Master of Philosophy

CRICOS 082668K

About this course

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is an AQF level 9 award. It meets the specifications for a Master’s Degree (Research) set by the Australian Qualifications Framework. It provides an opportunity to pursue advanced study in a theologically related area by research at a high academic level. It is designed for those who seek to further their study in such an area, including interdisciplinary study, for academic, vocational, professional and/or personal reasons. It also offers research training that would support research at doctoral level.

The Master of Philosophy is undertaken by research and thesis alone. It provides the opportunity for candidates to embark on a significant piece of research, which investigates a theologically related topic in a systematic and comprehensive manner that is not available in coursework programs.

Course Details

Admission to the Master of Philosophy requires:

  • Satisfactory completion of a Bachelor (Hons) degree or equivalent with results at Class II, Division 1, from the Sydney College of Divinity or an equivalent institution; OR
  • Satisfactory completion of a Graduate Diploma with a GPA of 3+ and one 18 cp research unit at Distinction level from the Sydney College of Divinity or an equivalent institution; OR
  • Qualifications deemed by the College to be equivalent to those above.


In all cases, the prior studies should include sufficient preparation to undertake the proposed research in a theologically related area.


English Language Requirements

Applicants whose entry qualifications were obtained in an institution where English is not the language of instruction normally require a minimum IELTS (or equivalent) overall score of at least 7.0 with no subtest below 7.0.

The Master of Philosophy is an entirely research-based degree, resulting in a thesis of 30,000 words maximum, including footnotes/endnotes but excluding bibliography and appendices, under the direction of a supervisor and an associate supervisor.


Compulsory participation in the Research Degree Workshop and eight Research Seminars is also required of the candidate.


Some thesis topics may require competence in ancient and/or modern foreign languages or other relevant areas of knowledge.

  • an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in one or more theologically related disciplines or areas of practice, including recent developments in the discipline or area
  • advanced knowledge of pertinent research principles and methods applicable to the area



Expert and specialised cognitive, technical and creative skills in the field of research, so that they are able independently to:

  • analyse critically, reflect on and synthesise complex information, problems, abstract concepts and theories associated with the field of research
  • research, evaluate and apply established theories to the focal areas of knowledge or practice, using the English language competently and effectively for the purpose
  • design or adapt research methods appropriate to the research area
  • interpret and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas through coherent and sustained argument concerning the research area to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • make a fresh contribution to knowledge in the research area


Applications of Knowledge and Skills

the ability to:

  • plan and execute a substantial piece of research with creativity and initiative
  • apply knowledge and skills in a way that demonstrates autonomy, expert judgment, adaptability and accountability as a practitioner or learner in relation to the inter-dependent building up of the church and good of the wider community.


Graduate Attributes

MPhil graduates will:

  • Be able to identify, analyse and articulate problems and issues in discourses current in their academic, professional and social communities
  • Recognize the level of their own understanding
  • Demonstrate creativity in solving problems and dealing with complex and abstract conceptual matters
  • Be able to access information efficiently using the means most appropriate to purpose and context
  • conduct themselves with academic integrity and rigour and exercise critical thinking in forming judgments
  • Work autonomously and with an open mind
  • Understand the distinction between information and argument and be able to marshal information as evidence in argument
  • Adopt and practice responsible values and attitudes as members of academic, professional and social communities, based in part on their experience as Sydney College of Divinity research candidates
  • Be able to communicate their thinking coherently and effectively, with appropriate English proficiency, in public debate and printed word
  • Have confidence to engage in public discussions of faith and ethics
  • Appreciate and act on opportunities for further learning
  • Be willing to assume leadership in their academic, professional and social communities as needed

Applications for candidature are made directly to the Sydney College of Divinity. Applications can be submitted online and are accepted throughout the year.


From 1 January 2021, higher education domestic and onshore international students commencing study in 2021 will need a Unique Student Identifier (USI)

  • to be eligible for FEE-HELP (domestic students only)
  • to receive your degree, if you intend to complete your study at the end of 2022 and graduate in 2023.


The process of applying online for candidature must commence only after you have discussed your proposed study with the Sydney College of Divinity Research Director Professor Constantine R. Campbell. Email Prof Campbell at [email protected] to explore your options.


An overview of the process would be
  1. Attend an interview with Research Director Professor Constantine R. Campbell in person or on phone
  2. Decide on the research degree taking onto consideration what is most suited to your research topic. You would also need to consider the time, cost and other factors before you embark on your study
  3. Check your eligibility and know the regulations
  4. Prepare to submit your online application which includes the Summary of Research Intentions. Have all the information and supporting documentation ready. All official documents must be certified
  5. Submit your HDR Application online


The Sydney College of Divinity Research Committee will consider the application. If you are successful, you will be admitted on a provisional basis and assigned a principal and secondary supervisor. They will assist you to prepare a Thesis Proposal.  The candidature is provisional until the acceptance of the Thesis Proposal by the Research Committee.

A graduate research degree provides a unique opportunity to follow and focus on an area of interest, and make an important contribution to the development of your chosen area. The decision to enter into a research degree should not be taken lightly. The study requires substantial time and financial commitment, and the capacity for innovative, independent research; critical thinking; time and project management skills; and skills of organisation and communication of information. Typically, full-time candidature requires an average of thirty hours per week and part-time candidature requires an average of fifteen hours per week. These hours should preferably be achieved through regular weekly commitment, but they may be achieved through varying periods of more and less intensive work.


International Students

International students are subject to the conditions of their Australian student visa and are required to maintain a full-time enrolment. If you are planning to enrol as an international student, you have the responsibility to ensure that you comply with your visa conditions at all times.


Fees are the same for all students. International students are not eligible for FEE-HELP, an Australian loan scheme that assists eligible full fee paying students pay their tuition fees at university and other higher education providers. International students will be required to pay the tuition fee at the beginning of each semester. The Graduate Research School may discuss payment plans if paying upfront presents difficulties.


Higher Degree by Research students are exempt from the restricted work hour conditions that apply to undergraduate and postgraduate (coursework) international students. This means that you may be able to work unlimited hours thus adding to your finances once you are in Australia. Always check the conditions of your visa before you decide to commence any work.


Applicants whose entry qualifications were obtained in an institution where English is not the language of instruction will be required to demonstrate competency in English by an IELTS result of 7.0 in all bands of the test and may be required to attend such English language courses as prescribed by the Sydney College of Divinity.


For more information email [email protected]