Life in Graduate House

Graduate House is a prestigious residential college, especially for academics and distinguished postgraduate students, and an integral part of St Paul’s College, the oldest university college in Australia. The Graduate House community includes 120 postgraduate students and up to 20 academics, with applications open to men and women.

Located within a rich physical environment inspired by the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, Graduate House is a robust, engaging and intentional academic setting where academics and postgraduate students live and work. Here, Graduate House members engage with their community of peers and mentors through communal meals, enjoy seminars with distinguished academics, make the most of recreational activities and facilities, and grow a network of like-minded peers that follows them through the rest of their lives.

The House is both a home and a classroom, a place to rest, and a place to engage with the most rigorous academic work you will contend with during your postgraduate studies.

Postgraduate study is an intense and consuming pursuit, and we believe college membership is an important part of scholarly life, elevating each individual and drawing them together into a community that educates the whole person.

Who are our members

  • Masters (MBAs, MAs, MSc, MPhil)
  • Postgraduates or distinguished third year + students
  • Honours students
  • Doctorates and research fellows
  • Career academics
  • USyd visiting professors and scholars
  • Scholarship and research grant holders
  • Clinical staff in Medicine (RPAH), Vets, etc.

Those selected to join Graduate House enliven our community by sharing a variety of interests, skills and knowledge across our social, academic and recreational programs.

Our members come from across Australia, New Zealand, and other countries around the world. They all share a common goal to excel in their chosen fields of study and to embrace college life. The open-minded and collaborative environment within Graduate House fosters life-long friendships and a valuable peer network for the future.

“St Paul’s created a warm and welcoming atmosphere where I felt supported throughout my degree. As an interstate student, Graduate House made the move from Western Australia much easier and provided me with the support network I needed to thrive in my postgraduate studies.” Mariska Ackerman (Medicine)

An Academic Community

Graduate House is a fundamentally academic community. The House admits both student members, who are enrolled in postgraduate degree courses at the University of Sydney, and Senior Members who are career academics at the University of Sydney, or working for its allied teaching hospitals. Senior Members are part of the Senior Common Room of the College and act as mentors and leaders in the intellectual life of the House.

The Common Meal

Though College does provide accommodation, perhaps its most important function is bringing members together over common meals. Breakfast and dinner in Graduate House are times for human connection, and foster lively and inspiring discussion on everything from the mundane to the sublime. We believe that eating together is good for the mind and soul, and that focusing on our fellow residents is how community is forged (which is why telephones are banned in the Refectory!)

Formal dinner on Monday evening is the crowning moment of the week. Aesthetically, this is a formal occasion, but it is also our family meal, a time for the whole community to come together at the same time to spend an hour or two relaxing over a good meal in good company.

Several times a year, a Feast is declared to celebrate an achievement in the House or a moment in our community’s history. These are some of the highlights of the year, and like all formal meals in the House, involve poetry, music, celebration, and sometimes dances or singing!

Tutorials and Academic Support

St Paul’s College is academically selective and seeks the best and brightest for Graduate House. The College has a rich tradition of high-quality peer-to-peer tutorials in all subjects, and Graduate House members are a part of this tradition. Senior students have the opportunity to gain invaluable teaching experience, at both an undergraduate and post-graduate level, while providing a study and revision resource to members of the wider College. There are tutorials specifically for 1st & 2nd year MD and JD students and a programme for Honours students. Study and academic support groups in a wide variety of subjects are also available – including writing and study skills workshops.

Creative Life

The House abounds with art and music, and creative pursuits are a core element of the college experience. The House endeavours to produce two theatrical productions and a concert each year, as well as regular performances at Formal Dinner. Art competitions and gallery excursions give members the opportunity to experience and produce art, whether as amateurs or as developing serious artists. The annual Deans’ Writing Competition offers awards in prose and poetry. House members may also compete for St Paul’s in the inter-college cultural competition.

Spiritual Life

Deo Patriae Tibi

The College is an Anglican Foundation. The crossed swords on the College coat of arms represent the Apostle Paul, who was beheaded with a sword; and the Maltese cross refers to his shipwreck at Malta before his imprisonment in Rome. The motto, ‘Deo Patriae Tibi’, loosely translates as ‘For God, your nation, and yourself’.

Today St Paul’s is unique amongst colleges on campus in having a full-time Chaplain in residence.

Faith is expressed formally through the weekly services held in the College’s beautiful 1960s chapel. The College is inclusive in its application procedures and welcomes members of all faith traditions, or of none. The wellbeing of the whole of the College and all its members is a microcosm of how religion can enliven a community in which people are at different stages of formal and informal commitment.

The major College service is Choral Evensong which is sung by the College Chapel Choir before Formal Dinner each Tuesday during semester.

There are also regular Bible Study sessions, and a lively World Views and Ethics discussion group which considers important global and local issues one evening each week.

Most importantly, the Chaplain is available to all members of the College community for pastoral care matters.