Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy (BABS) is offered to international students and is recognised as a postgraduate research degree that sits somewhere between a BSc and a PhD. It is designed to be completed over 6 terms, or 1.5 years, during which 3 subjects of coursework are undertaken and a supervised research project is completed in the supervisor's research laboratory. The outcomes of the research project are documented in a thesis, which is examined.

This qualification allows students to experience modern and sophisticated laboratory techniques that apply to a wide range of biotechnology and molecular biology fields.

To allow greater flexibility to pursue a particular area of interest, course electives may be chosen (see options below), subject to the approval of the Head of School.


How an MPHIL (BABS) differs from Honours

The MPhil (BABS) should be considered as an alternative to an Honours year for international students. The entry requirement for Honours or an MPhil (BABS) is the same, an overall WAM of 65 (credit) or higher. HECS is applicable to the Honours year, whereas MPhil (BABS) is classified as a research degree, so does not qualify for HECS.

  Honours MPhil
Purpose Preferred pathway to a Higher Degree by Research (MSc by research or PhD). Intended for students just completing their undergraduate degree. Intended for international students who do not meet the requirements for an MSc by Research or PhD, or those wishing to develop expertise in an area different from their undergraduate degree.
Entry Requirements A 65 (credit) average or higher in all stage 1-3 courses and stage 3 Science courses, in addition to approved supervision. International applicants: First class degree or 4-year degree in a relevant discipline, and approved supervision.
Duration  1 year full time 1.5 years full time
Offered part-time?  No Yes, depending on project selected
Coursework involved?  No - 100% research Yes, 18UOC; research component approximately two-thirds of the program
  • Eligible for HECS for domestic students
  • Full fees payable for international students
  • Commonwealth-supported domestic students must pay the UNSW Student Services Amenities Fee (full fee-paying students are exempt)
(domestic students only)
Eligible for Centrelink payments  Not eligible for Centrelink payments


Research Component

Research projects are the same as for Honours. Disciplines include process biotechnology, biocatalysis, environmental microbiology, bioremediation, biochemistry, antioxidants and ageing, biomolecular engineering, infection and immunity, bioinformatics and genomics, cancer biology, genetics, extremophiles and virology.

2019 BABS Honours Information Booklet

Entry Eligibility

  • Local applicants require a 3-year Degree with >65 (Credit) average
  • Overseas applicants require a First Class Degree or 4-year Degree in a relevant discipline
  • You are required to already have a supervisor to be accepted.
  • Applicants must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission: English language requirements

View the Research Projects listed per supervisor (same as for BABS Honours)

Coursework Component

Students are required to complete one core course and two electives:

  • Core Course: Research Techniques (BABS7180)

Electives from BABS:

  • Advanced Topics in Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences (BABS8010)
  • Environmental Biotechnology (BABS7081)
  • Bioinformatics Methods and Applications (BINF9010)
  • Relevant third-year courses can be chosen (with permission from PG-coordinator and supervisor)

Non-BABS Electives:

  • Biocompatibility (BIOM9332)
  • Cellular and Tissue Engineering (BIOM9333)
  • Chemistry and Physics of Synthetic and BiologicalPolymers (BIOM9432)
  • Chromatography (CHEM7114)
  • Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (CHEM7116)
  • Water Treatment (CVEN9856)
  • Advanced Food Chemistry (FOOD1697)
  • Food Microbiology (FOOD2627)
  • Nutrition (FOOD3567)
  • Safety Risk Management: Physical Hazards (AVIA9201)
  • Biomass Energy Sources (SOLA9011)

How to Apply for an MPHIL (BABS)

International students may consider the MPhil (BABS) as an alternative to Honours. This program includes advanced treatment of all areas of biotechnology. It can provide students with a strong qualification through emphasis on research training supplemented with a substantial coursework component. This combination includes laboratory experience with modern, sophisticated techniques and equipment that apply to a wide range of biotechnology and molecular biology fields.

Acceptance into the program is contingent upon satisfying UNSW admission/academic requirements and locating a supervisor within the School of BABS. Students are encouraged to approach team leaders at any time for further information about suitable research projects. 

It is necessary for every applicant to have obtained the agreement of an academic supervisor prior to applying to undertake an MPhil (BABS).

For Graduate Research School information on in applying for postgraduate research visit the Research website.

All MPhil (BABS) candidates must apply online.