Year 4 Medicine Research Project

Year 4 Medicine Research Project


What is a Year 4 Medicine Research Project?

A Year 4 Medicine Research Project is a supervised project undertaken by a fourth-year medical student at UNSW. We have two research streams:

  1. MD Research (ILP; 30 Units of Credit) and
  2. BSc(Med) Honours (48 Units of Credit). The BSc(Med) Honours stream has entry requirements.

The research project is designed by the supervisor (that meets our criteria for supervision) whose responsibility is also to obtain the appropriate ethical approval, if applicable, for the project prior to data collection and no later than the end of the 4th week of Term 1. The supervisor is also responsible for providing the student with the appropriate training and support for the project (including but not limited to health and safety, methodology, scientific/clinical knowledge and other relevant research skills). Such training could be provided to the student by the supervisor directly or by other resources such as the co-supervisor, other members of the research team or other resources available within the medicine program and the university. The supervisor is responsible for providing the student with an appropriate, safe and well-resourced research environment (if applicable).

It is required that the student attends the research environment where the project is conducted for at least 25 hours per week, for 30 weeks (MD Research/ILP) or 35 hours per week, for 34 weeks (BSc(Med) Honours). The student is not permitted to work from home for any significant length of time (maximum of 20%) and must be engaged with the research environment, attending research and supervisor meetings, seminars and other training opportunities negotiated with the supervisor(s). By the end of the ILP and/or BSc(Med) Honours the student is expected to:

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills in clear and concise presentation of research information that is appropriately referenced.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of relevant research methodologies by applying them appropriately to the research project.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret qualitative and/or quantitative data, and reach appropriate conclusions that are supported by evidence.
  • Interpret and critically evaluate research literature, to formulate hypotheses or research questions and then to justify discussion, comparisons or conclusions from the research performed.
  • Demonstrate professional skills in planning, time management, teamwork and research integrity.


  • Design future experiments and studies based on the knowledge and research skills development through the research project.

The Project

The Project

Year 4 Medcine Research Project is designed to be undertaken in one of UNSW Medicine's Schools or a UNSW affiliated research institute or centre. Interstate or Overseas research projects will not be considered.


The research must address research aim(s) and hypotheses or research question(s) using scientific inquiry. The research must generate and/or analyse primary or secondary data in a systematic manner. It is expected that the final research report would meet the criteria set for a manuscript to be published in an indexed peer reviewed academic journal in the field.

The study design of the Year 4 Medicine Research Project may vary across the program and disciplines and below is a non-exhaustive list of examples of what would be considered appropriate, or not, for a project.

A few examples of projects that could be considered appropriate:

  • Preclinical (animal studies, tissue analysis) or clinical projects testing a hypothesis.
  • A qualitative inquiry of documents addressing clear research questions and using an established qualitative research framework/theory.
  • A case-control study involving a very small number of participants/subjects due to objective limitations of such a study.
  • A secondary analysis of an existing dataset provided it addresses research questions not asked before for that particular (or very similar) data-set.
  • A systematic review that included a meta-analysis of a relevant scientific topic, which follows the conventional method(s) in the field.  

Some additional considerations:

  • An extension of a previous MD Research/BSc(Med) Honours project using an extended dataset (more participants/subjects and/or more variables) is acceptable provided the research questions /hypotheses already consider the findings of the previous project and aim to add some new knowledge. The new project must require new analysis and hypothesis testing or new research questions.

A few examples that are NOT appropriate projects:

  • A descriptive audit report.
  • A case report.
  • A thematic or systematic review which does not include meta-analysis.
  • A replica of a previous Iproject that uses the same data set

Entry Requirements

MD Research Project (ILP) Entry Requirements

Students have completed year 3 clinical coursework requirements are eligible to apply.


BSc (Med) Hons Entry Requirements

Students with a Phase 1 average course mark of ≥ 65 (see WAM calculation below) and have completed 12 UoC general education before Term 1 in year 4, are eligible to apply.

