Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Do a Research Degree at SOTE

So you'd like to do a PhD at SOTE?

The School of Teacher Education has a thriving Doctoral Studies Program. We offer supervision in all areas of education, from early childhood to higher education. Our specialities include:

  • Young children: Speech, language and literacy, including in diverse cultural, linguistic and geographical contexts; child emotional, social and cognitive development.
  • Pedagogy: Family-school partnerships; inclusive and gifted education; teacher education; child/teacher/family relationships; learning readiness and transitions to and between education settings; TESOL.
  • Profession: Early childhood educator well-being; workforce sustainability; quality; policy; leadership; professional development, interprofessional collaboration.
  • Curriculum: STEM; educational technology; PDHPE and health promotion; ethnomathematics.

What do you need to know? Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started.

Step 1: Identify your research passion

The first step is to identify the topic that you might like to pursue; as part of the application process you will need to provide some details on your proposed research ideas to choose possible supervisors. You will need to take a look at the literature in your chosen field and start to write some initial ideas for your proposed area of research, in terms of the problem/research questions you might investigate, some of the relevant research literature in the area, and the proposed methodologies/methods you might like to pursue. This will give us a starting place for an initial conversation about how your project might best fit with current gaps in the research, as well as areas of staff expertise here in the Faculty. We aim to have a brief document (1-2 pages or more) that can be shared with potential supervisors as part of the application process.

We can offer PhD supervision on a full-time (ERT702 Doctoral Research) or part-time (ERT701 Doctoral Research) basis. You can study on-site in Australia or study at a distance, from any location in the world. Students work with their supervisory team to prepare for the endorsement of their proposed research and at all stages of the PhD process. We admit students in all three sessions of study, so you can begin the application process at any time. It is important to note that this process may take a number of weeks or months, depending on the availability of supervisors, amount of documentation to be gathered, etc.

Step 2: Review the requirements

Take a look at the Faculty of Arts and Education's PhD course (i.e., program) overview details. This website provides details on the structure of the PhD, admission requirements, study costs, etc. You will need to gather relevant documents (e.g., transcripts) so that they are available as part of the application process, so it's important to review this website for the specific information we require. You can also find additional information about the PhD on the Faculty's web page for prospective students, including details on scholarships and fees.

Step 3: Review the staff profiles page

Take a look at the SOTE staff profiles  to see who might be a good fit to supervise your work. This may also give you some ideas re: possible topics and/or ways to narrow things a bit. At the admissions stage, we require a minimum of two staff members to supervise – i.e., one to be Principal Supervisor and one to be a Co-Supervisor – but we can add other members to the team after you've started the program, once the proposal starts to take shape.

Step 4: Contact the School's HDR Coordinator for details

Once you have an idea of your research topic, possible supervisors and the general requirements for application and admission, please contact Dr Tamara Cumming to discuss next steps. The HDR Coordinator will answer any questions you may have about the PhD process itself, as well as the application/admissions process.

Dr Tamara Cumming
School of Teacher Education
Charles Sturt University
Panorama Avenue

Tel: +61 2 6338 4365

Once you and Dr Cumming have discussed your proposed application, an interview will be set with your potential supervisors to discuss your work. You may be asked questions about your proposed research topic, your previous experience and your career plans.

Step 6: Apply for formal admission to the program

At this stage in the process, we will have all the information needed to process your application for admission. You need to follow the "Apply Now" button on the PhD course overview page Once your application is received it will be reviewed by the School, by the Faculty of Arts and Education and by the Research Office before you are notified of a decision.

Note for intending students

Masters degrees and pathways to a PhD: The Master of Education with a specialisation in education research provides a potential pathway to a PhD. For more information contact the School’s Higher Education Research coordinator Dr Tamara Cumming.