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.

  • This project would suit a student (6 or 12 UoC) who would like to apply their knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics, and ideally has an interest in drug use and harms in Australia. The prevalence of drug use and harms in Australia differs for people living in major cities compared with regional and remote areas. This project, which has existing ethics approval, aims to enhance our understanding of geographic variations in drug-related harms, which is crucial for informing harm reduction policies. Using data from two national datasets with existing access, the student will compare rates of drug-related hospitalisations and drug-induced deaths for selected drug types by remoteness area (e.g major cities compared with regional and remote areas) via regression analysis. The student will be expected to assist with analyses as needed and write a draft summary of the research results, including a brief literature review and interpretation of findings.

    For more information, or to express your interest in this project, contact Associate Professor Amy Peacock (Drug Trends Lead, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre) or Dr Jane Akhurst (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre).

  • Project 1: Comparing the ability of Kato Katz, Sodium Nitrate Flotation, and quantitative PCR methods to diagnose soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections (6 UoC / 12 UoC)
    This project would suit a student keen to put their epidemiology and biostatistics training into practice in a real-world situation! Using existing datasets on the prevalence and intensity of hookworm infection in children and adults in Vietnam, the student will compare three diagnostic methods (Kato Katz, Sodium Nitrate Flotation, and quantitative PCR) in their ability to detect presence of hookworm in stool samples, and the intensity of infection they detect. The student will use Stata to calculate sensitivity, negative predictive value, and the Kappa statistic for the different diagnostic methods. This project will suit a student who has completed the Advanced Biostatistics and Statistical Computing course (PHCM9517) and/or the Advanced Epidemiology course (PHCM9518). Ideally the student will have some knowledge of soil-transmitted helminths and neglected tropical diseases, but this is not essential.  

    For more information or expressions of interest in this project, students should contact Dr Clare Dyer (Research Fellow, NTD Research Group) and Associate Professor Susana Vaz Nery (Head of the NTD Research Group at the Kirby Institute).

  • Consumers of mental health services tend to have poor physical health which could be improved with better integration of care with general practice. An Electronic Shared Care (ESC) tool is being trialled in the Sydney Local Health District to improve preventive care for consumers of mental health services.

    If you are interested in undertaking this special research project, please contact one of the supervisors: Catherine SpoonerMark Harris and Ben Harris.

    View project deatails–SHAReD

  • 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 deatils–A public health approach to gambling and alcohol harm prevention.

  • The student will assist with data collection, analysis, and reviewing and summarising key findings. The project includes a range of methods to offer a multi-layered understanding of the proposed exhibition’s impact on viewing audiences including:

    1. Feedback collected during virtual guided tours and discussions of the exhibition with target audiences (e.g., people living with HIV, health professionals, the general public).
    2. A short self-completion evaluation survey on the exhibition website.
    3. Google Analytics to track community reach and engagement over time. 

    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.

    Flexible workload/hours per week based on unit requirements. Commence in Term 3, 2021. Ethics approval is already in place. Data collection and analysis will occur in Term 3 2021 and final write up in Summer Term or Term 1, 2022 (to be negotiated).

    If you are interested in undertaking these research projects please contact A/Prof Sally Nathan.

    View project detils–Exploring the use of community-based art to reduce HIV stigma in Australia.

  • Researchers at the Sydney Institute for Women, Children and their Families (Sydney LHD) have several projects on a range of topics and research methodologies commencing in 2021, which are suitable for 18UOC or 12UOC research projects taken part-time over a number of terms. They would suit students interested in understanding the research process, from ethics applications to data collection and report write-up.

    If you are interested in undertaking one of these research projects please contact Katie Perren.

    View project details:


  • This 12- or 18-credit point research project opportunity would suit a student interested in developing qualitative and health policy skills to make a real-world difference! The student will source policy and strategy documents from three Pacific Island countries and, using an appropriate theoretical framework, evaluate them for their relevance to each country’s response to population ageing. The student will learn and use NVivo software to thematically map policy statements to a World Health Organization framework to promote healthy ageing in the Western Pacific region, and apply outcomes of this mapping exercise to identify national healthy ageing policy strengths, limitations and gaps. To be eligible for this project, students must have completed and received a credit or above mark in the Applied Research Methods for Public Health course (PHCM9132), the Qualitative Research Methods course (PHCM9120) or the Policy Studies course (PHCM9381). Ideally, the student will have knowledge and experience in health policy or health policy analysis, but this is not essential.

