Postgraduate studies

The research team at the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre are world leaders in their field. Often working across disciplinary boundaries – with and for Indigenous communities – their work has changed the way we understand Indigenous histories, archaeologies and cultures. While focused on Australia, Torres Strait, and Papua New Guinea as our near geographical region, our work also has a broader coverage that incorporates Native American, First Nations Canada, Maori and other Indigenous perspectives.

The Indigenous studies postgraduate program attracts local and international candidates from interdisciplinary fields of archaeology, anthropology and history, as well as performance and literary studies. Supervision is provided by world leading researchers and award winning teachers. The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre is a vibrant, deeply ethical, challenging and forward-thinking environment committed to excellence, integrity and world-leading scholarship.

Master of Arts

The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre offers a Master in Arts by Research which entails a thesis of 30,000 – 40,000 words in length on an approved research topic. The Centre will appoint a suitable qualified supervisor. The degree is a maximum of two years full-time or maximum four years part-time.

For further details please contact the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre postgraduate coordinator, Associate Professor John Bradley.


The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre also offer a fully accredited PhD program—a thesis of 100,000 words on an approved research topic. The Centre will appoint a suitable qualified supervisor for Australian Indigenous Studies graduate study. The supervisor will have appropriate knowledge in the area and experience in successful supervision of students. In addition, where appropriate, an Indigenous mentor may be appointed.

View our Faculty information for PhD in Arts

View Study.Monash for information on PhD duration, campus, fees and application information

How to apply

Details of entry requirements and application procedures are available at the Faculty of Arts Research Degrees site.

Research scholarships

Scholarships are available for research higher degrees. Applications close at the end of October of each year.

Further information can be found at Faculty of Arts Research Degrees site.

Library facilities and resources

In addition to Monash’s main library resources, the Centre houses the Elizabeth Eggleston Memorial Library, which contains unique sources relevant to graduate research. This library provides access to some specialised materials not readily available elsewhere on Indigenous affairs.

Applications are particularly encouraged in the following areas:

  • The History of Anthropology and Archaeology (Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Bruno David, Dr Jeremy Ash)
  • Comparative epistemologies, and cultural constructions of knowledge and knowledge production (Professor Lynette Russell, Associate Professor John Bradley)
  • Interdisciplinary research, especially the nexus between anthropology, archaeology and history (Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Lynette Russell)
  • Partnership and decolonizing approaches to research (Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Lynette Russell)
  • Museums, material culture, museum collections and exhibitions (Professor Lynette Russell, Associate Professor John Bradley, Professor Bruno David)
  • Cultural heritage management and conservation, especially the relationship between heritage and the resource industry (Associate Professor John Bradley)
  • The archaeology and anthropology of Indigenous art (Professor Bruno David)
  • Archaeological theory and method (Professor Lynette Russell, Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Bruno David, Dr Jeremy Ash)
  • Decolonising Methodologies (all staff)
  • Rock art research (Professor Bruno David, Dr Liam Brady)
  • Archaeology of cultural landscapes and seascapes (Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Bruno David, Associate Professor John Bradley)
  • Archaeology of Indigenous Australia (Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Bruno David, Dr Jeremy Ash)
  • Archaeology of Papua New Guinea (Professor Ian McNiven, Professor Bruno David)
  • Archaeology and the recent past (or ‘of missions’) (Dr Jeremy Ash, Professor Lynette Russell, Professor Ian McNiven)
  • Indigenous Knowledge ( Associate Professor John Bradley)
  • The racialised embodied encounter from colonisation to the present (Associate Professor John Bradley)


Rob Skelly The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre provided unwavering support during my PhD candidature; nothing was ever too much to ask. Bruno David and Ian McNiven supervised my candidature and were involved throughout the process, offering advice and providing expertise regarding procedural matters, research objectives, methodological approaches, writing up results through to final submission of the thesis. In my experience the process of personal development through PhD research does not come to an end when the thesis was submitted, but rather leads to professional opportunities privileged with the responsibility to undertake research that contributes further to knowledge.

Jan Richardson I was a high-risk PhD applicant– very mature-age (72 years old), and with a handicap (amputated right arm). In addition, my project was a challenge, being in the uncommon genre of biography. My strength was my commitment, and my good fortune was that my supervisors found me worth the risk. Professor Lynette Russell, Professor Jenny Hocking and temporary substitute supervisor Professor Andrew Markus, combined to guide me through the process of researching and writing a doctoral study. They opened new avenues to investigate, challenged my interpretations of the data and ensured my writing style was up to standard. They gave me a solid support structure within which I could flounder around and be sure I could emerge successfully. More than anything, they expressed excitement by my findings. This encouragement sustained me when I wilted under the enormity of the task I had so naively undertaken. Throughout the long process, this backing was a key to my progress. I extended my supportive network by joining the Matheson librarians’ peer-group community of post-graduate students, and my supervisors were happy that I sought this collegiality. I was fortunate to receive input from a range of people but throughout the intense process of a doctorate, my supervisors provided a stable platform, rescuing me from wild ideas and re-positioning the study when I strayed from its purpose. I am very thankful that I had supervisors who understood my purpose and assisted me to achieve it; they were central to my on-time completion.

Robert Gunn I found the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre to be a most lively academic environment that encouraged me to develop cutting edge techniques in the analysis of Aboriginal rock art. The supervisors were excellent, providing much needed encouragement when the task seemed overwhelming, yet continually stretching me to develop to my fullest potential. Fellow scholars provided camaraderie and stimulus throughout my time there.

Liam Neame I could not have possibly asked for a better experience of supervisors at the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre. My supervisors showed a dedication to my work over and above what I expected, and were always there to inspire, cajole, and provide navigational support in my pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Perhaps one of the most significant things for me was that my supervisors went beyond their already significant academic support and took a whole-of-person approach in their supervision of students. Having experienced some tough times during my candidature it was due to the Centre’s commitment to the emotional welfare of their students that I felt I was able to complete my research. From the beginning to end my supervisors and my experiences of supervision at the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre was outstanding. I would recommend the Centre to anybody considering it.