Doctoral supervision in a cross-cultural context: issues affecting supervisors and candidates

Theresa Winchester-Seeto*, Judi Homewood, Jane Thogersen, Christa Jacenyik-Trawoger, Catherine Manathunga, Anna Reid, Allyson Holbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    This article presents an analysis of rich data, gathered from interviews with 46 candidates and 38 supervisors from three Australian universities, about experiences of doctoral supervision in cross-cultural situations. Our analysis shows that many of the issues reported by international candidates are the same as those encountered by domestic candidates. However, this study has identified eight intensifiers that make such situations more complicated or difficult for candidates in a cross-cultural context: language; cultural differences in dealing with hierarchy; separation from the familiar; separation from support; other cultural differences; stereotypes; time; and what happens when the candidate returns home. The two intensifiers mentioned by more than 50% of interviewees are separation from the familiar and language. Using intensifiers as a conceptual framework for self-examination may help universities to better understand the real issues, to target resources, to mitigate distress to international candidates and reduce pressure on supervisors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)610-626
    Number of pages17
    JournalHigher Education Research and Development
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2014


    • candidate
    • cross-cultural
    • doctorate
    • supervision
    • supervisor


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