University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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Postgraduate research

Note: Information in this section should be read in conjunction with the resolutions of the Senate in the University of Sydney Calendar, University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011, the Academic Board Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Resolution and the University Postgraduate Handbook.

The Faculty of Health Sciences currently offers two research higher degrees, the Doctor of Philosophy and the Master of Applied Science.

Higher degree by research students must:
  1. complete enrolment procedures during each year of their candidature (should a student fail to re-enrol or obtain approval for a suspension of candidature within the required period, his or her candidature will lapse), and
  2. complete a progress report and interview annually, and
  3. prepare a substantial piece of research work that represents an original contribution to the particular field of study.
Higher degree by research students are also expected to:
  1. participate regularly in University and faculty forums and conferences, virtual or campus-based, as active members of the research community, and
  2. present their work to their peers at least once a year in research forums.

Wherever possible, at least two supervisors (a primary and an associate) who are members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Health Sciences, should be appointed for each higher degree by research student.

Research Topics

Higher degree by research students may apply to change their research topic, however this requires approval of the Faculty of Health Sciences and students are, encouraged to align their research with the areas of research expertise within the Faculty.

Candidature Variations

Changes to candidature usually require Faculty of Health Sciences approval. Higher degree by research candidature variation forms are all available on the Faculty of Health Sciences HDR Student Portal The forms all include information on relevant policies and required documentation for each particular request.

Upgrading from Masters to PhD

Students in the Master of Applied Science may apply for Faculty of Health Science approval to upgrade to the Doctor of Philosophy after one year of full-time equivalent study. To be eligible, students must have had at least one satisfactory annual progress review, support from their supervisor and an appropriate project proposal (preferably within the Faculty of Health Sciences areas of research excellence).

Thesis submission and examination

Before commencing writing up a thesis, students are strongly urged to read The Thesis Guide published by the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA), which can be found on the SUPRA website

Details on submitting a thesis for research degrees can be found on the Faculty of Health Sciences HDR Student Portal

After the examination of a thesis, the student may be asked to make changes to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Research Group Convenor prior to award of the degree. In this case, students must provide a summary of any emendations made to the thesis, to the relevant Research Group Convenor, prior to final binding.


When students graduate they will receive a testamur stating that they have “passed” the degree, meaning that they have satisfied the requirements. Students in the Master of Applied Science degree will also receive a grade for their thesis on the final transcript.