The following rule applies to the Doctor of Philosophy.



The degree of Doctor of Philosophy will be awarded for a substantial original contribution to the knowledge or understanding of the discipline and demonstrated capacity for independent research. It will normally be awarded following the submission of a thesis based on research undertaken during candidature. It may also be awarded on the basis of published work accumulated prior to acceptance into candidature, subject to fulfilling the eligibility requirements for the PhD by Published Work.


Statement of Aims


The purpose of the PhD degree is to provide research training at the highest level and to enable or acknowledge the production of a substantial body of original research that contributes significantly to knowledge and scholarship.


Learning Outcomes


Graduates of PhD degrees will have expert, specialised cognitive, technical and research skills in a discipline area to enable them independently and systematically to demonstrate:

  • evidence of an original investigation or testing of ideas
  • competence in independent research or experimentation
  • a thorough understanding of the appropriate techniques in the field demonstrated both by their application and a thorough review of the literature
  • critical use of source material, experimental results (where appropriate), and published works
  • appreciation of the relationship of the special theme to the wider field of knowledge
  • the capacity to present well-written work
  • a higher degree of independence of thought and approach
  • a significant original contribution to knowledge

Graduates will apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability, and responsibility as an expert and leading scholar.


Admission requirement


A person who holds a Bachelors degree with Honours class 1 or 2A from Flinders University, or who holds qualifications deemed by the Board of the appropriate faculty (hereafter referred to as 'the Board') to be at least equivalent, may be accepted for enrolment as a Doctor of Philosophy candidate provided that:

(a)   the program of studies has been approved by the Board, except that in the case of a person already holding the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, or an equivalent qualification acceptance for enrolment must have been approved by the Board, and

(b)   the proposed program of studies can be properly resourced and appropriately supervised, and

(c)   where the application is for a Cotutelle PhD, the relevant documents have been completed.

Qualifications deemed to be alternate pathways to traditional progression from Honours include:

  • The Flinders University Doctor of Medicine or other recognised medical qualification with minimum Credit average, or
  • Masters by Coursework with a research component of at least 18 units, or of the equivalent unit value from another institution, with an average grade of Distinction or better in the research component (or other appropriate degree, such as a Graduate Diploma), or a significant number of research publications, or
  • a Masters by Research.

In all other cases, supporting evidence of fitness for candidature must be presented to the Executive Dean to approve admission to candidature.


A person who does not hold an Honours degree of the University or who does not hold qualifications deemed by the Board to be at least equivalent to an Honours degree of the University will be required as a prerequisite for enrolment as a doctoral candidate to undertake and complete to the satisfaction of the Board such qualifying studies as the Board prescribes.


Notwithstanding the provisions of Clause 5, the Board in special circumstances and subject to such conditions as the Board prescribes in each case, may accept as a doctoral candidate a person who does not hold an Honours degree of a university or a qualification deemed by the Board of the appropriate Faculty to be at least equivalent to an Honours degree of a university, but who has given evidence satisfactory to the Board of fitness for doctoral studies and whose enrolment is supported by the Board.


Duration of Candidature


Except with the permission of the Board a full-time candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by thesis shall pursue the approved program of studies for a period of not less than two, and not more than four years, and a part-time student for a period of not less than three, and not more than eight years from the date from which enrolment commenced.

For candidates who commenced prior to 1 January 2001, the maximum duration of candidature will be four and one half years (full-time) and nine years (part-time).


Except with the permission of the Board a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Published Work shall submit copies of the thesis to the Faculty within one year of approval of enrolment by the Board.


Degree by Thesis


At the conclusion of the approved program of studies, or within the approved period as specified in Clause 7 above and the RHD Policies and Procedures, each candidate for the degree shall present a thesis embodying the results of the work done while enrolled and containing a significant contribution to knowledge or scholarship within the scope of the subject.


The thesis presented for the degree shall not contain material which has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma; nor shall it contain any material previously published or written by another person except where due reference is made in the text of the thesis or in the notes.


Except with the permission of the Board, in the case of a person who is required to undertake qualifying studies, any work undertaken before the completion of the qualifying studies shall not be presented for the degree. 


Degree by Published Work


A person shall only be accepted for enrolment in the Doctor of Philosophy on the basis of Published Work when:

(a)   at least three years have elapsed after qualification for the Bachelors degree with Honours or equivalent

(b)   he or she has spent at least three years following graduation substantially engaged in the practice and study of the discipline or related discipline

(c)   he or she has normally had a postgraduate research position (such as a Postdoctoral Fellowship or similar research position), or academic association of at least three years with Flinders University, or an institution that has an affiliation with Flinders via research and/or teaching or full academic status as defined in the Academic Status Policy. In addition, he or she has made a substantial contribution to knowledge and scholarship in the relevant discipline, as determined by the award, or eligibility for the award.



If the applicant meets the criteria set out in Clause 12, they shall apply in writing to the Executive Dean of the appropriate Faculty giving particulars of work they propose to submit and a curriculum vitae.

Applicants with a compelling case who do not meet the above criteria can apply in writing to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) with the support of the Executive Dean of the appropriate Faculty to provide evidence of fitness for candidature.



If the enrolment is approved by the Board, the person shall lodge with the Faculty three sets of reprints or copies of such work, as set out in clause 15, below, and in accordance with Appendix F: Rules for Higher Degree Theses.



The thesis shall include, in addition to the relevant publications:

(a)   a contextual statement which would normally include: the aims underpinning the publications; a literature review or commentary which establishes the field of knowledge and provides a link between publications; and a conclusion showing the overall significance of the work and contribution to knowledge, problems encountered and future directions of the work. The discussion should not include a detailed reworking of the discussion from individual papers within the thesis.

(b)   a statement which indicates which portions of the work are claimed to be original,

(c)   a statement which, in the case of work carried out conjointly, clearly states the extent to which the person was responsible for the initiation, conduct and direction of such conjoint research, and

(d)   a statement which clearly indicates any portions of the work submitted that have previously been submitted for any degree in the University or any other institution.