Research supervision

All candidates have two supervisors, a principal supervisor, who will hold a doctoral degree and be research active according to the Sydney College of Divinity’s Research Active in the SCD Policy, and an associate supervisor, who will hold a doctoral degree, carry out research and normally be research active according to the SCD’s Policy. These are formally appointed by the Research Committee. Normally, the principal supervisor will be a faculty member of the Sydney College of Divinity. In some cases the College may appoint an external supervisor based in another reputable theological college, university, or comparable institution. The associate supervisor may likewise be internal or external to the College. In the case of the DMin, the associate supervisor may be a relevant recognised expert professional in a relevant field of ministry.

As well as being research active, the principal supervisor should have experience in research supervision.

Each semester the supervisors report to the Research Committee concerning the candidate’s progress and any other related matter, using the Research Degree Progress Report form, which also requires the candidate comment on the supervisor’s comments. This enables the Committee to monitor progress, offer advice to supervisors and/or candidates, and make appropriate recommendations to the Academic Board. In the event of continued unsatisfactory progress termination of candidature may be recommended.

Candidates experiencing extended academic or personal difficulties should discuss their situation promptly with their supervisor and the Research Director in order to establish the most effective way for them to proceed to eventual completion. In some situations it may be appropriate to apply for an extension. The normal upper limits for extension are one semester for full-time candidates and two semesters for part-time candidates. In other situations it may be appropriate to apply for leave of absence for a semester. Such applications should be addressed to the Research Director and are considered by the Research Committee.

Code of Supervisory Practice

The research enterprise is one that involves the candidate, the supervisor and the Sydney College of Divinity. Each of the three has responsibilities and obligations to ensure that the enterprise is fruitful. The Code of Practice governs the supervision of research for higher degrees so that the below responsibilities can be met:

  1. determining the eligibility of the candidate to undertake research at master’s or doctoral level;
  2. determining that the research project is appropriate for the degree;
  3. ensuring that proper supervision can be provided and maintained throughout the research period;
  4. appointing supervisors expert in the areas of research and willing to undertake the obligations of supervision;
  5. establishing and monitoring mechanisms whereby conflict between the supervisor and the student may be resolved;
  6. establishing procedures for all stages of the examination process;
  7. establishing procedures whereby staff inexperienced in supervision are assisted with supervision;
  8. establishing minimum reporting procedures;
  9. establishing examination criteria for theses;
  10. determining ethics clearance for research involving human subjects.