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James Cook University offers a Cohort Doctoral Studies Program, one of the first of its kind in Australia. The program is designed to support and nurture doctoral students through their studies by providing workshops, seminars, coursework, peer learning facilitation and writing workshops in a cohort model where students commence and progress through their program as a group.
Dr Melissa Crowe, Head of Cohort Doctorial Studies Program
The Cohort Doctoral Studies Program is designed to provide additional support and networking opportunities to post-graduate research candidates enrolled at James Cook University (JCU) within the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine (DTHM). The program was initially established in September 2011 and has been nested under the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) since 2015. The Program commenced with one group of 13 candidates in 2011 and has since grown to 18 Cohort groups with 135 candidates. Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma of Research Methods candidates are also supported in the program along with HDR candidates (Master of Philosophy and doctoral candidates).
The Cohort Doctoral Studies Program is essentially aimed at practising health professionals working in the broad areas of medicine, dentistry, health (including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, clinical exercise physiology, sport and exercise science, psychology, pharmacy, paramedics and health promotion), public health and biomedical, molecular or veterinary sciences. Medicine and health research candidates often return to study after varying lengths of time in the workforce, frequently combine research degrees with part or full-time work, often lack peers undertaking research degrees in their discipline and are sometimes studying at a distance because of the JCU focus on rural, remote and regional areas. The Cohort Doctoral Studies Program was implemented to address these issues.
Our program formalises and structures research education and candidates enter and progress through their programs as interacting cohorts. Candidates benefit from peer support and learning, networking opportunities, research education workshops, writing retreats, student conferences and academic mentoring.
Over the initial 8 years, the Cohort Doctoral Studies Program has gained a positive reputation amongst HDR candidates, JCU and adjunct advisors and partners in the health industry. The response to the program has been very favourable including increased demand for the program and consistent positive feedback from candidates (see Cohort candidates’ testimonials included in this document). Candidate outcomes reflect the success of the program with good completion times, high numbers of candidate publications, low attrition rates and successful grant applications. To date, Cohort candidates have produced over 340 publications and obtained in excess of $4,654,904 in grant funding. Our retention rate has varied between 82-90% which is markedly higher than Australian averages of 60-65%. The average time to completion for a doctorate within the Cohort Program is 3.5 years.
The Cohort Doctoral Studies Program is designed to support and nurture doctoral students through their studies by providing workshops, seminars, coursework, peer learning facilitation and writing workshops in a cohort model where students commence and progress through their program as a group.
Although students may undertake different pathways through the program, all will complete either a PhD or professional doctorate.
Students will benefit from:
- Peer support
- An experienced academic mentor
- Greater contact with academic staff
- A reduced sense of isolation, and
- Travel grants**
**Dependent on COVID-19 Australian Commonwealth and Queensland legislation.
The Program is aimed at professionals working in the broad areas of medicine, health (including nursing, rehabilitation sciences, sport and exercise sciences and health promotion), chemistry, and biomedical, molecular or veterinary sciences.
Previous experience in research or research qualifications is not necessary, although applicants who cannot demonstrate research expertise will be required to successfully complete a bridging program.
If students are employed full-time, they will be expected to show evidence of support from their employer to undertake the Program. We recommend that students in full-time employment seek a research project that closely aligns with their work.
Find out more here.
Participation in the Cohort Doctoral Studies Program is by application. Each year there are two application rounds: one in April for commencement in June or July and one in November for commencement in February of the following year.
To express your interest in the future Cohort intakes, submit an expression of interest
All Cohort Doctoral Studies applications are reviewed by a committee comprising the Head of the Program, A/Prof. Melissa Crowe, the DTHM Director of Research Development, the Associated Deans of Research Education (ADRE) of the College of Healthcare Sciences (CHS), College of Medicine and Dentistry (CMD) and the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences (CPHMVS), and the Cohort mentors.
To be accepted and commence in the Cohort Program candidates have to be enrolled at James Cook University within the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine. Successful applicants will be notified in person and will receive an official letter of acceptance to the Program.
- Assistance with locating appropriate advisors and guidance through the enrolment process
- Peer group support and networking opportunities
- Opportunity for distance candidates to meet other research candidates and be part of an academic environment
- Academic mentoring from staff with diverse research skills
- Twice yearly on-campus block weeks (including research education workshops, writing retreats and opportunities for students to present their research) (see examples included below)
- Additional writing retreats outside biannual on-campus block weeks
- Clear, structured pathways and outlines of HDR milestones
- Regular contact within Cohort groups and opportunities to meet candidates from other Cohort groups
- Opportunity to consult with university staff with expertise in research and research education
- Advisor support
- Clear pathways to PhD for candidates without prior research experience
- LearnJCU Cohort Community for information sharing
Students may enrol full- or part-time, and can be located on or off campus.
The Program is offered in block mode, where students need only attend campus for one-week periods once or twice each semester.
Travel grants are available to support students to attend on-campus activities.
Online support will be in place for students outside of block teaching periods.
**Dependent on COVID-19 Australian Commonwealth and Queensland legislation.