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Doctor of Indigenous Philosophies

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

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.

Public and private sector organisations are encouraged to sponsor their staff to undertake the Doctorate, with the aim of conducting essential ethical and engaged research deemed critical to the health and human services sector and for policy development.

Career opportunities

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.

Major areas of study

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.

Assessment methods

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.

Teaching methods

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.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes. Postgraduate students are also provided a shared office space.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Admission requirements

Students applying for the Doctor of Indigenous Philosophies must complete a successful interview with Gnibi academics and Elders prior to entry in the degree. 


Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of a professional Doctorate, a candidate shall successfully complete twenty-four (24) units (288 credit points) of study and research. At least two-thirds of these units shall require completion of a thesis. 
  2. These units shall be comprised of those in the schedule of units attached to these rules. 
  3. A professional Doctorate shall be in a field approved by the Higher Degrees Research Committee and listed in the Schedule of Professional Doctorates attached to these rules.
  4. All Doctor of Indigenous Philosophies candidates will serve a confirmation period, no longer than six (6) months full-time equivalent.
  5. The process of assessment of the confirmation period will be developed within a general framework approved by the Higher Degrees Research Committee, to be used in the respective School
  6. The assessment of the completion of the confirmation period shall result in one of five outcomes:
    1. Satisfactory: Candidate to be offered full candidature (i.e. confirmation of candidature).
    2. Unsatisfactory: Candidate to revise submission to the satisfaction of the Principal Supervisor and the relevant Director of Research and Research Training.
    3. Unsatisfactory: Candidate to resubmit to confirmation period assessment process.
    4. Remedial action: Where a resubmission results in a further unsatisfactory outcome, a course of remedial action shall be put in place. This may require a review of the Supervisor-Candidate Agreement.
    5. Termination of candidature.

Advanced standing

Advanced standing is applied as per Rule 8 - Professional Doctorate Awards

Schedule of units


How to apply

As part of the application process, applicants will be invited to attend an interview with Gnibi academic staff and community Elders.

Domestic students

Applications for this course are made directly to SCU via our online application service.

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Apply OnlineSouthern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form or via our online application services.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

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

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