We have compiled the information below to answer some of the most common enquiries about our Master of Research program. We encourage you to review these FAQs and if you have any further questions or would like to know more about the Master of Research, please contact the Graduate Research School.
Master of Research program
The Master of Research (MRes) is a two-year postgraduate research training degree that provides you with the skills and knowledge needed to undertake PhD study and a research career.
Stage 1 of the program involves intensive research training coursework where you will engage with your peers and academics in an interdisciplinary environment. The coursework is designed to help you build your skills as a researcher, master the art of knowledge translation, and develop a strong research proposal. You will gain deep knowledge in your chosen disciplinary area and have the opportunity to research a topic you are passionate about.
In Stage 2 of the program, you will undertake your own research project under the supervision of an academic who is a specialist in your field of research. Your project will involve the development of a 25,000-word thesis that will be externally examined.
Pathway to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The Master of Research is a pathway to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Western Sydney University. It is closely aligned with similar degrees around the world and, unlike Honours programs, is an internationally recognised qualification.
If you are ambitious and prepared for a real challenge, pursuing a pathway to doctoral study may be perfect for you. The journey to get there will push you to improve your ability to understand and solve problems, learn to be a better communicator, and develop your confidence as an independent researcher.
With the training and experience gained during the Master of Research program, you will be thoroughly prepared to undertake the challenges of undertaking a PhD degree.
Develop career-ready research skills
Research confirms employers across a wide range of industries are increasingly searching for graduates with high-level research skills – even if this is not always made clear in job advertisements.
In addition to the disciplinary knowledge provided by the Master of Research, you will develop skills that will make you competitive including being able to undertake problem definition, have deep analytical abilities and work independently on complex problems.
The training and experience provided by the Master of Research will enable you to pursue exciting opportunities in academia, government, business, research institutes, not-for-profit organisations and international organisations.
The Master of Research is a two-year postgraduate research degree. The first stage of the program comprises of advanced study focused on research methodology and disciplinary coursework. In the second stage of the program, you will undertake a full year of supervised higher degree research and produce a Master or Research thesis. The Master of Research aligns with Asian, European and North American qualifications and is an internationally recognised pathway into PhD study.
A Bachelor (Honours) is a one-year undergraduate program that is undertaken as an additional year following a completed Bachelor degree. It may include a combination of coursework and research, with the majority of the time dedicated to producing a supervised Honours thesis. A Bachelor (Honours) degree is a recognised qualification in Australia, but has limited international recognition.
The Master of Research has replaced Bachelor (Honours) end-on programs at Western Sydney University.
Some Bachelor (Honours) embedded programs will continue to be offered where the Honours component is a necessary accreditation requirement and is completed as part of the undergraduate degree.
The Master of Research is a two-year postgraduate research degree that delivers an in-depth research training experience combining specialist disciplinary knowledge, an advanced understanding of research methodologies, and a year of independent research conducted under expert supervision. The Master of Research program provides you with the necessary educational experiences and expert knowledge to enable you to confidently approach PhD studies and your future career.
The Master of Philosophy is a two-year postgraduate research degree that does not include a coursework component and is undertaken primarily as a supervised program of original research. Although the depth of the research required is less than that required for a PhD, the Master of Philosophy is intended for people who have significant previous research training or experience working in a research environment.
The coursework component of the Master of Research requires the completion of 80 credit points during the first stage of the program. You must complete the core units below (30 credit points) and elective units (50 credit points).
The core units are:
The second stage of the program is a supervised research project and does not involve any coursework.
For more information about elective units and timetabling, refer to the Western Sydney University Handbook.
The Master of Research is a two-year postgraduate degree when studied in full-time mode, or up to an equivalent four-years when studied in part-time mode.
The first stage comprises of advanced study focused on research methodology and disciplinary research training coursework. You will undertake 80 credit points of coursework units.
In the second stage of the program, you will undertake a full year of supervised higher degree research and produce a 20-25,000 word Master of Research thesis.
Domestic candidates are eligible to complete the program in part-time study mode.
International candidates must study full-time, except in cases where your visa permits you to undertake part-time studies.
The Master of Research is not available to study online or by distance. Some coursework components will be delivered online, however, there are compulsory sessions of the program that involve face-to-face teaching on campus.
You will also be required on campus throughout the research stage year of your study, where you will be expected to attend regular meetings with supervisors, and participate in other workshops and events hosted by your School or Institute.
Master of Research units may be scheduled across various Western Sydney University campuses. The core units are primarily delivered at the Parramatta City Campus. Elective units may be scheduled at any campus depending on the discipline and you may be required to travel to various campuses throughout the coursework stage of your study.
Western Sydney University is a multi-campus university and you are expected to be able to travel between locations if required by your course, unless other arrangements have been approved.
