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Fast track your career in surgery.

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Global leaders in health education

  • No. 1 in Australia

    The University is ranked first in Australia and 33rd in the world for surgery in the U.S. News Top Global Universities Subject Rankings 2020. The discipline is also the largest academic surgical department in Australasia.

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  • Graduate outcomes

    The University is ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020.

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Overview

The Doctor of Clinical Surgery is attained through a combination of clinical and non-clinical coursework and research. The course aims to produce surgical leaders with attitudes and skills that allow them to meet the challenges of surgical specialist practice. Furthermore, completion of the doctorate allows students to develop research skills which equip them to plan an academic career.

Who should study this course? 

The Doctor of Clinical Surgery is designed to be undertaken in conjunction with the surgical training program of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to augment research, leadership and communication skills. Candidates who have already completed surgical training in Australia or a recognised surgical training program elsewhere will benefit from undertaking the Doctor of Clinical Surgery for its further non-clinical study opportunities and research skills development.

Depending on your previous clinical experience and qualifications you may be granted advanced standing of up to 66 credit points for the clinical coursework units of study.

What will you study? 

The course work includes all aspects of surgical practice and in particular communication, behavioural, ethical, attitudinal, health economic and medicolegal aspects of surgical practice as well as operative, psychomotor and cognitive aspects. The assessment of operative and psychomotor skills will be competence based.

You will undertake clinical coursework in an approved University of Sydney training hospital under the supervision of a University nominated training supervisor. These hospitals are certified and accredited on a regular basis.

Surgical practice for the clinical coursework component is available in the following areas: cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, upper GI surgery, colorectal surgery, surgical oncology, breast endocrine surgery, neurosurgery, otolaryngology head & neck surgery, orthopaedic surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic & reconstructive surgery.

Subject areas

There are no specialisations for this course.

Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your admission criteria

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission criteria’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Closing dates

Semester 1 - 11 February of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (March) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Closing dates

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 30 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (March) and Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

The doctorate comprises 18 core units of study and six electives chosen from the list of core and elective units of study for the doctorate.

The Doctor of Clinical Surgery requires the successful completion of 144 credit points of units of study including:

  • 66 credit points – for FRACS (credit for good standing) or to enrol in units, be eligible to undertake surgical training in New South Wales and be appointed to a SET 3 or higher position
  • 6 credit points – Capstone
  • 36 credit points – Thesis
  • 36 credit points – Elective units of study

In general, in each semester, students enrol in 2 clinical surgery units (unless exemptions are granted), one research unit of study and one elective.  In special circumstances a student may apply to undertake two electives in one semester but then must undertake two research units of study the following semester.

Clinical Surgery Coursework

Each coursework subject (Clinical Surgery 1-11) is a culmination of the clinical service work as well as the close one to one supervision by a nominated training supervisor.  The coursework will also include detailed surgical anatomy and pathology of the relevant region.  Each subject is assessed by a combination of assessment which include satisfactory participation in the care of a number of patients including a competence-based assessment of operative skills as well as an in-depth review of one patient including a critical review of the literature.

Non-Elective Units

These are designed to allow the candidate an opportunity to pursue educational interests outside of surgery which will complement their study of clinical surgery.

Clinical Surgery Capstone

Assessment in this subject includes satisfactory presentation at a Viva Voce in which the candidate is expected to discuss and justify from the available evidence, their clinical management of a number of randomly chosen cases from their logbook.

Research

Students will need to show evidence of research through a continuous research project on a topic approved by the University Training Supervisor.  This research may be undertaken in any of the multidisciplinary units of the Sydney Medical School or may be undertaken in other Faculties as approved by the Course coordinator.  These may include Engineering, Law, Humanities, Economics and Science.

The general pattern for 36 credit points of research units are as follows:

  • SURG6001 – (Surgical Research 1) Abstract
  • SURG6002 – (Surgical Research 2) Narrative Review/Aims
  • SURG6003 – (Surgical Research 3) Methods (Data Collation)
  • SURG6004 – (Surgical Research 4) Results
  • SURG6005 – (Surgical Research 5) Discussion/Future Directions
  • SURG6006 – (Surgical Research 6) Bibliography

Explore the Medicine and Health Postgraduate Handbook to learn more about what you will study as part of this degree: 

Units of Study

Admission criteria

Admission to Doctor of Clinical Surgery requires:

  • a medical degree;
  • evidence of excellence in study in both their undergraduate and postgraduate career;
  • successful interview or examination; and
  • advance post graduate knowledge of anatomy, surgical pathology and applied physiology; or
    completion of the basic training requirements of the Australian College of Surgeons, or a Fellowship of the Australian College of Surgeons.

Candidates who possess a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, or equivelent, may be granted credit of up to 66 credit points for the Clinical Surgery units of study (SURG6011-SURG6021)

Candidates who wish to undertake the clinical components of the Doctor of Surgery must be eligible to undertake surgical training in New South Wales and be appointed to a SET 3 or higher position by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Additional requirements are set by the Discipline of Surgery and will include an interview.

In exceptional circumstances the dean may admit applicants without this qualification who, in the opinion of the school, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice.

The Handbooks Online and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

Professional accreditation

The Doctor of Clinical Surgery is endorsed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Students who undertake clinical placements in College accredited training posts will be prospectively approved for recognition in the SET Program.

The Doctor of Clinical Surgery does not give graduates automatic specialist recognition as each country and territory has various regulations and examinations that may or may not be necessary to be approved as a specialist.

Specialist recognition may require an additional year or two years (depending on the jurisdiction) in supervised specialist posts or in full time research. Students are advised to gain approval for recognition of the Doctor of Clinical Surgery course in their particular jurisdiction and to ensure that the Doctorate meets the standards for training in their jurisdiction and through their nominated specialist recognition authority.

Career Pathways

The Doctor of Clinical Surgery combines surgical studies and training with research and prepares students to become a surgeon. It may also prepare students for specialist recognition. Students are advised to gain approval for recognition of the Doctor of Clinical Surgery course in their particular jurisdiction and to ensure that the Doctorate meets the standards for training in their jurisdiction and through their nominated specialist recognition authority.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.