Master of Philosophy

Course Convenor

Tony Williams

Overview

The MPhil is a complete, stand-alone degree that is an internationally recognised masters (by research) degree. It is designed for students to develop advanced skills in carrying out independent and sustained research. The thesis should demonstrate a critical application of specialist knowledge and make an independent contribution to existing scholarship in the area of research.
The course is unique in that it is delivered within Avondale’s Christian education framework. Students of the Master of Philosophy degree will develop critical thinking skills, ethical scholarship, and attitudes that are conducive to personal and collective involvement. These values are applied in the context of Avondale’s values of Excellence, Spirituality, Nurture, Service and Balance. Avondale will ensure that the students gain the necessary introduction to research and provide an opportunity to support the development of their research skills.
The aim of the Master of Philosophy degree is to enable students to develop their capacities to a level for pursuing PhD studies, and to mentor their independent learning ability for continuing professional development through acquiring the necessary skills including transferable skills, research techniques and their application. These will be developed through activities which:
  • enable appropriate evidence of advanced knowledge about a specialist body of theoretical and/or applied topics;
  • encourage a high order of skill in analysis, and critical evaluation through the planning and execution of a piece of scholarship or research; and
  • assist creativity and flexibility in the application of knowledge and skills to new situations, to solve complex problems and to think rigorously and independently.

Duration

The volume of learning of the Master of Philosophy is typically 1-2 years.
If the research area is in the same discipline as the previous qualification:
  • 1.5 years following a Bachelor degree from an Australian university or an equivalent overseas tertiary institution (AQF Level 7 qualification) or
  • 1 year following a Bachelor degree with honours from an Australian university or an equivalent overseas tertiary institution (AQF Level 8 qualification).
If the research area is in a different discipline from the previous qualification:
  • 2 years following a Bachelor degree from an Australian university or an equivalent overseas tertiary institution (AQF Level 7 qualification) or
  • 1.5 years following a Bachelor degree with honours from an Australian university or an equivalent overseas tertiary institution (AQF Level 8 qualification).

Full-time Part-Time
Min 2 Semesters Max 6 semesters Min 4 semesters Max 12 semesters

Mode of Delivery

The Master of Philosophy is delivered by distance education. It is available to citizens and residents of Australia as well as to international students studying outside of Australia. The course is not available to international students who are in Australia on a Student visa.

Title

Master of Philosophy
Abbreviation: M. Phil

Accreditation

The Doctor of Philosophy degree course is self-accredited by Avondale College of Higher Education within the terms of level 10 in the Australian Qualifications Framework. The course is nationally registered with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

Admission Requirements

The Master of Philosophy requires the student to have attained from a university or accredited higher education provides at least an AQF Level 7 (Bachelor degree) course completion with a WAM of 65 or GPA of 5.0, for the same disciplinary field as the undergraduate degree.
Where applicants have not attained at least a prior AQF Level 7 qualification, they may be required to complete appropriate Masters by Coursework units prior to enrolment in the Master of Philosophy degree. The units required to meet the entry requirements would be determined at time of application and appropriate to the student’s prior qualifications and proposed research specialisation.

Other admission requirements

A formal interview conducted by the Assistant Faculty Dean (Research), and in consultation with the relevant Head of Discipline if needed, prior to acceptance for the purposes of establishing areas of interest for the proposed study and identifying a suitable supervisory team.

English Language Requirements

Courses at Avondale are delivered in the English language. In order to complete the MPhil successfully students from a country where English is not the first language must provide documentary evidence that an IELTS score 7.0 has been achieved, with no band score less than 7. If the applicant has completed a degree of at least 2 years full time equivalent (AQF level 7 equivalent or higher) where English was the language of instruction and assessment, English language proficiency evidence is not required.

Requirements for other security and health clearances

No compulsory security or health clearances are required for admission purposes; however a student may need to obtain clearances in industries where they are conducting research further into their candidature for example:
  • Students are required to obtain a Criminal Record Check and Working with Children check if they are to be researching and/or working with children and have not previously obtained this.
  • NSW Health Department vaccinations where the area the student will be researching and/or working requires vaccinations.

Application for Admission

Prospective students must make application to study in the Master of Philosophy through the normal application process. The application is to include:
  1. Completed application form
  2. Copy of transcripts from relevant previous qualifications
  3. A brief outline (1,000 words) of the research topic the applicant is interested in pursuing for the degree.

The application is received by Admissions and reviewed by the Research Services Office for completeness. The relevant Faculty Research Committee review all applications and accept or reject applications based on the applicant’s ability to meet the admission criteria stated above and the capacity of the faculty to supervise the student. Associate supervisors or co-supervisors may be appointed to supplement expertise, see the Selection of Supervisors Policy [AR.02].The Faculty Research Committee makes a recommendation to the Avondale Research Committee to accept the application and endorse the supervisors appointed.

