Ph.D.-Economics and Commerce

Course 201-AA (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Year and Campus: 2009
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate




The Melbourne School of Graduate Research
Graduate Centre (1888 Building)
Grattan Street
The University of Melbourne 3010

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 8599

Fax number: +61 3 9349 2103


Future Student Questions:

Alternatively contactthe Faculty:

Course Overview:

The Doctor of Philosophy is administered at The University of Melbourne by the Melbourne School of Graduate Research.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy signifies that the holder has undertaken a substantial piece of original research, which has been conducted and reported by the holder under proper academic supervision and in a research environment for a prescribed period.

The PhD thesis demonstrates authority in the candidate's field and shows evidence of command of knowledge in relevant fields. It shows that the candidate has a thorough grasp of the appropriate methodological techniques and an awareness of their limitations. The thesis also makes a distinct contribution to knowledge. Its contribution to knowledge rests on originality of approach and / or interpretation of the findings and, in some cases, the discovery of new facts. The thesis demonstrates an ability to communicate research findings effectively in the professional arena and in an international context. It is a careful, rigorous and sustained piece of work demonstrating that a research 'apprenticeship' is complete and the holder is admitted to the community of scholars in the discipline.

In scope, the PhD thesis differs from a research Masters thesis chiefly by its deeper and more comprehensive treatment of the chosen subject. It is written succinctly, in English, unless approval has been given for the thesis to be written in a language other than English. The normal length of a PhD thesis is 80,000 words, exclusive of words in tables, maps, bibliographies and appendicies. Footnotes are included as part of the word limit. The thesis should not exceed 100,000 words (or equivalent) without special approval from the Research Higher Degrees Committee.

Objectives: See 'Graduate Attributes'
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Course structure - PhD

Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must demonstrate a capacity for independent research and must make an original contribution to learning. Candidates are required to present a thesis in such a form as the Academic Board may from time to time prescribe. Advice is available from the relevant Head of Department or the School of Graduate Studies.

Course Structure PhD with Coursework

The Departments of Accounting and Business Information Systems, Economics and Finance offer a PhD with a coursework component. The course requires students to undertake a maximum of one year of coursework and two years of full-time research. At the end of the first year, candidates may continue in the degree if their progress has been satisfactory. Candidates are required to complete six semester-length coursework subjects and a thesis workshop subject in the first year of study. Satisfactory progress will require that a candidate has performed satisfactorily in the coursework subjects and has satisfactorily completed a thesis proposal in the Thesis Workshop subject.

Candidates are required to present a thesis in such a form as the Academic Board may from time to time prescribe. Candidates can apply for admission to confirmed candidature after six months.

A period of two years of full-time research will follow if the candidate successfully completes the first year. The award of the PhD is based solely on the result for the Research thesis.

A detailed information booklet, 'The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy' is available from the School of Graduate Studies, The University of Melbourne.

Subject Options: PhD with Coursework (Accounting and Business Information Systems)

Course structure

The first year of coursework consists of five semester-length subjects, two advanced quantitative subjects and one other advanced level subject as approved by the Director of the PhD Program.

Five core subjects:

306-761 Advanced Financial Accounting
306-762 Advanced Managerial Accounting
306-764 Advanced Information Systems
306-765 Advanced Auditing
306-766 Research Methods

Two advanced quantitative subjects as approved by the Director of the PhD Program.

One unspecified advanced level subject as approved by the Director of the PhD Program.


Normally, PhD candidates are first admitted as 'probationary' candidates. To advance from probationary candidature to confirmed candidature, students must pass all the required subjects and present an acceptable dissertation proposal. To proceed to confirmation, the student must have an overall grade, based on an average of marks obtained in the subjects in first year, equal to or greater than 75%. Post-confirmation in years two and three of the program, students will conduct research leading to the completion of their dissertation.


PhD with Coursework (Economics)

Course Structure

The first year of coursework consists of six semester-length subjects normally comprising four core subjects and two elective subjects and a year long (double subject) Thesis Workshop.

