The Research Unit provides opportunities and scholarships for candidates who wish to conduct research leading to the award of a PhD (normal duration 3-4 years) on a topic within the Research Unit's fields of expertise. Candidates are supervised by one or more members of faculty. The principal requirement of the PhD degree is a thesis (100,000 words maximum), that usually involves library/archival research and/or fieldwork and/or collections-based research. For research students there are regular personal supervisions, group seminars and School research seminars.
Topics studied by PhD candidates at the SRU are itemised on subsequent web pages, but have focused on topics in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Congo, Zambia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, West Papua, Mariana Islands, Australia, Canada, USA, Antilles, Mesoamerica and Peru.
Doctoral students have gone on to careers in higher education, research institutions and museums. Potential doctoral candidates are encouraged to contact any member of faculty to discuss their project at the earliest opportunity.