Supervision

If you are interested in studying with me at the master’s or PhD levels, please read the following details. While this material is primarily directed to future PhD students, master’s students can get a sense of the projects that I am interested in supervising and the quality of work I am looking for.

I am usually only able to take one or two well-qualified PhD students per year, and incoming students must be ready to begin fieldwork within 6-12 months. Because of our short program length and its demands, specific application criteria must be met.

For me to consider an application, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. A thesis based masters degree in anthropology or a closely related field.
  2. Experience conducting ethnographic research and/or qualitative interviews.
  3. A grasp of the social and anthropological theories necessary to work at the PhD level.
  4. Expertise in writing in English (demonstrated via email communications and the required documents listed below).
  5. An anthropologically grounded research project that connects with any of the following themes within medical, psychological, or sociocultural anthropology: Global health. Child and maternal health. Infanticide. Reproductive health. An anthropology of childhood. Family relations. Ageing. Health related development activities. Misfortune and ‘disorder.’ Caregiving. Mental health and intergenerational (historical) trauma. Ethnomedicine and ethnomedical systems. Divination and related systems of diagnosis and meaning making. Risk, uncertainty, and decision-making. Phenomenological, symbolic/interpretive, narrative, critical (political-economic and ecological), and psychoanalytic approaches and theories are welcomed. I am currently not accepting students studying maternal and reproductive health issues in western contexts unless the research is clearly innovative.
  6. Preferred regions include: Ghana, Burkina Faso (and West Africa generally), and North America (to include Native American and First Nations peoples). Please feel free to send me a brief inquiry to determine if I would be interested in your area of research.

Applicants who do not have a research based master’s degree or who do not have adequate anthropological training or experience are encouraged to enroll in our MRes (Master of Research) program. This is the most effective pathway to the PhD.

If you wish to be considered for PhD supervision, please email me (in PDF format) the following by 15 August:

  1. A complete CV
  2. A copy of your master’s thesis and any publications
  3. A research proposal that includes the following: A clear statement of research goals, questions, or objectives framed from an anthropological perspective; a concise literature review demonstrating your understanding of the topic and its relevance; a statement or demonstration of your preferred theoretical perspective(s) or approach; and, your proposed methods.

 

The following overview was written by the anthropology program PhD program director:

For students considering applying to Macquarie University’s Department of Anthropology to do a postgraduate degree, you should consider the following information:

First, Macquarie has a research trajectory leading up to admission to the PhD. This research training is two years in length. The first year is spent doing a Bachelors of Philosophy (BPhil) and the second year doing a Masters of Research (MRes). We believe that we now offer some of the best research training available in Australia, and the degree structure (two years of training followed by a three-year PhD) is compatible with the model offered in Europe under the Bologna Accord. This structure makes a Macquarie degree more internationally meaningful. But it also means that the doctorate (or PhD, Doctor of Philosophy) needs to be completed in three years if the student is enrolled full time (which you will need to be if on scholarship). If you are applying for direct entry into our PhD, you will need the equivalent of our MRes degree. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis: it should involve 2 years of study at the masters’ level and a significant thesis component.

Second, Macquarie University has a limited number of scholarships for international students, and they are highly competitive. The competition for these scholarships is decided across the whole university; the Department of Anthropology has to put their candidates up against candidates from all other departments in the Faculty of Arts, and across the University. Candidates need to have high academic marks, as well as various indications of success in research, especially peer-reviewed publications, university prizes, scholarships, significant creative work, or research experience. Without some kind of indication of academic excellence, or a clear record of publishing or being successful at research, it’s really difficult to gain a scholarship because of the tough competition.

Third, if you think you’d like to do a PhD with us, please see if we have an appropriate supervisor. Macquarie will only admit you if we have someone on our staff who can guide you through your research. Check here to learn more about our staff in anthropology and see if we would have an appropriate supervisor on our staff.

If you would like to apply, you will need to fill out an application, find a potential supervisor, draft a research proposal, and make sure that you are eligible (including English language testing, where appropriate). Read more here: http://hdr.mq.edu.au/information_about/home

Thanks very much for your interest, and we wish you good luck in the process. We’re not the right department for every PhD student in anthropology, but we believe that we offer some of the best training available in Australia to those we can accept.