Master of Philosophy - MDHS (Medicine)

Course MR-PHILMED (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 061956J
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.




Prospective Student Enquiries:

Melbourne Medical School

Telephone: 61 3 8344 5998

Email your enquiry about Melbourne Medical School research courses to:

Currently enrolled student enquiries:

Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Student Centre
Level 1, Brownless Biomedical Library
The University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5890
Fax: +61 3 9347 7084

Course Overview:

The MPhil is an internationally recognised masters (by research) degree. It is designed for students to develop advanced skills in carrying out independent and sustained research. The thesis demonstrates a critical application of specialist knowledge and makes an independent contribution to existing scholarship in the area of research.


On completion of the course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced learning in research skills and mastery of appropriate techniques, such as the use of archival or primary evidence, analysis of data, judgement of conflicting evidence.
  • demonstrate specialist knowledge in the area of their research.
  • present the results of their research in publishable quality or work towards incorporating their findings in further research.
  • demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, research ethics or code of practice.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

All candidates for the MPhil will be examined on the basis of their thesis. A candidate will have appropriately experienced supervisor/s and an Advisory Committee who in consultation with the candidate, arranges a course of supervised research designed to suit the individual requirements and interests of the candidate. A candidate may be required to supplement their research program by attendance at, or enrolment in, additional subjects if considered necessary by the supervisor(s).

Duration of candidature is 18 months. An extension of up to six months may be allowed. The Research Training Scheme (RTS) is available for a maximum of two years. For more information refer to the Australian Government's RTS website.

All MPhil candidates are required to complete the equivalent of at least 6 months full-time (12 months part-time) advanced study and research at the University (unless studying at an approved outside institution). The Research Higher Degrees Committee will not approve entirely distance supervision or entirely on-line supervision for research higher degree students.

MPhil candidates are required to submit six monthly progress reports. Completion of progress reports is required for the continuation of enrolment and any scholarship held. The first six month progress report is a major hurdle for the MPhil in which candidates will also be required to give a 15 minute presentation of their work. The Completion Report attachment is submitted at 18 months full-time and whenever an extension to candidature or lapse in good standing is sought. Candidates can check the Student Portal at any time to see the date of their next progress review. International AusAID-sponsored students will be required to submit end-of-semester reports to AusAID.

For further information about enrolment requirements, supervisors, progress reports, advisory committees and more, refer to the Master of Philosophy Handbook.

Entry Requirements:

MPhil applicants will be assessed using the criteria described below. The measures include an assessment of a candidate's knowledge of the discipline and evidence of their ability to complete a rigorous research project. Applicants are required to meet the minimum standards described for each of the six measures. In addition all applicants (internationally and locally qualified) must meet the University's English language entry requirements in accordance with Academic Board Principles of Selection into Courses.

In exceptional circumstances, the RHD Committee may consider for admission a person who does not have qualifications equivalent to a four-year honours degree, if it is satisfied that the person's experience in research and the results of that experience are so outstanding that the person is likely to have the ability to pursue the course successfully. In such cases, or where other minimum standards as specified below are not all met, the department may present an evidence-based case for admittance to the Chair, Research Higher Degrees Committee.

Normally, the evidence of research equivalence would take the form of a research publication record and/or additional significant research experience that would be equivalent to a fourth year. In the case of a three-year honours degree from the United Kingdom the sponsoring department may also provide evidence about the quality of the institution and the quality of the degree, compared with a four-year honours degree.

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.

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.

Applicants who have completed certain professional degrees such as MBBS, BVSc, BDentSc, LLB, JD, BPhysio, BProp&Const, BUrbPl, BArch and BLArch will be assessed individually.

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

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 fourth year or at masters level.

Graduates of certain professional degrees, including MBBS, BVSc, BDentSc, LLB, JD, BPhysio, BEng, BProp&Const, BUrbPl, BArch and BLArch are deemed to have met this requirement.

In the absence of the final year research component, other evidence may be provided as to a student's ability to undertake research.

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. It is therefore expected that an applicant will have completed their tertiary studies and/or any relevant professional experience in the ten years immediately prior to their intended entry to the MPhil.

6. Assessment of suitability
Based on interview or other verbal 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.

Refer to the Master of Philosophy Handbook for more information on entry requirements.

Core Participation Requirements:

All MPhil candidates are required to complete the equivalent of at least six months full-time (12 months part-time) advanced study and research at the University unless studying at an outside institution approved by the Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC). The RHDC will not approve entirely distance supervision or entirely on-line supervision for research higher degree students.

Throughout their candidature candidates are expected to attend the University in order to benefit from planning, conducting and writing up their research within a University community and environment.

The residency requirement is deemed especially important during the first six months of candidature. During this time the student is expected to interact on a regular basis with the supervisor, the department (including staff and other research students) and the University, so as:

  • to build the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the proposed research program
  • to acquire an understanding of the standards and requirements for an MPhil awarded by the University
  • to make use of support programs and facilities provided by the Melbourne School of Graduate Research throughout candidature.

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. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.

Graduate Attributes:

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. Their training equips them for more sustained and original work at the doctoral level or for applied research positions in a wide variety of contexts.

The University expects its research masters graduates to have the following attributes:

  • 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.
  • an ability to manage information effectively, including the application of computer systems and software where appropriate to the student's field of study.
Generic Skills:


Links to further information:

Application Procedures

Refer to the Faculty's prospective research students website for an overview of the application process, including information on topic areas available and making contact with potential supervisors.

Which scholarship can I apply for?

Find information on scholarships at the Melbourne Scholarships Office and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

Facilities and Support

The Melbourne School of Graduate Research makes available a broad range of Programs & Services available to graduate research students.

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