University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Doctor of Laws

The degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) is awarded, on the recommendation of the Sydney Law School, for published work that has been recognised by scholars in the field concerned as a distinguished contribution to knowledge. Persons contemplating the submission of work for the LLD should first consult the Dean of the Law School. Only a mature scholar would be likely to present work meeting this requirement. The degree may also be awarded on an honorary basis in recognition of distinguished achievement.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is awarded by the University on the basis of a thesis, which is regarded by the examiners as a substantially original contribution to the area in which it is written.

Candidates are required to submit a thesis of approximately 80,000 words, including footnotes, which may be exceeded by no more than 20,000 words with the permission of the Associate Dean. The word limit does not include appendices.

The following is a summary of the requirements.

There are three main conditions of admission, namely:

  • academic qualifications,
  • research and publication experience, and
  • suitability of the proposed course of study and research.

An applicant for admission to candidature for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) must submit to the Sydney Law School a proposed program of advanced study and research. The applicant must submit satisfactory evidence of training and ability to pursue the proposed program.

Academic qualifications
The normal requirement is that the applicant has completed one of the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with First or Second Class Honours; or
  • Master of Laws (LLM); or
  • Qualifications which the University's Committee for Graduate Studies considers equivalent.

Satisfactory evidence of training and ability to pursue the proposed program may be demonstrated by showing the successful completion of a sustained piece of research in an earlier degree program, scholarly publications, or sustained research in a professional capacity. Candidates who are not able to demonstrate sufficient research experience may be admitted first to an LLM by research with a view to upgrading to a PhD if there is satisfactory progress.

Proposed program of study
The proposal must be:

  • suitable in scope and standard for the PhD,
  • one that the applicant is competent to undertake, and
  • one for which supervision and facilities can be properly provided.
Rules governing research

The Rules governing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy are the University of Sydney (Higher Degree by Research) Rule 2011) and the Thesis and Examination of Higher Degree by Research Policy 2015. The most recent versions of these rules are found the Policy Register

Research Coursework

The University of Sydney introduced a new coursework requirement for Higher Degree by Research students commencing from Research Period 1 2021.

Coursework is intended to give students the opportunity to take units of study that expand their existing skills or work toward developing novel capabilities that will complement their research and career development.

Units of study students can choose to fulfil the Higher Degree by Research coursework requirement are listed in Table R of the Interdisciplinary Studies Handbook.

Students can enrol in units of study in Sydney Student and plan professional and academic development activities with their supervisors in the Research Education Candidature System. Award requirements for each degree are outlined in the respective course resolutions.