Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an ungraded degree awarded for research that demonstrates that the candidate has the capacity to conduct research independently, and form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and to afford evidence of coherence and originality shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power. The candidate's program of study will be supervised by at least two supervisors.

The degree requires that a thesis with a maximum length of 75,000 to 100,000 words (depending on the Department) be submitted for a written assessment by three examiners external to the University. Before submitting a PhD thesis, all candidates must have followed an approved program of study and research within the University for a period determined by the Higher Degree Research Committee (normally not less than two years).

A candidate's program of study must be supervised by an eligible Macquarie academic staff member, and will normally be carried out within the University. There is, however, provision for a candidate to be permitted to carry out much of the program outside the University with Faculty approval.

In some disciplines further research training or the completion of a preliminary coursework program in research preparation may be required prior to admission. For further information please refer to the section on Pathways to Macquarie Research Programs and to the Faculty sections of this prospectus.

Length of candidature

From 2014, the PhD is a three years equivalent full-time program. The minimum period of candidature is two years and the maximum period is three years for full-time candidates and six years for part-time candidates. A full-time candidate is expected to commit on average a minimum of 40 hours per week to their research study program. A part-time candidate is expected to commit on average a minimum of 20 hours per week to their research study program and consult weekly with their supervisors. Please refer to the Calendar of Governance, Legislation and Rules for more detailed information.

Admission requirements (from 2014)

From 1 January 2014, admission to Macquarie University's Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program will have the following new requirements:

  1. Applicant to have completed the Macquarie University's Master of Research (MRes) with at least 75% in second year of the MRes; OR
  2. Applicant to have completed a Master of Philosophy; OR
  3. Applicant to have completed Master's degree from another institution with major research component. The size and length of the research thesis may vary, but it is expected to be of an equivalent scale and scope to the Macquarie University MRes thesis. Performance to be at Distinction level (75% or greater).

Macquarie University does not accept the Undergraduate Honours degree for direct entry to its Higher Degree Research programs. All candidates are expected to have undertaken a Masters degree, (or equivalent) predominantly focused on research and research preparation. This degree may vary in length and name, and will be assessed together with the totality of the candidate's qualifications. In exceptional cases, a combination of other university degrees and/or a significant track record of other research may be considered for entry.

The standard period of candidature for the PhD at Macquarie University is three years, full-time equivalent. For admission to the PhD, the university needs to confirm that prospective candidates will be able to complete their degree within this time, and that:

a. they have undertaken significant study of their discipline beyond undergraduate level, and are equipped to make strategic decisions about the state of research in their field and key new directions for research, and are thus ready to conduct an HDR level project;

b. candidates have undertaken a substantial research project at Masters level, which indicates they have significant experience in independently identifying a research question;  designing a research project using a methodology that they have been able to justify in relation to alternatives and that their project has produced coherent and well-justified conclusions, situated in relation to the literature.

c. All candidates enrolling in HDR will have completed their research proposal in the same format as candidates completing the MRes.

All other peer-reviewed research output may be taken into consideration under Rule 7(10) of the University's Higher Degree Research Rule for admission to the new PhD program.

Candidates who have not completed an MRes degree and do not meet the above criteria may be asked to undertake the Master of Research as a research training pathway to the new Doctoral degree. Candidates with previous study at Bachelor Honours or Masters level may receive credit towards the MRes for a maximum of 50% of the program. The period of candidature for the new PhD will be 3 years.

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