    This project is to commence in T1 2023. For more information or to express interest in this project, students should contact Dr Anna Palagyi (Senior Research Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health) and Dr Adam Craig (Senior Lecturer, School of Population Health).

  • The Kirby Institute is a world-leading research institute at UNSW Sydney. We work to eliminate infectious diseases globally using our wide-ranging expertise in epidemiology and global health.  

    Estimating the lifetime cost of trichomoniasis in Australia (12 UoC)

    Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis, which can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. While trichomoniasis used to be picked up and treated during the process of routine cervical Pap smear to detect precancerous lesions, cervical cancer screening in Australia is now based on HPV testing which does not detect trichomoniasis. Modelling by our group predicts that this shift in policy is likely to lead to a substantial increase in the prevalence of trichomoniasis over time.1,2 However, it is uncertain what economic burden this will incur. An estimate of the lifetime cost-of-illness for trichomoniasis will help close this gap and support future projects assessing the cost-effectiveness of interventions targeting trichomoniasis. This project would suit a student keen to develop an understanding of health economics research. By establishing a decision model and generating appropriate estimates of unit costs, you will calculate the average lifetime cost for a case of trichomoniasis in Australia. To apply, students need to have scored a Distinction or High Distinction in the Economic Evaluation in Healthcare course (PHCM9440) and/or the Predictive Modelling in Public Health course (PHCM9785). Ideally the student will have some knowledge of sexually transmitted infections, but this is not essential.

    1. Hui BB, Reulein CP, Guy RJ, et al. Impact of replacing cytology with human papillomavirus testing for cervical cancer screening on the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis: a modelling study. Sexually transmitted infections. 2018;94(3):216-221
    2. Regan DG, Hui BB, Guy RJ, Donovan B, Hocking JS, Law MG. Supplemental Trichomonas vaginalis testing is required to maintain control following a transition from Pap smear to HPV DNA testing for cervical screening: a mathematical modelling study. Sexually transmitted infections. 2020;96(1):76-78

    For more information or expressions of interest contact Dr David Boettiger (Senior Research Fellow, Kirby Institute).

  • Project: Assessing routinely collected datasets to understand drug and alcohol use and harms among culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

    Australia has a large culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) population. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines the CALD population mainly by country of birth, language spoken at home, English proficiency, or other characteristics, parents’ country of birth and religious affiliation. Almost 50% of the population in Australia are born overseas (26%) or have one or both parents born overseas (19%). There is limited evidence of alcohol and other drugs (AoD) use among the CALD population in Australia. While the data shows that the rates of AoD and mental health harms within CALD groups are lower compared to the broader Australian population, this data is self-reported and may not correctly reflect the accurate picture in some CALD communities, especially young people, who are significantly under-represented in the AoD and mental health treatment system (AIHW, 2020).

    The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has existing ethics approval and access to routinely collected datasets for a project that aims to understand drug and alcohol harms among Australians, and this includes variables to identify CALD populations. For this project, a student will use their epidemiological and statistical skills to develop an analysis plan and analyze the routinely collected datasets which report AoD harm outcomes (e.g., treatments, hospitalizations, deaths) to understand the prevalence and patterns of AoD use among the CALD population in Australia, and the socio-economic factors influencing these patterns.

    This project will suit a student (12 or 18 UoC) with a research interest or knowledge in drug and alcohol harms and who would like to utilize their knowledge in epidemiology and biostatistics. It is highly recommended that students have also completed one or both of the elective courses in epidemiology and biostatistics. The student will be supported by experienced statistician/epidemiologist at NDARC.

    For more information or expressions of interest in this project, students should contact Dr Winifred Asare-Doku (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, NDARC) and Dr Stella Settumba Stolk (Research Fellow, NDARC).