University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Master of Philosophy in the Sydney Nursing School

The Master of Philosophy is a research degree awarded for a thesis focusing on research within the disciplines of nursing and midwifery or within health and health care. A unit of coursework may be required to support the development of research skills and improve understanding of research methods. Candidates work independently on a research project under the guidance of supervisors appointed by Sydney Nursing School.

For admission requirements please refer to the course rules for this degree outlined below. Students intending to apply for candidature must submit a research proposal with their application.


The Master of Philosophy is a research-based degree assessed by the examination of a thesis of a maximum of 60,000 words on a topic of the student's choice. During candidature students work closely with their supervisors, who must be consulted regularly about the general design, planning, conduct and progress of the research, and the preparation of the written thesis.

Master of Philosophy students are expected to participate in the research workshops in semesters 1 and 2, and to attend Sydney Nursing School's Research Week. Students will have the opportunity to present their work to colleagues and peers at a school research forum.

Master of Philosophy 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.

Course rules


Master of Philosophy

These resolutions must be read in conjunction with applicable University By-laws, Rules and policies including (but not limited to) the University of Sydney (Coursework) Rule 2014 (the 'Coursework Rule'), the Coursework Policy 2014, the Resolutions of the School, the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 (as amended), the Academic Honesty in Coursework Policy 2015 and the Academic Honesty Procedures 2016. Up to date versions of all such documents are available from the Policy Register:

Course resolutions

Part 1: Preliminary

1 Course codes


Course and stream title


Master of Philosophy


Part 2: Admission requirements

2 Eligibility for admission to candidature

To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean, an applicant must have the qualifications and experience outlined in sub-clause 2(2), except where the applicant can demonstrate alternate qualifications and evidence of experience which would indicate they are able to successfully undertake the award.
An applicant must:
hold or have completed the requirements for:
(i)  a Bachelor's degree or qualifications demonstrating equivalence with a Bachelor's degree; or
(ii)  a Master's degree; and
have a minimum of one year's relevant work experience.

3 Application for admission to candidature

An applicant for admission to candidature must submit to the School:
satisfactory evidence of the applicant's eligibility for admission;
a proposed course of research and advanced study, approved by the Dean or nominated delegate in which the work is to be undertaken; and
a statement certifying the applicant's understanding that, subject to the HDR Rule, if the candidature is successful, his or her thesis will be lodged with the University Librarian and made available for immediate public use.

4 Credit transfer

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the granting of credit for previous studies, including the effect on completion times.

Part 3: Candidature

5 Supervision

The Head of Department will appoint a research supervisor and auxiliary supervisor for each candidate in accordance with the HDR Rule and Academic Board policies for postgraduate research higher degree supervision.

6 Control, Location and Modes of Attendance of candidature

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the control of candidature by the University and its location and modes of attendance.

7 Other studies during candidature

A candidate may attend, undertake or complete assessment for lectures, seminars, courses or practical work during the course of his or her candidature. In accordance with the HDR Rule Part 2.09 a Master's degree must comprise a minimum of two-thirds research.

Part 4: Requirements

8 Degree requirements

To satisfy the requirements of the degree candidates must:
complete any specified probationary requirements;
complete any prescribed units of study;
conduct research on the approved topic; and
write a thesis embodying the results of the research.

9 The thesis

A candidate shall produce a thesis that meets the requirements specified in the Thesis and Examination of Higher Degrees by Research Policy 2015.
The thesis will have a maximum length of 50,000 words, except with the permission of the Dean, Associate Dean, or the Chair of the school committee.

Part 5: Enrolment and progression

10 Probation

Probationary admission to candidature will occur in accordance with the HDR Rule. A candidate is normally accepted for candidature on a probationary basis for a period not exceeding one year.
In the probationary period each candidate must:
complete any prescribed units of study;
develop and present a refined research proposal to the satisfaction of the Research Supervisor and Postgraduate Coordinator Research; and
demonstrate adequate English language competency for the completion of the degree.

11 Time limits, earliest and latest submission dates

The HDR Rule specifies the completion times and submission dates for full- and part-time candidates in this course.

12 Discontinuation of candidature

A candidate may discontinue enrolment in a unit of study or the degree subject to the conditions specified by the HDR Rule.

13 Suspension of candidature

A candidate may suspend enrolment from the degree subject to the conditions specified by the HDR Rule.

14 Leave of absence

A candidate may take leave of absence from the degree subject to the conditions specified by the HDR Rule.

15 Progress

A candidate is required to maintain satisfactory progress towards the timely completion of the degree. Progress will be reviewed annually according to the provisions of the HDR Rule.

Part 6: Examination

16 Form of the thesis

A candidate must ensure that the thesis prepared for examination is typewritten and bound according to the Academic Board resolutions of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

17 Examination of the thesis

Examination of the thesis will be conducted in accordance with the Thesis and Examination of Higher Degrees by Research Policy 2015.
Two examiners will be appointed by the School, at least one of whom shall be external to the University;

18 Award of the degree

The degree is awarded at the Pass level only.

Part 7: Other

19 Transitional provisions

These course resolutions apply to students who commenced their candidature after 1 January, 2016 and students who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January, 2016 who elect to proceed under these resolutions.
Candidates who commenced prior to 1 January, 2016 may complete the requirements in accordance with the resolutions in force at the time of their commencement, provided that requirements are completed within the time limits specified in those resolutions. The Dean or Associate Dean may specify a later date for completion or specify alternative requirements for completion of candidatures that extend beyond this time.