PhD Programme

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Programme Structure

Option of Study​

PhD students may opt for either option of study:

  • By research: submission of thesis of 85, 000 words; or​​
  • By research with a practical component: submission of thesis of 65, 000 words and the practical component

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The theoretical component of the dissertation should offer a substantial critical and / or technical contribution to the field of inquiry. However, in the event that the intellectual investigation undertaken by the student cannot be expressed fully in words, the practical component will be vital to complement and develop the theoretical research undertaken. The practical component should not just be illustrative of the theoretical thesis, but also make an original contribution in its own right.

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Required Coursework (for PhD students admitted from August 2019 onwards)

PhD students who are admitted into the programme from August 2019 onwards are required to pass 6 graduate courses (or earn 18 Academic Units) with a minimum CGPA of 3.50 within 18 months of the candidature. These comprise 1 core graduate course, and 5 elective courses. At least 2 electives must be taken within ADM, and the other 3 electives from ADM or other Schools within NTU. All electives should be relevant to the student’s thesis and approved by their respective supervisors.

The compulsory core graduate course is:

AP9049 Academic Research Methods for Art, Design and Media

With this course, the Graduate Programmes by Research ensure that all our candidates embark on their graduate studies with the requisite level of advanced knowledge and research competence to undertake research at graduate level.

Other Mandatory Courses (for PhD students admitted from August 2019 onwards)

To complete and pass the following:

  • HWG703 Graduate English (unless exempted) and​​
  • HWG702 Teaching Assistants Programme (only for full-time PhD students)
  • Communication/Writing Training


Compulsory component 1

ADM PhD students have to take at least 2 of the following 3 courses:

  1. A901 Speaking Academia (WKWSCI)
  2. HWG705 The Craft of Academic Writing by Language & Communications Centre (LCC)
  3. HWG706 Academic Publishing by Language & Communications Centre (LCC)


Each course is 19.5hours (half a semester) in duration. Each course is planned to be offered in both Semester 1 and Semester 2. All PhD students need to read at least 2 out of the 3 courses to fulfill 39 training hours.

Compulsory component 2

All PhD students must attend the 3MT Symposium organised by Graduate College.

Optional component

A PhD student may opt to undertake one-on-one tutoring/mentoring at the Language Communication Centre (LCC).

Important Note:

No academic units are awarded for all courses listed in the Other Mandatory Courses section.
These courses are graded on a pass/fail basis and will appear in the student transcript.

Qualifying Exam

After fulfilling their coursework requirements, PhD students are required to take a Qualifying Exam during the 18th month of their candidature (for full-time students) or by the 24th month of their candidature (for part-time students). The key objectives of the Qualifying Exam are to ascertain that the thesis is a distinct addition to the knowledge in the chosen field and that the PhD student possesses the level of competency required to proceed to the next stage of the candidature. PhD students who pass the Qualifying Exam will continue with their candidature.

Thesis Examination and Oral Examination

To graduate, PhD students are required to submit their thesis for assessment by examiners from NTU and other universities by the end of their candidature.

After they are assessed to have passed their PhD thesis examination, all PhD students need to successfully defend their thesis during the Oral Examination before a panel of examiners.


Required Coursework (for PhD students admitted prior to August 2019)

PhD students who are admitted into the programme before August 2019 are required to pass 3 graduate courses (or earn 9 Academic Units) with a minimum CGPA of 3.50 within 18 months of the candidature. This comprises 2 core graduate courses and 4 electives. At least one elective must be taken at ADM, and the other electives can be taken from ADM or other Schools within NTU. They should be relevant to the student’s thesis and approved by their respective supervisors.

The two core graduate courses are:

  • Graduate Seminar 1: Academic Research Skills (AP9031)
    This course is designed to introduce new students to the basic themes and methodologies associated with research at graduate level.

  • Graduate Seminar 2: The Aesthetic (AP9019)​
    The topic of the aesthetic is of prime value to students within the graduate program of ADM. In the first part of the course, a series of seminars introduces the history and practice of various traditions in the aesthetic. The second part is devoted to students' presentations, in which they are asked to develop their own aesthetic or investigate the aesthetic of a particular artist or art movement.​​​

Other Mandatory Courses (for PhD students admitted prior to August 2019)

To complete and pass the following:

  1. HWG703 Graduate English (unless exempted) and
  2. HWG702 Teaching Assistants Programme (only for full-time PhD students)


Important Note:

No academic units are awarded for all courses listed in the Other Mandatory Courses section.
These courses are graded on a pass/fail basis and will appear in the student transcript.

Qualifying Exam

After fulfilling their coursework requirements, PhD students are required to take a Qualifying Exam during the 18th month of their candidature (for full-time students) or by the 24th month of their candidature (for part-time students). The key objectives of the Qualifying Exam are to ascertain that the thesis is a distinct addition to the knowledge in the chosen field and that the PhD student possesses the level of competency required to proceed to the next stage of the candidature. PhD students who pass the Qualifying Exam will continue with their candidature.

Thesis Examination and Oral Examination

To graduate, PhD students are required to submit their thesis for assessment by examiners from NTU and other universities by the end of their candidature.

After they are assessed to have passed their PhD thesis examination, all PhD students need to successfully defend their thesis during the Oral Examination before a panel of examiners.

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