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While many organisations engage in research, universities have a unique responsibility to provide research training. This is done in research degree programs including PhD and Masters degrees. (More formally, these are called higher degrees by research, or HDR.)
Students enrolled in an HDR program will develop research skills which include:
The award of a research degree requires the candidate to complete an approved program of research under the guidance of one or more supervisors within a prescribed time period. The supervisors will be experienced and active researchers with expertise in the field of study. While the candidate contributes to the selection of the research program, it must be approved by the supervisors as suitable for a research degree.
The results of the research are incorporated into a thesis which is submitted for examination at the end of the program.
The thesis must be:
A great deal of assistance and support is available during candidature, but it will be up to the candidate to take the initiative and finish the work with a large degree of independence.
Deakin offers three types of higher degree:
A masters by research degree is awarded for an original contribution to knowledge achieved in up to two years of full-time candidature (or two to four years of part-time candidature). Usually a written thesis of not more than 50 000 words is submitted, although the thesis may be presented in alternative forms.
Doctoral degrees are awarded for a substantial original contribution to knowledge achieved in two to four years of full-time (or four to eight years part-time) candidature. Usually a written thesis of not more than 100 000 words is submitted, although the thesis may be presented in alternative forms.
In the case of both masters by research and PhD degrees, the program may include some coursework, but the focus of the degree is on research.
The School of Psychology also provides the following specialist professional doctorate programs: Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), Doctor of Psychology (Forensic), Doctor of Psychology (Health).These combine a research project, coursework and structured research tasks which are specifically related to professional practice and are often carried out in the workplace.
Undertaking a higher degree by research requires a much greater commitment of time than a coursework degree: at least 36 hours per week for 48 weeks of the year. It is equivalent to full-time employment and this is the expectation of supervisors and the University.
Higher doctorates may be offered where a candidate already has a PhD. Higher doctorates are awarded on the basis of a collection of works that have been published or accepted for publication. Typically a person seeks a higher doctorate in mid career, having held a doctorate such as a PhD for 15 or 20 years. A higher doctorate usually involves upwards of forty or fifty peer reviewed publications. Please contact the Higher Degrees by Research office for further information.
A thesis (sometimes known as a dissertation) can be in several formats. The most common is a conventional written thesis, which could be in the form of a single text, or a series of publications with some text explaining their significance and coherence. However, creative works such as dance or a novel, with exegesis, may also be accepted in the creative arts field. Further information is available about forms of thesis.