Doctor of Medical Science

(DMedSc) KA003 or DRHMEDSCI1000

What is the Doctor of Medical Science (DMedSc) degree at the University of Sydney?

The Doctor of Medical Science (DMedSc) is a higher doctorate, introduced to replace the previous higher doctorate, the Doctor of Medicine (MD), when the MD replaced the MBBS as the primary medical degree effective from 2014.

The DMedSc is awarded for published work which, in the opinion of the examiners, constitutes a distinguished contribution to knowledge or creative achievement and is recognised by scholars in the relevant field as constituting a distinguished contribution to knowledge or creative achievement in that field.

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 one's career is well established, rather than at the beginning, for an outstanding contribution to knowledge through a substantial body of research.

How is a distinguished contribution to knowledge assessed?

The published work may be regarded as a distinguished contribution to knowledge if:

  • it represents a significant advance in knowledge in the relevant field;
  • it has caused, or become a major part of, a significant debate among scholars in the relevant field (including in books and journals); or
  • it has caused significant changes in the direction of research or in the practice of recognised scholars in the relevant field.

How many publications are needed 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 DMedSc is usually awarded to researchers with an established career. In general, the body of work submitted for consideration should have been undertaken after the award of a research training degree.

*For further information on ERA-eligibilty see

Eligibility for admission to candidature

To be eligible for admission to candidature, the applicant must;

  • hold a medical degree from the University of Sydney (i.e. MD awarded after 2017 or MBBS) that was conferred ten or more years prior to the application date; or
  • have been a full-time member of the academic staff of the University of Sydney for at least five years (or pro-rata part-time), or have held an academic title at Sydney Medical School for at least five years, and be a graduate of the University of Sydney, or a graduate of another institution deemed as having equal standing to that of the University of Sydney. The degree on the basis of which admission is being sought must have been conferred ten or more years prior to the application date.

How to apply

Prospective candidates 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.

The following will need to be submitted as part of the application:

  • An Application For Admission form is available from This includes details of the applicant’s academic qualifications and their association with the University;
  • A list of the published work that the candidate proposes to submit for examination;
  • A description of the themes of the published work; and
  • 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
  • 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 must be included.

For further information prospective students can contact:

Prima Facie worthiness

Applications are continuously open and you will be able to enroll in the first available Research Period after your application has been processed.

Applications will be assessed by the DMedSc Prima Facie Committee of Sydney Medical School which is comprised of the Associate Dean (Postgraduate Studies) (or his/her nominee), as chair, and three to four Professors of Sydney Medical School, nominated by the Dean. In addition, the head of the relevant discipline (or his/her nominee) will be asked to review the application and provide an assessment of the contribution to the chosen field.

The Prima Facie Committee will consider whether:

  • the applicant is eligible for admission to candidature;
  • the published work is in a field appropriate for the nominated degree;
  • the Faculty is able to examine the published work at the required level; and
  • the applicant should be admitted to candidature.

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 DMedSc 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 Research Period five copies of the published work. 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 principle 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 research period when the students are ready to submit their thesis. In 2017 the fees will be as follows:

Research Periods Domestic International
Research Period 1 RP1 $4,843 RP1 $7,181
Research Period 2 RP2 $9,657 RP2 $14,319
Research Period 3 RP3 $7,250 RP3 $10,750
Research Period 4 RP4 $7,250 RP4 $10,750

The thesis

The thesis should be on international standard A4 size paper sewn and bound in boards covered with bookcloth, buckram or other binding fabric. Electronic submission of theses is possible when examiners agree to review the thesis in this form. Candidates should indicate their wish to submit electronically at the time of enrolment to allow Student Services to ascertain the examiners’ preference.

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 and 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 set of covers.

The examination process

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.

Outcome of the examination

When all examiners have reported, the Prima Facie Committee will reconvene and make one of the following recommendations:

  • recommend to the Academic Board that the degree be awarded;
  • recommend to the Academic Board that the degree not be awarded;
  • recommend to the Academic Board the appointment of a further examiner or examiners.

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 conditions outlined in the thesis section above, to Student Services for lodgment 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.

Further Reading

Please read this document in conjunction with the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011



The Course Resolutions for the Doctor of Medical Science have been superseded by the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 (PDF) and the Thesis and Examination of Higher Degree by Research Policy 2015 (PDF). (11 September2017)

These rules are found in the Policy Register.

Further Information

Prospective students can contact: