HDR Scholarship - Literary journalism

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Literary journalism'.

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

Literary journalism is a powerful form of public communication. Researching what is going on in people’s lives and in the world around us unearths fresh, even revelatory, information that at its sharpest will speak truth to those in positions of power and authority. A well-crafted work of literary journalism explores events in their complexity and people in their full humanity. Taking a narrative approach to write about actual people, events and issues for a broad audience produces works that lodge deep in the reader’s gut and resonate in their mind. The power inherent in literary journalism, however, throws up important and knotty issues. For instance, how do practitioners balance their need to maintain editorial independence with the closeness to key sources that comes from gaining the deep level of trust required to construct a work of narrative longform journalism? Are there any limits to the kinds of narrative approach a journalist can take when representing actual people and events? If practitioners present their longform journalism in a narrative style, is their work read as non-fiction or, because it reads like a novel, is it read as a novel?

These are three of many questions that can be explored in a PhD thesis about literary journalism. The scholarly and professional literature about literary journalism is developing but there remain many issues and areas to be mined. How much do we know about its history, beyond the famous New Journalism of the 1960s and 1970s? What is its role in the fragmented, attention-frayed digital media age? Outside the United States, which tends to claim ownership of the field, how much do we know about literary journalism in Australia, and other countries for that matter?

Project aim

This scholarship is aimed at supporting an appropriately qualified candidate to do either a conventional PhD thesis about the field of literary journalism or a PhD thesis by artefact and exegesis. The latter requires the candidate to create a work of narrative longform journalism and then write an exegesis about it. There are two alternative approaches to the exegesis. For the first, candidates write about the process of researching and creating the work of narrative longform journalism. For the second, they write an academic work about another aspect of the issue or event they explored in their narrative longform journalism. For candidates wanting to create a work of narrative longform journalism, the choice of topic is theirs.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 15 March 2019


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Matthew Ricketson

Prof Matthew Ricketson
Professor of Communication
Email Matthew Ricketson
+61 3 924 68833