Getting Started


An orientation seminar will be held each research period for all newly enrolled students in the Graduate Research School, including overseas students. This may be a group session face-to-face, by Zoom video conference, or one-on-one depending on numbers and student availability.

The orientation program will cover the following issues:

  • support services available to assist overseas students to help them adjust to study and life in Australia;
  • relevant English language and study assistance programs;
  • any relevant legal services;
  • relevant emergency services;
  • health and well-being services;
  • the Sydney College of Divinity facilities and resources;
  • complaints and appeals processes;
  • requirements for progress in the research degree;
  • the support services available to assist especially but not only overseas students with general or personal circumstances that are adversely affecting their education in Australia;
  • services overseas students can access for information on their employment rights and conditions, and how to resolve workplace issues, such as through the Fair Work Ombudsman;
  • establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with the Supervisor and Associate Supervisor;
  • engaging the wider academic world beyond the Sydney College of Divinity through conference attendance and presentations.

It will also cover the specific requirements and expectations for research students within the Sydney College of Divinity, from thesis proposal development to final submission and examination of their thesis. There will be the opportunity to raise questions.

Primary contact

Academic Registrar

The Registrar is your central point of contact for information and support on the administration and management of your research degree. The Registrar is also the Student Support Officer who can be contacted for information and concerns regarding health, safety and wellbeing.

[email protected]
+61 (02) 9888 1969

Research Director

The Research Director provides initial guidance in respect of the desired program, qualifications for admission, the DMin coursework if relevant, the intended research topic and supervision of the research, and remains the key contact for candidates in managing their progress.

[email protected]
+61 (02) 9888 1969


Your supervisor is the key contact throughout your degree. They will provide guidance on all aspects of your research. You will meet regularly with your supervisor to ensure you are making progress in your degree.

Academic integrity

The integrity of the academic processes of the Sydney College of Divinity requires a research environment that is responsible and defined by the following values:


  • Intellectual honesty in undertaking and reporting research;
  • Respect for all participants in and subjects of research;
  • Accuracy in representing contributions to research;
  • Collegiality, co-operative and fair interactions; and
  • Transparency in declaring conflicts of interest.


Researchers and research candidates are expected to meet their obligations in maintaining the standards for responsible research and follow regulations and policies relating to all aspects of the conduct of research.


Research ethics

It is obligatory to conduct ethical research. Know more about what is involved as failure to conduct ethical research may result in the candidate being charged with academic misconduct.

Time allowed

Research degrees are time-based and not semester based. You are allowed between two and four years equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) for a doctoral degree and between one and two years EFTSL for a master (by research) degree.


Research Director

By now you would have met and received initial guidance from the Graduate Research School Research Director. The Director will remain your key contact in managing your progress.



Your supervisor who is a research active member of the academic staff of the Sydney College of Divinity carries the primary responsibility for your supervision.


You should establish some guidelines with your supervisor on how frequently you will hold formal meetings, how they will be initiated, and what records will be kept. It is advisable to create a timeline for your research and thesis completion. This plan should ensure you will be able to meet your candidature requirements.


Research Committee

The Research Committee oversights the Higher Degree by Research. Matters requiring the Committee approval recommendation must be submitted two weeks in advance.


Research Ethics Committee

The Research Ethics Committee gives ethics clearance to all research involving human subjects. No research involving humans or animals can be conducted by a candidate unless clearance is given.



The milestone provides a guideline to the key requirements within the candidature.


Annual progress

Progress in candidature is subject to the candidate making good progress. Typically, unsatisfactory progress in one research period will attract directions to achieve particular goals in the following period, and unsatisfactory progress for a second research period will lead to a requirement that the candidate show cause why the candidature should not be terminated.

One of the more difficult tasks in writing your thesis is keeping track of the formatting of your footnotes and bibliography entries. There are so many different styles with various rules for the multitude of sources we use, it is hard to keep track of it all. Fortunately, there are software platforms that help make this task easier for you. Some of the major platforms are Endnote, RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, and Citationsy. Each of these will work relatively seamlessly with your word-processor. The word processor MS Word also has a basic function built in.


The key advantage of such program is that they automatically keep track of the format of your footnotes, identify repeat citations and treat them accordingly where necessary, and automatically generate a final bibliography. Often you can download entries from websites such as electronic journal databases and Googlebooks. They can also output these entries in different citation styles, as required. The Sydney College of Divinity does not specify which style of citations and bibliography you should use, but it is important to be consistent throughout the thesis.


You can see some of the features of the five programs noted above at Scribendi.

Each research degree candidate must nominate as a home library one of the Sydney College of Divinity libraries, typically but not necessarily the library of the Institution in which the supervisor is based. This enables the SCD Graduate Research School, in consultation with the supervisor and candidate, to build up research resources in the topic area of the candidate using a Research Degree Library Resources Grant. The grant is made to the nominated library each semester in which the candidate is enrolled. Know more about the grant and library.


Candidates must submit the Application for Borrowing Status to nominate their home library. Candidates must have read and accepted the Sydney College of Divinity Library Policy and Regulations along with the lending library regulations as students must abide by them.


Sydney College of Divinity has established an agreement with Macquarie University for borrowing rights of its Graduate Research School candidates. Should candidates like to avail themselves of this provision, they should contact the Research Director for the procedure.