Mark Calculation

The Phase 1 average course mark is calculated from the following courses:

  1. MFAC1521 Beginnings, Growth and Development A
  2. MFAC1522 Beginnings, Growth and Development B
  3. MFAC1523 Health Maintenance A
  4. MFAC1524 Health Maintenance B
  5. MFAC1525 Ageing and Endings A
  6. MFAC1526 Ageing and Endings B
  7. MFAC1527 Society & Health

In addition, students are required to pass the following courses (including passing subsequent supplementary exams, but if a student fails a course then they will be ineligible):

  1. MFAC1501 Foundations
  2. MFAC1511 Phase 1 Portfolio
  3. MFAC1512 End of Phase Examination
  4. MFAC1513 Clinical and Communication Skills Examination
  5. MFAC2514 Integrated Clinical Studies 1
  6. MFAC2515 Integrated Clinical Studies 2
  7. MFAC2516 Integrated Clinical Studies 3
  8. MFAC2511 Phase 2 Portfolio
  9. MFAC2512 Integrated Clinical Examination

General Education

General Education information is available here.


Getting Started

Key Dates

Dates Activities
1 March 2024 Student Plan (to be completed by students in eMed)
1 March 2024 Negotiation Process Commences
Monday 17 June 2024  Due Date for Year 4 Medicine Research Project (to be completed by supervisors)
July 2024  Student Form (to be completed by students in eMed)
  Non-negotiated projects will be listed on eMed for students to browse and select
August 2024 Allocation emails will be sent to students/supervisors
Monday 13 February 2025 MD Research/Honours Commenced - MANDATORY Induction day
Friday 19 September 2025 MD Research (ILP) Completed
Friday 17 October 2025 BSc(Med) Honours Completed


How to negotiate a project

Students are encouraged to negotiate a research project with prospective supervisors. Some projects will also be designed by supervisors and listed in eMed for students to view. In both cases, the year 4 medicine research project form must be completed by the supervisor in eMed.

Past Projects

Year 4 Medicine Research Project Form

  • This form is available in eMed from March to Monday 17 June 2024.
  • Application Form [word] (To avoid unexpected loss of data entry, it is recommended to complete this form in a word version and then paste your responses into an eMed application form)

Criteria for Primary Supervisor and Co-Supervisor

  • The supervisor and co-supervisor must be UNSW academic staff members or have a conferred academic title holder (conjoint or adjunct) with UNSW.  There are no exceptions to this rule.
  • The primary supervisor and co-supervisor must have a Masters degree by research or PhD or medical degree (unless specifically exempted by the Committee)
  • The supervisor and co-supervisor should have academic/medical qualifications relevant to the project
  • If a supervisor does not meet our criteria, an Faculty Supervisor can act as a conjoint supervisor with approval of the Committee.

Additional Criteria for Primary Supervisor

  • The primary supervisor must have had at least 1 publication in a peer reviewed journal in the previous 3 years.
  • The primary supervisor must have supervised (to completion) at least one research student (MD Research/ILP, Honours, Masters or PhD) previously.

Supervisor Registration

UNSW Medicine and Health academic staff members and affilated conferred title holders (conjoint or adjunct) who are interested in taking up year 4 research students can indicate their offers by updating their staff profile (see instructions here). For more information on this, please contact  Ms Khanh Vo |





UNSW ILP - Three Minutes Thesis (3MT)

ILP students will have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance, in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specilaist audience. Each presentation will be assessed by a panel with the mark contributing to the overall ILP grade and also as a competition (with a $500 gift voucher prize).

3MT Winner 2019

Ms Roshana Kanagaratnam (under supervision by Dr Steven Leach)

A role for intelectin-1 and lactoferrin in health and inflammatory intestinal disease in children

Presented by Dr Linda Ferrington

2019 Cohort