Doctor of Philosophy

Candidates for the degree of PhD must be graduates, usually in Science or Medicine, and are accepted on the basis of their undergraduate record, which normally includes demonstrated research ability in their Honours year, if Science graduates. The student conducts research under the supervision of a member of the Academic Staff of the Department and thus becomes a member of the research team of that staff member's laboratory. Enrolment for the degree must be undertaken in either the Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Medicine, but is usually in the Faculty of Medicine. The work is conducted principally in the supervisor's Laboratory, although collaboration with, and work in, other Laboratories, according to the dictates of the project, is not uncommon. It usually takes 3 years to obtain sufficient data to prepare a thesis embodying the results of the candidate's original research. Examination of the thesis by independent examiners, including senior scientists external to the University, constitutes the method of assessment. Financial support is available upon competitive assessment of applications made in October each year. For Science graduates the support includes Commonwealth scholarships (Australian Postgraduate Research Awards), National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarships, and various Faculty of Medicine scholarships. For Medical graduates support includes National Health and Medical Research Council Medical Research Scholarships and certain Faculty of Medicine scholarships. Other sources of support from the Department or University are sometimes available. It is possible in some cases for a candidate to enrol for the degree part-time whilst employed as a Research Assistant in the Department. Part-time candidates are permitted to complete the degree in 4 years, which is the current University average time taken for full-time candidates.

Master of Science

Graduates in Science or Medicine may enrol in a shorter research course of 1-2 years full-time or 2-4 years part-time. Enrolment for the degree of MSc is undertaken only within the Faculty of Science. The candidate is expected to complete an appropriate research project. MSc graduates who have demonstrated good research ability may subsequently be permitted to enrol for the degree of PhD. MSc candidates may apply to the Faculty concerned to transfer their candidature to a PhD. If permission is granted, credit is usually given for time spent and work done.

Doctor of Medicine

Medical graduates of any university may undertake research in this Department for the degree of MD. Examination is by thesis.

Master of Medicine

Medical graduates of The Univ ersity of Sydney may enrol for the degree of MMed in this Department. Candidatur e lasts 1-3 years.


Honours year in the Faculty of Science: Bachelor of Medical Science: BMedSc(Hons), Bachelor of Science: BSc(Hons)

After completion of the requirements for a pass BMedSc or BSc, a good student who has majored in Physiology may be permitted to undertake a fourth, or 'Honours', year. In some cases students having completed undergraduate training in subjects other than those offered by the Department of Physiology, but deemed suited to particular research programs may also be admitted. Fourth year work consists mainly of a research project carried out in the laboratory of a member of the Academic Staff, who acts as the student's supervisor. Early in the course the student is required to write an extended essay based on the subject of his research project and throughout the year to participate in a weekly seminar. Examination is mainly by thesis, but also by the student's performance in the laboratory and in the end-of-year public seminar. Opportunities exist to gain teaching experience by casual employment as a demonstrator in under-graduate practical classes. After the Honours year the student may be allowed to undertake a PhD or MSc.

Graduate Diploma in Science: GradDipSc

Students with a pass degree from another institution, or in some cases with a pass degree from the University of Sydney, may be admit-ted to a program essentially identical to that of the BMedSc(Hons)/BSc(Hons) and obtain the diploma upon successful completion of this one year program.

Growth in numbers of Science Honours students

The following graph shows how a progressive decline in numbers in the 1980s has been reversed in the first half of this decade. The 1995 students were drawn almost entirely from the BMedSc programme.