University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Master of Philosophy (Social Work)

The Master of Philosophy is a degree completed by research and advanced coursework. Students undertaking this degree are assigned to a supervisor and, usually, an associate supervisor. This program consists of a supervised research component and required coursework. It is designed for students interested in pursuing research but not eligible to undertake a PhD.

Candidates must complete:

  • one Social Work core unit (6 credit points); and
  • one elective unit (6 credit points) as recommended by the supervisor from the units of study table below

Course convenor

Associate Professor Ruth Phillips
Phone 02 9351 6899
Room 741, Education Building, A35


Master of Philosophy (Social Work)

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 Faculty, 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 (Social Work)


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 with first class or second class honours from the University of Sydney in a relevant discipline, or equivalent; or
a master's degree from the University of Sydney in a relevant discipline or equivalent with a distinction average mark or above.
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 Faculty Research Education Committee, are equivalent to those prescribed in sub-clause (1).
The Associate Dean (Research Education) may impose on a student admitted to candidature pursuant to sub-clause (2) such conditions as the Associate Dean considers appropriate.

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;
written evidence that an academic within the Faculty, with an academic background appropriate to the candidate's proposed course of research:
supports the applicant's research proposal; and
is willing to supervise the research.
a written preliminary research proposal developed in conjunction with the proposed supervisor and in the form specified by the Faculty;
a statement certifying the applicant's understanding that, subject to the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research Rule) 2011, if the candidature is successful, their thesis and record of designed-based work will be lodged with the University Libraries and made available for immediate public use;
evidence of minimum English language requirements, where not demonstrated by academic qualification; 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 they 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 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;
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 supervisor(s) of the research project;
conduct research on an 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 be a minimum of 30,000 and an 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 Research Education Committee, each candidate must:
meet any conditions set by the Faculty Research Education Committee; and
develop and present a refined research proposal to the satisfaction of the supervisor and the School Research Proposal Committee; and
meet any requirements set out in 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.

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 Master of Philosophy, 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.

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. 

Unit of study Credit points A: Assumed knowledge P: Prerequisites C: Corequisites N: Prohibition Session

Master of Education (Research)

Elective units

Research Methods in Language Studies
6      Semester 1
Semester 2
Qualitative Methods
6      Semester 1
Quantitative Methods
6      Semester 2
Developing a Research Project
6      Semester 1
Semester 2
Evaluating Learning Tech. Innovation
6      Semester 1