University to establish School of Graduate Research

In 2020 the University of Divinity will establish a School of Graduate Research (SGR) with responsibility for research training, including higher degree by research students and their supervisors. This new approach builds on a century’s experience in the education of doctoral graduates in theology, ministry, and related disciplines.

This decision of the Council follows a recent review of the University’s Higher Degree by Research Learning Environment, chaired by Professor Terry Evans (Deakin). The Evans Review received feedback from over 80 current and former research students of the University.

The primary recommendation of the Evans Review was the establishment of a School of Graduate Research, “to foster and manage the HDR learning environment, its supervisors and candidates”. The SGR should aim “to become a high-quality body encompassing all stages of candidature from pre-enrolment information and advice through to post-candidature (alumni) guidance and networking”.

The SGR will provide increased support for all research students and supervisors, to ensure consistently high-quality outcomes and to prepare graduates for the changing needs of research training, communication and engagement in the contemporary world.

Research students will continue to belong to a College of the University but will also be members of the SGR. Their supervisors will also need to become members of the SGR, which will assist in quality assurance by providing a pathway for their training and professional development. There will be a transition process during 2020, and further announcements about this will be communicated to all students and staff as this moves forward.

Commenting on the decision, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sherlock said

The new SGR represents a wonderful opportunity to build on a long track record of excellence in research training. This will include increased opportunities for fostering a community of scholars and for resourcing students to acquire skills in research engagement as well as the creation and exploration of new fields of knowledge.

The University’s investment in the development of our doctoral programs will support the growth of future generations not only of academic leaders but also professional practitioners in a wide range of contexts.

The University now seeks to recruit two staff who will lead the new SGR in an exciting and unique opportunity to lead one of Australia’s largest research training environments in theology and ministry. Applications for these two positions closed on 15 October 2019:

  • Dean of the School of Graduate Research – applications have now closed
  • Registrar of the School of Graduate Research – applications have now closed



  • This sounds an excellent idea. I think it would also be an invaluable support from graduate students coming from a range of working backgrounds and graduate experiences.

  • As a current HDR of UDiv (and as a previous HDR in another discipline years ago at ANU) I think this a wise and very positive development. – well done UDiv! In my HDR years at the ANU I found their Graduate School to be a very supportive and encouraging institution. I anticipate that UDiv’s school will lift the status of HDR students across the university (not just in some colleges). We need to be affirmed as research scholars in our own right – and to be affirmed as members of the university research community. We are very different from coursework students but I think the discipline of theology generally in Australia does not recognise this sufficiently. It is actually the norm in other discplines and in broader mainstream universities.
    So well done again, UDiv and council, for this excellent decision!

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