Doctor of Medical Science
(DMedSc) KA003 or DRHMEDSCI1000
The Doctor of Medical Science (DMedSc) is a higher doctorate.
The DMedSc is awarded by published works which, in the opinion of examiners and the Sydney Medical School, have been generally recognised by scholars in the particular field of expertise as a distinguished contribution to knowledge.
The DMedSc, unlike the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), is not a research training degree. It may be described as an award that one would receive when their career is well established, rather than at the beginning, for an outstanding contribution to knowledge through a substantial body of research.
Distinguished contrbution to knowledge
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.
How many publications for a Doctor of Medical Science?
There is no set number of publications an applicant must have to be awarded the degree.
The Prima Facie Committee and the examiners will be asked to judge the work on its quality and based on the criteria above, rather than on the quantity of the papers. As a guide, it would be unusual for the Prima Facie Committee to find that a case for examination exists where there were less than 20 peer-reviewed publications in ERA-eligible journals. Furthermore, the applicant should be able to demonstrate that the body of research has contributed to a chosen field in the way(s) described above. Most commonly this would be through measures of impact including citations by scholars in the field.
As the contribution of a body of research may not become fully apparent until many years after publication, the Doctor of Medical Science is usually awarded to researchers with an established career. No work that has previously been submitted by the applicant for award of a degree at this, or any other university, can be included in a Doctor of Medical Science.
People considering applying for an Doctor of Medical Science are strongly encouraged to discuss their intention to apply with either the head of the relevant discipline or the Associate Dean (Postgraduate Studies) of Sydney Medical School.
Eligibility for admission
To be eligible for admission, an applicant must:
- hold a medical degree from the University of Sydney of at least ten years’ standing.
An applicant may also be eligible for admission to candidature if they:
- hold a degree from the University of Sydney that was conferred ten or more years prior to the application date; or
- hold a degree from another university or institution that was conferred ten or more years prior to the application date; or
- have qualifications that were conferred ten or more years prior to the application date and standing that are determined by the faculty and by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Academic Board to be equivalent to holding a degree from the University;
- have been a full-time member of the academic staff of the University for at least five years (or pro-rata part-time), or
- be recognised by the Academic Board, on the recommendation of the Dean, to have been involved in the teaching and research of the University to an equivalent level.
How to apply
Email: for an application form.
Applications close January 7 for Semester 1 of the current year and June 7 for semester 2 of the current year. If one of these dates fall on a weekend, then the closing date is the last working day prior to that date.
Generally the following will need to be submitted as part of the application:
- a completed application form;
- a list of the published work that will be submitted for examination;
- an overview of the theme of the published work, a statement of how the publications are related to each other and the overall theme, and a self-appraisal of the published work highlighting its significance in relation to research in the field on the world stage including evidence of the impact of the research;
- where there are a large number of publications whose dates range over a period of time and cover a range of subjects, a statement of how these publications are related to one another and to the theme; and
- where jointly authored publications are to be submitted, a statement of the applicant’s role in the initiation, conduct or direction of such conjoint research should be included.
Preliminary assessment of application for admission
Applications will be assessed by the Prima Facie Committee of Sydney Medical School which is comprised of Associate Dean (Postgraduate Studies) (or nominee), as chair, and three to four Professors of faculty, nominated by the Dean. In addition, the head of discipline (or his/her nominee) will be asked to review the application and provide an assessment of the contribution to the chosen field.
See the Rules for further details.
If the Committee finds that a prima facie case exists, it shall ask the Board of Postgraduate Studies that it recommend to the Academic Board:
- the admission to candidature; and
- the appointment of at least three examiners of whom at least two shall be external examiners. Examiners recommended should be known to be familiar with the examination of research theses, should normally still be active in research and/or scholarship and be free from conflict of interest. The Academic Board may appoint examiners in addition to those recommended by Sydney Medical School.
Enrolment and submission of published work
After the Academic Board has admitted the applicant to candidature and appointed examiners, the applicant must enroll as a candidate for the Doctor of Medical Science in the first enrolment period following receipt of his or her offer of admission and must submit to Student Services of Sydney Medical School by the end of that Semester five copies of the published work.
In accordance with the Higher Doctorates part of the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 (as amended) (the 'HDR Rule'), the work must include:
- a description of the theme of the published work;
- a record of original research undertaken by the candidate;
- a statement by the candidate of: (i) the sources from which the information in the work was derived; (ii) the extent to which the work draws on the work of others; and (iii) the portion of the work that the candidate claims as original.
- if the work submitted contains research that was carried out conjointly, a statement by the candidate of the extent to which the candidate was responsible for the initiation, conduct or direction of the research; and
- if the principal publications, as distinct from any supporting papers, incorporate work previously submitted for a degree or diploma at the University or at any other university or institution, a statement by the candidate of those parts of the publications that have previously been submitted.
The Doctor of Medical Science (DMedSc) is a full-fee paying course and applicants are required to enrol for one semester part-time.
Examination process and outcomes
The thesis will be sent to three examiners. Each examiner shall make a separate and independent report on whether the published work meets the requirements for the award of the degree.
The examination process usually takes 6-9 months.
When all examiners have reported, the Prima Facie Committee will reconvene and make one of the following recommendations to the Academic Board:
- that the degree be awarded;
- that the degree not be awarded;
- that further examiner or examiners be appointed.
Please note that there is no provision for amendments or for “revise and resubmit”. The same body of work cannot be submitted for re-examination if the degree is not awarded.
Following notification of the award of the degree the candidate will submit one bound copy of the published work (printed on acid-free archival paper) and conforming to the form of the thesis outlined in the Rules, to Student Services for lodgement with the University Library.
At graduation ceremonies, higher doctorates are generally awarded before other degrees. In awarding the higher doctorate, it is customary for the speaker of the ceremony, usually the Dean, to deliver a citation extolling the achievements of the graduand.
Sydney Medical School resolutions and the printed handbook are the official statement of faculty policy. The resolutions contained in the printed handbook are accurate as at November 2013. If a conflict is perceived between the content of the printed handbook and information available elsewhere, Sydney Medical School resolutions and the information available in the handbook online shall always take precedence.
See the Policy Register at sydney.edu.au/policies.
These resolutions must be read in conjunction with applicable University By-laws, Rules and policies including (but not limited to) the University of Sydney (Coursework) Rule 2014 (the 'Coursework Rule'), the Coursework Policy 2014, the Resolutions of the Faculty, the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 (as amended) and the Academic Board policies on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism. Up to date versions of all such documents are available from the Policy Register: http://www.sydney.edu.au/policies.
Doctor of Medical Science
If a prima facie case exists, the Academic Board may on the recommendation of the Dean, on advice from the Prima Facie Committee, admit the applicant to candidature.
A successful applicant must enrol as a candidate for the higher doctorate in the first enrolment period for one part-time semester following receipt of his or her offer of admission
The candidate must submit to the Dean five copies of the published work (thesis) that meets the requirements of higher doctorates specified in the HDR Rule.
Examination of the thesis shall be conducted in accordance with the HDR Rule.
If the Academic Board decides to award a higher doctorate to the candidate, the candidate must lodge one bound copy of the published work printed on acid-free archival paper with the faculty for lodgment with the University Library.
Prospective students can contact:
The Rules governing Higher Doctorates, University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011) (HDR), are found in Policy Online under - Studying at Sydney.