Master of Veterinary Science (Clinical)

Course 872BB (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Year and Campus: 2013 - 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

T: +61 (0)3 8344 7357

Course Overview:

The Master of Veterinary Science (Clinical), or MVSc(Clinical), is a Research Higher Degree which can be undertaken in any of the Faculty of Veterinary Science’s clinical research programs. 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.

Candidates are expected to meet regularly with their supervisor(s) and to present their work in the Faculty’s research seminar program. They are assisted to participate in relevant national or international conferences. A thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree.

The thesis should demonstrate a critical application of specialist knowledge and make an independent contribution to existing scholarship in the area of research.

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.

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).

There are two components to the MVSc (Clinical):

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 during the duration of the enrolment in the MVSc (Clinical). 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 a three-hour written 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 the MVSc (Clinical) will enrol in the Master Thesis in Vet Science (Clinical) and one practicum subject (either the full-time (FT) or part-time (PT) subject listed below):

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Entry Requirements:

Please note that all students must meet the University’s English language requirement.

Criteria for assessing applicant's eligibility for MVSc (Clinical) candidature

1. Minimum qualifications

Applicants are normally required to have completed Bachelor of Veterinary Science (usually at honours level) or recognised equivalent qualification 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.

3. Relevance of the Degree

The completed degree must be in an area that is relevant to the intended MVSc (Clinical) research project, including sufficient specialisation such that the applicant will have already developed an understanding and appreciation of a body of knowledge relevant to the intended degree. Professional experience in the area of the intended MVSc (Clinical) may be deemed equivalent.

4. Evidence of research ability

Applicants are normally required to have completed a research project, component, subject or group of subjects that accounts for at least 25% of their work (i.e. Honours year), or 25% of one year accumulated over the length of a Masters course, and which has, or have, been conducted, and assessed, individually. Research carried out in groups should at least have been graded individually. This project, component, or subject(s) may include:

(a) any obviously research oriented project, subject or sustained piece of scholarly writing conducted for assessment, such as small theses, research essays, long essays, or studios; AND/OR

(b) any less-obviously research subjects, including practice-based subjects such as performance or fieldwork, where there is also scholastic rigor as documented in a sustained piece of writing analogous to (a); AND/OR

(c) any subjects directed at the formation of research skills, such as methodology and reasoning, such as scientific reasoning, or legal reasoning, where a sustained piece of writing has also been produced.

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 10 years immediately prior to their intended entry to the MVSc (Clinical).

6. Assessment of level 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.

Core Participation Requirements:

All MVSc 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,
  • acquire an understanding of the standards and requirements for an MPhil awarded by the University, and
  • 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:

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.

Application Procedure

Detailed information for prospective MVSc (Clinical) students regarding the application process, including the application form is available at Applications are accepted year-round.

MVSc (Clinical) applicants should identify a supervisor before lodging an application by completing an Expression of Interest.

The Find an Expert website may also assist you to find an appropriate supervisor.

Which scholarship can I apply for?

Students can find information about graduate research scholarships offered by the University of Melbourne at the Melbourne Scholarships Office .

Facilities and Supports:

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

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