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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleMD
CRICOS code052825F
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Alfred Hospital, Baker Institute, Box Hill Hospital, Burnet Institute, Clayton, Howard Florey Institute, Monash Health Research Institute, Monash Medical Centre, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Peter McCallum Cancer Institute, Prince Henry's Institute, Southbank, St Vincent's Institute, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute)
Off-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Research Degrees Office, telephone +61 3 9905 4313; email or visit

Course coordinator

Professor Mibel Aguilar


  • This course may be undertaken at approved off-site locations


The Doctor of Medicine is a research degree. Candidates conduct a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the direct supervision of a member of the academic staff. The supervisor, in consultation with the candidate, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed by the candidate, and for reporting at regular intervals on the candidate's progress. Candidates submit a thesis. The work undertaken as part of this degree must constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the chosen research field, and must demonstrate the capacity of the candidate to carry out independent research. This course may be undertaken in any of the areas of research offered by the faculty. For information about research in the faculty visit


Students who have completed the course will demonstrate a thorough understanding of relevant research techniques in their field through a review of the relevant literature. They will demonstrate their ability, under supervision to apply relevant research techniques to their chosen field of study. Students will be able to present high-quality written work suitable for publication in appropriate scholarly journals, and be able to critically evaluate both their own and others' written work in their chosen field.

Students will also be able to:

  • identify and define research questions
  • identify the appropriate research methods to address the research questions
  • demonstrate mastery of their chosen research methodology/methodologies
  • demonstrate theoretical knowledge at doctoral level in their chosen field of research
  • communicate their research findings in a format appropriate to their academic discipline
  • write up their research into a high quality thesis
  • contribute new information or new ways of understanding information in the field of research.

Research component

100 per cent

Candidature rules

Duration of candidature

The total permissible period of candidature is four years full-time, or its equivalent in part-time candidature up to a maximum of eight years part-time, after which the candidature will lapse. The minimum period of candidature is 24 months (48 months part-time). Candidates are encouraged to complete their theses as quickly as possible.

Probationary candidature

Probationary candidature applies for all doctoral candidates, except where doctoral candidates have transferred from a masters by research program. Candidature will be confirmed subject to the receipt of a satisfactory report of progress at the end of the 12-month (full-time) or 24-months (part-time) period of probationary candidature.

Progress reviews

Supervisors and academic units monitor the progress of candidates throughout their candidature. All candidates are required to complete an annual questionnaire in order to review the conditions of their candidature. The academic progress of candidates is formally reviewed via three candidature milestones: confirmation of candidature; mid-candidature review; and pre-submission seminar.

The mid-candidature review and pre-submission seminar are mandatory requirements for all candidates who commenced their candidature from 1 January 2010.

Time available for study

Throughout their candidature, all candidates must regularly attend their department, school, centre or faculty and participate fully in the intellectual, research and academic life of their academic unit. Full-time candidates must be able to devote the equivalent of a minimum of four days a week to the pursuit of their research project; all part-time candidates must devote at least two full days a week to their studies. In the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, part-time candidates in laboratory disciplines must undertake at least one and a half of their study days during normal working hours/week days. For those part-time students in non-laboratory disciplines, at least one of their study days must be a week day.

External candidature

External candidates must demonstrate personal maturity and research experience to pursue independent, sustained and structured research off-campus. In addition to the conditions above, external students must satisfy an annual five-day on-campus attendance requirement each year or equivalent over the period of candidature. A portion of this attendance may be off-campus, provided that the candidate is able to interact with the principal or associate (university) supervisor during this time. Regular interactive communication should take place between candidate and supervisor at least once every two weeks, via telephone, video conference, email or other interactive communication. Daily communication should also be possible, as required.

Employment restrictions

Full-time candidates are permitted, with the approval of their main supervisor, to undertake a strictly limited amount of paid employment throughout the year, being no more than 15 hours of work per week on average. Up to a maximum of six hours only on average of this employment may be undertaken during normal working hours (9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays). However, this may be extended to a maximum of eight hours if the employment is limited to one weekday. The candidate's supervisor(s) must be satisfied that any part-time work undertaken does not interfere with the candidate's study program and progress. International students need to be aware that the employment restrictions outlined above apply even though a student visa permits students to work up to 20 hours a week


Assessment is by thesis only. It is expected that MD theses generally do not exceed 100,000 words. The word length for a thesis does not include footnotes, references or appendices, nor does it include equations, tables, diagrams or other illustrations. The thesis may be in the form of a traditional monograph or as a thesis by publication.

The work presented for examination must be the original work of the candidate, except where due reference is made in the text. A candidate may include published work which is directly relevant to the argument of the thesis, provided such work has been written during the period of candidature. Candidates may not present in, or in support of, a thesis any work which the candidate has presented for any other degree or diploma at this University, or any other institution, except with the permission of the Research Graduate School Committee.


Doctor of Medicine