Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a degree completed entirely by research. Students undertaking this degree will work with an allotted supervisor and an associate supervisor. The degree is available in both full-time and part-time modes. Full-time candidature is normally three to four years of study, while part-time candidates can take up to eight years.

Course Convenor

Associate Professor Ruth Phillips
T 02 9351 6899
Room 741, Education Building, A35
E

Direct entry

Direct entry candidates may be required to attend lectures, or enrol in units of study subject to the supervisor's and nominated faculty officer's approval.

Applicants may qualify if their research proposal is accepted and they satisfy one of the criteria listed below:

  • a bachelor's degree with first or second-class honours in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis based on primary data, not a literature review
  • a master's degree by research in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis that draws on primary data
  • a master's degree by coursework with a 12,000 to 15,000 words research thesis or dissertation that draws on primary data, not a literature review, with a grade point average of at least 80 percent in the degree.

Conditions of candidature

PhD candidates are required to complete a probationary year and to produce an extended thesis proposal (10,000 to 12,000 words) at the end of their first year of full-time or the part-time equivalent candidature. The normal length of a PhD thesis is approximately 80,000 words. Examination is by presentation of the thesis.

The Rules governing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy are the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 and the Postgraduate Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The most recent versions of these rules are found on the Policy Register sydney.edu.au/policies.

Pathway A entry

Pathway A entry is open to applicants whose research proposal is accepted and who satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • a bachelor's degree with first or second-class honours in an appropriate area of study, but which did not include a research thesis, or
  • a master's degree by coursework (with no thesis or dissertation component) with a grade point average of at least 75 percent and an amount of scholarly writing and/or research expertise which, in the opinion of the admissions committee, is equivalent to a master's research thesis. Copies of these must be submitted with the application.

Pathway A conditions

Pathway A candidates are required to complete one core unit of study and at least one other elective unit from the units of study list below:

Unit of study Credit points A: Assumed knowledge P: Prerequisites C: Corequisites N: Prohibition Session

Pathway A

Core units - Education

EDPZ5003
Thesis Proposal Writing
6   
Note: Department permission required for enrolment

Semester 1
Semester 2

Core units - Social Work

SCWK6902
Social Research
6      Semester 1
Semester 2

Elective units

EDPK5001
Qualitative Methods
6      Semester 1
Semester 2
EDPK5002
Quantitative Methods
6      Semester 1

Pathway A

Core units - Education

EDPZ5003 Thesis Proposal Writing

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Gabrielle Meagher with student's supervisor Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: weekly workshops across 2 semester with Professor Meagher and regular contact with supervisor. Times to be negotiated with supervisor - flexible delivery Assessment: 1x4000-10000wd research proposal (100%) as applicable to the award Campus: Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit is designed to support PhD, EdD, DSW and MPhil students as they prepare their thesis proposals for formal review and approval, through a program of workshops organised around issues in thinking, reading and writing about research design and practice. Workshops explore a range of approaches to writing about research practice and emphasise the common logic of the research process, and the importance of rigorous and systematic approaches to writing about design and analysis in all research traditions.

Core units - Social Work

SCWK6902 Social Research

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Margot Rawsthorne Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr seminar/week Assessment: 1x2000wd Ethics essay (30%); 1x1000wd blog posting (20%); and 1x3000wd research proposal (50% ) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study introduces students to a range of research methods and focus on quantitative and qualitative methods. Many other research issues in developing a research proposal will be addressed through the semester. It is intended that, at the conclusion of this unit, students will have developed a research project able to implement through either further study or in workplaces.

Elective units

EDPK5001 Qualitative Methods

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Murray Print Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: S1: 1x2hr seminar/week x 13 weeks; S2: 2 x 2 hrs/week x 6 weeks Assessment: observation and report (50%) and interview and report (50%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces students to the major issues underlying qualitative research. It examines the relationship between research questions and appropriate study designs, as well as the issues of sampling and ethical considerations. Students will develop extensive skills in the use of various interviewing and observation techniques.
EDPK5002 Quantitative Methods

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Rachel Wilson Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2hr seminar/week Assessment: portfolio of quantitative research methods (40%) and research analysis using SPSS (40%) and presentations (10%); and 2 multiple choice class tests (10%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces students to the basic principles and procedures of quantitative research. Both experimental and survey research strategies are considered; starting with design and development of the research tools (measures, questionnaires, interviews, observation) and progressing to basic analytical statistical methods. The unit provides a thorough introduction to simple statistics and often looks at real research data examples. By the end of the semester students will have developed various research skills as well as a critical perspective on the appropriate application of those skills.