Current Master of Philosophy Students


MPhil(BABS) students should read these Q&As for essential information


What is the normal duration of enrolment in an MPhil (BABS)?

Normally, 3 semesters is recommended to complete the 3 courses and complete and submit the thesis. A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 semesters is allowed, but 3 is the expected duration.

To avoid having to enrol in a 4th semester (and pay the tuition fees) you should aim to submit your thesis 2 weeks prior to the census date of what would potentially be your 4th semester of enrolment. This allows a buffer of two weeks to attend to anything that may have been overlooked that requires further time to complete. For example:

  • If you commenced in Semester 1 2014: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 August 2015; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 August 2015.
  • If you commenced in Semester 2 2014: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 March 2016; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 March 2016.
  • If you commenced in Semester 1 2015: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 August 2016; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 August 2016.
  • If you commenced in Semester 2 2015: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 March 2017; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 March 2017.
  • If you commenced in Semester 1 2016: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 August 2017; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 August 2017.
  • If you commenced in Semester 2 2016: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 March 2018; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 March 2018.
  • If you commenced in Semester 1 2017: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 August 2018; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 August 2018.
  • If you commenced in Semester 2 2017: the last possible date to submit your thesis to avoid enrolment in a 4th semester is 31 March 2019; we strongly recommend you submit by 17 March 2019.

What is the review process?
It is a UNSW requirement that all postgraduate research students have a review committee appointed and that the student meets with this committee in the first year of enrolment. Usually, this meeting occurs within one or two weeks of the School seminar that the student presents at the end of their second semester of enrolment; however, the review may be brought forward.

Prior to the review meeting you need to have prepared:

  • your updated literature review
  • a short progress report
  • a timetable for completing your degree (experimental plans and plans for thesis writing)
  • the relevant section on the review form (available online via myUNSW)

The objective of this review is to assist you and assess your progress. If progress is not satisfactory, the committee will discuss this with you and potentially recommend ways to assist your progress and/or other options for you to complete your studies.

How long should my thesis be?
As a guide, 120 pages in total (excluding appendices). Suggested breakdown of the various sections:

  • Introduction, including literature review 15‐25 pages
  • Material and Methods 15‐20pages
  • Results 25‐35 pages
  • Discussion 20-30 pages
  • Conclusions 3-6 pages
  • References 5‐10 pages

How can I pass and obtain an MPhil (BABS)?
There are two components required to achieve this degree: (a) a satisfactory (SY) or Pass (PS) or higher grade in three approved postgraduate coursework subjects or approved level subjects; (b) completion of a research thesis that has passed examination and been approved by the Faculty of Science Higher Degree Committee.

When should I prepare and then submit my thesis?
Working backwards from your intended submission date, you should commence the thesis writing process 8‐9 months prior to submission. For example, if you are intending to submit in March, then the following is a suggested timeline for completing your thesis:

  • May‐June: Tidy up Literature Review and update. Commence writing up your Materials and Methods chapter
  • June‐Oct: Write up results in the thesis format. Plan Discussion chapter and commence writing Discussion
  • Oct–Nov: Begin to wind up experiments and prepare full first draft
  • Dec: Submit full first draft by Dec. 15 to your supervisor for review
  • Jan‐Feb: Re‐work thesis and undertake any minor final experiments or data analysis as recommended by your supervisor. Submit corrected final draft to supervisor no later than Feb. 15. Organise notification of submission
  • March: Correct final draft and prepare final document. Print the required copies and organise submission ideally two weeks prior to Census date, but no later than 31 March.

Comprehensive information about thesis submission is provided on this GRS web page: Thesis Submission @UNSW

Other resources
The GRS website is the authoritative source of information regarding the technicalities of the MPhil Program, including submission processes.

UNSW academic rules relating to the Science MPhil Program can be found in the Postgraduate Handbook: Academic Rules Science - 2475

Further information may be obtained from the BABS School Office