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Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Research (ICCR) program


Dr Kate Bowan
HDR Convenor
School of Achaeology and Anthropology, RSHA, CASS


Dr Lan Tran
HDR Program and  Student Coordinator
School of Archaeology and Anthropology, RSHA, CASS

T: ( 02 ) 6125 4812
F: ( 02 ) 6125 1285

How to apply | First Year Programme | Later Year Programme | Funding | Facilities | Policies  | Policy Review

The Research School of the Humanities and the Arts (RSHA) offers HDR students a unique interdisciplinary programme in which to pursue thesis research and coursework as well as professional development. Through its supportive environment and programmes the RSHA encourages new modes of research while it also supports traditional scholarly methods of inquiry. This programme, based on clear requirements and transparent principles is designed to maximise the quality and impact of research and to produce the best student outcomes.

In particular, the RSHA programme offers:

  • The opportunity to work with staff members, adjunct faculty, post-doctoral fellows and visiting academics – all with international reputations in a range of disciplines
  • Office space with computing facilities and access to state-of-the-art multimedia facilities
  • In-house IT training
  • Opportunities to present work-in-progress in a number of fora, including conferences, seminar series, and workshops
  • Involvement in a structured programme of education in humanities research, including an introductory seminar, a conference preparation workshop, a proposal writing workshop, and a thesis writing group
  • Participation in occasional visiting scholars programmes and master classes
  • Access to some of the most extensive library and archival holdings in Australia including the National Library of Australia
  • Funding for fieldwork and conference attendance

How to apply

The RSHA offers Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degrees undertaken by research relevant to the RSHA’s research themes.

It also offers coursework Masters programs. For details of current Masters courses see Graduate Coursework (Liberal Arts).

Prior to preparing an application for admission prospective students should consult the Graduate Research Student Information pages on the Study@ANU website. This provides information for both Australian and international students and includes advice on the University, degrees, fees, scholarships, procedures, rules, etc.

Potential applicants who decide to proceed with an application should follow these steps:

Step One – seeking supervision

Before submitting a formal proposal, you should establish contact with a prospective supervisor. For information on RSHA staff and adjunct faculty members see Academic staff (PDF).

Advice on selecting prospective supervisors may also be sought from Professor Paul Pickering, the RSHA Graduate Convenor:

Step Two – establishing contact with your prospective supervisor

If the prospective supervisor considers the project viable, or directs you to a more appropriate supervisor who deems the project viable, you should prepare a formal proposal.

Potential supervisors will provide feedback to assist you to prepare project proposals.

Step Three – preparing a proposal

A strong proposal is one that provides a clear sense of the research project (object of inquiry, scope, empirical elements, methodologies, theoretical underpinnings, and originality).

Proposals should be a maximum of FIVE single-spaced pages and provide:

  • Your full name
  • A short descriptive title for your project
  • The object of your inquiry (i.e. the aim and over-arching question that drives the research)
  • A clear indication of your project’s scope (eg. time period to cover, sites to consider, objects to document and analyse, populations to study)
  • A description of the empirical elements (eg. the location and accessibility of data, the number and nature of subjects to analyse)
  • A review of the methodologies to be deployed, and a rationale for their use in light of the object of inquiry, your project’s scope and the data to be considered
  • A review of your project’s theoretical underpinnings (its orientation in light of theoretical and/or historiographical work in the field)
  • An indication of your project’s originality (in the nature of the inquiry, and/or the project’s scope, and/or its empirical base, and/or its selected methodologies, and/or its theoretical perspective)
  • A select Bibliography (highlighting key works that inform your study)

Step Four – submitting a formal proposal*

Formal proposals, along with the prospective supervisor’s name, should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies at If you are applying for a scholarship you should apply well before the closing date. The Convenor may suggest changes to improve the quality of the proposal; however, your ability to prepare a polished proposal is a clear indication of your writing and research capabilities.

*Please note: although the University application form requires a shorter proposal, submitting a separate, more detailed proposal as detailed above to the RSHA will help to assign prospective supervisors and advisors.

Step Five – applying for admission

Applications must be submitted using the Application for Postgraduate Research Course and/or Scholarship form at Forms for Students


If you wish to apply for post-graduate studies within the RSHA, (including students who wish to work with faculty in the National Europe Centre and the Australian National Dictionary Centre) please enter “Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Research” in response to PART B, section 9, on the Graduate School application form (i.e. “graduate field”).

First Year Program


The graduate programme begins with an “induction” process. This is meant to welcome students to the RSHA and to the University, as well as to familiarise them with their opportunities and responsibilities. It also includes social events that will allow new students to meet the other students, faculty and support staff who comprise the RSHA community.

Induction day usually occurs shortly after 31 March (the latest date that scholarship students can commence).

Introductory Seminar Series - HDR coursework

An introductory seminar series based on a participatory learning model will begin on 20 March  to 29 May and will run for approximately 8 weeks.

Weekly seminar sessions will be conducted by guest seminar leaders from among the RHSA’s faculty members, fellows and adjunct professors, as well as faculty located in other programmes across the University.

A syllabus of course readings, comprised of guest leaders’ readings selections, will be prepared in advance. These readings will cover conceptual issues and theoretical and methodological approaches to humanities research. They will also include seminar leaders’ own publications, which will help to illustrate how scholars in various disciplines formulate questions, design studies, evaluate evidence, articulate ideas, and engage in scholarly and public debate.