Fees

Tuition costs for full-time MPhil study (24 credit points per semester) are:
$15,392 per annum for Australian and New Zealand students (as at 2016)
$20,928 for international students (as at 2016)

Pro rata fees are calculated for students undertaking the MPhil by part-time study.
Additional costs apply for international students studying on-campus.
Please visit the Future Student Financial Information page for further details

Tuition fee-waiver scholarships

A limited number of tuition fee-waiver scholarships are available. Students wishing to be considered for a tuition-fee waiver scholarship should write a letter after their confirmation to the -

Secretary of the Research Committee
Avondale Research Committee
Avondale College of Higher Education
PO Box 19
COORANBONG NSW 2265

Allocation of Scholarships is subject to funding availability, ability of the student to complete the degree with standard timeframes and continues subject to satisfactory progress in the degree.

Master of Philosophy Milestones

Confirmation of Candidature

Approximately 6 months to 1 year of enrolment. The student prepares a final proposal of the research project (approximately 10,000 words) to a confirmation panel. The purpose of the confirmation process is to support students in the early stages of their candidature, and to allow them to receive objective confirmation that their research direction is sound, the methodologies appropriate and the standard of academic writing is at the Master of Philosophy level. Any difficulties that may impede successful completion are identified and remedied.

Annual seminar presentation

An annual presentation to academic peers of the progress made on the research project.

Presentation of thesis for examination

The objective of units RESD61000 (full time) or RESD62000 (part time) is to produce a thesis of between 35,000-40,000 words including footnotes, exclusive of words in maps, bibliographies and appendices. This degree may be done entirely by written thesis or by a combination of written thesis and creative and/or performance practice where the research is derived from creative and/or performance research areas.

A viable publication submission plan developed and committed to

It is expected that the student produce a publication of an article during the candidature period, but the publication is not a condition of graduation. However, a viable publication submission plan is a minimum requirement. Co-authorship with the supervisor is positively encouraged and the rules of co-authorship must be clarified and discussed between the student and supervisor early in their candidature.

Post thesis submission seminar

A presentation to academic peers of the research project and thesis submitted.

Course Structure and Content

To qualify for an award of the degree of Master of Philosophy a student:
  1. Must complete minimum candidature period of full-time study, or part time equivalent
  2. Publication of an article during the candidature period or a viable publication submission plan developed and committed to as a minimum requirement.

Full Time Enrolment Course Grid

1 year - following admission with a Bachelor degree with honours (AQF Level 8 qualification) where the research area is from the same discipline as the previous Level 8 qualification.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
1 R2 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp

1.5 years - following admission with a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7 qualification), where the research area is from the same discipline as the previous Level 7 qualification.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
1 R2 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
2 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp

1.5 years - following admission with a Bachelor degree with honours (AQF Level 8 qualification) where the research area is different from previous Level 8 qualification discipline.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
1 R2 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
2 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp

2 years - following admission with a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7 qualification), where the research area is different from the previous Level 7 qualification discipline.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
1 R2 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
2 R1 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp
2 R2 RESD61000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Full-time 24cp

Part Time Enrolment Course Grid

Part time students normally are enrolled at 50% the normal full-time load and undertake the following sequence.

2 years part-time - following admission with a Bachelor degree with honours (AQF Level 8 qualification) where the research area is from the same discipline as the previous Level 8 qualification.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
1 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp

3 years part-time - following admission with a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7 qualification), where the research area is from the same discipline as the previous Level 7 qualification.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
1 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
3 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
3 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp

3 years part time - following admission with a Bachelor degree with honours (AQF Level 8 qualification) where the research area is different from previous Level 8 qualification discipline.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
1 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
3 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
3 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp

4 years part time - following admission with a Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7 qualification), where the research area is different from the previous Level 7 qualification discipline.
Year of Course Teaching Period Units Comments
1 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
1 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
2 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
3 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
3 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
4 R1 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp
4 R2 RESD62000 - Master of Philosophy Thesis Part-time 12cp

Pathways for further study

Graduates from this program are eligible to apply for entry to the PhD provided they meet the entry requirements. Please note also that graduates of an undergraduate Honours degree may already be eligible for doctoral studies, subject to the same entry and achievement requirements. A student may also be able to upgrade to a PhD course pending evaluation by a confirmation panel that the quality of the student’s work is of high enough standard and the research project has the capacity to be developed into a PhD study.

Research Topics

Fields of Research

These fields of research are examples only. Research project specialisation may be completed where supervisory capacity and expertise exists. Prospective students are invited to contact potential supervisors for possible topics for research.
1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy, 2204 Religion and Religious Studies, 1303 Specialist Studies in Education, 1301 Education Systems, 1110 Nursing, 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing, 2103 Historical Studies, 2001 Communication and Media Studies, 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts, 1503 Business Management, 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 2005 Literary Studies.

