University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Master of Science

Presentation of theses – for research degrees

The following information is presented for the guidance of candidates. It should be regarded as a summary only. Candidates should also consult Policy Online, the Postgraduate Studies Handbook and the Faculty of Science for the most current and detailed advice.

Formal requirements

Number of copies to be submitted for the Doctor of Philosophy: 4

Number of copies to be submitted for the Master of Science: 3

The four copies of theses submitted for examination for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and the three copies of theses submitted for examination for the degree of Master of Science may be bound in either a temporary or a permanent form.

Theses submitted in temporary binding should be strong enough to withstand ordinary handling and postage. Full details of requirements for the Master of Science (Research) may be found in the following section.

The degree shall not be awarded until the candidate has submitted a permanently bound copy of the thesis (containing any corrections or amendments that may be required) and printed on acid-free or permanent paper.

The thesis shall be accompanied by a certificate from the supervisor stating whether in the supervisor's opinion the form of presentation of the thesis is satisfactory.

Theses in permanent form shall normally be on International Standard A4 size paper sewn and bound in boards covered with bookcloth or buckram or other binding fabric.

The title of the thesis, the candidate's initials and surname, the title of the degree, the year of submission and the name of the University of Sydney should appear in lettering on the front cover or on the title page.

The lettering on the spine, reading from top to bottom, should conform as far as possible to the above except that the name of the University of Sydney may be omitted and the thesis title abbreviated. Supporting material should be bound in the back of the thesis as an appendix or in a separate sheet of covers.

Additional information

At the request of the Academic Board, the Science Faculty has resolved that a thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words. With the permission of the Chair of the Faculty of Science's Postgraduate Studies Committee, a thesis may have an absolute upper limit of 100,000 words.

Amendments do not have to involve rekeying if a black ink/biro amendment is clear. Amendments can also be made by way of an appendix to the thesis.

Candidates are advised to consult the SUPRA publication, Practical Aspects of Producing a Thesis at the University of Sydney, for other guidelines and suggestions in addition to the formal requirements above.


Within the Faculty of Science, there are no formal requirements or guidelines other than those listed above. There are no requirements for single/double spacing or single/double sided presentation, nor font size, figure presentation, format of bibliographic citations, etc.

Candidates should, however, be aware that if the degree is awarded, the thesis becomes a public document, the quality of which reflects on the ability of the candidate. Moreover, utilising a format that will make the examiners' tasks easier is obviously sensible.

Course rules


Master of Science

These resolutions must be read in conjunction with applicable University By-laws, Rules and policies including (but not limited to) the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 (the 'HDR Rule'), the Academic Board resolutions relating to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy and the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 (as amended).

Course resolutions

Part 1: Preliminary

1 Course codes


Course and stream title


Master of Science

Part 2: Admission requirements

2 Eligibility for admission to candidature

To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean or Associate Dean, an applicant must hold or have completed the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney, with first or second class honours.
The Dean or Associate Dean may admit to candidature an applicant who does not meet the requirements of sub-clause (1), provided that the applicant holds a qualification or qualifications that, in the opinion of the Faculty Board of Postgraduate Research, are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).

3 Application for admission to candidature

An applicant for admission to candidature must submit to the Faculty:
satisfactory evidence of the applicant's eligibility for admission;
a proposed course of research and advanced study, approved by the Head of the Department in which the work is to be undertaken; and
a statement certifying the applicant's understanding that, subject to the HDR Rule, if the candidature is successful, his or her thesis will be lodged with the University Librarian and made available for immediate public use.

4 Credit transfer

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the granting of credit for previous studies, including the effect on completion times.

Part 3: Candidature

5 Appointment of supervisor

The Head of Department will appoint a supervisor and associate supervisor for each candidate in accordance with the HDR Rule and Academic Board policies on postgraduate research higher degree supervision.

6 Control of candidature

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the control of candidature by the University.

7 Location of candidature and attendance

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the location of candidature and attendance by candidates at the University.

Part 4: Requirements

8 Degree requirements

To satisfy the requirements of the degree candidates must:
complete any specified probationary requirements;
complete any prescribed units of study;
conduct research on an approved topic; and
write a thesis embodying the results of the research.

9 The thesis

A candidate shall produce a thesis that meets the requirements specified in HDR Rule.
The thesis would generally be expected to be less than 80,000 words.

Part 5: Enrolment and progression

10 Probation

A candidate is normally accepted for candidature on a probationary basis for a period not exceeding one year according to the provisions of the HDR Rule.
In the probationary period each candidate must:
complete any specified units of study;
develop and present a refined research proposal to the satisfaction of the supervisor and Head of Department; and
demonstrate adequate English language competency for the completion of the degree.

11 Time limits, earliest and latest submission dates

The HDR Rule specifies the allowable completion times and submission dates available for full- and part-time candidates in this course.

12 Mode of attendance

The attendance pattern for this course is full-time or part-time according to candidate choice. Visa requirements commonly restrict international students to full-time study only.
A full-time candidate shall pursue candidature continuously throughout the year, except for a period of recreation leave (usually four weeks) and shall not have any substantial employment during the day.
A candidate who does not comply with the attendance requirements set out in sub-clause (2) shall be regarded as a part-time candidate.

13 Discontinuation of candidature

A candidate may discontinue enrolment in a unit of study or the degree subject to the conditions specified by the HDR Rule.

14 Suspension of candidature

A candidate may suspend enrolment from the degree subject to the conditions specified by the HDR Rule.

15 Leave of absence

A candidate may take leave of absence from the degree subject to the conditions specified by the HDR Rule.

16 Progress

A candidate is required to maintain satisfactory progress towards the timely completion of the degree. Progress will be reviewed annually according to the provisions of the HDR Rule.

Part 6: Examination

17 Examination of the thesis

Examination of the thesis will be conducted in general accordance with standards prescribed by Academic Board for the Doctor of Philosophy, except that:
three copies of the thesis shall be submitted by the candidate;
two examiners will be appointed by the Faculty, at least one of whom shall be external to the University; and
the Faculty Board of Postgraduate Research committee will act in place of the PhD Award Sub-Committee.

18 Award of the degree

The degree is awarded at the Pass level only.

Part 7: Other

19 Transitional provisions

These course resolutions apply to students who commenced their candidature after 1 January, 2012 and students who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January, 2012 who elect to proceed under these resolutions.
Candidates who commenced prior to 1 January, 2012 may complete the requirements in accordance with the resolutions in force at the time of their commencement, provided that requirements are completed within the time limits specified in those resolutions. The Faculty may specify a later date for completion or specify alternative requirements for completion of candidatures that extend beyond this time.