Students are expected to read the articles in advance and to participate in seminar discussions. Each week assigned students assume responsibility for preparing questions and comments on the readings, but all students are expected to engage in discussion each week.

Students unable to attend in person can continue to participate (by posting questions and comments) through a dedicated course website.

HUMN8001 Interdisciplinary & Cross Cultural Humanities Research - Course Outline

First Year Conference

A first-year student conference, typically held in the last week of August, is the event when all first year students present papers based on their initial research.

In advance of the conference a series of workshops designed to develop presentation and writing skills is conducted in July and August. Draft papers are circulated among first year students for peer review and senior students participate as discussants at the conference itself.

In their papers students are expected to indicate the nature and scope of their research projects, as well as the methods and theoretical approaches they intend to incorporate.

All supervisory panel members are expected, where possible, to attend the conference presentation. Those unable to attend should comment on the written paper.

Thesis Proposal Review

Prior to the normal submission date for thesis proposals (mid-December), a short series of workshops on proposal writing will be conducted in November in order to help students prepare for their reviews.

In accordance with university rules students must complete a thesis proposal, to be reviewed and approved by their supervisory panel, before the end of the first year of full-time study (normally in December for full-time students).

This review formally assesses whether a student’s programme will:

  • continue as specified in the Thesis Proposal and Annual Plan (with any necessary amendments)
  • be significantly revised (and subsequently reviewed)
  • be converted to an MPhil (if a PhD programme); or
  • be terminated.

University rules and policies stipulate that a thesis proposal must be detailed and present a literature review and credible research plan.

For RSHA students, the conference paper provides a useful stepping stone. Students should produce a proposal (between 10 and 15 pages) that provides:

  • A clear indication of the project’s scope (eg. time period to cover, sites to consider, objects to document and analyse, populations to study)
  • A description of its empirical elements (eg. the location and accessibility of data, the number and nature of subjects to analyse)
  • A review of the methodologies to be deployed, and a rationale for their use in light of the object of inquiry, the project’s scope and the data to be considered
  • A review of its theoretical underpinnings (its orientation in light of theoretical and/or historiographical work in the field)
  • An indication of its originality (in the nature of the inquiry, and/or the project’s scope, and/or its empirical base, and/or its selected methodologies, and/or its theoretical perspective)
  • In some cases, a fully-referenced version of the conference paper, including a comprehensive bibliography and annual plan of activities for the subsequent year may be submitted as a thesis proposal, however it will be evaluated according to the same criteria as indicated above.

Later Year Program

Second Year Induction

A day is set aside in April to refresh students’ memories concerning their opportunities and responsibilities. Students close to finishing their programme participate by sharing their experiences and providing advice concerning fieldwork, ethics, project design, time management etc.

Workshops and other training

From time to time, students in the RSH may participate in visiting scholars programmes, master classes and other workshops and symposia. Many of these opportunities arise in conjunction with conferences and faculty visits. The RSH website [URL] provides an up-to-date list of events. 

Thesis-in-Progress Seminar (TIPS)

Midway through the programme (normally between 18 and 36 months of full-time study) RSH students must present a thesis-in-progress seminar. This entails providing an indication of the research they have conducted, the progress they have made, and the directions in which they are heading. With prior agreement of the principal supervisor a TIPS may also be based, in part, on the presentation of a chapter from the thesis. In either case, members of the supervisory panel are expected to meet with students after their presentations and to provide comments and advice.

Thesis Writing Workshop

Although RSHA students are engaged in a wide variety of research projects, all students must adhere to standards set by University policy and ultimately produce a thesis that meets examiners’ academic expectations. Support and encouragement, as well as critical feedback, are provided though thesis writing group meetings, attended by students who have begun to write chapters and/or to prepare multi-media components of their theses. 


Students are entitled to a fixed amount of funding to support their research. Funding may be used for fieldwork, to attend academic conferences and other presentations, or to purchase research materials, equipment or services, or other activities as approved.

Upon commencement a dedicated University account is opened in the name of each student. This account contains a standard research entitlement that can be accessed by application.

Applications for funding must express a clear statement of the purpose and a rationale for the funding.

Applications should be developed in consultation with the principal supervisor and approved by the principal supervisor and the Convenor of Graduate Studies. Amounts over an agreed figure must be approved by a Prescribed Authority within the School.

When compelling research needs arise students will receive advice on applying for supplementary funding, both within and beyond the University. Any additional funding is deposited in student accounts and accessed by the same method as the standard research funding.


First year students (and part time students) will be entitled to shared lockable accommodation.

Where possible, later year students will be provided with single office accommodation.

Each student is entitled to:

  • Unrestricted access to the premises of the School and will be provided with a key and access card.
  • A computer and appropriate software
  • An email and internet account
  • Personalised business cards


Guideline: Research Theses Submission and Examination: Information for Higher Degree Research Students (See ANU Policies) | HDR Examination Process  | HDR Graduation

Policy Review

The policies and procedures framework for HDR students will be implemented by the Convenor of Graduate Studies with the authority of the Director of the Research School.

The policies and procedures framework for HDR students are approved by the faculty of the RSHA and will be periodically reviewed at the instigation of the Director or the faculty.

The Convenor of Graduate Studies will regularly consult with students on all issues that affect the structure and content of the program.

Updated:  24 November, 2017/Responsible Officer:  College Dean/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications