Master of Veterinary Science (Clinical)

Course 872BB (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Research Higher Degree
Duration & Credit Points: Students are expected to complete this research in 1.50 years full time, or equivalent part time.


Professor Ted Whittem


Faculty of Veterinary Science
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010
+61 (0)3 8344 7357

Course Overview:

Research training based on the conduct of experiments, or analysis of clinical cases, under appropriate supervision, is given in a selected field of veterinary science. Advanced professional training is obtained through participation in the clinical investigation and management of clinical cases under supervision of senior staff.

The duration of full-time candidature is 18 months, with the possibility of two three-month extensions.

The duration of part-time candidature is three years, with the possibility of two six-month extensions.

For local students, RTS is available for a maximum of two years full-time equivalent.


The main objective of this research degree program is to train graduate veterinarians in clinical research and in advanced clinical skills. Its graduates:

  • have achieved a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding in a particular field or set of related fields in veterinary science;
  • can apply scientific methods to the definition and solution of problems by research;
  • have acquired advanced technical skills relevant to the field of research;
  • have acquired skills in the searching and manipulation of scientific literature and other relevant data bases;
  • are effective in scientific communication through both the spoken and written medium and to both professional colleagues and the wider community;
  • can approach scientific research in a critical, perceptive and constructive way;
  • have an understanding of the financing and management of scientific research;
  • develop interpersonal skills to work as part of a team;
  • observe the appropriate research codes of practice; and
  • demonstrate a professional approach to all areas of responsibility.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Assessment will be weighted 75% to a research thesis and 25% to a practicum component. A pass is required in both components. Candidates whose progress in the course is not satisfactory may have their candidature terminated after appropriate counseling and an opportunity for appeal.

1. Research thesis
Candidates will be required to undertake research culminating in the production of a thesis of no more than 30,000 words to be submitted for examination by two external examiners. The format of the thesis, including a statement on authorship, must follow prescriptions laid down by the University and found in the Masters by Research Generic Guidelines.

2. Practicum component
The practicum component will be undertaken over 2.5 (usually consecutive) years. It will involve participation in clinical rounds, tutorials, seminars, and other similar activities, according to the candidate’s area of interest. The practicum component must be clearly related to the research project. This will be in an area including small animal medicine and surgery, anaesthesia, equine medicine and surgery, diagnostic imaging, and pathology. The practicum component will be assessed by written, oral, and/or practical examination at the end of the candidacy and will contribute 25% to the final assessment for the degree.

Regular progress reporting requirements apply, such as a probationary period, formal review report and seminar, and completion seminar.

Candidates in the Veterinary Hospital will be enrolled in this course on a part-time basis. They will be allocated a total of 30 weeks over a 2.5 year period solely for pursuit of research for the degree. They will be expected to pursue components of the research, for example preparation of the literature review, collection of samples or other data, and some laboratory work, during the other 99 weeks of their candidacy. However, time will not be allocated specifically for this purpose and the candidate will not be given time off for this purpose. These 99 weeks will include annual and conference leave of 8 weeks during the candidacy.


The topic of the research project and the practicum component will determine the candidate's specialisation. Disciplines include small animal medicine and surgery, anaesthesia, equine medicine and surgery, diagnostic imaging, and pathology.

Subject Options:

Students enrolled in this clinical stream of the MVSc will enrol in the Master Thesis subject and either the full-time (FT) or part-time (PT) Practicum subject below:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
RHD First Half Year, RHD Second Half Year
Entry Requirements:

The usual entry requirement is a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (usually honours level) or recognised equivalent qualification. Please note that all students must meet the University’s English language requirement.

Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. This course requires all students to enrol in subjects where they must actively and safely contribute to laboratory activities, practical placements and clinical and paraclinical work with animals. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.

Graduate Attributes:

Research Masters degrees at the University of Melbourne seek to develop graduates who have a capacity for defining and managing a research project characterised by originality and independence.

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

  • An ability to initiate research projects and to formulate viable research questions;
  • A demonstrated capacity to design, conduct and report independent and original research on a closely-defined project;
  • An ability to manage time to maximise the quality of research;
  • An understanding of the major contours of international research in the research area;
  • A capacity for critical evaluation of relevant scholarly literature;
  • Well-developed and flexible problem-solving abilities appropriate to the discipline;
  • The ability to analyse research data within a changing disciplinary environment;
  • The capacity to communicate effectively the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication;
  • An understanding of and facility with scholarly conventions in the discipline area;
  • A profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship;
  • A capacity to cooperate with other researchers; and
  • An ability to manage information effectively, including the application of computer systems and software where appropriate to the student’s field of study.

Students can find information about scholarships offered by The University of Melbourne from the Melbourne Scholarships Office.

Theses are examined by the Melbourne School of Graduate Research. Three months prior to the submission date of the thesis, the candidate is required to submit an 80-word summary of the thesis argument to the Melbourne School of Graduate Research. The summary activates the process of nominating potential examiners for the thesis.

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