The Doctor of Medicine (Research) is a higher doctorate gained by the compilation of published work on a coherent theme and is judged by national and international peers. It must demonstrate the candidate's authoritative standing in the field and achievements in the advancement of knowledge.

As the highest academic award in medicine, the Doctor of Medicine (Research) is designed to give formal, public recognition to scholars who have made substantial, original and outstanding contributions to medical science as evidenced by their published works.

To ensure consistency of higher doctorate programs between disciplines across The University of Queensland, key overarching administrative principles and procedures are centrally governed within the Higher Doctorates (PPL 4.70.04) Policy and Procedures. In accordance with this policy, key defining principles of higher doctors are:

  1. A higher doctorate is the highest academic award granted by the University. It is delivered as a level 10 doctoral degree qualification, in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
  2. Higher doctorates recognise excellence and give formal public recognition to scholars who have made a substantial, original, distinguished and internationally recognised contribution to knowledge and understanding in their field of expertise.
  3. Candidates for a higher doctorate are assessed on the basis of already completed research, rather than through the process of supervised independent study. Applicants have typically reached a peak in their professional careers, and enrol in a higher doctorate program to explore a theoretical framework and present a synthesis of their published research.

Eligibility to apply

Eligibility to apply for admission into the Doctor of Medicine (Research) requires an applicant to meet one of the following criteria:

(a) holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from this University of at least 7 years standing; or

(b) holds a Master of Philosophy or Master of Medical Science from this University of at least 3 years standing; or

(c) holds a Doctor of Philosophy from this University (being a doctorate awarded for research in a branch of medicine); or

(d) holds a qualification of at least 7 years standing, approved for this purpose by the Executive Dean, and has a substantial connection with this University that, in the opinion of the Executive Dean, the person should be accepted as a candidate.

Admissions process

An applicant may be admitted as a candidate if in the opinion of the Executive Dean, upon consultation with the Faculty Higher Doctorate Committee (HDC), the applicant is suitably qualified in accordance with section 3.1.1 and the material submitted is of sufficient merit (refer to Section 2.1 of PPL 4.70.04a). The Faculty Higher Doctorate Committee will, upon receipt of an eligible application, meet to discuss the application and determine whether or not it is of sufficient merit and otherwise satisfies the criteria for eligibility for admission. Depending on the Committee’s determination, the following outcomes may apply:

  1. The Committee directs the applicant to re-work and resubmit their application for reconsideration by the Committee; or
  2. The Committee makes a recommendation for applicant admission to the Executive Dean; or
  3. The Committee makes a recommendation for refusal of admission to the Executive Dean.

The final decision regarding applicant admission lies with the Faculty of Medicine Executive Dean.

Application checklist

Applications for admission must be in the form of a written application emailed to In order for an application to be assessed, applicants must include the following documentation with their written application:

  • the applicant’s curriculum vitae including details of research history and full publication record;
  • copies of the applicant’s academic record and relevant documents;
  • an overview of the material to be submitted, presented in sufficient detail to indicate its scope, substance and significance; and
  • a statement of how the material to be submitted:
    • covers a coherent theme; and
    • contributes to the advancement of knowledge in a relevant field.

In submitting a body of work for consideration, the candidate needs to provide specific evidence to substantiate standing in the field, beyond simply a listing of peer-reviewed publications. This evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  • Metrics documenting the quality of the journals in which the papers are published  (e.g., top 10% or top 1% of papers in a given field)
  • Keynote addresses related to the body of work
  • Participation (or chairing of) national or international committees in the area of research
  • Evidence of uptake of the research into health and medical policy and/or clinical practice (at scale)

The Faculty Higher Doctorate Committee will meet to assess completed applications.  The Committee consists eminent researchers and qualified persons from within the Faculty of Medicine. As such, the process of identifying qualified persons and convening ad-hoc meetings may take some time.

Further questions?

Please email