University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Postgraduate research in the Sydney Medical School

Master of Philosophy

Master of Surgery (by Research)

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Medical Science


  Master of Philosophy Master of Surgery (by Research) Doctor of Philosophy Doctor of Medical Science
Degree Abbreviation MPhil MS PhD DMedSc
Time to complete full-time 1 - 2 years 2 years 3 years 0.5 years
Time to complete part-time 2 - 4 years 2 - 4 years 3.5 to 7 years N/A
What is a research degree?

A research degrees is a degree in which the majority of work is self-directed study with supervision by a group of academics, working on a project that aims to make an original contribution to knowledge. Some degrees require a limited amount of coursework, but at least two thirds of the degree must be by research for the degree to be considered a higher degree by research. The Doctor of Medical Science differs in that it is not a supervised degree.

Apart from any required coursework, the assessment of a research degree is through the examination of a thesis written by the student. The thesis is sent to a group of examiners and their recommendations form the basis for the outcome of the examination.

The four research degrees currently offered by the Sydney Medical School are the Master of Philosophy, the Master of Surgery (Research), the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Medical Science.

Governance, including the resolutions, or reference to where the resolutions for the postgraduate degrees by research can be found, are covered under this section. The information here provides a summary and is subordinate to the provisions of relevant degree resolutions.

Financial information about research degrees

Domestic students, upon being offered unconditional offer to undertake a higher degree by research course at an Australian university, will be offered a RTP Fees Offset Scholarship. This scholarship, supported by the Commonwealth Government, provide tuition fees. Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend Scholarships are Commonwealth Government scholarships awarded to students of exceptional research potential to undertake a higher degree by research at an Australian university. The scholarships are provided to assist with general living costs.University of Sydney Postgraduate Awards (UPA) are also available and they are similar to the RTP Scholarships in terms of tenure and benefits. Eligible RTP applicants are automatically considered for these awards more information can be found at

This means that tuition fees for domestic students are covered by RTS for periods defined by the scheme.

International students are required to pay fees for each year they are enrolled for the duration of the degree. Visit for information on fees and costs.

There are a number of scholarships available for domestic students to assist with living costs, and a limited number for international students. Information about University-wide scholarships for domestic students can be found at
and for Sydney Medical School scholarships.

Theses: production and examination

Before commencing writing up their thesis, students are strongly urged to read The Thesis Guide published by the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA). A copy can be requested from SUPRA or by visiting their website:

phone: +61 2 9351 3715 or 1800 249 950

Details on submitting a thesis for research degrees other than the DMedSc can be found on the Sydney Medical School's website

This website covers such information as options for thesis submission, timing of thesis submission, selection of examiners, types of thesis examination, preparing for submission of the thesis, the examination process, possible examination outcomes, appeals, deferment of public availability of theses, submission of corrected thesis and continuation of borrowing privileges after submission of the thesis.