At Western Sydney University, Bachelor (Honours) end-on programs have been discontinued and replaced by the Master of Research.
Some Bachelor (Honours) embedded programs will continue to be offered where the Honours component is a necessary accreditation requirement and is completed as part of the undergraduate degree.
You can apply to start in the first half of the year (1H) or the second half of the year (2H).
You can find the current application closing dates on the how to apply page.
Late applications are considered on a case-by-case basis with priority given to applications received before the closing dates.
Western Sydney University must be satisfied that you are able to commence study at a suitable level for entry into the Master of Research. All Master of Research applicants must have:
- successfully completed a Bachelor degree or a Masters degree; and
- achieved an admission average mark equal to or above a minimum of 65 in their most recent degree.
You can calculate your admission average mark by adding all your marks awarded for completed units in your degree, and then dividing the total by the number of units studied in the degree.
If your most recent qualification is more than five years old, demonstrated professional experience in a related discipline will be considered at the discretion of the Dean, Graduate Studies.
International applicants and those who have international qualifications where the medium of instruction was not entirely in English must also meet English language proficiency requirements.
Please visit the how to apply page for specific information about what you need to include in your Master of Research application.
Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the requirements may not be considered.
Your admission average mark (AAM) is the average of all results awarded in your most recent degree. It is calculated by adding all the marks awarded for completed units/subjects within a specific degree, and then dividing that total by the number of units/subjects studied in your degree.
Your admission average mark is considered an accurate measure of your academic achievement as it is calculated based on your actual results rather than grades (e.g. Fail, Pass, Distinction, etc).
For example, the difference between a pass grade with a result of 63, and a credit grade with a result of 65 is minimal for an admission average mark, but is more significant for a GPA. The difference between a fail grade with a result of 48, and a pass grade with a result of 50 is very substantial for a GPA, but is minimal for an admission average mark.
Your admission average mark will be calculated on the basis of all units orsubjects from program commencement in your most recent qualification.
If your most recent qualification included advanced standing and this prevents the calculation of your admission average mark, your results from a minimum of one year's worth of full-time study may be used at the discretion of the Graduate Research School.
You should contact the Associate Dean, Research or Higher Degree Research Director in a School or Institute relevant to your area of research interest to assist you in identifying a potential academic supervisor. You should send an email introducing yourself, describing your qualifications and experience, and provide a Statement of Intent that clearly identifies your area of research interest.
You can also try contacting potential supervisors directly by keyword searching our academic staff profiles.
You are required to confirm an academic supervisor and provide a statement of support as part of the application process.
Fees and scholarships
This program attracts Australian Government funding and is packaged as a Bachelor of Research Studies/Master of Research.
In the first stage of the program, you will be enrolled in the Bachelor of Research Studies as a Commonwealth supported student and you are liable for student contribution amounts calculated on a per unit basis. These fees can be deferred through the HECS-HELP scheme if you are an eligible student.
You can calculate an estimate of your fees in advance based on the student contribution bands of the units you plan to study.
In the second stage of the program, you will be enrolled in the Master of Research funded by the Commonwealth Government's Research Training Program (RTP) and you are exempt from paying tuition fees.
Domestic candidates are required to pay Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF).
International candidates are required to pay tuition fees. Further information about the fees payable can be found on the International student tuition fees page.
International candidates are required to pay Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF).
All domestic Master of Research students that are enrolled full-time at the commencement of their degree are eligible for scholarship payments based on the criteria below.
Stage 1 Session 1 (Coursework)
Eligibility: Full-time domestic students (enrolled in a minimum of 30 credit points) who successfully complete all units and achieve an average of 65+ overall in Session 1 units.
Stage 1 Session 2 (Coursework)
Eligibility: Full-time domestic students who achieve 65+ in Session 1, and successfully complete all units (with a minimum of 30 credit points) and achieve an average of 70+ overall in Session 2 units.
Stage 2 (Research)
Eligibility: Full-time domestic students who achieve an overall grade of 75+ in Stage 1 (calculated based on 70 out of a potential 80 credit points).
Stage 2 (Research)
Eligibility: Deans Excellence Scholarship. Full-time domestic students who achieve an overall grade of 90 or above in Stage 1 (calculated based on 70 out of a potential 80 credit points).
Domestic students are not required to apply for the Master of Research scholarship and they will be automatically applied if you meet the eligibility criteria.
International Master of Research scholarships are awarded on a competitive-basis and advertised via our scholarships page.
In addition to competitive scholarships, all full-time international Master of Research students are eligible for scholarship payments based on the criteria below.
Stage 2 (Research)
Eligibility: Deans Excellence Scholarship. Full-time international students who achieve an overall grade of 90 or above in Stage 1 (calculated based on 70 out of a potential 80 credit points).
International students are not required to apply for the Master of Research Deans Excellence Scholarship and it will be automatically applied if you meet the eligibility criteria.
