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The University of Sydney Business School has an outstanding reputation for the quality of its research across a wide range of academic disciplines.

The Master of Philosophy takes at least one year to complete of full-time study, during which candidates undertake approved research and write a thesis of up to 50,000 words.

From 2021, Higher Degree by Research students will be required to complete some coursework as part of their candidature. Master of Philosophy students in the Business School will will undertake 24 credit points in a specialist program taken from a collection of units called ‘Table R’.

Subject areas
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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 entry requirements

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 requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

Closing dates

Research Period 2: 31 October

Research Period 3: 15 March

Starting date

Research Period 2: 1 March

Research Period 3: 1 July

Refer to key research dates on the How to Apply website.

Closing dates

Research Period 2: 31 October

Research Period 3: 15 March

Starting date

Research Period 2: Start date 1 March

Research Period 3: Start date 1 July

Refer to key research dates on the How to Apply website.

Research areas

PhD candidates at the University of Sydney Business School may undertake supervised research with one of the following disciplines or research centres within the school:

  • Discipline of Accounting
  • Discipline of Business Analytics
  • Discipline of Business Information Systems
  • Discipline of Business Law
  • Discipline of Finance
  • Discipline of International Business
  • Discipline of Marketing
  • Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies
  • Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies.

What you'll study

From 2021, the University is introducing a new coursework curriculum to support research success. Higher Degree by Research students will be required to complete some coursework as part of their candidature. 

You will have the opportunity to create a distinct research pathway by selecting from 270+ units from any faculty – a first of its kind in Australia – with study areas ranging from specialist analytical methods and professional engagement courses, to discipline-specific subjects. Browse all available units here.

Master of Philosophy students in the Business School will undertake 24 credit points in a specialist program taken from a collection of units called ‘Table R’, including: 

  • BUSS7901 - Research design
  • BUSS7902 - Quantitative research methods
  • BUSS7903 - Qualitative research methods
  • BUSS7910 - Philosophy of Business Research

There is no separate tuition fee cost for the coursework units of study you will undertake, it is part of the tuition fee for the course. See the 'Your Fee' section for fee information. Additional non-tuition course costs vary depending on the units of study.

You will be able to see and enrol in any of the units available, subject to capacity restraints and your own background. Note that your faculty may elect to make certain units compulsory for a given degree.

Units of Study

Applying for admission

Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply in plenty of time, and even before completion of their current qualifying degree. You do not need to find a supervisor before applying, the Business School will do this for you during the application process.

As such, as part of the your application you should select Business HoD in the 'research supervisor' required field.

If a suitable supervisor is identified, you will be contacted for an interview. Interviews are usually conducted via Skype or in person.

After your interview, your supervisor, the relevant Discipline and the Director of Doctoral Studies will review your application, and if they all agree to endorse your candidature, you will be issued an offer letter.

Required documents

The documents you need to provide with your application will vary depending upon which discipline you are applying for, see the admission requirements table (pdf, 67.8KB) for more information.

Statement of purpose

As a part of your application, you will need to write a 1-2 page document to describe your motivation for pursuing doctoral study

Research proposal

There are three different types of research proposals that are required depending upon which Discipline you are applying to: a Statement of Research Interests, an Indicative Research Proposal or a Developed Research Proposal.

To see which type of research proposal you will need to provide, please refer to the admission requirements table (pdf, 67.8KB).

Statement of Research Interests

This is a 1-2 page statement detailing your research interests. The statement can include potential research areas, topics, and methodologies. The statement will be used to match your interests with a research supervisor. If you are invited to proceed with your application, you will be required to consult with the supervisor prior to writing a suitable research proposal to be included with your application. Please note applications cannot be processed unless a research proposal is attached.

Indicative Research Proposal

The indicative research proposal is a brief document with a maximum length of 1500 words (if desired, you may add a paragraph outlining other research interests at the end of this document).

The indicative proposal is intended to provide a starting point for discussion with your appointed supervisor. This discussion will lead to a draft research proposal that must be added to your application.

The indicative research proposal may include:

  • Description of the project – what is your research question/hypothesis?
  • Brief review of literature in the area that you may be aware of.
  • Expected research contribution – what do you expect your research to contribute to existing knowledge. Is it innovative and/or original?
  • The proposed methodology – qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods?
  • Potential data sources.

Developed Research Proposal

This is a detailed document (3000-6000 words) that outlines your research question, chosen methodology, understanding of the current literature, and particular contribution to the field. The developed research proposal is intended to clearly set out the aims and potential significance of the research. It should have the following elements:

  • Introduction – articulating the research problem and why investigating it matters.
  • Review of existing literature – this should be a succinct overview of the most relevant and recent literature related to the research phenomena. It should lead to a clearly articulated preliminary research question.
  • Methodology – a description of your proposed methodology. Here you should explain how you plan to undertake the research and how your methods will allow you to answer your research question. Please outline any past experience you have in applying such a methodology.
  • Potential significance of the research: What are the implications of your research for theory and/or practice?
  • Bibliography - at this stage the bibliography does not need to be complete. Its purpose is to give the supervisor an indication of the reading you have already done (or plan to do).


  • Only complete applications can be processed. Applications that have been received but that remain incomplete at the closing date will be considered for the next semester intake.
  • Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.
  • Due to the application form being standardised, it will ask for your name and proof of contact with a supervisor. In order to progress your application you may put “to be confirmed” in the supervisor name section. The Business School does not require this information at the point of application.

Completion requirement

Thesis submission requirements and examination procedure as set out in the Academic Board resolutions for this course and the Higher Degree (HDR) Rule 2011.

Admission requirement

Admission to a research degree in the University of Sydney Business School is very competitive. You need to have completed an Australian honours (or equivalent) or a postgraduate degree with outstanding results (at least 80%) in order to be considered for an offer.  

Credit for previous study

For more information about the University’s credit policy, please see the Credit for Previous Studies page.

Graduate opportunities

Through the completion of the MPhil degree, students gain deeper understanding of a subject area and develop analytical, problem solving, communication and project management skills. These skills are highly valued by prospective employers. MPhil graduates may pursue careers in industry, academia and research organisations.

Domestic students

International students

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