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Doctor of Philosophy

Why study with us?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an internationally-recognised degree that enables candidates to apply a substantial body of knowledge to research or to investigate and develop new knowledge in one or more fields of investigation, scholarship or professional practice.

Delivered within a Christian education framework, the PhD also enables candidates to develop an understanding of ethical scholarship principles that are conducive to conducting research in Christian organisations.

PhD candidates receive support by meeting regularly with their supervisors (online and on-campus) and attending research training sessions. The candidate and appointed supervisors negotiate the necessary workload commitments required by the candidate to complete the degree requirements within the stated timeframes.

On average, a full-time study load would require 28-40 hours of study per week, whereas a part-time study load would require 14-20 hours of study per week.

In the final semester, the candidate submits a thesis of 80,000-100,000 words (or equivalent exegesis or publications).

Key Information

Study Mode:
On campus, Off campus
Avondale Campus - Lake Macquarie
Full-time: 4 years, Part-time: Equivalent years
Course Code:

Course Details

Upon successful completion of the Doctor of Philosophy, graduates will be able to:
  • design, plan and execute an original piece of research, based on an expert mastery of appropriate research methodology, research integrity and ethics;
  • demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of a substantial and complex body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of work or learning, in one or more fields of study;
  • demonstrate substantial knowledge of research principles and methods relevant to the discipline or area of learning;
  • demonstrate expert cognitive, technical and creative skills, based on a mastery of theoretical knowledge using intellectual independence, to reflect critically on, synthesise and evaluate theory and its application to undertake systematic investigation to generate significant and original knowledge;
  • disseminate research results to peers and the community; and
  • As a leading scholar at the frontier of a discipline or disciplines, demonstrate intellectual independence, initiative and adaptability to generate a significant, expert and original contribution to knowledge.

To qualify for admission, applicants must have completed:

  • An Australian Master's by research or a Master's by coursework degree, including a major self-directed research component, or
  • An Australian professional doctoral degree, including a major self-directed research component, or
  • An overseas qualification comparable, or higher, to any of the above.

Special consideration for entry into the PhD may be granted if applicants can demonstrate the potential to undertake and complete research-based study at a doctoral level.

In addition, applicants must:

  • Complete a brief research proposal (max. 1000 words) outlining the proposed research topic the candidate intends to pursue, and
  • Provide a sample of a major written assignment or mini-thesis from a previously completed degree, or a sample of other professional writing (e.g. a report).

Acceptance into the PhD degree is dependent on:

  • qualifications and experience,
  • ability to communicate verbally and in writing,
  • quality and feasibility of research proposal,
  • availability of appropriate supervision; and
  • availability of Avondale's infrastructure and financial resources.

Applicants are invited to an informal meeting (online or on-campus) with the Director of Higher Degree Research during the application process.

Prior to enrolment, applicants are required to disclose any conditions or history that may impact their capacity to successfully complete the PhD degree.

International Applicants

This course is available to international students who meet the Australian government requirements for a student visa to reside in Australia for the duration of the course. It is also available online for international students residing outside Australia. For information regarding visas refer to

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency through one of the following:

  1. achieving a minimum overall IELTS score of 7.0 with no sub-band below 7.0, or
  2. one of the other ways outlined in Appendix 2 of the Admission Policy (HE), or
  3. providing documentary evidence of a prior qualification conducted and assessed in English in a recognised country^ and completed within the last two years.

^Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, or the United States of America.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate, whether studying full-time or part-time, will enrol in the following units during the degree:

  • DPHL71000 Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (the candidate remains enrolled in this unit throughout their research until submission of the thesis)
  • DPHL72000 Doctor of Philosophy Thesis – Under Examination.

A timely completion for full-time study is three years, or part-time equivalent.

To find out more about any of the units listed here, copy the unit code and then search for that unit here.

To view unit information, note the unit code and search for the unit in  Unit Outlines.



Career Opportunities

Avondale PhD graduates are recognised as leading experts in their fields. A PhD can lead to a career in commercial, government, educational, church, or industry workplaces in business management, consulting, publishing, commercial or government research management, project management, business analysis, and other leadership roles.

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