Doctor of Medical Science

Course J15AA (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Year and Campus: 2014 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 066156A
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Research Higher Degree
Duration & Credit Points: Students are expected to complete this research in 3.00 years full time, or equivalent part time.




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 Doctor of Medical Science (DMedSc) is a graduate research doctorate offered by the Melbourne Medical School to medical graduates of the University of Melbourne and other recognised universities.

The DMedSc enrolled candidature course (J15AA) is designed for medical graduates to develop advanced skills in carrying out independent and sustained research at the doctoral research level. Enrolment for the research project is normally undertaken over two years full-time or four years part-time. At the end of the two years, candidates submit a thesis of between 80,000 and 100,000 words for external examination.

Doctor of Medicine (research doctorate):

Rules and regulations relating to the Doctor of Medical Science govern the teaching out of the Doctor of Medicine (research doctorate) degree. The last intake for the Doctor of Medicine (reserach doctorate) was 2009. Students may apply to transfer to the Doctor of Medical Science at any time prior to submission of their thesis for examination. Transfer to the DMedSc is not available at any time after submission of the thesis for examination.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate advanced learning in research skills and mastery of appropriate techniques.
  • Demonstrate specialist knowledge in the area of their research.
  • Present the results of their research in publishable form or work towards incorporating their findings in further research.
  • Apply the research skills acquired to other projects.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, research ethics or code of practice.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Candidates will have appropriately experienced supervisor/s who, in consultation with the candidate, arranges a course of supervised research designed to suit the individual requirements and interests of the candidate and aligned with the research focus of the department. 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), subject to the approval of the subject coordinator.

The DMedSc may normally be undertaken in any department of the Melbourne Medical School and in some Faculty-based academic units such as the Centre for Youth, Mental Health or the Department of Medical Biology (WEHI). Please note that entry is subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor and research project and the approval of the Head of Department.

The DMedSc may not be undertaken through the following academic units: The Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health, The Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, the Department of Medical Bionics.

The Doctor of Medical Science is classified as a research doctorate with thesis requirements and examination comparable to the Doctor of Philosophy.

Progress Report Requiremet 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 DMedSc in which candidates will also be required to give a 15 minute presentation of their work. The Completion Report attachment is submitted at two years 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.

DMedSc candidates are required to make a public presentation of their research findings at the University within three months of submitting their thesis for examination. The Seminar should present the objectives, methods, findings and significance of the candidate's DMedSc thesis research.

All candidates are required to undertake a review of their progress at least annually. The due dates for these milestone reports will be adjusted accordingly if candidates have approved periods of leave of absence or change their study rate between fulltime and part-time candidature. Candidates can check the Student Portal at any time to see the date of their next Progress Review.

Conversion to PhD

Candidates who have completed 6 months or more of the DMedSc degree and who are qualified for admission to the PhD program may apply for conversion to confirmed PhD candidature. Converting candidates are required to undertake the same confirmation process as probationary PhD candidates. An unfinished Masters degree or other doctorate normally cannot contribute to meeting the eligibility requirements for admission into the PhD.

Completion Seminar

All DMedSc candidates are required to make a public presentation of their research findings at the University within three months of submitting their thesis for examination. The Seminar should present the objectives, methods, findings and significance of the candidate's DMedSc thesis research.

For information in regard to supervision, supervisor training, Advisory Committees, thesis requirements, including examination and assessment, refer to the Doctor of Philosophy Handbook.

Entry Requirements:

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 four measures.

1. Minimum qualifications

Applicants are required to have completed a medical degree at H2A standard or above from an Australian university, or a medical qualification considered by the Faculty to be equivalent. The completion must be at least two years’ standing.

2. Minimum level of academic achievement

Applicants should have achieved an overall H2A (75-79%) grade or above in the relevant medical qualification.

3. 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 DMedSc is current. It is therefore expected that an applicant will have completed their medical studies and/or any relevant professional medical and/or research experience in the 10 years immediately prior to their intended entry to the DMedSc.

4. 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.

In exceptional circumstances, the Faculty may consider for admission a person who does not meet the minimum standards set out below, if it is satisfied that the person's experience in health or medical research and/or general medicine and the results of that experience indicate 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 proposed department of enrolment may present an evidence-based case for admissioni to the course to the Associate Dean (Research Training), noting that final approval of such cases is determined by the University's Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC).

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:

Doctoral degrees at the University of Melbourne seek to develop graduates who demonstrate academic leadership, increasing independence, creativity and innovation in their research work. In addition, professional doctoral studies provide advanced training designed to enhance professional knowledge in a specialist area, and encourage the acquisition of a wide range of advanced and transferable skills.

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.
  • an ability to formulate applications to relevant agencies, such as funding bodies and ethics committees.
Generic Skills:


Links to further information:

Refer to the Melbourne Medical School for further information about eligibility and for help in finding a project.

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

For information about the application process, refer to the MDHS Student Centre.

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