form.

NB.  For Creative Practice degrees, please refer to the following document when preparing your research proposal.

Research Proposal for Creative Practice Higher Degrees Applications