PhD Program

The Doctor of Philosophy is a higher degree by research in divinity or one or more of its associated disciplines. As members of and participants in NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, this postgraduate program involves extensive individual research and writing as well as presentation of original material to other scholars both within and outside of the community at advanced levels. The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy is to qualify individuals who apply a substantial body of knowledge to research while investigating and developing new knowledge in one or more areas of investigation, scholarship or professional practice. In doing so, individuals contribute to the health and growth of the learning community as well as more broadly to Indigenous communities globally.


The PhD program is a demanding course of study. All kinds of life realities may militate against either entering or completing such a venture. Furthermore, job prospects in colleges, seminaries and universities are extremely limited and highly competitive. However, these are not the only purposes for which one might seek a PhD. In many Indigenous communities today, a doctoral degree may be seen as an important qualification for other types of higher-level work within the community including as a community scholar or in other leadership roles. Those who enter, come into a venture that, while arduous, can be highly rewarding. Engaging in high level research and writing in the context of a supportive learning community is a life-changing experience.

The Cohort Model

The cohort-based PhD program is structured around a group of six to sixteen students working through research and writing together, building into each other’s strengths and assisting each other in areas requiring growth. As with other such programs, the cohort enables each member to contribute to maximizing each other member’s work. Cohorts may differ in their composition, but the overall focus remains one of mutual learning and therefore mutual benefit. Applicants who are accepted into the NAIITS program will join the research community in one of an existing cohort or a new one created with new applicants.

Entry Requirements

An applicant must satisfy the Admissions Committee that he or she has completed a research essay or thesis of at least 12,000 words graded at or above 75%. The research essay or thesis may have been completed within another program, area of study, or discipline.

Minimally, Australian applicants are expected to have achieved or be about to achieve an honours undergraduate degree with high standing in religion, theology or a closely related field as well as a Graduate Diploma or better in a field of study within the broad scope of Divinity. North American and other applicants are expected to possess a completed master’s degree in a field related to the area of doctoral research in which they are seeking to undertake their work.

Full requirements will be provided upon request and may include proficiency in a language or languages and a courses in research methods and in writing. Some requirements can be met after admission.

Proficiency in English is required.

Faculty Supervision

A supervisory team will support and guide the cohort and each individual member, with personal supervisors working with each cohort member throughout their tenure in the program.


The Doctor of Philosophy must be completed in not less than two years and not more than eight years from the date on which the course is commenced. The standard duration of the Doctor of Philosophy for full-time study is four years, part time is the maximum of eight.

Cost of Study

In 2021/2022, the tuition fee for a year of study in the PhD is $18,500 (full-time) or $9,250 (part-time). Fees are subject to change from year to year. For more information about current fees, please consult with the Director for graduate and post-graduate study.

Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy

  1. Have a substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of work or learning within divinity or one or more of its associated disciplines, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution to the field

  2. Have a substantial knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the field of work or learning

  3. Have expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to use intellectual independence to think critically, analyse and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, undertake systematic investigation, reflect on theory and practice to generate original knowledge within divinity or one or more of its associated disciplines, and demonstrate expert understanding of theoretical knowledge and the ability to reflect critically on that theory and its application

  4. Apply knowledge and skills with intellectual independence, and with responsibility and accountability, to plan and execute an ongoing program of original research, and to understand explicit and implicit ethical considerations to the formulation of a research project

  5. Have skills to present cogently a complex investigation of originality or original research for external examination against international standards, and to communicate research results to peers and the community

  6. Have community-based skills including listening, respect, constructive questioning and critique, summarizing, appreciating, encouraging and have a demonstrated support of the learning community

  7. Have integrated new academic skills and information on a spiritual level and be able to express academic work in pastoral settings.

To receive further information or to apply for the NAIITS PhD program, contact Damian Costello, Director of Post-graduate and Doctoral Studies

PhD Tuition Plans

The Application Fee for the PhD is $100

Base Rate Base Duration Base Completion Cost Added Years Per Added Year Maximum Completion Cost
$8,000 6 Years $48,000 7 - 8 $1000 Continuation/Ann $50,000
$9,000 5 Years $45,000 6 - 8 $1200 Continuation/Ann $48,600
$10,000 4 Years $40,000 5 - 8 $1500 Continuation/Ann $46,000
$11,500 3 Years $34,500 4 - 8 $2050 Continuation/Ann $44,750
$15,000 2 Years $30,000 3 - 8 $2250 Continuation/Ann $43,500

* The Application fee is payable at the time of application.
** While the Plans remain the same in terms of overall cost, customizable tuition payment plans are available.
Please make arrangements at the time your offer of acceptance is issued.

Program Fees, irrespective of Plan are inclusive of library and technology costs

Costs associated with attendance at the annually required PhD colloquium events (travel expenses as may be required, accommodation, and meals) are not included in the program tuition plan. All costs remain the responsibility of the student.