Graduate Studies Office

Welcome to Postgraduates from the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs


It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to postgraduate study at The University of Sydney.

This is the beginning of an exciting journey for you.

Whether you are joining the university for the first time or are returning, you have selected one of Australia’s best universities, where opportunities for personal and professional growth abound. The University of Sydney is a high quality research institution, of both national and international significance, and home to the best researchers. You have now joined a life-long learning community whose influence will extend far beyond the next few years. As part of that community, you will be in contact with the best researchers and scholars in the country and indeed the world.

As you embark on postgraduate study, your learning will be much more self-directed, and at times, enormous creativity will be required of you. The university has a vast array of services and support in place for you since we understand that as you begin to form your research agenda you may need extra support in a range of areas: technical, administrative, methodological, pedagogical. These services are here because of the incredible value of postgraduates to our university. We do not want you to fail. You are central to the whole knowledge making enterprise that constitutes a university. Without you, the upcoming generation of researchers and scholars, without your critical enquiry, there is no university.

Knowledge and scholarship know no international boundaries

A special welcome to our international students. You are a part of the 10,500 international students now studying at Sydney. Australia needs your perspective, your research expertise, and your cultural contributions. You will enrich our campus life. We hope that the friendships, the collegial contacts, and the scholarly networks that you build here will last you a lifetime. We hope too that the contributions to knowledge and to the broader community you make during your stay will benefit not only you, but Australia, and your home countries.

A personal reflection

When I first embarked on postgraduate study, which was a PhD, there was noticeably less guidance, deadlines and structure than experienced in my undergraduate years. I was expected to produce a research plan on the basis of very little experience of research and my ideas were suddenly very exposed, open and out in the world for all to see. Would I be up to the task? I needed to take responsibility for my ideas that I had not really felt before. My only confidante was my supervisor and there seemed no ground rules as to how to use him. Should I discuss every little issue with him, every concern, or only the big ones?

I soon discovered this experience of isolation and trepidation was only temporary. As my project took shape, as my grasp of the knowledge base grew, there was a growing excitement that I was engaged in something much bigger than myself. I was linked to a world-wide network of researchers, and gradually became a scholar and a researcher. Those generic lessons I learned, of writing, planning, arguing, project management, were probably more important in my case than the final outcome to the discipline.

Everyone is here to help you

Should you identify any problems as you engage with your research, seek assistance early. Approach your supervisor, or other academic staff. You are not alone. Seek out other students too. Ensure that you become part of a peer group of some kind. They may not be doing the same things as you, but there will be enough common experiences to help you overcome any adversity. I highly recommend you use the University’s resources for postgraduates, such as career planning, commercialisation training, information literacy, writing, and information technology.

Enjoy your postgraduate study, give it your all, and you will be well rewarded

Postgraduate study can be an extremely satisfying experience. It is truly transformative for an individual, and in some cases it fundamentally transforms the knowledge base.

This will be the journey of your life and I wish you well.

Professor Marie Carroll