University curriculum reforms: an international comparative study

Investigating policies, networks and learning
across universities worldwide

This project aims to give a comparative analysis of curriculum reforms in selected universities across six developed and developing countries to support curriculum development in higher education. This involves investigating policy flows, networks and learning between universities in different countries.

The outcomes of this project will enrich comparative understandings of developments for universities, governments and influential international organisations, as well as provide an evidence base that will contribute to the field of comparative education and support curriculum policy development at university level, ultimately enhancing connectivity between universities and wider communities.

This project is led by UWA professors Tom O’Donoghue and Lesley Vidovich, and is supported by a three-year Australian Research Council grant (2018–2020).

If you are interested in studying within this area, you may like the units, International and Comparative Education, and Improving Learning and Teaching in the Curriculum, and Education Policy Trends: Global to Local.


Facilitate policy learning in the area of university curricula in a competitive global knowledge economy

Directly impact on the development of innovative Australian university curriculum policies and practices

Provide a knowledge base to facilitate the attraction of students and staff to Australian universities

PhD opportunities

Culminating in the writing of a suitable thesis, this project involves engaging in ethnographic-based fieldwork. It also requires obtaining access to archives in which relevant historical and contemporary documents are located and analysing them.

The PhD applicant should have an intimate and tangible knowledge of the university or universities to be studied, as well as to have professional connections within the given country to facilitate access to research sites.

We suggest that prospective applicants read the following prior to applying:

  • Valdebenito MacFarlane, V., O’Donoghue, T., and Vidovich, L. (2018) ‘Transforming university curriculum policies for a global knowledge society in Chile’, in T. O’Donoghue and S. Clarke (eds.) New Directions in Research on Education Reconstruction in Challenging Circumstances (Ontario: Queen’s University Open Monograph Series).


  • O’Donoghue, T. and Vidovich, L. (2017). Investigating global-local networks and policy learning in university curriculum policy transformations: A focus on case studies from the Asia-Pacific Region. International Journal of Educational Reform, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 305–320.
  • O’Donoghue, T. (2017). Understanding Contemporary Education: Key Themes and Issues (London: Routledge).
  • Ledger, S., Vidovich, L. and O’Donoghue, T. (2015). ‘International and remote schooling: Global to local curriculum policy dynamics in Indonesia.’ The Asia Pacific Education Researcher, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 695–703.
  • Ledger, S., Vidovich, L. and O’Donoghue, T. (2014). Global to Local: Curriculum Policy Processes: (The Netherlands: Springer).
  • Vidovich, L., O’Donoghue, T. and Tight. M. (2012) ‘Transforming university curriculum policies in a global knowledge era: Mapping a global-local research agenda. Educational Studies, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2012, pp. 283–295.

Contact Professor Tom O’Donoghue or Professor Lesley Vidovich