University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Doctor of Philosophy

CRICOS code Duration
000704A 3 to 4 years

Candidature is for a minimum of three years full time or six years part time, and for a maximum of four years full time or eight years part time.

The Rules governing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy are the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011). The most recent versions of this rule is available on the Policy Register

Entry requirements

  • an undergraduate degree with first or second class (division one) honours in the proposed field of study from an Australian university or equivalent.


  • a master's degree with at least an 80 per cent average and a 25 per cent thesis component in the proposed field of study from an Australian university or equivalent.


  1. When assessing academic qualifications greater weight is placed on the most recent qualification that is relevant to the proposed field of study.
  2. If a prospective applicant does not have a degree in the proposed field of study but meets the grade requirements above then a statement outlining how their degree qualification is relevant to the discipline and the proposed research topic should be provided at the EOI stage. The statement should be up two pages long.


The University's Academic Board has agreed that a probationary period of 12 months for a PhD should be seen as usual practice. Continuation of candidature is conditional upon satisfactory progress being maintained at the Annual Progress Review.

Structure of PhD program

All PhD candidates must complete between a maximum six units of study and a minimum of three units including the core unit, BUSS7901 Research Design. The remaining units will be decided on the basis of the candidate's previous academic record and the area of research they intend to pursue. Candidates must complete at least one qualitative methods and one quantitative methods unit of study. The core unit must be completed in the first semester of candidature. The remaining units must be completed within the first two years (full time equivalent) of candidature.

Units listed below can be substituted with discipline specific units with the approval for the supervisor and the postgraduate research coordinator.

The units of study are:

  • BUSS7901 Research Design (core unit)
  • BUSS7902 Quantitative Research Methods
  • BUSS7903 Qualitative Research Methods
  • BUSS7904 Advanced Analysis for Research
  • BUSS7906 Current Topics in Research Seminar
  • BUSS7907 Applied Quantitative Analysis
  • BUSS7908 Research Readings Seminar.

Research Thesis Defence

All candidates must formally defend their research thesis proposal within 10 to 14 months of commencement (full time equivalent). The goal is to ensure that the proposed research is worthwhile, meaningful, viable and feasible, and can be completed within the timeframe given the resource constraints of the program.

Annual progress review

All research candidates must complete an Annual Progress Report at the end of each academic year. This report allows candidates to reflect on the progress made throughout the year and plan for the following year.