Honours is an extra year of study, usually following immediately on from a pass degree, that combines aspects of undergraduate study with those of post-graduate research. It introduces advanced research training through the completion of a thesis or a creative or practice-based research project.

Students who undertake Bachelors degrees in Australia typically have the opportunity to complete either a Pass degree or an Honours degree. A Pass degree, the standard course followed by most students, is structured around coursework and is usually completed in three years. An Honours degree is available only to students who have a grade average of 70% in a particular program of study, involves both coursework and advanced research training, and has an extra year of university study devoted to it.

View the SAM Honours Handbook


If you think you might be interested in applying for Honours, please download this Expression of Interest Form and email it to Dr Paul Dawson (paul.dawson@unsw.edu.au). Please note this form only registers your interest in Honours, and is not an official application form.

Honours Expression of Interest Form

For more information visit the UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Honours page.

How to apply: visit the Arts Honours page

SAM Summer Research Bursaries

2019 SAM Summer Research Bursaries

The School of the Arts and Media is pleased to announce the SAM Summer Research Bursaries for students beginning Honours in SAM in 2019. This program is designed to give outstanding students the opportunity to develop essential research skills in their discipline by completing a short project over the summer break ahead of their Honours year.

Bursaries of $5000 will be awarded to the applicant with the highest WAM in each Honours discipline (minimum WAM of 80).

There are six bursaries available, one in each of the following areas:

Creative Writing
Dance or Theatre and Performance Studies
English and Literary Studies
Film Studies
Media and Communications
Music Studies

Applications are invited from students who are eligible to do Honours in any of these areas. Research-thesis and practice-based-research-project students are both eligible.

The Summer Bursaries topics and supervisors are listed below.

To apply, students should email the SAM Honours Convenor, Associate Professor Paul Dawson (paul.dawson@unsw.edu.au), nominating the bursary project on which they would like to work, stating the title of their proposed Honours thesis or project, and attaching a copy of their current academic record. (The Honours topic MUST be distinct from the Summer Bursary topic.) SAM will confirm final WAMs through UNSW Student Central.

Applications are due by Monday, 19 November 2018. Bursary winners will be contacted by email and announced on the SAM website in mid-December 2018.

Bursary holders will:

• be attached to a supervisor for the duration of the project, but contact with the supervisor will be limited

• be expected to produce a 5,000-word research paper by O-Week 2019

• be expected to present their research at a SAM Honours Bursary Symposium in O-Week 2019

• be expected to enrol in Honours in the School of the Arts and Media in 2019

SAM Summer Bursaries: Topics 2019

2019 SAM Honours bursary scheme topics and supervisors

Creative Writing

Paul Dawson
1) Creative experiments with narrative voice
2) Creative Writing as an academic discipline: history, theory, pedagogy
3) Fictional encounters with and remediations of social media
4) Poetry and social protest

Mette Jakobsen
1) Writing trauma
2) The use of humour in fiction

English and Literary Studies

Paul Dawson
1) The novel after postmodernism (the new sincerity, reality hunger, autofiction, the age of digital media, etc)
2) Fictional truth and the rise of the novel (the historical relationship of realism and metafiction to the category of fictionality)
3) The historical development of narrative form (ie. second person narration, free indirect discourse, metalepsis, etc)

Sean Pryor
1) Capitalism and literature
2) What is poetry, and what is it good for?
3) The place of poetry in the contemporary world

Film Studies

Greg Dolgopolov
1) Film Festivals - programming, curatorship, logistics and community change - shaping communities, national cinemas, multicultural arts and ethnic communities, multiculturalism; short films, national and international film festival research
2) Film Production - how to produce a short film - practice and theory
3) Crime - Australian and Russian film and TV representations of crime - crime capers, crime comedy, true crime, gangsters, genre cinema
4) Australian Film and TV - as a national cinema and industrial and distribution aspects
5) VR - affect and cinema, VR and storytelling
6) Film Stars - national cinemas a film stars
7) Film Cultures - cultural change mediated by cinema
8) Film Distribution - industrial issues - exhibition, distribution, film practices

