University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Master of Arts


Master of Arts (Research)

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.
The latest 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 Arts (Research)

Part 2: Admission requirements

2 Eligibility for admission to candidature

To be eligible to be admitted to candidature by the Dean or Associate Dean (Research Education), an applicant must hold or have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent institution, with a major in a relevant subject area, completed with a distinction average.
The Dean or Associate Dean (Research Education) 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 Dean or Associate Dean, 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 Faculty satisfactory evidence of the applicant's eligibility for admission:
a proposal for a course of research and advanced study of not less than 1,000 words; 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.
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, except that:
any research credit granted shall ordinarily not exceed one semester full-time or equivalent part-time candidature; and
for coursework:
(i)  no more than 12 credit points may be credited; and
(ii)  the coursework should have been completed with a high level of competency (normally at least at Distinction level) and be relevant to the candidate's program of study.

Part 3: Candidature

5 Appointment of supervisory team

For each candidate, the Associate Dean (Research Education) will appoint a supervisory team of at least two supervisors, one of whom will be lead supervisor in accordance with the HDR Rule and the Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Students Policy 2020.

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;
if commencing during or after 2021, complete within the first year (full-time equivalency) of candidature a minimum of 6 credit points of study from Table R as determined in the relevant Faculty milestones statement, and any other studies as required by the supervisor(s) of the research project;
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 normally have a minimum of 20,000 and upper limit of 40,000 words including footnotes, that may be exceeded by no more than 10,000 words with the permission of the Associate Dean (Research Education). The word limit does not include appendices.

10 Units of study

Candidates will be required to complete either 6 or 12 credit points of units of study from Table R.

Part 5: Enrolment and progression

11 Probation

A candidate is normally accepted for candidature on a probationary basis for a period not exceeding one year according to the provisions of the HDR Rule.
In the probationary period, other than in exceptional circumstances, to the satisfaction of the Faculty Postgraduate Research Education Committee, each candidate must:
meet any conditions set by the Faculty Postgraduate Research Education Committee; and
meet requirements in accordance with the Progress Planning Review for Higher Degree by Research Students Policy and Procedures.

12 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.

13 Mode of attendance

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

14 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.

15 Suspension of candidature

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

16 Leave of absence

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

17 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

18 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.
The Faculty Research Education Committee will act in place of the HDR examinations sub-committee of the Academic Board to determine the outcome of the examination in cases where all examiners recommend award of the degree. In all other cases, the matter will be referred to the HDR Examinations Subcommittee for determination.

19 Award of the degree

The degree is awarded at the Pass level only.

Part 7: Other

20 Transitional provisions

These resolutions apply to students who commenced their candidature after 1 January 2021. Students who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January 2021 may complete the requirements in accordance with the resolutions in force at the time of their commencement.