The University of Newcastle, Australia is known for many things. It’s ranked consistently within Australia’s top 10 universities. It’s 214th in the world according to QS World University Rankings, as well as being top 30 in the world for engineering and top 50 in the world for nursing. In total, 10 subjects are ranked in the world’s top 200. Its research quality is further bolstered by the many recognitions won by its educators and researchers in the last 50 years.
Now, the university located in Australia’s New South Wales is making news for its latest scholarship offering: A PhD in heavy metal.
The successful candidate will study “Heavy Metal Geographies” and research “the social geography of heavy metal culture”. The scholarship, worth AU$27,596 (£15,256), is open to two domestic or one international student.
— ★ Simon Springer ★ (@AnarchistGeog) June 26, 2019
The course description reads: “While unique scenes have evolved across the globe, the bulk of Heavy Metal’s bands have originated within countries in the northern latitudes.
“Australia is uniquely positioned within this global evolution, owing to its historical connection to the United Kingdom and shared cultural affinities with its colonial originator. While remote from the geographical heart of Heavy Metal culture, Australia has developed its own unique and passionate approach, producing a number of high profile bands.”
The successful candidate can pursue research topics such as lyrical themes adopted by Australian metal bands, the links between heavy metal in Australia and colonialism, the scene’s diversity, gender negotiation, the distinctive features of Australian heavy metal etc.
Other subjects open to study under the scholarship include Homelessness and Mutual Aid, Vegan Geographies, or Unschooling and The Possibilities of Childhood. To qualify, applicants must have a BA Honours, and a Master’s degree in Geography or a related field (ie. Sociology, International Studies, Media Studies, Political Science etc).
Simon Springer, the university’s Director of Human Geography – and a life-long metal fan himself – told Kerrang: “Certainly when I was a PhD student, I would have loved for someone to tell me that studying about metal is a legitimate academic pursuit!
“I also think the opportunities for funding in this particular area are few and far between, so I thought why not put a call out for applications and see if anyone is interested in studying the geography of heavy metal?”