Higher Degrees


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The main purpose of graduate study at DWU is to encourage independence and creativity of thought in the quest for knowledge.

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) will be awarded in recognition of a student’s erudition in a broad field of learning and for notable accomplishment in that field through innovative and substantial contribution to knowledge.

The candidate’s research must reveal high critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis, and may be in the form of new knowledge, or significant and creative/unique adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is completed by a research thesis on an approved topic under the guidance of a principal supervisor. For some students, relevant units taught at the University may be prescribed after consideration of a candidate's background studies and research experience.

Doctorate programs signify 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 doctoral 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 team of academic staff and/or an approved external supervisor/mentor. The candidate, together with the team, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed. Reports are submitted twice a year, midyear and end of the year, on the project.

The PhD requires a candidate to submit a thesis, the length of which may vary across disciplines but which would not normallyexceed 100,000 words.

Mode of Study

The PhD can be undertaken both full time and part time at the Madang Campus.

A part time student must be physically present on the campus two weeks per semester during the first year of study. After the 2nd semester for full time students and after the 3rd semester for part time students, the candidate for a


The Doctor of Philosophy Degree should not take more then six years part time and not more then four years full time to complete.


Divine Word University offers excellent modern residential, teaching and computer facilities in a beautiful, safe and peaceful environment.


Admission Requirements

Candidates are provisionally admitted into a PhD program and will usually have graduated with a Master’s degree from a university that requires the completion of a publicly available thesis or research project to an acceptable standard.

Candidature Milestones

Full time candidates are given 6 months and part time candidates 12 months to confirm their candidature, which requires successful completion of the following requirements:

  • A 6,000 word Research Proposal

  • A Letter from the University Research Ethics Committee confirming Ethical Clearance granted

  • Approval to present their Confirmation Seminar at an assigned date, time and venue, and advertised publicly by the Postgraduate Research Centre.

Candidates are required to submit the documentation to the Office of the Vice President, Research and Postgraduate Studies, who oversees the PhD program on behalf of the Research Higher Degrees Board.


This new postgraduate program is designed to meet the needs of the DWU Strategic goal to advance research and that of the PNG government to promote national growth and development, in efforts to keep pace with the demands of the 21st century global competitiveness, driven by a knowledge economy. Participation in the knowledge economy requires research education, which is critical to generating a new body of knowledge and enhancing upon existing information. The Master of Research Methodology (MRM) will equip graduates with research knowledge, skills and scholarly aptitudes to become critically and ethically oriented researchers, leaders and managers in government, industry, development and/or professional, churches and community-based organisations in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Pacific Region and beyond. Successful completion of the program will increase opportunities for candidates seeking to undertake doctoral or PhD studies once they learn to write good research proposals leading to possible successful grant and scholarship applications. The program will also enhance personal and professional performance, for those currently employed. For those seeking employment within public, private, nongovernment and development agencies with a strong evidence-based research focus, the program offers employment opportunities.

The program will prepare candidates to design their research proposal as the blue print for their research dissertation. Candidates will be equipped with appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions to initiate and undertake research projects. The skills of this program cover the whole research cycle: from problem identification, research design, literature review and research question development, to data collection, data analysis and report writing

This program is a combination of coursework and a major research component. It is designed to include core research methods units culminating in the write up and submission of a research dissertation of 20,000 words.

Students are required to gain 100 credit points of which, submission and assessment of the research dissertation is mandatory, to be eligible for graduation.

Program Units

RM601 Research Theory and Methods (10 Points)

This unit offers candidates an in-depth study of the theory and methods of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method inquiries. Topics include the philosophic assumptions and positions within each research paradigm, design issues and alternatives, data collection methods, data sources, sampling, criteria for rigor, data analysis, and reporting strategies for higher degree students planning to proceed to a dissertation or thesis. The unit covers a range of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods techniques which can be used by practicing professionals to carry out individual or team-based action-research into issues arising from their own work settings, organisations, or wider professional activities. Emphasis is on differentiating between, and making appropriate and justified choices among, the principal paradigms or methodological approaches used by contemporary researchers..

RM602 Identifying the Research Problem (10 Points)

This unit aims to assist candidates to clarify their research problem by analyzing the context from which it is derived and by deconstructing the tentative conceptual issues to illuminate and amplify the problem. Candidates will be introduced to and guided to use a comprehensive array of data bases and be mentored through critical reflective experiences to generate a logical narrative, culminating in the justified articulation of their research problem as they appreciate it at this early stage. This understanding in turn is employed flexibly in the initial investigation of the scholarly literature to produce a literature map with a major annotated literature framework accompanying it. The framework represents an understanding of the content knowledge which underpins the research pursuit. This stage is the pre-requisite of the literature review to be attempted in the subsequent unit.

