Master of Veterinary Science

Course 872AA (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 006676G
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.


Dr Helen Billman-Jacobe


Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences
University of Melbourne , Victoria, 3010

T: +61 (0)3 8344 7357

Course Overview:

The Master of Veterinary Science (MVSc) is a Research Higher Degree which can be undertaken in any of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences' research programs. It is designed for students to develop advanced skills in carrying out independent and sustained research. 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 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 normal length of an MVSc thesis is 30,000-40,000 words, exclusive of words in tables, maps bibliographies and appendices. Footnotes are included as part of the word limit.

Learning Outcomes:

The student is expected to have achieved a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding in a particular field or set of related fields in veterinary science. On the completion of the course students should:

  • Be able to apply scientific methods to the definition and solution of problems by research and approach research in a critical, perceptive and constructive way;
  • Have acquired skills in the searching and manipulation of scientific literature and other relevant data bases;
  • Demonstrate advanced learning in research skills and mastery of appropriate techniques, such as the use of archival or primary evidence, analysis of data, judgment of conflicting evidence, etc;
  • 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;
  • Be effective in scientific communication through both the spoken and written medium and to both professional colleagues and the wider community;
  • Have an understanding of the financing and management of scientific research;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, research ethics or code of practice; and
  • Develop interpersonal skills to work as part of a team.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

All candidates for the MVSc 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 (full-time equivalent). Two extensions of three months each may be allowed. For local students, RTS is available for a maximum of two years (full-time equivalent).

Entry Requirements:

The usual entry requirement is a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (usually honours level) or recognised equivalent qualification.

Applicants must also meet the University’s English Language requirements.

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 Master by research awarded by the University, and
  • make use of support programs and facilities provided by the Faculty and University throughout the period of 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 students regarding the application process, including the application form is available at Applications are accepted year-round.

MVSc 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 Support:

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


Candidates undertake a period of supervised advanced study and research in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. The term of candidature is three years on a full-time study basis and six years on a part-time study basis. Candidates are expected to meet regularly with their supervisor and are required to submit an annual report on the progress of their work. They are expected 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 for examination by a minimum of two external examiners. The format of the thesis, including a statement on authorship, must follow prescriptions laid down by the University and advised to the candidate at the time of enrolment. Candidates whose progress in the course is not satisfactory may have their candidature terminated after appropriate counselling and an opportunity for appeal.

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