Jane Mills
1) Paracinema
2) Transnationalism & local, national, universal conections
3) Cosmopolitanism
4) Outsider/insider perspectives
5) Hospitality and hostility
6) Otherness and representations of the ‘other’
7) Borders, border-crossings & borderlands
8) First Nation Cinemas

Media and Communication

Valentina Baú
1) Communication for Social Change and Refugees: An analysis of the Australian experience
2) Refugees telling their stories: An assessment of Settlement Services International & CuriousWorks’ video project

Collin Chua
1) Cultures of innovation and entrepreneurship
2) Creative destruction and the contemporary media landscape
3) Digital media and the attention economy
4) Media, philosophy, politics

Kerrie Davies
1) Literary journalism
2) Life Writing

Tanja Dreher
1) Media and social justice
2) Media, racism and anti-racism
3) Community, alternative and activist media
4) Data justice
5) Indigenous media
6) Feminist media studies

Ramiswami Harindranath
1) Social media and informal networks
2) Digital technologies and decoloniality

Michael Kent
1) Dialogue / Engagement
2) Social Media / New Technology
3) Intercultural/International Communication
4) Metaphor
5) Ethics
6) Issues Management
7) Thanatology/Eschatology

Michael Richardson
1) Drones as media technologies
2) Media witnessing

Music Studies

Michael Hooper

"Compositional temporalities: composing tradition; ‘remembering the future’; composition as analysis..."

It is a cliché to say that music is a 'temporal art,’ or a ‘succession of nows,’ and that it takes place ‘in the moment.’ How, then, are musical traditions composed? And how does music imagine a future? This (creative) project begins with some instances of composers thinking again about musical temporalities, such as Peter Maxwell Davies’ formal reuse of the Mulliner book, Luciano Berio’s homages, and Julian Anderson’s devotional listening in the Book of Hours.

Adam Hulbert/Emery Schubert

Consider R. Murray Schafer's (1993) claim that "we have no earlids." What are the implications of this during sleep? In particular, how can music or sound be composed to support sleeping (and dreaming) in children

Emery Schubert

Topic: Music performance anxiety

Music performance anxiety can have debilitating effects on performers. Which cognitive based approaches have worked in managing performance anxiety, which ones have not, and why?

Theatre and Performance Studies, and Dance Studies

Topic: Performance, document, history

Conduct some research into the Stables theatre, home of the Griffin Theatre Company, for the upcoming 50th anniversary, or Performance Space for their upcoming 35th;
OR Conduct research into a particular performance or company in archives such as Sydney University, State Library, etc;
OR Carry out a data visualisation project, using the data held by AusStage.

Supervisors: Jonathan Bollen or Caroline Wake

Topic: Performance, professionals and amateurs

What are some of the ways participants without prior institutional training have been used in either theatre or dance? What have been some of the key impacts?

– Students in theatre could look at either historical or contemporary theatres of the real e.g. documentary theatre, verbatim theatre, or real people on stage, depending on their interest.
– Students in performance could consider relational and post-relational aesthetics on stage, in the gallery and elsewhere.
– Students in dance could consider the impact of ‘untrained’ choreographers in early 21st-century work.

Supervisors: Meg Mumford, Caroline Wake, Bryoni Trezise, Erin Brannigan

Topic: Performance Analysis, Sydney Festival 2019

Prepare either a close reading, a thick description, or a performance review of 1–2 theatre, dance or performance events in the Sydney Festival 2019, situating the event/s within international developments in contemporary performance practice and/or current debates in theatre, dance or performance studies.

Supervisors: Meg Mumford, Caroline Wake, Bryoni Trezise, Erin Brannigan, Theron Schmidt

Topic: Practising performance

From the basis of your own developing performance practice, or by researching the working methods of a contemporary performance practitioner or choreographer of your choice (or both!), identify some of the ways in which performance practices and processes might offer an aesthetics that is counter to, or resistive of, the demands of an increasingly performance-focussed society, even if only in some small way.

Supervisor: Bryoni Trezise, Erin Brannigan

Videos Audience with Io   Audience with Io

Honours Projects in Io Myers Studio

More Videos