Doctor of Philosophy (Indigenous Philosophies)

Integrity, inclusion and social justice

Drive research founded on social justice, cultural integrity, inclusion and social justice through a Doctor of Philosophy (Indigenous Philosophies) at Southern Cross University.

Through this four year PhD, candidates become well placed for careers in research and academia, government and the professional or community sector. You can take your doctorate into policy development, service delivery and program evaluation, and into leadership and other high-level management roles.

Offered through the Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, staff and students seek to empower Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples, cultures and world views.

PhD candidates will be encouraged to restrict their investigations to issues that are relevant and provide benefit to Indigenous peoples.

Academic staff in Gnibi College can provide supervision for various discipline areas. Please search for a supervisor on our Find a Supervisor page.

Meet your supervisors

Indigenous woman in front of computer smiling

Southern Cross University is one of the only universities in the world that offers degrees in Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophies. Gnibi's aim is to facilitate students to experience a teaching and learning process that is founded on principles of social justice, cultural integrity, inclusion and social justice through research and education. Gnibi is unique in maintaining strong local community links, a regional Elders Council, as well as research relationships with international Indigenous peoples.


FacultyDurationLocationCRICOS CodeContact
Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples 3 years, 6 months Lismore, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour 097468F Dr Cathy Howlett


A Doctoral Thesis must embody all of the below:

  1. Reviewing literature in a critical and focused manner
  2. Deploying analytic, comparative and critically reflective skills as appropriate
  3. Gathering and analysing material and interpreting results in an informed and competent manner
  4. Utilising and justifying appropriate methodologies, techniques and processes
  5. Make an original and significant contribution to knowledge and understanding in the field
  6. Demonstrate a high-level capacity for independent research.

Dr Barlo's PhD developed an Indigenous research methodology, which he then used to understand and investigate the restoration of dignity for Aboriginal men. 

Dr Stuart Barlo

PhD (Indigenous Philosophies), Dean of Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples

Course fees

Domestic students:

Eligible applicants can apply for a Research Training Program-supported place. This will provide a tuition fee offset funded by the Australian Government's Research Training Program. Southern Cross University will then supplement this cost to cover the full program tuition fees.

If unsuccessful in obtaining a Research Training Program place, students may be required to pay fees.

Applications are considered on a case by case basis and the process can be highly competitive.

International students:

Course fees for International Students are $26,000 per annum, unless a tuition fee waiver has been approved as per the below detailed information. 

A request for a tuition fee offset can only be approved by the Dean, Graduate Studies providing there is support from the Principal Supervisor, SDHDRT and Head of School/College/Research Centre. For a request to be considered, the following criteria need to be taken into account:

  • Academic quality of the student is of high standing
  • Appropriate level of English proficiency (International English Language Test Score (IELTS) Academic (or equivalent) equal to or above 7.0, with a minimum 7.0 in Writing and no other band less than 6.5)
  • Expected research outcomes, quality of project and how it fits with the Supervisory team research areas
  • Whether the School/College/Research Centre and Supervisory team have the resources and facilities to support the project
  • If the HDR applicant is not on a scholarship, evidence must be provided that they can support themselves during their candidature.

The Dean, Graduate Studies, will assess the request according to these criteria together with the application for admission to candidature and will seek further clarification if the above-mentioned criteria are not satisfied. If the tuition fee offset is approved by the Dean, this is recorded in the Student Administration System and conveyed to the student in the letter of offer for admission to candidature.

Tuition Fee Offsets that are not approved will mean the applicant will be required to pay full fees. If it is not obvious that the HDR applicant’s project will enhance the research output of the University and that of the Supervisory team, fees will apply.

Admission requirements

To qualify for admission to a PhD, applicants must:

  • Possess a degree equivalent to a Bachelor's degree from the University with first-class Honours or second class Honours, first division, or
  • Possess a degree equivalent to a Masters degree from the University, with a Relevant Research Component, or
  • Submit other evidence of relevant professional qualifications and experience, or research experience, to satisfy the Dean (Graduate Studies) that the applicant possesses a level of relevant research experience equivalent to an award in either clause (4)a or (4)b; and satisfy such additional requirements for admission to a PhD candidature, if any, as may be prescribed by the Dean (Graduate Studies).

All candidates are expected to be proficient in English comprehension and expression.

Apply online now

Research proposal

The candidates will be encouraged to restrict their investigations to issues that are relevant and provide benefit to Indigenous peoples, with the expectation that students will understand Indigenous concepts of research. Students can explore research in a range of areas, such as:

  • Indigenous methodologies
  • Applied Indigenist philosophy within the contexts of Indigenous education, health and counsellor education
  • The inter-related concepts of identity, health and healing, culture and wellbeing
  • The political economy of mining on Indigenous lands, resource management and governance on Indigenous lands
  • Native title and impact assessment on Indigenous lands.

Contact the Graduate School


T: +61 2 6620 3219

T: +61 2 6626 9186