Students can elect to undertake a research project (PHCM9148 (6 UOC), PHCM9144 (12 UOC), PHCM9150 (18 UOC)) as part of their coursework degree. The project comprises an in-depth study of a public health, health management or international health issue or topic. The project may be in the form of a small-scale research study, a case study, a program evaluation or a report on field placement. Students wishing to enrol in a project must obtain permission.

View our Research Projects slide deck and the research projects available in the school. 


Available research projects

If you're interested in undertaking one of the research projects listed please contact the academic member of staff directly.

  • Examples of projects:

    • Examining the impact of COVID-19 on alcohol and gambling behaviours in Australia.
    • Supporting the implementation of a gambling screening tool in community organisations.
    • Exploring the use of child-led research methods in gambling and alcohol harm prevention research.
    • Understanding alcohol and gambling harm in communities. 

    If you are interested in undertaking these research projects please contact Dr Amy Bestman.

    View project details: A public health approach to gambling and alcohol harm prevention.

  • Project overview

    Footprints in Time, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) aims to help Indigenous children ‘grow up strong’. The study collects annual data from around 1,700 Indigenous children, their families and teachers in urban, rural and remote areas of Australia. It follows two cohorts of children during their early years of between age 0 and 5 years at the start of the study in 2008 (Wave 1).

    Our LSIC sport and physical activity group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers have previously published analyses of correlates of Footprints in Time children’s physical activity and the early years determinants of physical activity.

    The group plan to use LSIC data to investigate participants’ physical activity, sedentary behaviours and sleep (also known as the 24-hour movement behaviours) and the cultural factors that influence children’s engagement in these behaviours.

    Proposed research activities for student project

    The LSIC sport and physical activity group are offering one 6 or 12 UoC research project opportunity commencing in Term 2 2024 to undertake quantitative data analysis to examine the cultural determinants of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep behaviours and meeting the 24-hour Movement Guidelines.

    Whilst ethics approval has been obtained for this project, a personnel modification will be required to be submitted in advance to ensure student access to the data. The student will also be required to make an individual application to the data custodians to access the data prior to the start of term 2. This application includes summarising their cultural standpoint and addressing how their own cultural background may influence your research.

    Work days/hours are flexible based on student availability over the term. This work can be completed remotely.

    The ideal candidate

    The ideal candidate will have completed relevant training such as PHCM9795 Foundations of Biostatistics, PHCM9794 Foundations of Epidemiology, PHCM9517 Regression Methods in Biostatistics, PHCM9518 Epidemiological Methods and PHCM9630 Public Health Perspectives of Indigenous Health. A strong interest and commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and culture is essential. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are highly encouraged to apply. Through this project, the student will learn practical skills in quantitative analysis and have the chance to publish this work in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Contact person: Dr Rona Macniven; (02) 9348 0135



  • Project overview

    HEADLITes was established with seed funding from the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute in 2022. It aims to develop solutions to improve health and digital literacy in older people who leave Australian prisons and reintegrate into society.

    So far, the research team have conducted workshops and interviews with key stakeholders to identify the key challenges in health and digital literacy for older people leaving prison in Australia. Stakeholders also discussed opportunities and ideas for intervention development to meet these needs.

    The next steps for this project will be to analyse the data collected and draft a report on the findings. and combine them with what is already known in literature, to define specific intervention objectives and work towards implementable solutions for this population.

    Proposed research activities for student project

    The HEADLITes team are offering two 12 or 18 UoC Research Project Opportunities with the project, to undertake qualitative data analysis of focus group and interview transcripts

    Whilst ethics approval has been obtained for this project, a personnel modification will be required to be submitted in advance to ensure student access to the data.

    Work days/hours are flexible based on student availability over the term. This work can be completed remotely.

    The ideal candidate

    The ideal candidate will have completed relevant training such as PHCM9120 Qualitative Research Methods or PHCM9132 Applied Research Methods for Public Health. An interest in underserved populations who experience health inequity should be evident. Through this activity, the student will learn practical skills in qualitative analysis, systematic reviews of literature, and have the chance to publish this work in a peer-reviewed journal.

    There is potential for continued involvement with the research in various roles after project completion.

    Contact person: Dr Jane Hwang ; (02) 9348 0073

  • Project overview

    The first maternal vaccine to prevent RSV disease in infants has recently been approved and will likely be rolled out in Australia imminently. Mathematical models are powerful tools that can be used to capture the impact of infectious disease transmission, the benefit of interventions, and guide ongoing vaccination strategies. However, mathematical models for RSV are still relatively limited, and the approach to capturing naturally-derived maternal immunity in the first few months of life is often unrealistic.

