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Course summary

Southern Cross University is widely acknowledged for its commitment to Indigenous culture, education, participation, respect and reconciliation.

The Doctor of Indigenous Philosophies is a program of study by coursework and research that comprises 24 units which include a research thesis. The course is designed to provide high-level research skills for Indigenous people and for those interested in careers in the Indigenous sector.

The qualification is aimed at providing important and specific opportunities at both national and international levels for Indigenous peoples, those working within Indigenous communities, the private and public sector, for the progression of in-depth studies on issues relevant to Indigenous communal futures.

In leading your own research project – with support and guidance from our experts – you'll work towards providing tangible benefits to Indigenous peoples.

In the process, you'll gather relevant, resonant skills that contribute to Indigenous Knowledges and may lead you into working with, and for, Indigenous communities.


DurationLocationStudy Period


Lismore2, 4
Online2, 4
DurationLocationStudy Period


Lismore2, 4
Online2, 4

The focus of the candidate’s research will be negotiated and agreed to by the candidate, their supervisor, and the Director of Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples. The candidates will be encouraged to restrict their investigations to issues that are relevant and provide benefit to Indigenous peoples.

Note: Students are required to take units in all 3 sessions.

Course Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a course. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes.

Graduate AttributeCourse Learning Outcome
Intellectual rigour

apply critical analysis to Indigenous social and cultural situations and problems.


develop innovative and creative responses to contemporary Indigenous and historical social and cultural issues.

Ethical practice

investigate and evaluate issues with references to principles of social justice and equity in relation to Indigenous people.

Knowledge of a discipline

demonstrate higher order thinking in a major area of study.

Lifelong learning

demonstrate a developed capacity to be reflective in practice and self-managed in ongoing professional development.

Communication and social skills

access and interpret and evaluate sources of information relevant to Indigenous research paradigms.

Cultural competence

demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to interact in a culturally competent way with Indigenous communities and other diverse populations.

Each unit is typically assessed using three tasks, which may include a process-based assignment such as a journal, a performance-based assessment, and a report. Full details of assignments are contained in the study guide for each unit.

The coursework stage units are awarded grades of High Distinction, Distinction, Credit or Pass. In order to proceed to the thesis stage, a candidate must achieve a credit average for the coursework units.

The thesis is not formally assessed during the writing period, but is submitted for examination to external examiners upon completion. The Professional Doctorate will be awarded after the thesis has been examined and determined to meet the requirements of the award.

Students are encouraged to attend on-campus classes in order to build relationships with other students and Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples. On-campus students will experience a variety of teaching approaches based upon Indigenous pedagogy, including story-telling, yarning circles and discussions with Indigenous Elders.

Online students will receive a combination of podcast or video-linked seminars and/or engage in synchronous online video or teleconference discussions. All students are required to attend a week-long (four to five day) intensive workshop for each unit (two weeks for double-weighted units). The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Students who graduate with a Doctor of Indigenous Philosophies will be well placed for a career in research and academia, the government, professional or community sector, working in policy development, service delivery and program evaluation, and as leaders and high-level managers.


The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this web page again before acting and see our disclaimer

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'