RM603 Crafting the Literature Review (10 Points)

This unit aims to equip the student with the skills to write a competent well-structured and critically presented review of literature relevant to their field of research. The unit covers topics which include: the purpose of a Literature Review, the literature review process, critical examination and synthesis of existing research and scholarship in the field, strategies for effective of written presentation, reviewing and editing for effectiveness, and identifying and articulating a knowledge gap in the field

RM604 Designing the Research (10 Points)

The purpose of this unit is to introduce candidates to the different modalities of research design in both qualitative and quantitative research prior to constructing the design chapter of their thesis. The unit addresses the need to develop and defend a theoretical framework and research methodology generated from the research problem. The unit guides candidates to argue logically for a research design based on the valid research questions. This unit along with personalised support from the candidate’s supervisor will tailor specific learning to meet the individual candidate’s needs for their design chapter.   As a result some students may be engaged for extended periods of personalised tutorial work with a staff member who has particular expertise in a specific area allied to the candidate’s problem.

RM605 – Interpreting and Analysing Data (10 Points)

This unit focuses on the methodology of survey research, and on the design, construction, field-testing, validation and administration of commonly used survey instruments, including questionnaires and attitude scales. The unit offers the advanced graduate student an in-depth study of the survey method. Emphasis is given to structured procedures for survey data analysis and to conventions for data presentation and survey research reporting. The unit provides first-hand experience in the preparation and cleaning of data files, and the formal analysis of survey data using professional-standard software (SPSS-PC) and less-formal, or preliminary, analyses using Microsoft Excel and/or Microsoft Access. Students are required to develop, field test and refine a structured questionnaire, create simulated or actual data sets for preliminary analysis, and prepare associated code books for defining data-file layouts, variable names, code values and value labels. Consideration is also given to issues and techniques of survey research sampling and administration, including attention to informed consent, confidentiality and other ethical matters.

RM606 Ethics in Research (10 Points)

This unit will introduce students to the ethical concepts and/or ethical theories that underpin applied ethical decision making in the area of research that involve human participation. It will also examine the historical and legal context that makes ethics relevant to research today and provide an overview of national and international ethical guidelines pertaining to ethical issues in research involving human participation. The unit also prepares students for the requirement of a research proposal and the submission of the research plan to the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC), as well as to acquaint intending research students with the ethics requirements for their research.

RM607 Developing the Research Proposal (10 Points)

In this unit, the candidate works with an appointed academic supervisor to develop a research proposal. This proposal will meet the requirements of the University’s Research Ethics Committee. Induction programs and research conversations will provide the forum for testing new ideas within a scholarly and professional framework, in order to assist with the development of the research proposal. Specific objectives include: 1) identifying a research area of interest, 2) increased skill in conducting a literature search, 3) developing a capacity to create operational hypotheses or questions, 4) developing a research design, and 5) designing a data analysis and interpretation plan. The student will be expected to present their research proposal at an organised research seminar and assessed by a panel of supervisors. This presentation will normally be at the Madang campus..

RM608 The Research Dissertation (20 Points)

In this unit of supervised research the student applies the acquired skills of the research methods and produces a report of the research to the level of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.The unit will be conducted by close supervision of each candidate so that the progress of the research is adequately mentored and monitored. The whole research cycle from research question refinement to literature review, data collection, data analysis and reporting encompass the semester of work. The conclusion of this unit is the production and examination of a dissertation of a maximum of 20,000 words, not including References.

RM 609 – Academic Writing (10 Points)

In this unit, candidates are encouraged to think critically about the production and reception of a variety of texts and to view writing as social practice that requires deep engagement with the text. It teaches students to construct persuasive arguments that are logical, ethical and engaging. Candidates are assisted to paraphrase, summarize, and evaluate peer-reviewed research while using graduate-level mechanics. Candidates must write a scholarly document that expresses complex thinking in a logical coherent manner. Writing is presented as a process involving research, reading, literature search, writing, drafting, revising, editing and collaboration. Candidates will also be taken through practical sessions in the APA Style of referencing. The focus will be on the most relevant aspects of scholarly writing as presented in the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Instruction and practice is provided in references and citations, reducing bias in language, headings, lists, statistical and mathematical copy, italics and capitalization, numbers style, and table and figure formatting. Exercises will be designed to help prepare candidates for successful writing experiences in coursework assignments and academic writing later on at doctoral level.



Students are required to attend in Madang during each semester. Directed and practical assignments relating to workplace applications are completed in the student’s own time. The program is conducted through a fulltime conventional mode using well-established principles of adult learning applied to our Papua New Guinea context, and employs collaborative classroom teaching and learning approach.


Divine Word University offers excellent contemporary residential, teaching, and computer facilities in a beautiful, safe and peaceful environment.

Admission Requirements

Candidates who hold a bachelor honours and/or postgraduate coursework degrees in Arts, Humanities; Business Studies; Community Development; Education, Developmental Studies; International Relations Public Health; Public Administration; Social Sciences, or a related field with at least two years work experience can enrol in the program.


K100 non-refundable Application Fee.

K15,000.00 full time program, inclusive of full board and excellent meals (only available at DWU Madang Campus).

Account details for fee payments:

Bank                    BSP Madang

Branch No.          960

Account No.         1000 433 806

Account name     Divine Word University