Supervisors

Supervisors of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students are selected from the list of approved supervisors, as outlined in the Selection of Supervisors Policy [AR.02]
Supervisor Name Area of Expertise
Prof Tony Williams* **
Course Convenor
Vice President (Academic & Research)
Curriculum design
Professional education
Design cognition
A/Prof Phil Fitzsimmons* **
Assistant Dean Research, Faculty of Education Business & Science
English pedagogy
Qualitative research methodologies
A/Prof Robert K. McIver* **
Director of the Spirituality & Worship Research Centre (SWRC)
Gospel of Matthew
Historical Jesus
Parables
Tithe
Memory and the Gospels
A/Prof Daniel Reynaud* **
Assistant Dean Learning & Teaching, Faculty of Arts Nursing & Theology
Australian history
Media history
History of the local area
Denominational history
A/Prof Kevin de Berg* ** Chemical epistemology
Chemistry education
History and philosophy of science and its application to teaching and learning of science
Science education
Science and religion
Qualitative and quantitative methodologies
Dr Darren Morton* ** Exercise science
Lifestyle issues
PDHPE curriculum
Dr David Tasker* ** Old Testament
Dr Steven Thompson* ** Old Testament narratives and ancient translations
Studies in the Book of Revelation
Studies in Luke/Acts
Ancient cultural conventions and early Christianity
A/Prof Brett Mitchell*
Director of the Lifestyle Research Centre (LRC)
Infection control
Healthcare associated infections
Infectious diseases
Epidemiology
Quantitative research - primarily
A/Prof Maria Northcote*
Director of the Centre for Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (CASTL)
Assessment in Higher Education
Education Studies
Information/Communication technologies and development
Learning Design and Learning Support
Qualitative methodologies
Threshold concepts
Prof Jane Fernandez*
Vice President (Quality & Strategy)
Postcolonial theory
English literature
Quality in higher education
Prof Ray Roennfeldt*
President
Systematic theology
Biblical Interpretation
Dr Kayle de Waal*
Head of Discipline, Avondale Seminary
Biblical Studies of Revelation
Pauline eschatology
Dr Peter Morey* Leadership
Change Management
Quantitative Methodology
Dr Lindsay Morton*
Head of Discipline of Arts
Australian Literary Journalism
Internationalisation across the Curriculum
Innovative Tertiary Assessment
Contemporary YA Fiction
Dr Carolyn Rickett*
Assistant Dean Research, Faculty of Arts Nursing & Theology
Journalism
Autobiographical writing
Literary Studies
Creative Practice
Poetry
Medical Humanities
Dr Marion Shields* Education leadership
Special Education
Dr John Skrzypaszek* Denominational history
Heritage culture
Spirituality
Identity
Dr Peter Kilgour*
Director of the Christian Education Research Centre (CERC)
School learning environments
Perception/opinion rating surveys using quantitative and qualitative data
Gender Issues in mathematics education
International student issues in the classroom
Streaming in secondary schools
Mathematics students
Teachers' beliefs and attitudes
A/Prof Peter Beamish*
Dean of Faculty Education, Business & Science
Education technology
Ministry in education
Dr Lillian Kent* Lifestyle medicine
Dr Brad Watson* International development
Environmental perspectives of church leaders
Child sponsorship
Dr Malcolm Anderson Traumatic Brain Injury
Psycho-social support systems
Neurosurgical and medical nursing
Dr Gemma Christian Computational theory
Dr Andy Collis Portraiture in the 21st century
The connection between artist-sitter relationship in portraiture
Dr Rick Ferret Marriage and family psychology
Sociology and Religion
Ministry studies
Dr Sherry Hattingh Internationalisation in Education
Learning and teaching
Assessment in higher education
Faith-based education
Curriculum development
Discipleship
Dr Wendy Jackson Systematic theology
Historical theology
Church history
Ecclesiology
Dr Murray House Ministry
International service learning
Theological education
Dr Andrew Matthes Effective leadership and a primary teacher’s ability to manage change
Distinct leadership profiles that enhance teacher’s ability to embrace change
Dr Wayne Miller Empowerment evaluation
Dr Richard Morris Painting methodologies
Surface and illusion painting
Dr Jason Morton Marine biology
Biology
Dr Robyn Pearce Dietetics
Nutrition and cognitive function in adolescents
Plant based eating
Dietary sodium reduction
Dr Kevin Petrie The relationship between student-peer bullying
School climate and peer popularity
Special needs education
A/Prof Paul Race
Dean of Faculty Arts, Nursing & Theology
Student preparation for practice in differing speciality areas
Career development and specialisation within nursing
Effects of health and social policy, and organisational structures on nursing practice.
Dr Lynden Rogers Interface of science and Christianity
Physics
Dr Alison Smedley Curriculum development
Adult learning
Clinical nursing education
Dr Drene Somasundram Women’s ministry
Chaplaincy
Pastoral theology
Dr Ewan Ward Interface between science and Christian Faith
PBL in upper level biochemistry
Chemical carcinogenesis and DNA repair
* Denotes the supervisor has ‘research active’ status see Research Active Definition [AR.01]
** Denotes the supervisor has supervised an HDR student to completion


More Information

For more information email the Research Services Office, phone +61 2 4980 2121.
Contact details of potential supervisors can be found on their Staff Profile.