Four core subjects:

316-611 Microeconomics
316-612 Macroeconomics
316-654 Advanced Econometric Techniques
316-650 Microeconomics II
or 316-652 Macroeconomics II
or 316-658 Macroeconometrics
or 316-659 Microeconometrics
or 316-672 Bayesian Econometrics

Two elective subjects:

Subjects may be selected from other six-hundred level subjects. The candidate's choice must be approved by the Academic Convenor of the PhD program in Economics. Please note that subject offerings may vary over time.

Thesis proposal and workshop (double subject):

316-703 Economics Thesis Workshop


Normally, PhD candidates are first admitted as 'probationary' candidates. The move from probationary candidature to confirmed candidature is decided on the recommendation of a Confirmation Committee, comprising three academics including the Convenor of the PhD program in Economics and the student's supervisor. For confirmation, which usually occurs 12 to 15 months after enrolment in the PhD program, students are required to obtain an average of at least 75% in their PhD coursework subjects, to have prepared a written proposal that outlines the research program and shows evidence of substantive progress and to have made an oral presentation based on their thesis proposal. The presentation is open to all members of the Department of Economics. The Committee will recommend confirmation if it believes there is a reasonable expectation that the student will complete the PhD thesis by the due date.

Students are required to maintain satisfactory progress throughout their candidature. In addition to the regular meetings with supervisor(s), progress is monitored through the confirmation process and annual reports. The award of the PhD is based solely on the examination of the thesis.


PhD with Coursework (Finance)

Course Structure

The first year of coursework consists of six semester-long subjects comprising one economics subject, two quantitative subjects, three finance subjects and a year long (double subject) Thesis Workshop.

A. One economics subject selected from:

316-611 Microeconomics
316-612 Macroeconomics

B. Two quantitative subjects selelected from:

333-627 Numerical Techniques in Finance
316-679 Mathematical Economics
316-673 Financial Econometrics
316-678 Econometric Techniques
316-654 Advanced Econometric Techniques
316-657 Special Topics in Advanced Econometrics
316-658 Advanced Macroeconometrics
316-659 Advanced Microeconometrics

C. Two PhD-level finance subjects:

333-713 Finance Theory: Investments
333-714 Finance Theory: Corporate Finance

D. One finance subject chosen from:

333-615 International Business Finance
333-617 Financial Institutions Management
333-618 Advanced Derivative Securities
333-715 Special Topics in Finance

Students may choose alternatives to those listed in B, C or D with the approval of the Department's Research Programs Academic Director. The majority of subjects taken in A, B and D must be at level 6 or above.

E. Dissertation proposal and workshop (double subject):

333-703 Finance Thesis Workshop


Students are required to attain an average mark of at least 75 percent in their coursework in the first year and satisfy the requirements of a confirmation seminar. The award of the PhD is based solely on the result of the thesis.


PhD with Coursework (Management and Marketing)

The objectives of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Department of Management and Marketing are:

  • to enable doctoral students in Management and Marketing to gain a common understanding of the research process;
  • to enable doctoral students in Management and Marketing to develop research skills at the start of their candidature; and
  • to prepare doctoral students for an academic career in Management or Marketing.


The duration of the PhD program is three years full time or six years part time.


Commencement is only available at the start of semester one (February/March) of any given year. Candidates must commence their studies within the first two weeks of semester.


The PhD in Management requires students to complete two coursework subjects and a research thesis.

In the first year of their candidature students undertake two coursework subjects that introduce the key topics and decisions relevant to research in the management and marketing domains. The specific expectations of the Department are also outlined. These two subjects are:

  • 325-710 Research Methods in Management and Marketing; and
  • 325-711 Research Decision in Management and Marketing.

These subjects are marked on a pass/fail basis.

Candidates also commence work on their research thesis in their first year of candidature. The thesis must be based on original work, and candidates should aim for it to be approximately 80 000 words in length in its completed form.

In the second and third full time (or equivalent) years of the program, students continue to work on their thesis.


Candidates should be aware that when they are accepted into the program, they are admitted as a probationary candidate. At the end of their first year of studies students must undertake the confirmation process. In order to meet the requirements of the confirmation process students must have:

  • passed the two coursework subjects;
  • produced a written report deemed satisfactory by the Confirmation Committee that details what the candidate has undertaken and learned since commencing their studies; and
  • given a formal presentation to staff and higher degree research students of the department on their findings to date.