    Proposed research activities for student project

    The infectious disease modelling group are offering one 12 or 18 UoC research project commencing in Term 2 or Term 3 2024.

    In this project the student will conduct a limited scoping review of the literature on recently published mathematical models of RSV transmission that capture maternally-derived protection. They will use an existing mathematical model that is publicly available and coded in R to explore the impact of varying key susceptibility parameters, and visualize the results either in R or Microsoft Excel.

    Work days/hours are flexible based on student availability over the term.

    The ideal candidate

    The ideal candidate will have completed relevant training in quantitative approaches to studying infectious diseases, such as Predictive Modelling in Public Health (PHCM9785). The candidate should have some experience in R or another programming language. Throughout this project, the student will learn techniques in reading and critically appraising modelling studies, reviews of the literature, and in making parameter changes to an existing mathematical model and visualizing and interpreting the results.  The student will have the chance to publish this work in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Contact person: Dr Alexandra Hogan

  • Project overview

    This project aims to develop geospatial models to provide risk predictions for scabies and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections in Sanma, Shefa and Tafea provinces, Vanuatu. Using parasitological data collected during an integrated survey and control program, in conjunction with available bioclimatic and environmental data, the student will develop models to estimate the risk of scabies and STH infections across these three provinces. 

    Proposed research activities for student project

    Students project proposals can be developed to align with the 12UoC or 18UoC project time commitment, with consideration of the entry level research knowledge and skills of the student.

    The ideal candidate

    This project would suit a student that is keen to develop their skills in R and apply them to a real-world scenario. This project will suit a student who has completed the Regression Methods in Biostatistics (PHCM9517) and/or the Epidemiological Methods course (PHCM9518). Ideally the student will have some knowledge of scabies, soil-transmitted helminths and neglected tropical diseases, but this is not essential. 

    Contact Person: For more information or expressions of interest for either of these projects, students should contact Dr Adam Bartlett (Research Fellow, NTD Research Group) and Professor Susana Vaz Nery (Head of the NTD Research Group at the Kirby Institute).

  • Background and rationale

    Reproductive coercion and abuse (RCA) has been defined as any deliberate attempt to dictate a [person’s] reproductive choices or interfere with their reproductive autonomy. It includes contraception sabotage, pregnancy coercion, controlling a pregnancy outcome, and forced contraception and sterilisation. It is often perpetrated through emotional manipulation but may involve physical violence. The literature presents RCA as a problem that disproportionately affects women experiencing concurrent intimate partner violence, women of lower socioeconomic status, single women, and racialised women. Limited evidence also links RCA to a range of health consequences, such unintended pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections, and self-reported mental health problems. No research on reproductive control has been led with men. The Third Australian Study of Health and Relationships is a nationally representative survey of 14,000 adults aged 16-69 years, led by the Kirby Institute. It provides the first population-based estimates of the prevalence and correlates of RCA in Australia. To complement this survey data, wewould like to understand people’s lived experiences in more depth through one-on-one qualitative interviews. Interviews will shed important light on both women’s and men’s reproductive autonomy, including the power to decide about and control matters associated with contraceptive use, pregnancy, and childbearing.

    Project aims

    To understand people’s lived experiences of reproductive coercion and abuse and how it may vary across and within diverse communities, including its unique forms, underlying drivers and impacts, and suggestions for prevention and support.

    Research design and methodology

    This Masters project involves a qualitative study design. The student will assist with data collection, analysis, and reviewing and summarising key findings. Participants will be invited to participate in a one-on-one qualitative interview via Zoom lasting approximately 1-1.5 hours. The intended sample size for the project is 30-40 participants or until data saturation is complete. Individuals are eligible if they completed the Third Australian Study of Health and Relationships, reported experiences pertaining to reproductive control, and gave us permission to recontact them again for future research. They will be invited (via email and phone) to participate in a study about reproductive autonomy and contraceptive use, so as to not to assume that they would define the experiences they reported in the survey as coercion/abuse. The student will be expected to support these research activities, to meet weekly with the supervisors, and to write a draft paper suitable for publication in a health journal. 

    Timeline and proposed workload 

    12UOC. Flexible workload/hours per week based on unit requirements. Commence in Term 2, 2024. Ethics approval is already in place. Data collection and analysis will occur in Term 2 and final write up in Term 3, 2024. 

    Description of student skills

    Completed PHCM9012 Health Promotion & Social Perspectives of Health or PHCM9120 Qualitative Research Methods, an interest/passion in supporting research and education, interest in further developing skills in thematic analysis, and excellent writing skills.

    Contact person: Dr Allison Carter