Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Madang Campus


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is completed by a research thesis on an approved topic under the guidance of a principal and co supervisor. The PhD program signifies that the holder has completed a program of postgraduate studies by research under proper academic supervision, has submitted a thesis that the examiners have declared to be a significant contribution to knowledge, the candidate demonstrates the capacity to carry out independent research, and has presented the thesis in a scholarly fashion.

A candidate for the PhD degree must be an enrolled student at the university and is required to carry out a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the direct supervision of a member of the academic staff or an approved external principal supervisor. The candidate, together with the principal supervisor, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed. Both report twice a year on the progress of the study. The PhD requires a candidate to submit a thesis, the length of which may vary across disciplines but which would not normally exceed 100,000 words.

Supervised from DWU Madang campus.

Applicants would normally have graduated with a Master’s degree by research, or a Masters by coursework with a major research project component at a minimum pass grade of distinction. Graduates with an upper class Honours pass in the Bachelor degree will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Candidature may be undertaken on a full-time on-campus or part-time basis. A PhD study should be designed to take no more than four years of full-time equivalent candidature and six years part-time. It is highly likely that a full time PhD candidate may take three years to successfully complete their study. Application should be made by contacting the Executive Officer of Postgraduate and Research Centre. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) considerations may be possible in some cases.

Program structure
The PhD is administered and promoted by the Research and Higher Degrees Board. This Board is responsible for the monitoring and organization of the degree. When a student is accepted into the program, the student receives ‘Provisional Candidature’. Provisional candidature usually lasts 6 months of full time and 12 months of part time study. This time is spent doing any advised coursework and preparing the Research Proposal, preparing for an oral ‘Confirmation Seminar’, as well as attending regular meetings with a principal and co supervisor.

Provisional candidature is until the successful presentation of a written Research Proposal of 6,000 words, which includes the request for Ethical Research Clearance and a 30 minute oral presentation of the project in a “Confirmation Seminar” organized by the Postgraduate Research Centre. The doctoral candidate is assigned a ‘Supervisory Panel’ responsible for the assessment of the written Research Proposal and the oral presentation in the Confirmation Seminar.

Candidature is confirmed after the “Confirmation Seminar” is presented and assessed as ‘satisfactory’. The Research Proposal, inclusive of the Confirmation Seminar, should contain a review of the literature, a statement of the research problem to be studied, significance of the study, research question(s), proposed methodology and research design, and a discussion of how the problem will be investigated. It is also necessary to include a timeframe / timeline for the study and a list of references cited. An important component of the Research Proposal is the ‘Application for Research Ethics Clearance’, which must be submitted and approved before the candidature is confirmed and the candidate is allowed to proceed with any fieldwork.

The ‘Supervisory Panel’ may recommend that provisional candidature be extended a further three months if the committee is not satisfied that the candidate has fulfilled all requirements as outlined for confirmation of candidature. Once confirmed the PhD candidate is now ready and permitted to undertake data collection. The main tasks of a confirmed research student is to continuously review relevant literature pertaining to the study, collect and analyze the data, draft and edit thesis chapters and assemble the thesis in the approved format. These tasks are completed with the guidance of a principal supervisor.

If necessary, students may be required to complete a number of methodological coursework units. These units are designed to ensure that research skills are appropriate for the intended project. These units are available in distance mode. All students, either on-campus or off-campus, are expected to participate in the fortnightly research seminar in each semester. Likewise, participation in University research activities is strongly encouraged to the extent that this is practical.

Each research student is expected to be in regular, open and frank communication with her/his principal supervisor. The six-monthly research reports contribute to the relationship by ensuring that appropriate oversight is conducted and that problems do not become larger than they need to be.

The major steps in the PhD journey include:
Provisional candidature - This usually includes a written submission of a 6,000 word Research Proposal, an oral presentation in a Confirmation Seminar and an approved application for Research Ethics Clearance.

Confirmed candidature - Includes continuous literature review, data collection, data analysis and thesis writing.

Submission and examination of thesis

Final Acceptance of the thesis and graduation

Requisites to complete the award
The Research and Higher Degrees Committee determine on the basis of examiners’ reports of the thesis and the supervision and research reports over the period of candidature, that the student has satisfied all the requirements of the PhD.