The award of the PhD is based solely on the result of the thesis. The thesis will be assessed by two external examiners.

Entry Requirements:

The criteria for assessing applicants' eligibility for PhD candidature are:

  1. Minimum qualifications
    Applicants are normally required to have completed at least a four-year honours degree at H2A standard from an Australian university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered by the RHD Committee to be equivalent. For particular disciplines applicants are also required to complete, at an appropriate level, a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or a Graduate Record Entry (GRE) test.

  2. Minimum level of academic achievement
    Applicants should have achieved an overall H1 (80-100%) or H2A (75-79%) grade in the relevant honours or Masters degree.

  3. Relevance of the degree
    The completed degree must be in an area that is relevant to the intended PhD, including sufficient specialisation such that the applicant will have already developed an understanding and appreciation of a body of knowledge relevant to the intended PhD.

  4. Evidence of research ability
    Applicants are normally required to have completed a research project/component that accounts for at least 25% of their year's work at 4th year or at Masters level. Graduates of certain professional degrees at the University of Melbourne, including MBBS, BVetSci, LLB, BPhysio and BEng are deemed to have met this requirement.

  5. Currency of applicant's knowledge of the discipline
    The applicant's degree/s and/or professional experience must demonstrate that their knowledge of the discipline in which they plan to undertake their research higher degree is current.

  6. Assessment of level of commitment
    Based on interview or other communication, an assessment should be made of the level of understanding, motivation and time commitment of the student for the proposed program of study. For example, a full-time student would be expected to devote at least 40 hours a week and a part-time student about half of this.

Applicants must also meet the University’s English Language requirements .

Additional criterion: your area of interest, see How and when to apply for research programs

Please note that prospective students wishing to undertake the PhD with Coursework (Accounting and Business Information Systems) are also required to complete a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Core Participation Requirements: -
Graduate Attributes:

Doctoral degrees at the University of Melbourne seek to develop graduates who demonstrate academic leadership, increasing independence, creativity and innovation in their research work.

The University expects its doctoral graduates to have the following qualities and skills:

  • an advanced ability to initiate research and to formulate viable research questions;
  • a demonstrated capacity to design, conduct and report sustained and original research;
  • the capacity to contextualise research within an international corpus of specialist knowledge;
  • an advanced ability to evaluate and synthesize research-based and scholarly literature;
  • an advanced understanding of key disciplinary and multi-disciplinary norms and perspectives relevant to the field;
  • highly developed problem-solving abilities and flexibility of approach;
  • the ability to analyse critically within and across a changing disciplinary environment;
  • the capacity to disseminate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication to a variety of audiences;
  • a capacity to cooperate with and respect the contributions of fellow researchers and scholars;
  • a profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship;
  • an advanced facility in the management of information, including the application of computer systems and software where appropriate to the student's field of study;
  • an understanding of the relevance and value of their research to national and international communities of scholars and collaborators;
  • an awareness where appropriate of issues related to intellectual property management and the commercialisation of innovation; and
  • an ability to formulate applications to relevant agencies, such as funding bodies and ethics committees.
The University provides a variety of opportunities in additions to the supervised research program, to facilitate a students' acquisition of these attributes.
Generic Skills: -
Links to further information:

Application Procedure
Detailed information for prospective PhD students regarding the application process, including the application form is available on the MSGR website at

It is important to note that there is a separate application form for local and international students.

PhD applicants should discuss their research interests with a potential supervisor at the department in which they would like to enrol prior to submitting an application.

The Find an Expert and Research Report websites may assist you to find an appropriate supervisor. Prospective PhD candidates should also investigate department websites for information on current research and contact details. Department websites are easily accessed from faculty homepages .

Applications are accepted year-round.

Which scholarship can I apply for?
Students can find information about postgraduate scholarships offered by the University of Melbourne at the Postgraduate Scholarships Office .

Facilities and Supports:
MSGR makes available a broad range of Programs & Services available to research and postgraduate students.

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