In the first year, scholarship payments will be made to eligible candidates after all final results for the semester are released. Scholarship payments will be received at a minimum of two weeks after final grades are released at the end of the session.
Scholarship payments may be delayed if you do not return the required payment details by the due date or you have pending grades.
In the second year, eligible candidates will receive fortnightly scholarship payments. Scholarship payments will commence after the census date of the first session of the research year.
You must be enrolled in full-time study mode to be eligible for scholarship payments. If you are granted advanced standing that reduces your study mode from full-time to part-time, you will not be eligible for scholarship payments.
To maintain a full-time mode of study, you must be enrolled in 30-40 credit points (i.e. 3 or 4 units).
For example, if you are granted 60 credit points of advanced standing, you will need to complete the remaining 20 credit points (2 units) during the first year. This is only equivalent to part-time study mode and you will not be eligible for scholarship payments.
If you think your scholarship may be affected by your advanced standing application, please contact the Graduate Research School at firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice.
Advanced standing (academic credit)
If you have previously completed an Honours program or Masters by coursework program, you may be eligible to receive academic credit. You can only apply for advanced standing after you have accepted an offer into the program. We cannot confirm your eligibility for advanced standing before you have accepted an offer into the program. Applications will be assessed on individual merit at the discretion of Western Sydney University.
Academic credit will not be granted for previous undergraduate studies.
You can apply for 40 credit points of advanced standing towards the Master of Research program (from the required 80 credit points).
In exceptional circumstances, applicants with a completed Honours or Masters program may be eligible to receive up to 80 credit points of advanced standing towards the program, effectively beginning in the second year of the Master of Research.
If you are planning to apply for more than 40 credit points of advanced standing, you must contact the Graduate Research School via email at email@example.com at the time of submitting your application indicating your intention to apply for more than 40 credit points of advanced standing.
All other applications for advanced standing can only be submitted after you have accepted an offer into the program.
In the first stage of the Master of Research, all domestic candidates will be enrolled in the Bachelor of Research Studies. The program is packaged as a Bachelor of Research Studies/Master of Research to meet the necessary regulations for Australian Government funding. You will be enrolled as a Commonwealth supported student and you are liable for student contribution amounts which can be deferred through the HECS-HELP scheme if you are eligible.
In the second stage, you will be enrolled in the Master of Research which is funded by the Commonwealth Government's Research Training Program (RTP) and you will be exempt from paying tuition fees.
International candidates are not enrolled in the Bachelor of Research Studies and will be enrolled directly in the Master of Research for Stage 1 and 2.
Yes, if you have successfully completed the first stage of the Master of Research and no longer wish to undertake the second stage of the program, you will be eligible to exit the program and graduate with a Bachelor of Research Studies (Exit Only).
Your progression from the first stage into the second stage of the program is conditional on the satisfactory completion of the first stage of coursework and your Presentation of Proposal. If you do not complete the first stage of the program to the minimum academic standard required, the Graduate Research School may recommend that you exit the program with a Bachelor of Research Studies.
If you have received advanced standing, you may not be eligible to exit the program with a Bachelor of Research Studies as you may not have completed enough credit points. In these cases, you may be required to rescind your advanced standing and complete the required credit points.
If you are considering exiting the program early with a Bachelor of Research Studies, please contact the Graduate Research School at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.
The Master of Research operates on the basis of 1H (first half) and 2H (second half) sessions.
These sessions are longer than the usual undergraduate Autumn, Spring and Summer sessions and it is important that you are available to attend classes and other events during the full 1H and 2H academic dates.
In the second stage of the program, you will be enrolled in R1 (first research session) and R2 (second research session) sessions for the duration of your study. These sessions run for the duration of the calendar year and it is expected that you will begin working on your research project from January (R1) or July (R2) in your research year.
For more information, visit the important dates page.
You are required to choose your elective units based on your area of research interest and the relevance of the units to your research topic.
A list of HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Health and Medicine Cluster electives is available in the unit handbook.
You are advised to discuss your unit elective options with your academic supervisor if you are unsure about your specialisation area.
Coursework (Stage 1)
The Master of Research coursework year (Stage 1) operates on the basis of 1H (first half) and 2H (second half) sessions. It is important that you are available to attend classes and other events during the full 1H and 2H sessions. Refer to the Academic Year Dateline page for more information.
Please note that 1H and 2H differ from the undergraduate Autumn, Spring and Summer sessions.
Lectures, workshops and tutorials may be scheduled during regular daytime hours (8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday) and full-time students should be prepared for up to 4 hours of face-to-face class time per week in each unit.
Some Master of Research units will run in block-mode with full-day sessions on successive days during the semester but without scheduled classes running each week.
As this is a postgraduate Masters degree, you should expect that the workload and level of difficulty will be higher than an undergraduate degree.
