University of Sydney Handbooks - 2020 Archive

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Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy takes at least 18 months to complete full-time during which candidates undertake approved research and write a thesis with an upper limit of 50,000 words.

The requirements for the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) are set out under the: University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011

Duration of the MPhil is 18 months to 2 years full-time equivalent. Candidates must successfully complete a 12 month probation period and all coursework requirements.

For details regarding the course structure and entry requirements, please refer to the University of Sydney Business School’s Postgraduate Research pages.


Master of Philosophy in Business

These resolutions must be read in conjunction with applicable University By-laws, Rules and policies. These include: the Resolutions of the Faculty; the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011 (the HDR Rule); and the Research Code of Conduct 2013; and the Research Data Management Policy 2014. Additionally, the coursework components of this award course are subject to: the University of Sydney (Coursework) Rule 2014 (the 'Coursework Rule'; the Coursework Policy 2014; 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

18 months to 2 years full-time equivalent


Part 2: Admission requirements

2 Eligibility for admission to candidature

To be eligible to be admitted to candidature an applicant must have completed an Australian honours (or equivalent) or a postgraduate degree with outstanding results (normally at least 80%).
The Associate Dean may admit to candidature an applicant who does not meet the requirements of sub-clause (1), provided that the applicant holds a qualification or qualifications that, in the opinion of the School's Research Unit Committee are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).

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;
written evidence confirming that an academic within the Faculty, with an academic background appropriate to the candidate's proposed research:
supports the applicant's research proposal; and
is willing to supervise the research.
a written preliminary research proposal in the form specified by the Faculty.
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.
evidence of minimum English language requirements, where not demonstrated by academic qualifications; and
the contact details of two academic or practitioner referees.
In addition, an applicant for admission to part-time candidature must submit a statement that he or she will have sufficient time available to complete the requirements of the degree in accordance with these resolutions.

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 Appointment of supervisor

The relevant Postgraduate Research Coordinator will appoint a supervisor and associate supervisor for each candidate in accordance with the HDR Rule and Academic Board policies for postgraduate research higher degree supervision.

6 Control of candidature

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the control of candidature by the University.

7 Location of candidature and attendance

The HDR Rule specifies the conditions for the location of candidature and attendance by candidates at the University.

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 HDR Rule.
The thesis will have an upper limit of 50,000 words including footnotes that may be exceeded by no more than 10,000 words with the permission of the Associate Dean. The word limit does not include appendices.

Part 5: Enrolment and progression

10 Probation

A candidate is normally accepted for candidature on a probationary basis for a period not exceeding six months according to the provisions of the HDR Rule.
In the probationary period each candidate must:
complete the School's research induction program; and
maintain progression to the satisfaction of the supervisor and Head of Department.

11 Time limits, earliest and latest submission dates

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

12 Mode of attendance

The attendance pattern for this course is full-time or part-time according to candidate choice. 

13 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.

14 Suspension of candidature

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

15 Leave of absence

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

16 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 and the Progress Planning and Review of Higher Degree by Research Students Policy 2015.

Part 6: Examination

17 Examination of the thesis

Examination of the thesis will be conducted in general accordance with standards prescribed by Academic Board for the Masters by Research, which are set out in the Thesis and Examination of Higher Degree by Research Policy 2015.

18 Award of the degree

The degree is awarded at the Pass level only.

Part 7: Other

19 Transitional provisions

These resolutions apply to students who commenced their candidature after 1 January 2020 and students who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January 2020 who elect to proceed under these resolutions. Students who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January 2020 may complete the requirements in accordance with the resolutions in force at the time of their commencement.