University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Sydney is a higher research degree awarded for a thesis considered to make a substantial and original contribution to knowledge. The length of the doctoral thesis varies but would not be expected to exceed 80,000 words.

Many candidates will have decided on a topic or area of study before applying for a research degree and are required to attach a research proposal as part of the application procedure. We strongly recommend that you discuss the proposed research project with an academic member of staff before making your application.

Guidance on preparing a research proposal or finding a research supervisor may be obtained by contacting the Director of Research Students and Research Development at Sydney Nursing School.

All conditions relating to this degree outlined below should be read in conjunction with the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 and Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Some coursework may be required to support the development of research skills and improve understanding of research methods as part of candidature, but this would not constitute a major component of a doctoral degree.

PhD students are expected to attend and actively participate in the research workshops held at the beginning of Semester 1 and the end of Semester 2 each year. Students will gain valuable insights and have opportunities for research skill development through exposure to national and international researchers invited to the annual Sydney Nursing School Research Week.

Students would normally be required to present their work to colleagues and peers up to three times throughout their candidature, coinciding with key milestones in scoping and developing the project, refining the method, and communicating the findings of their research. PhD students are required to complete a period of probationary candidature in accordance with the degree resolutions and also undergo an annual progress review and interview.

Admission requirements

Candidates should hold a bachelor's degree with first or upper-second-class honours, a master's coursework degree with a significant research component, completion of selected postgraduate advanced learning programs from Sydney Nursing School, or equivalent work-related research experience or research publications.

Sydney Nursing School’s advanced learning master's degree as entry to a PhD:
Candidates should hold a 60 credit point advanced learning master's degree from Sydney Nursing School, with at least credit average for 12 credit points of research coursework and at least distinction level for the Capstone (Thesis) unit.


PhD students are expected to work independently with guidance from a primary supervisor and one or more associate supervisors on a research program or project that will make a substantial and original contribution to knowledge within the disciplines of nursing, midwifery, health and health care more broadly.

Time limits

Candidates can proceed on a full- or part-time basis. The normal maximum length of candidature would be three years full time and six years part time.