Information on this page is for Australian residents

Duration: 
4 years full time or longer for part time
Delivery mode: 
Face to Face

Overview

Become a leading researcher, contributing important ideas to the medical field, with a doctoral degree in Medical and Biological Sciences.

PhD in Medical & Biological Science at VU

We offer world-class facilities, support and expertise in a range of medical-research areas. Our specialisations include medical physiology, immunology, pharmacology, and metabolism and inflammation. You’ll use your original thesis to investigate and improve human health and life-quality in these areas:

  • clinical and community health
  • immunology in chronic diseases
  • advanced food systems and nutrition sciences
  • lifestyle-associated diseases
  • musculoskeletal diseases
  • population health research and policy
  • measurements in health.

These broad topics encompass mental health, pregnancy, substance misuse, immunology, cancer, and much more. Our research-based teaching means you’ll graduate job-ready for a medical-science career, or an advisory role in government or the community.

You’ll finish your PhD as an independent science researcher, with the skills to present your findings in public presentations and publications.

We offer fantastic opportunities for collaborative study in our research institutes:

We have a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach where we connect with other institutes, research centres and external organisations. This gives you broad choices for your PhD study, and real-world connections for your research.

Our research is undertaken in partnership with government, industry, not-for-profit organisations and other universities in Australia and overseas. Partnerships include:

  • Western Health
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australian Sports Commission
  • Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
  • University of Texas (El Paso)
  • University of Malaya (Malaysia).

VU supports its PhD students with international industry contacts, research collaborations and a Dean’s lecture series by leaders in the health profession.

Our research is conducted at St Albans campus, Werribee campus and Western CHRE.

Werribee campus is a part of a modern technology precinct with specialised facilities for teaching and research. It has a children’s centre, a health and fitness centre, student lounges and an osteopathy clinic.

Western CHRE is a state-of-the-art research facility located within the Sunshine hospital precinct.

St Albans campus is a relaxed, friendly place, with a children’s centre, a gym, award-winning architecture, and lovely grounds.

We offer various research scholarships for our PhD students. Victoria University has several generous research scholarships for successful applicants. There are also externally funded scholarships from dozens of organisations, some of which are aimed at postgraduate students.

VU Research gives you opportunities to:

  • connect with other researchers
  • participate in research festivals and competitions
  • develop your research skills
  • get funding for your research
  • publish and promote your findings.

We offer support for graduate researchers including:

Find out more about graduate opportunities at VU.

Joseph Polidano conducts research into a protein known to up-regulate cancer-promoting genes.

Research in first-class labs within Western Centre for Health Research & Education

Careers in medical and biological science

A PhD in medical and biological sciences prepares you for high-level roles in a variety of settings. If you’ve chosen to focus on lab work, you’ll be well placed for a medical-laboratory scientist role. Other careers include management or research in health care, government, community, or academia.

The following are average salaries from the government site, Job Outlook:

  • medical laboratory scientists, A$82,000 (JobOutlook)
  • policy and planning managers, A$122,500 (JobOutlook)
  • university lecturers, over A$100,000 (JobOutlook).

Course structure

The PhD is a research based degree with a maximum duration of 4 years (full time) and 8 years (part time).
As well as enrolling in Research Thesis units Doctor of Philosophy (Science) students will be required to complete two coursework units, ROP8001 and ROP8002.

An average result of 70% is required in the compulsory coursework units in order to proceed to candidature confirmation. Ongoing progression is subject to policy and procedures for candidature management as per the VU HDR Policy.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. expert understanding of a substantial body of theory and its practical application at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including substantial expert knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to the field.  
  2. intellectual independence and cognitive skills to undertake a systematic investigation, reflect critically on theory and practice and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, including identifying, evaluating and critically analysing the validity of research studies and their applicability to a research problem.  
  3. expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to: design, develop and implement a research project/s to systematically investigate a research problem; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge; manage, analyse, evaluate and interpret data, synthesising key ideas and theorising within the context of key literature.  
  4. expert communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions; to disseminate and promote new insights; and to cogently present a complex investigation of originality, or original research, both for external examination and to specialist (eg researcher peers) and non-specialist (industry and/or community) audiences through informal interaction, scholarly publications, reports and formal presentations.  
  5. capacity to reflect on, develop and evaluate strategies for achieving their own learning and career goals.  
  6. intellectual independence, initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning.  
  7. ethical practice and full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs.  
  8. autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and independent scholar.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take and optional elective units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.

Credits

Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course.

Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

Entry requirements

Completed a relevant Masters degree or four year undergraduate degree with Honours or its equivalent at a high standard.

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course coordinator or academic adviser.

How to apply

You will need to follow the six steps to becoming a research student.

Contact the Office for Researcher Training, Quality & Integrity on +61 3 9919 4522 or email apply.research@vu.edu.au if you require further information.

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Contact the Office for Researcher Training, Quality & Integrity

At Victoria University, we aim to display accurate and complete course information online. However, we are unable to guarantee that every course change is currently displayed. You may contact the University directly on +61 3 9919 6100 to confirm the most up-to-date course fees, pathways and credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, admission and enrolment procedures, examinations and services available to our students.