Master of Primary Health Care

Course 546AA (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Year and Campus: 2014 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 046262J
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.


Associate Professor Meredith Temple-Smith

Director Research Training, Department of General Practice

T: +61 3 8344 3371



Prospective student enquriries:

Dr Helen McPartlan, Manager, Department of General Practice

T: +61 3 8344 9050


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 Master of Primary Health Care enables students to undertake a major research project on a primary health care topic of their choice. When students have completed their research, they should have developed competency in the conduct of research methodologies in the primary health care setting. Students will produce a 30,000-40,000 word thesis that is examined externally.

Learning Outcomes:

Through this course, students develop:

  • an awareness of primary care epistemology and the paradigms that underpin the field, from behavioural science through to clinical science;
  • competency in the conduct of research methodologies in the primary health care setting.

In addition, students acquire an understanding of:

  • the political stimuli driving change in primary health care;
  • patient perspectives and participation in health care;
  • organisational structures in primary care as they pertain to the chosen topic;
  • the theoretical basis of the integration of care;
  • the influence of IT upon primary health care delivery.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students undertake a major research project on a primary health care topic of their choice. They will be expected to complete a research thesis of between 30,000 and 40,000 words under staff supervision. The thesis is examined externally.

Candidates are enrolled in a year-long research subject for the duration of the degree.

Entry Requirements:
  • Honours degree in a relevant field; or
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Health Care or relevant field; or
  • A degree in a relevant field.


  • At least two years' documented relevant professional or work experience.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Objectives and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

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 may 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. 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 qualities and skills:

  • an ability to initiate research projects and to formulate viable research question.
  • 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.
Links to further information:

There are four major research areas in the Department’s Primary Care Research Unit (PCRU):

  • chronic disease
  • mental health
  • young people's health
  • abuse and violence

There are four emerging disciplines:

  • cancer
  • musculoskeletal conditions
  • complementary therapies
  • sexual health

To make an enquiry about research areas or potential supervisors, contact the department.

Refer to the University's Masters by Research Generic Guidelines for general information about masters by research course requirements at the University of Melbourne.

Refer to the Melbourne School of Graduate Research for information about thesis examination and submission.

For information about the application process, refer to the Melbourne Medical School.

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