Advice on finding a PhD/MPhil supervisor at the Fenner School

Before you apply to the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU, to undertake a PhD or MPhil, you must identify a possible supervisor, discuss a possible research project with them, and get their agreement to supervise you. 

(An exception is when a supervisor already has grant-funding for a specified PhD/MPhil project and you are responding to the project advertisement.) 

The range of disciplines in the Fenner School is too wide for any single person to suggest a potential supervisor, so identifying one is your first step. Listed below are three ways of identifying a potential supervisor if you are not already familiar with one from their publications or conference talks:

  1. Search the ANU Researchers database at  For example, enter “Fenner + biodiversity” in the “Search our research” box.  This returns everyone with both “Fenner” and “biodiversity” anywhere in their research profile, so you will also need to study the profiles in detail.   
  2. A list of Fenner School research areas, with links to most relevant potential supervisors, can be found at  
  3. Recent publications by Fenner School researchers (including Visiting Fellows and PhD scholars) in good international journals can be found through the Web of Science by inserting "Fenner Sch" in the Address field, plus appropriate keywords in the Topic and/or Title fields.  However, many good, Australia-relevant journals are not included in the Web of Science.

Having identified potential supervisors, please write to only one or two of them whose research is closest to your interest, rather than several all at once.

To start a pre-application discussion, a potential supervisor would expect you to send them your curriculum vitae (CV); and a two to four page research proposal, outlining your research objectives, your proposed theory and/or methodologies, some references to literature you have read, and why you think they are an appropriate supervisor for your research. (The research proposal that you eventually include with your formal application for admission should generally be shorter, and is somewhat of a formality.)

Please also send some evidence of any previous research experience, such as your degree thesis, publications and/or research writing done as part of your employment.  (You will need to provide this evidence as part of your formal application.)

Updated:  22 August 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director Fenner School/Page Contact:  Webmaster Fenner School