Sydney College of Divinity > Research > Information for Research Candidates

Information for Research Candidates

The SCD currently offers four postgraduate degrees, one at masters level and three at doctoral level:

Master of Philosophy
Doctor of Ministry
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Theology

All research degrees are available either full-time or part-time.  All MPhil, ThD and PhD candidates proceed to the award by thesis alone. For DMin candidates 40% of the award is by coursework and 60% by thesis.

Candidates considering undertaking a research program should discuss their options with the Research Director.

Candidates enrol through the Office of the Dean following an interview with the Director of Research. To enrol candidates need to complete an Application and a Summary of Research Intentions.  The Director forwards the application and summary of research intentions to the Research Committee which gives acceptance into the program.

The candidature is provisional until the acceptance of the thesis proposal by the Research Committee. All research degree students are enrolled with the SCD as such, not with an individual Member Institution. Supervisors are usually appropriately qualified faculty based in Member Institutions, but are sometimes external academics based in other theological colleges or universities.
Application Form

Summary of Research Intentions form

Intention to Submit

Research Essay proposal

Research Essay Proposal Proforma

Thesis proposal
Not later than one semester for a full-time candidate and two semesters for a part-time candidate, a formal thesis proposal will be submitted to the Research Committee. This proposal will form the basis of the assessment, mentioned below.
Thesis proposal form

Research supervision
All candidates have two supervisors, a principal supervisor and an associate supervisor. These are formally appointed by the Research Committee. Normally, the principal supervisor will be a staff member of a Member Institution of the Sydney College of Divinity. Often candidates who have studied in the Sydney College of Divinity may already have ‘chosen’ a supervisor. Other candidates may have a topic in mind but no supervisor. In both cases, the Director of Research can offer advice. Candidates usually make an approach to the hoped-for supervisor and request the committee to appoint that person.
The Code of Supervisory Practice informs the supervisory relationships. All candidates and all supervisors are provided with a copy of the Code.
Each semester the supervisors will report to the Research Committee. They may do this jointly or by separate report on the form provided.
List of Current Research Supervisors

Compulsory Research Degree Workshops
These workshops are compulsory for all new thesis writers. Held annually they are offered in intensive mode, usually early in first semester. Presented by several lecturers, they are designed to help candidates with practical matters affecting the writing of a thesis. Some of the topics dealt with are:

  • finding a thesis topic
  • writing an abstract
  • library searches
  • method in theology
  • higher degree research skills
  • writing a thesis proposal
  • examiners’ expectations

Compulsory Research Seminars
As well as the Research Workshops, there are several Research Seminars held throughout each year, usually in the evening. Ongoing enrolment in the award is subject to completing these attendance requirements and presenting a paper at one or more depending on the program. Students living beyond Sydney are asked to attend in person at least once a year and otherwise to attend some seminars by electronic means. As well as contributing to the development of each person’s research capacity and skills, these seminars allow students who are often carrying out their work alone to experience membership of a community of scholars and make friends with other people in a similar position.

Research Ethics
Any research involving human subjects must have the approval of the Sydney College of Divinity Ethics Review Committee.
All thesis proposals involving the gathering of personal information from people by surveys, interviews or case studies etc must first be referred to the Research Committee for approval using the appropriate forms and will be dealt with according to the procedures and policies of the Ethics Review Committee.

See Guidelines for Ethical Review.

Whether or not you need to obtain a specific ethics clearance, you must still conduct ethical research. Some of the problem areas for ethical research include:

(a) PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is the representation of another’s works or ideas as one’s own; it includes the unacknowledged word for word use or paraphrasing of another person’s work, and the inappropriate unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas.
(b) FRAUD: Academic fraud is the falsification and fabrication of, or dishonesty in reporting research results.
(c) MISREPRESENTATION: Misrepresentation is the giving of false or misleading information in academic matters. It includes falsely claiming credit for past study; falsely stating that thesis material has not been used in another thesis.
(d) UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR: Unethical behaviour is behaviour that breaches accepted ethical standards. It includes failing to observe the terms of an ethical approval to conduct research; misuse of confidential information obtained in field education.

Failure to conduct ethical research may result in the candidate being charged with academic misconduct. Candidates should not assume that such misconduct will not be detected.  View Academic Misconduct Policy.

Ethics Approval Form

Fees are payable for research candidates.  Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for Fee-Help, a Government loan that covers the fee for the chosen course. Overseas students are asked to pay the tuition fee at the beginning of each semester, but the SCD fees are the same for both domestic and overseas students. For current information on fees please see Admission, Enrolment & Fees.