PhD Scholarship in Political Science

Monash University School of Social Sciences


PhD Scholarship in Political Science – A Comparative Study of Election Campaign Promises in Australia

Job No.: 615957

Location: Clayton campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-year and 3-month fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: The successful applicant will receive a Faculty of Arts Research Living Allowance, at current value of $29,500 per annum 2021 full-time rate (tax-free stipend), indexed plus allowances as per RTP stipend scholarship conditions at: Faculty will provide the tuition fee scholarship and Single Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) for a successful international awardee.

The Opportunity

This PhD scholarship is part of an Australian Research Council funded project Promissory Democratic Representation: Campaign Promises in Australia led by Professor Robert Thomson in collaboration with Professor Patrick Dumont at ANU, Professor Lisa Waller at RMIT, and journalists Sushi Das and Russell Skelton at RMIT ABC Fact Check. The PhD researcher will be a member of this team and advised by Professor Thomson and Dr Narelle Miragliotta at Monash University.

The project examines the making, breaking and keeping of campaign promises by political parties in Australia and compares this with other countries. In addition to advancing academic research, the project will strengthen public awareness by creating a promise tracker in collaboration with RMIT ABC Fact Check, a unique partnership that will increase the impact of the research. The project has become ever more important as parties in Australia and overseas formulate plans and promises in relation to the post-pandemic recovery and the ongoing climate crisis.

The PhD researcher will also become part of a large international network, the Comparative Party Pledges Project (CPPP). The CPPP’s work is described in this summary of an article that was published in a leading Political Science journal. The larger project includes the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden and India among many other countries.

Within the supportive framework provided by the ARC project and the CPPP, the PhD researcher will develop and implement their own project. This has several advantages that ensure a firm foundation for an excellent research career. The PhD researcher will be integrated into a highly productive and prominent international research agenda, and will have access to funding to support fieldwork, travel, and conference attendance. The researcher will benefit from expert supervision from research leaders in relevant fields and is expected to become a co-author on joint publications. 

Monash University is the largest university in Australia and ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide. Monash has six globally networked campuses and international alliances in Europe, Asia and the United States. The researcher will be based at the Clayton campus in Melbourne. Social Science at Monash is diverse and vibrant, including research expertise in Politics and International Relations.

Candidate Requirements

The successful applicant will have an excellent academic track record in Political Science or closely related discipline or field such as Public Administration or Policy Analysis. Affinity with both quantitative and qualitative research methods is desirable.  Applicants will be considered if they meet the criteria for PhD admission at Monash University. In its assessment, the Committee will prioritise applicants who hold an equivalent Australian or New Zealand bachelor's degree with first class honours or qualifications (including international) and/or research experience deemed equivalent by the University. Details of eligibility requirements, including English-language proficiency skills, to undertake a PhD in the Faculty of Arts are available at

Scholarship holders must be enrolled full-time and on campus.  Please note: Applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

The successful applicant will enrol in April – October 2021. However, there may be some flexibility as to the date of commencement.


Professor Robert Thomson, School of Social Sciences,

Submit an Expression of Interest

The application consists of the submission of a formal “Expression of Interest,” (EOI) consisting of the following:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement of your suitability
  • A brief research proposal not exceeding 750 words in length relating to campaign promises in Australia in a comparative perspective. The proposal should demonstrate some understanding of the area of research. The research proposal should include a focus on explaining why parties in Australia and other comparable countries make campaign promises of different kinds and why promises are either kept or broken. Theoretical innovations might include identifying the role that key individual policymakers play in making and keeping promises. Methodological innovations might include applying methods for automated text analysis to study campaign promises in large amounts of text in social media and news reports.
  • A curriculum vitae, including a list of any published works, conference presentations and relevant work experience
  • A full statement of academic record, supported by scanned copies of relevant certified documentation
  • Contact details of two academic referees

You are strongly encouraged to contact Professor Robert Thomson by email prior to submission of the EOI to discuss the project. After consulting with Professor Thomson, EOIs should be sent, preferably in the form of a single attachment to an email, to Ms. Kinda Say, Senior Graduate Research Administrator, Faculty of Arts, at the following email address  State “EOI [your name] - PhD Scholarship in Political Science – Campaign Promises” in the subject heading of the email.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed (by video call if necessary).

Closing Date

Monday 15 March 2021, 11:55pm AEDT

In your application, please refer to


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