Master of Primary Health Care

Course 546AA (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015 - 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



Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
MDHS Student Centre / Learning and Teaching Unit
Level 1, Brownless Biomedical Library
The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Telephone: + 61 3 8344 5890
Future Student Questions:

Course Overview:

The Master of Primary Health Care enables candidates to undertake a major research project on a primary health care topic of their choice. 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). All students are required to attend departmental seminars over the period of their candidature. 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.


  • The normal period of candidature is one year for full-time candidates with the possibility of up to 6 months extension.
  • All candidates are required to complete a minimum of 6 months full-time research at the University in order to benefit from planning, conducting and writing up their research within a University community and environment.
  • Normally the entire degree is undertaken at the University.
  • To be eligible to submit a thesis students must be enrolled in their course for the minimum period of 6 months full-time equivalent.


  • Students may commence the degree at any time during the year between 1st February and 15 December.
  • Commencement is subject to prior arrangement with their nominated supervisor and the MDHS Student Centre. (Scholarships have separate rules and students should seek approval from Melbourne Scholarships to vary their scholarshp commencement).
  • Please check with the relevant academic unit prior to making any arrangements for enrolment or travel.

A range of University policies and procedures apply to students enrolled in Higher Degrees by Research.

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:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have:

  • completed a three year undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related area; and
  • completed an honours degree or postgraduate diploma in primary health care or relevant field or a combination of qualifications with a minimum (University of Melbourne) 80% weighted average, or equivalent.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the selection committee will consider:

  • prior academic performance and, if relevant, professional qualifications;
  • performance at interview;
  • understanding of the research question to be explored;
  • motivation and capacity to complete the course in a timely manner;
  • relevant prior research and/or professional experience ; and
  • referee reports.

3. The selection committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Selection and Admission into Graduate Research Courses Policy.

4. The minimum English language requirements for this course are Band 7.

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:


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


  • Detailed information regarding the application process is available at:
  • Prior to submitting an application, applicants should discuss their research interests with a potential supervisor of the department in which they would like to enrol and discuss any external commitments which may impede their successful academic progress.

Which scholarship can I apply for?

Facilities and Supports

  • The University makes available a broad range of Programs & Services to graduate research students.

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