University Handbook 2018

Doctor of Clinical Science (HDCS)

Course code/s: HDCS

Course details
Course abbreviated name DClinicalSci
CRICOS Code 054041M
Location - domestic candidates* Domestic candidates may enrol through any campus of the University for this course.
Location - international candidates* Melbourne (Bundoora Campus)
Course coordinator Professor Leeanne Carey
Course duration The standard duration for this course is three to four years.
Internship/exchange opportunities Yes
Leave of absence available Yes
Course queries Current students: Graduate Research School
Prospective students: Get a research degree

*Enrolment on any campus for any candidate is subject to the availability of supervision and appropriate research environment. International candidates may only enrol at a CRICOS-registered campus.

Course-specific information:

If you are an experienced practitioner in the health professions, this course will enable you to further develop your expertise and undertake research in professional settings.

Course overview:

The Professional Doctorate degree consists of coursework (one third of the degree) and research (two thirds). The research component requires you to pursue an independent and sustained investigation into a research problem of your own design that will culminate in the submission of a thesis for examination.
Upon completion of your candidature you must demonstrate through your thesis that you have developed a substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of your field of work or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution to your profession.

The discipline-specific coursework subjects within the degree are designed to develop skills and knowledge that will assist you in conducting your research.

You will be supported by a minimum of two supervisors throughout your candidature.

The following conditions must be met in order to gain admission into a Professional Doctorate:

  • you must meet the minimum entry requirements for the degree as outlined below
  • the department or school in which you seek enrolment must be able to provide appropriate facilities, resources and supervision for your chosen area of research.

Standard duration of study:

You will be expected to complete your professional doctorate within three to four years or the equivalent part-time.
Your research project must be conceived from the outset as clearly achievable within three years full-time (or the equivalent part-time).

Entry requirements:

In order to apply for candidature you should:

  1. have graduated with or qualified for an Australian Master’s degree at a minimum H2A standard or equivalent
  2. have graduated with or qualified for an Australian Bachelor’s degree with an Honours year at a minimum H2A standard or equivalent
  3. hold qualifications and/or have demonstrated skills, experience, research, or publications, which in the opinion of the Board of Graduate Research are considered at least equivalent to, or are a satisfactory substitute for, any of the qualifications described in (a) and (b) above.
  4. have at least three years of relevant professional experience.

Candidates may also be required to provide evidence of research expertise.


The award of the degree depends on both your successful completion of all required coursework at a satisfactory level and the successful examination of your thesis of typically 60,000 words or less. Your thesis will be examined by at least two examiners, including at least one from outside Australia and must demonstrate the following course learning outcomes:

  • A substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution of direct relevance to the profession.
  • Ability to provide a critical appraisal of relevant literature and available research, to appreciate and understand the relationship of the investigations undertaken to the wider field of knowledge with particular reference to the profession in which these investigations are located, and to draw out the contribution to knowledge made by these investigations.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the methodological techniques used in the research and any shortcomings associated with these techniques.
  • A satisfactory level of literary presentation reflecting an ability to communicate in a clear, concise and authoritative manner appropriate to the field of research and to the professional area to which it is addressed.

Papers written by you during your candidature may be included in your thesis, where these are of direct relevance to the research you describe in your thesis.

Policies and guidelines:

You can access La Trobe University’s official policies and guidelines for candidature, supervision, progress, examinations and thesis requirements on the Graduate Research School website.

Areas of study:

The Doctor of Clinical Science is offered in the following specialisations:

  • clinical vision sciences
  • dietetics
  • occupational therapy
  • prosthetics and orthotics.

La Trobe's research strengths extend across multiple research focus areas. For further information, please visit the websites of the College of Science, Health and Engineering, and the University's Research Focus Areas. To learn more about the School’s research areas, visit the School of Allied Health website.

Fees and charges:

Citizens of Australia and New Zealand and Australian permanent residents will not normally pay tuition fees, as research degrees are funded by the Australian Government via the Research Training Programme. This provides eligible candidates with a Commonwealth-funded Research Training Programme Fees Offset Scholarship for up to a maximum period of four years’ full-time equivalent study for a Professional Doctorate.

All domestic students are required to pay a bi-annual Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). Details about the SSAF, including costs and payment options, can be found at the webpage - Student services and amenities fee.

Tuition fees for international students will vary, depending on the research area. Detailed information about tuition fees by research area can be found at the webpage - Tuition fees for international students

Study plan:

Students will be enrolled in a thesis subject for the duration of their candidature but will devote most of their first year (or part-time equivalent) to completing coursework subjects.

First year

Teaching period Subject code Subject title Credit points
TE-SEM-1 RMD5FGR Foundations of Graduate Research 15
TE-SEM-1 RMD5EHR Systematic Review and Evaluation of Healthcare Research 15
TE-SEM-1 RMD5MGR Methods of Graduate Research 15
    and either  
TE-SEM-1 RMD5AIS Advanced Issues in Health and Wellbeing Research 15
TE-SEM-1 Elective As approved by Course Coordinator 30
TE-SEM-2 RMD6PPA    Research Professional Practice A 30
TE-SEM-2 Elective As approved by Course Coordinator 30
TE-SEM-2 RMD6PPB Research Professional Practice B 30
TE-SEM-2 Elective As approved by Course Coordinator 30

Second year

Thesis only.

Third year

Thesis only.

Application details:

For full details on how to apply go to how to apply for a graduate research degree.

Contact details:

The Graduate Research School