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Monash University

Doctor of Philosophy

Course code: 0057 / 3531 ~ Course abbreviation: PhDSci ~ Total credit points required: 192 ~ 4 years full-time, 8 years part-time ~ Managing faculty: Science

Study mode and course location

On-campus (Clayton; Gippsland; Sunway)

External (Clayton; Gippsland)

Course description

A candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is required to carry out a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the direct supervision of a member of the academic staff. The candidate, together with the supervisor, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed. Both report at regular intervals on the progress of the project. Assessment is by 100 per cent thesis, the length of which would not normally exceed 100,000 words.

The Research Graduate School Committee is the body responsible for administering the PhD. It has final responsibility for approving admission to PhD and for such matters as variations to candidature, questions of supervision, progress, and submission and examination of theses.

Course objectives

Successful completion of the program will signify that the holder has completed a course of postgraduate training in research under proper academic supervision and has submitted a thesis that the examiners have declared to be a significant contribution to knowledge and which demonstrates the candidate's capacity to carry out independent research.


Duration of candidature

The minimum period of candidature is 24 months. This may be reduced to 12 months in exceptional circumstances. Although the maximum period of candidature is four years (full-time) or eight years (part-time), the normal period is three years (six years, part-time) and it is strongly recommended that candidates design a project that can be completed within three years of the commencement of candidature.

Part-time candidature

The faculty board, through the Research Degrees Committee, may on the recommendation of the head of school concerned, recommend to the Research Graduate School Committee admission of applicants to part-time PhD enrolment who comply with the following guidelines.

1. Subject to the requirements of the regulations relating to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, the faculty has determined that applicants shall provide written evidence that they can devote:

(a) at least two full working days per week or its equivalent to their studies in a laboratory discipline; or

(b) at least one full working day per week or its equivalent in a non-laboratory discipline.

2. Applicants in full-time employment shall provide written evidence from the employer to the effect that sufficient time as defined above will be made available for them to undertake their research.

In special circumstances and on the recommendation of the Research Degrees Committee, exceptions to these provisions may be recommended by the faculty board to the Research Graduate School Committee in support of approval of a particular application.

External candidature

Where the research is principally being undertaken at another research site (for example an archives repository, field site, laboratory, commercial or governmental research station, or another university), suitably qualified applicants may apply for external PhD candidature. The applicant must demonstrate that the external research site provides a research environment that offers appropriate resources, facilities, and research expertise for the duration of the candidature. Candidates must have the personal maturity to pursue independent, sustained, and structured research off-campus. Such evidence might include previous successful and timely completion of a postgraduate research degree, publications, or relevant work experience particularly in a research-oriented institution. A residency period of at least 15 days per year is obligatory. A special application form, available from the Monash Research Graduate School website at must be completed and submitted to the relevant school.


PhD thesis based or partially based on conjointly published or unpublished work

This option allows doctoral candidates to submit for examination a thesis consisting of, or partially consisting of, conjointly published or unpublished work, linked by a clear theme. A detailed statement at the front of the thesis must indicate the nature and extent of the candidate's contribution to the work presented and the underlying research. Essentially, the initiation, key ideas, development, and writing up of each of the works should be the primary responsibility of the candidate. An introductory chapter that places the specific work in the broader context of its relevant research area and a concluding chapter that draws together the research documented in the preceding chapters are required. Other linking material that converts the work into a coherent whole is also essential.

Transfer of candidature

Transfer from PhD to MSc candidature

A PhD candidate may transfer from PhD to MSc candidature without undue regard. Doctoral candidates who wish to transfer to masters candidature must lodge an MSc application form at the Faculty of Science office.

Transfer from MSc to PhD candidature

MSc candidates may apply to transfer to PhD candidature. The period of masters candidature already consumed is deducted from the maximum period of PhD candidature allowable. To apply for a transfer from MSc to PhD candidature, candidates must complete a PhD application form and are normally required to make an oral presentation of their research project before a school review panel and submit a written progress report (approximately 1000 words).

Contact details

For further information on the PhD degree, refer to the Doctoral and MPhil Information Handbook for Research Candidates and their Supervisors, which can be found at or contact the Monash Research Graduate School by email at or telephone on +61 3 9905 3009.