Master of Philosophy in conjunction with Sydney Medical Program
Further enquiries about this program should be directed to the Office of Research and Research Training.
From 2011 Sydney Medical School offers selected MBBS students the opportunity to complete a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in conjunction with the Sydney Medical Program (SMP).
This program is designed for exceptional SMP students who seek a more extended research experience than that offered in the current MBBS Honours program.
The MPhil will appeal to students who have research ambitions, those who have entered the SMP with a prior Honours degree and those who seek the career advantage of an extra degree.
The MPhil can also be flexibly integrated with longer-term career planning. For example, an MPhil research project could be readily converted into a PhD project with the PhD being completed either by interrupting the SMP or after graduation. The MPhil (or PhD) may facilitate entry into postgraduate specialist training, and the medical colleges may grant those who have completed the research a reduction of up to a year in the duration of their advanced training.
To satisfy the requirements for the MPhil, students must undertake a combination of full-time and part-time research culminating in submission of a thesis.
To achieve this within the SMP, students must commit three summer vacations (at the end of Stage 1, the end of Stage 2 and the end of Year 3 in Stage 3) as well as their Elective Term in Stage 3 to a significant research project. In addition, they will need to find time during the SMP to continue their research project and prepare for their intensive periods of research, e.g. by conducting literature searches, reading and familiarising themselves with the essential research techniques. During the first summer vacation (at the end of Stage 1) students will undertake a preparatory research project. Successful completion of this preliminary research is required for admission to the MPhil (see below).
Students who successfully complete this program will graduate with two degrees (MBBS and MPhil) in the period taken to complete the medical program.
Eligibility and applications
How do I find a supervisor and project?
Conditions and completion requirements
Fees and scholarships
All students in Stage 1 of the medical program are eligible to undertake the MPhil in conjunction with the SMP.
However, students are strongly advised to consider the MPhil only if they perform well in the SMP, i.e. if they obtain good results in the Stage 1 Required Formative and Required Summative Assessments and in the Stage 1 barrier examinations.
The MPhil in conjunction with the SMP is an ambitious choice for students and will be feasible for only a small number in each academic year.
Students who embark on an MPhil and are unable to sustain the effort or are experiencing difficulties in performance in their medical studies, may convert their research project to an MBBS Honours project, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for the Honours program (current students).
Alternatively, students may be able to defer their medical studies for a year in order to complete the MPhil research, however, there would not be any scholarship support from Sydney Medical School for this year (see section below on Scholarships).
Intending MPhil candidates will have to identify a suitable project during Stage1, identify a supervisor, prepare a research proposal for both the preparatory summer research project and the MPhil and have the proposal approved. The application process is now combined with the Sydney Medical School Summer Research Scholarships.
Applications for the summer research project scholarships as a preliminary to enrolling in the in the MPhil are now combined with the Sydney Medical School Summer Research Scholarships. Please see the following page for application details: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/research/srs/apply.php. Applications close 19 September 2013.
Applications are considered by the Research Committee and students will be advised of the outcome of their applications by mid November.
Students whose projects have been approved by the Research Committee will commence their project during the 10 week summer vacation between Stages 1 and 2. This will be taken as a preliminary period of research in which students can demonstrate to supervisors that they have the necessary capacity to undertake an MPhil. Students who receive a satisfactory report from their supervisor at the end of this period may be invited to apply for admission to the MPhil degree at the beginning of Stage 2.
Students are able to identify supervisors and projects through Research Supervisor Connect or by contacting postgraduate co-ordinators.
Alternatively, students can identify supervisors and their expertise through Find a researcher.
What periods of time do I need to dedicate to my research project?
In addition to working on your project during semester time, you will have to dedicate at least 22 weeks (full-time) to your project as follows:
- 10 weeks vacation period between Years 1 and 2 (preliminary research period)
- 6 weeks vacation period between Years 2 and 3
- 6 weeks vacation period between Years 3 and 4
- Elective Term Year 4
Additionally, the 2 weeks after the Pre-Internship Term in Year 4 may be used for writing up of the thesis, if required.
What are the requirements for the Master of Philosophy degree?
The resolutions governing the MPhil may be found in the online handbook.
You will note that students will be required to undertake a unit of study entitled Health Research Methods and Ethics. It is expected that most candidates for the combined MBBS/MPhil degree will be exempt from this requirement, but students who do not have adequate relevant prior research training or experience (as assessed by their supervisor) may be required to successfully complete a unit of study in research methods. Arrangements will be made for this to be taught at a suitable time.
Students will be required to enrol in the MPhil for at least four semesters (part-time), i.e. during Years 2 and 3 of the SMP.
Students will need to submit their thesis by no later than 31 March of Year 4 of the SMP.
Those unable to submit their thesis by that date would be required to re-enrol in the MPhil for at least another semester which would have fee implications for international students.
What fees apply to the MPhil?
There are currently no fees for domestic students enrolling in the MPhil as they are covered by the Federal Government’s Research Training Scheme (RTS).
International students will have to pay additional tuition fees for the MPhil.
These are currently $34,320 per 1 EFTSL (nominal full time year).
Candidates will have to enrol in the MPhil for a minimum of two years part-time, i.e. a minimum of $34,320 is payable in fees at current rates.
What scholarships are available for this program?
Sydney Medical School provides up to 10 scholarships of $300 per week for each of the 22 weeks of full-time research that will have to be dedicated to this program.
These scholarships are open to both domestic and international students.
In the case of international students, Sydney Medical School will also provide up to 5 scholarships of up to $15,000 towards tuition fees.
Scholarship support (other than the first 10 week summer scholarship support) is contingent on students being enrolled in the MPhil concurrently with the MBBS and demonstrating satisfactory progress on their MPhil.
Students who defer or discontinue the MPhil or who defer their medical studies to complete the MPhil will no longer be eligible for scholarship support.