Research Higher Degrees

Do you like the idea of researching History education, historical experience, historical literacy, historical consciousness, historical cultures, collective memory, or topics related to how people understand and engage with the past?

Ever thought about doing a Research Masters or PhD?

The HERMES Research Team is always looking to connect with people who share our interest in historical consciousness historical cultures, and History education, and would love to hear from you if you are interested in doing a research higher degree. We invite teachers with a passion for their subject, and an interest in research, who would like a new challenge, a broader range of career opportunities, and to contribute to new knowledge in the field of History Education to undertake a university-supervised higher degree research project of their own. You’ll be joining a vibrant community of new and established researchers.

Note: Click on the images to download the relevant documents. The brochure contains essential enrolment information and a copy of the application form. For your convenience, the application form can also be downloaded as a stand-alone document (below).

Some areas of investigation could be (but are not limited to):

  • Teaching and Learning Historical Thinking
  • History Curriculum & Pedagogy
  • Historiography and Historical Representation
  • Historical Consciousness and New Media
  • Public History and National Identity
  • Historical Empathy and Teaching Rival Histories
  • Historical Literacy and Computer Games
  • Analysis of History Textbooks
  • Use of Textbooks in the History Classroom
  • Historical Cultures and Public Uses of History
  • History Curriculum Change and Transformation
  • New Technologies in the Teaching of History
  • Film and/or Documentary in the History Classroom
  • Museums and Artefacts in History Education
  • Family, Popular, and/or Local History
  • History Teacher Education in Schools and Universities
  • A topic of specific interest to you!

Research Masters or PhD?

The main difference between a Research Masters and a PhD is the length of the thesis manuscript you will write, and the length of time you are given to complete it. Specific details are provided in the brochure above.

How much does it cost?

People are usually shocked to learn that enrolment in a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is FREE to Australian citizens! Unlike Bachelor, Diploma, and coursework Masters programs, there are no HECS or tuition fees on research higher degrees for domestic students (Though there is a student services and amenities fee of $210 or $281 depending on whether you are studying off-campus or on-site). Importantly, you may be eligible for a scholarship to study full-time. Discuss this with your potential supervisor if you are thinking of studying full-time.

What sort of mentoring support will I receive?

Every student who enrols in a research higher degree teams up with two supervisors (a Principal and an Associate). These “supervisors” provide guidance on completing your research project. If you are enrolling without an Honours degree or previous research experience, you will be asked to complete one or two research methodology modules (depending on your needs), which will walk you through the process of constructing your research design (including data collection and analysis methods). As a higher degree researcher in History education, you need never feel alone, as you will have the benefit of interacting with a vibrant and growing community of researchers who share your passion for history.

What sort of financial support will I receive?

During your candidature, you will be allocated funds to help you conduct your research project or to disseminate its findings at academic conferences; and can apply for competitive conference travel grants. Currently, Research Higher Degree students at the University of Newcastle also receive a laptop computer as part of their enrolment, to assist them in their studies. Click here to read about the laptop programme.

How often do I have to attend campus?

During the first year of your candidature you will present your research proposal to a small group of scholars who will provide feedback on your research design, at an event called “Confirmation”. However, apart from Confirmation, you can maintain contact with your supervisors in any way you like (ie. via telephone, Skype, email, or face to face). If you will be studying off-campus for the majority of your candidature, then you will need to download and complete the form here, to ensure you get proper access to all the off-campus resources the university has to offer (and to confirm that there is some form of scheduled contact in place with your supervisors).

Will I meet the entry requirements?

You’ll find the entry requirements for the Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy programs in the brochure above. Talk with a member of the HERMES Research Team about alternative pathways if you don’t seem to meet the direct entry requirements. Usually a case can be made based on years in the profession, etc.

When can I start?

You can enrol in a research higher degree any time you like. There are no special starting dates.

How do I enrol?

To enrol in a research higher degree, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Start by considering the range of topics you might like to research (the list above may give you some ideas).

Step 2: Make contact with a potential supervisor by phone or email. Start by looking at the scholarly interests and profile of the Principal Researchers in our HERMES Research Network. Make contact with one of the members of the HERMES Research Team whose interests seem to best match your own, or who has the methodological expertise you might need. They can also help you figure out if you might be eligible for a scholarship.

Step 3: Complete and submit your application form to the University of Newcastle (details in the application form and brochure above), along with a very short preliminary research proposal.

Note: The application will require you to provide a program code for the degree you wish to be accepted into. The codes can be found below:

Master of Philosophy [Code: 11606] – [Duration: Fulltime 2 years / Part-time 4 years]
Doctor of Philosophy [Code: 10367] – [Duration: Fulltime 4 years / Part-time 8 years]

What’s required in the research proposal?

Novice researchers are often unnecessarily worried about the Research Proposal that must be submitted with the research higher degree application form.

As part of the application process, the proposal need only be a loose sketch about what you might do. It is inevitable that your project will be refined (or even change completely) as you start out on your research journey. So keep your application proposal short and to the point.

You will find specific information about what to include by clicking on the image opposite. It is often the case that prospective applicants don’t want to bother their potential supervisor with the proposal. However, it is actually much preferred that you do! Your nominated supervisor will happily provide you with advice on how to shape up your proposal, and we recommend seeking their feedback on your proposal before submitting it with the application form to the University.

What should I do if I’m interested and what to know more?

An Australian Citizen Thinking About Starting a Research Higher Degree?


If you have any questions about researcher higher degrees, contact Dr Robert Parkes (HERMES Convenor) or another member of the HERMES Research Team.

Phone: – If unanswered, leave a message and a contact number, as Robert may be teaching or in a meeting and unable to take your call.


Email: and provide a contact number Robert can call you back on, and suitable times for you to take a call (early evenings are fine if you are in a full-time teaching job and can’t take calls during working hours).

You can also find the latest information pertaining to researcher higher degree study by visiting the .

Not an Australian Citizen?
If you are living outside of Australia, but would like to study “down under”, please download and read the International Student Prospectus, and make contact with a member of the HERMES Research Team as a potential supervisor at your earliest convenience. Newcastle is the second largest city in New South Wales, and has the benefits of its size and close proximity to Sydney, while still offering the benefits of a less-hectic regional lifestyle. You’ll be delighted with our beaches, theatre and film culture, wineries, and cosmopolitan restaurants. There is also plenty of sporting opportunities for those who like a more active lifestyle. You can find out more about studying and living in our great region here:

Thinking about doing a PhD overseas?
The HERMES Research Network has connections with many scholars throughout the UK & Europe and North America & Canada. We are happy to discuss options and suggest possible contacts. One of our members, Dr Paul Zanazanian, lives in Québec, Canada and can supervise students who enrol through McGill University. , or explore McGill’s doctoral programs here: