University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Doctor of Medicine


The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a higher doctorate, and unlike the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is not a research training degree. It may be described as an award that one would receive at the end of one's career, rather than the beginning, for an outstanding contribution to knowledge. The MD is awarded by published work which, in the opinion of examiners and the Sydney Medical School, has been generally recognised by scholars in the particular field of expertise as a distinguished contribution to knowledge.

To be eligible for admission, the applicant must hold the degree of Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Sydney.

Alternatively the Sydney Medical School must deem a graduate of another institution as having equal standing to that of a graduate of the University of Sydney and the applicant must have been a full-time member of the academic staff of the University of Sydney for at least three years or have had similar significant involvement with teaching and research and the applicant must have been a graduate of the University of Sydney (or an equivalent institution) of at least five years standing before the degree of Doctor of Medicine can be awarded.

Published work submitted for examination may be regarded as a distinguished contribution to knowledge if:

  • it represents a significant advance in knowledge in its chosen field
  • or it has given rise to or is a major part of a significant debate in scholarly books and journals among recognised scholars in its chosen field
  • or it has directly given rise to significant changes in the direction of research or of practice of a newer generation of recognised scholars in its chosen field.

There is no set number of publications an applicant must have to be awarded the degree. The Assessment Committee and the examiners will be asked to judge the work on its quality and based on the criteria stated above, rather than on the quantity of the papers.

People considering applying for an MD are advised to contact the Student Services Unit in the first instance.

Further information

Information for prospective students can be found at:

Admission forms are available at:

The Rules governing Higher Doctorates, University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011) (HDR), are found in Policy Online -