Environmental Studies and Resource Management

The Resources, Environment and Development (RE&D) program at Crawford School provides theoretically rigorous research training and teaching on contemporary environmental, economic and social transformations in the Asia-Pacific region

The RE&D program has a critical mass of scholars working on issues that matter to governments, businesses and communities in the Asia-Pacific region. RE&D researchers cover areas including environmental sustainability, climate change, rural development, forestry, land tenure, food security, gender inequality, environmental justice, extractive industries and natural resource management.
RE&D Scholars work in disciplines ranging from environmental and ecological economics and policy, political ecology, human geography, and the anthropology of development. This diversity creates an exciting, cross-disciplinary dialogue. We offer PhD students a solid grounding in diverse approaches, methodologies of research, and analytical tools for policy analysis.

While our research is primarily focused on South Asia, China, Southeast Asia, Melanesia and Australia, we also work on major global issues that impact on regional and local environmental sustainability.

Prospective PhD candidates please follow these steps.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

To be admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy, Resource, Environment and Development program you are required to have achieved:

• First Class Honours from an Australian Go8 university or equivalent


• A minimum of an H2A degree with a minimum weighted average of 75 from an Australian Go8 university or equivalent.


• A Master’s Degree in social science or related fields of social studies with a proven academic publication record as a first author. These will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

You may be granted admission if you can demonstrate that you have a background equivalent to these qualifications.

If you are interested and meet the requirements, you should identify potential supervisors among the faculty and contact the RE&D PhD Convenor or the potential supervisors with an outline of the proposed research and a CV.

All applicants must meet the University’s English Language Admission Requirements for Students

Step 2: Look for two possible supervisors

Please look through the Environmental Studies and Resource Management Webpage to search for supervisors. Please note that some of the academics listed might not be available to take on more students. (

Applicants must have two confirmed supervisors willing to be your proposed supervisors. Both supervisors must be in the same research field and preferably in the same program (as the proposed primary supervisor in RE&D). Both supervisors must be academics at ANU.

At ANU, higher degree research students have a primary supervisor and a panel of co-supervisors and/or advisors. If you apply for an RE&D PhD, the primary supervisor and at least one of the co-supervisors needs to be from RE&D. RE&D supervisory panels are typically made up of experienced senior academics, mid- and early-career researchers working in the field of interest to the student and one or more colleagues from disciplinary areas that relate to the student’s topic.

Step 3: Write the thesis proposal within 7-8 pages

All applicants should include a section in their application detailing the viability of their project in the context of COVID restrictions. This section should either (a) explain how the project is not dependent on travel and/or fieldwork and therefore feasible regardless of restrictions in these domains; or (b) provide a 12-month plan outlining how the project will proceed if the current restrictions on fieldwork and travel continue. Applicants should discuss the viability of their research project under COVID restrictions with their proposed supervisors prior to submitting the application.


Give a precise and informative description of the project.


A summary of the proposed research (approximately 7-8 pages) that includes the key research question or hypothesis, the rationale for the research, the region under study, and the method to be employed in the research.

Aims & significance

A clearly focused statement of the overall purpose of the proposed research (ie, why is it important?).

Research questions &/or hypotheses

The questions that the proposed research will address and/or the hypotheses that will be tested.

Literature review

You need to demonstrate that are aware of the wider literature published internationally and your research can be engaged with the on-going debates. Therefore, you need to provide a preliminary review of the key research that has already been carried out in the field and identification of the gaps in the literature that the proposed research aims to fill.


It is crucially important for a proposal to spell out at least initial ideas for the methodology. You should discuss how the proposed methodology is appropriate for the proposed project, and indicate the likely feasibility of the proposed approach. Give an explanation of what type of data will be required and how it will be collected, and how the data will be analysed.


An indication of how the research will be carried out over the duration of a full-time (3 years for PhD) or part-time (6 years for PhD) candidature.


An indication of the funding that will be required over the course of the candidature (eg, for fieldwork) and options for procuring external funding, as well any special materials or training that may be necessary for the successful completion of the project.

Institutional fit

A statement on why RE&D is suitable for your project and an indication of potential supervisors/advisors.


A list of references cited in or relevant to the proposal.

Step 4: Submit an expression of interest and contact the potential supervisors

Before submitting an application for admission, you must submit an expression of interest by emailing the following documents to two potential supervisors.
• Curriculum vitae (CV)
• Academic transcripts
• IELTS/TOEFL results (if applicable)
• Thesis proposal (7-8 pages)

Your potential supervisors might arrange an interview with you either in person or by phone.

Step 5: Make a formal application to ANU

• A minimum of 3 letters of reference. (At least 2 must be academic references)

• Have two confirmed Crawford school supervisors willing to be your proposed supervisors. Both supervisors must be in the same program and research field as the proposed supervisor.

Once both supervisors have interviewed you and signed off on your proposal, you may then submit an online application. Your application will be sent to the Crawford HDR Admissions Committee for assessment at the next Crawford HDR Admissions meeting. Please contact the Crawford HDR Coordinator for more information and see PhD programs for application due dates.

For further information and advice, see ANU Study Options (PhD) and College of Asia and Pacific.

Coursework Requirement

Students entering the PhD program in the RE&D Group are required to undertake 12 units of coursework choosing from the following list. If you apply for exemption from any of the below coursework, you will still need to choose other courses to meet the required 12 units of coursework. Discuss other courses with your supervisor.

  • EMDV9102 Research Methods for Environmental Management (Semester 1, 6 units)

  • EMDV9008 Research Proposal (Semester 1, 6 units)

  • EMDV9066 Research Project (Semester 2, 12 units)

Please note same dates/times and course information as EMDV8102, EMDV8008, EMDV8066.

If the student has received equivalent previous training in research methods through either graduate coursework or professional experience, exemptions from these courses could be sought, with the approval the student’s supervisor. This will be considered on an individual basis.

A student may also be asked to undertake additional courses if the supervisor considers it necessary to aid the successful completion of their dissertation. The following is a list of Master degree courses available at Crawford School of Public Policy that could be included:
- Master of Climate Change
- Master of Environmental Management and Development

Updated:  18 July 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team