All Master of Research core units are run during regular daytime hours (8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday). Online sessions will be available from 2021. Evening or weekend classes are not available.
Most electives are also expected to run during the day, however, they are managed by the relevant School or Institute delivering the unit and you should refer to the handbook or contact the unit coordinator for more information.
If you fail a core unit, you will be required to re-enrol in that unit and complete it again. You must successfully complete all three core units (including meeting any assessment threshold marks) before you can progress to the research year.
If you fail an elective unit, you can re-enrol in that elective again or choose to complete a different elective.
It is important to remember that some core and elective units do not run in every session and this may impact on your course progression.
The Presentation of Proposal is the final assessment in the core unit Researcher Development 2.
You must pass the Presentation of Proposal to the satisfactory standard of your School or Institute in order to enter the research year - regardless of what marks you achieve in the unit overall.
If you are unsuccessful in your Presentation of Proposal, you will not be able to automatically enter the research stage. You will receive feedback about your Presentation of Proposal and be required to choose one of the following options:
- Option 1: If you wish to progress to the research stage, you must re-enrol and undertake the unit again.
- Option 2: You may elect to graduate with a Bachelor of Research Studies only. To choose this option, you will need to take on feedback, make all necessary changes and re-submit your Presentation of Proposal to the required standard to pass the unit. The maximum result you can achieve is 50%.
Research (Stage 2)
The Master of Research research stage (Stage 2) operates on the basis of R1 (first research session) and R2 (second research session) sessions. These sessions run for the duration of the calendar year (January to June and July to December) and it is expected that you will work on your research project from the start of the relevant session.
You are unable to enrol into Stage 2 of the program until you have completed the 80 credit points of coursework required in Stage 1.
Refer to the Academic Year Dateline page for more information.
It is expected that full-time candidates will spend a minimum of 35 hours per week on their study and that part-time candidates will spend 20 hours per week on their study. This is offered as a guide only - you may choose to work on your research project like a 9am - 5pm job on campus each day or study more flexible hours depending on your personal circumstances.
Candidature support funds are made available to assist students in meeting the incidental costs of their research project. Candidature support funds may be used to acquire research materials and equipment, skills development and training, conferences and travel, consumables, access to external facilities, technical costs, participant reimbursement and a range of other items and expenses.
Applications for candidature support funds are made directly to your School or Institute and must by endorsed by your supervisor and Associate Dean, Research or HDR Director.
If your project is likely to require ethics approval, you should begin to talk about this with your supervisor during the coursework stage in the lead up to your Presentation of Proposal.
Following the successful completion of your Presentation of Proposal, you will receive an email from the Graduate Research School indicating that you can proceed with your ethics application.
Your thesis submission due date is calculated based on when you entered the research stage (Stage 2). The Graduate Research School will provide you with a specific submission date via your student email as this may differ between students.
If you are in the research stage and you are unsure about when your thesis is due, please contact us at email@example.com.
Your Master of Research thesis must be submitted as a PDF file via the online Thesis Submission Form. You will be provided with more information about the process as you approach your submission date.
Your thesis submission will need to be signed by you and approved by your supervisor(s) and the Associate Dean, Research or HDR Director in your School or Institute.
If your submission includes a creative component or other material that cannot be submitted via an online form, please ensure that you make arrangements with the Graduate Research School in advance of your submission date.
There are no specific rules for the layout and presentation of your thesis. You should review previously submitted theses (available via Research Direct) and talk to your supervisor about the expectations and preferred style in your discipline.
It may be helpful to review the Higher Degree Research Examination Handbook when preparing your thesis for submission. Although these guidelines are targeted towards doctoral candidates, they may also be applicable to your Master of Research thesis.
Current Bachelor (Honours) students
Your School will make transition arrangements for students who have not completed their end-on Honours program to ensure you are able to complete and graduate. You should contact your School for more information if this applies to your study.
No, students enrolled in a Bachelor (Honours) will be required to complete their program of study as per the standard course structure. Master of Research units will not be made available to Bachelor (Honours) students.
Yes, a Bachelor (Honours) award is a recognised qualification for enrolment in a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program at Western Sydney University. For more information about the entry requirements for the doctoral program, visit the how to apply for research degrees page.
The Bachelor (Honours) is not considered equivalent to the Master of Research, with the Bachelor (Honours) a one-year undergraduate qualification and the Master of Research a two-year research postgraduate qualification. The Master of Research is a higher-level qualification than a Bachelor (Honours) and is an internationally recognised degree.
Bachelor (Honours) students are eligible to apply to transfer into the Master of Research with all applications being considered on a case by case basis, with academic advice based on evidence to support the transfer.
If you have completed an Honours degree or a Masters by coursework you may receive up to 80 credit points towards the Master of Research, based on the content and performance in your previous study.