Postgraduate Research

Students in research degrees in the Faculty of Science undertake supervised research leading to the writing of a thesis or other piece of written work.

Degrees offered

The Faculty of Science offers the following postgraduate degrees, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Clinical Psychology/Master of Science (DCP/MSc)
  • Master of Science (MSc)

Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree awarded for a thesis considered to be a substantially original contribution to the subject concerned. Some coursework may be required, but in no case is it a major component. Applicants should normally hold a master's degree or a bachelor's degree with first class honours. The usual minimum period of candidature is three years of full-time study, or the equivalent of part-time study.

Master of Science

A research master's degree usually requires one to two years of full-time study or the equivalent of part-time study during which a candidate undertakes supervised research and a thesis, or in some cases coursework and an essay. The entry requirement is usually a bachelor's degree with first or second class honours or equivalent.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements vary according to degree. Applicants must consult the individual admission requirements for each degree given in the relevant resolutions.

Rules covering research

The University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 and the Academic Board Postgraduate Degree of Doctor of Philosophy resolutions govern research in the faculty of Science.

The relevant Senate Resolutions are available in Policy Online at

Presentation of theses

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.