University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Postgraduate research

Master of Philosophy

(MPhil) KC083

Master of Surgery (by Research)

(MS) KC000

Doctor of Philosophy

(PhD) KB000

Doctor of Medicine

(MD) KA000

What is a research degree?

Research degrees are very different from coursework degrees in that the majority of work is self-directed study with supervision by a group of academics, working on a project that aims to make an original contribution to knowledge. Some degrees require a limited amount of coursework, but at least two-thirds of the degree must be by research for the degree to be considered a higher degree by research.

Apart from any required coursework, the assessment of a research degree is through the examination of a thesis written by the student. The thesis is sent to a group of examiners and their recommendations form the basis for the outcome of the examination.

The four research degrees currently offered by the Sydney Medical School are the Master of Philosophy, the Master of Surgery (Research), the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Medicine.

Governance, including the resolutions, or reference to where the resolutions for the postgraduate degrees by research can be found, are covered in this chapter. The information in this chapter provides a summary and is subordinate to the provisions of relevant degree resolutions.

Financial information about research degrees

With the exception of the Doctor of Medicine, the federal government funds a number of places in research higher degrees for domestic students, currently defined as Australian and New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents. This is known as the Research Training Scheme (RTS), and more information can be found at

This means that tuition fees for domestic students are covered by RTS for periods defined by the scheme.

International students are required to pay fees for each year they are enrolled for the duration of the degree. See the postgraduate course database for information on the fees for 2011.

There are a number of scholarships available for domestic students to assist with living costs, and a limited number for international students. Information about University-wide scholarships for domestic students can be found at
and for Sydney Medical School scholarships.

The scholarships database at provides information on scholarships for both domestic and international students.

Theses: production and examination

Before commencing writing up their thesis, students are strongly urged to read The Thesis Guide published by the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA), which can be found on the SUPRA website:

Details on submitting a thesis for research degrees other than the MD can be found on the Sydney Medical School's website

This website covers such information as options for thesis submission, timing of thesis submission, selection of examiners, types of thesis examination, preparing for submission of the thesis, the examination process, possible examination outcomes, appeals, deferment of public availability of theses, submission of corrected thesis and continuation of borrowing privileges after submission of the thesis.