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PhD Program: A Deeper View

The Business School offers two research degrees, either full or part time, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Master of Philosophy (MPhil).

The research degree year is split into four Research Periods rather than two semesters to give candidates great flexibility once enrolled in the program. The research periods are as follows:

Research Period Duration of Research Period


1 January to 28 February


1 March to 30 June


1 July to 30 September


1 October to 31 December

Doctor of Philosophy

Duration of the PhD is 3 to 4 years full time equivalent. Candidates must successfully complete 12 months probation and all coursework requirements in order to continue in the program.

Master of Philosophy

Duration of the MPhil is 18 months to 2 years full time equivalent. Candidates must successfully complete a 12 month probation period and all coursework requirements.

Research Thesis Proposal Defence

All candidates must formally defend their research thesis proposal within 10 to 14 months of commencement (full time equivalent). The goal is to ensure that the proposed research is worthwhile, meaningful, viable and feasible, and can be completed within the timeframe given the resource constraints of the program.


All Business School HDR candidates must complete formal research training/coursework as part of their degree requirements. The purpose of the coursework is to provide students with the research skills and methodological training required for their thesis work and beyond. The Business School Research Unit runs various units in-house exclusively for HDR candidates, with small classes and expert tuition, and a rich learning environment. All PhD and MPhil candidates must complete a minimum of 3 units of study. This study must include BUSS7901 Research Design (which must be taken in the first research period), BUSS7902 Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods (which must be taken within 10 months of enrolment) and either BUSS7904 Advanced Quantitative Methods or BUSS7906 Advanced Qualitative Methods (which must be taken within 24 months of enrolment).  In addition to these units, students are free to take any additional units deemed important for their research training. Other units or courses within the School, the university or other external institutions can be considered. There is no upper limit on these additional units but all formal coursework must be completed within 24 months of enrolment. Candidates are required to maintain a distinction average in their coursework.

Upgrade from MPhil to PhD

Upgrading to the PhD program from the MPhil is not automatic. A request to upgrade will be based on successful completion of:

  • The probationary period
  • Three units of study, including the core unit BUSS7901 Research Design
  • Thesis Proposal Defence
  • Annual Progress Reviews. Progress must be considered satisfactory.

Candidates require approval from their supervisor, Postgraduate Research Coordinator and the Director of Doctoral Studies. Please note there is no guarantee that an application to upgrade will be successful.

The time spent in the MPhil degree will be credited toward the PhD.

Candidature in the MPhil is governed by the policies and regulations in place at the date of initial enrolment. If, at a later date, a candidate chooses to upgrade to a PhD, the policies and regulations in place at the date of initial enrolment in the PhD will govern the remainder of the candidature.

An upgrade from the MPhil to the PhD will not be considered if the candidate has commenced the fourth semester of enrolment (full-time equivalent) in the MPhil.

Tuition Fees

Please note that international students are required to pay tuition fees. For domestic student fees are covered under the Federal Government's Research Training Scheme.

Application Process

The Business School has two intakes a year in Research Period 2 and Research Period 3.

Pre application

Complete an Expression of Interest form and forward with attachments to the Business School Research Unit. This allows the School to check that you meet the minimum academic entry requirements for the research program; that the School has the resources to support your research project to completion; and that suitable supervision is available.

Deadlines for EOI:

For commencement in: EOI* lodged by:

Research Period 2

1 September

Research Period 3

1 March

*A complete EOI must be lodged by the deadline above. This means all required documents must attached.
Outcome of EOI:

  • You will be invited to complete a formal application (see below)


  • Applicant is ineligible to apply. A reason will be given.

Formal Application

Step 1 Applicant apply online at: Apply to the University of Sydney
Step 2 The application is initially checked by Admissions staff. If the application is complete it is forwarded to the Business School Research Unit. All international students must provide proof that the English language requirement is met at this stage. Note: incomplete applications cannot be processed and will not move past this stage until requested documents are provided.
Step 3 Business School Research Unit checks the application and obtains required approvals.
Step 4 Offer letter is issued by the Admissions Team.

All enquiries please contact the Business School Research Unit at or 9036 5372.

Application closing dates

International students

  • Research Period 2 - 30 October
  • Research Period 3 - 30 April

Local students

  • Research Period 2 - 31 October for applicants applying for scholarships or 30 November for those not applying for scholarships.
  • Research Period 3 - 31 May


  • Only complete applications can be processed. Applications that have been received but that remain incomplete at the closing date will be considered for the next semester intake.
  • No extension of the above deadlines is possible. Applications received after the published closing dates will automatically be assessed for the next intake.