Discover the student experience from current and graduate Honours students.

Alicia Vakalopoulos

Bachelor of Biomedicine (Honours) student, School of Population and Global Health

I am extremely lucky in that my Honours project involves a semester abroad in Sri Lanka. Along with two other students, I will be collecting data pertaining to indoor air population in rural Sri Lankan communities. Unclean energies are commonly used as the primary energy source in many Sri Lankan households. Exposure to the resultant pollutants place families at high risk of related morbidities. We will be looking specifically at outcomes respiratory and antenatal in nature.

This hands-on in country experience is no doubt the most exciting aspect of the degree. It draws on the more theoretical based learning of my first three years of undergraduate studies to develop practical skills in global health research.

For those thinking of applying for Honours in the future I’d say think outside of the box in terms of the project you choose. There are so many different options from lab to field-based – there really is something to suit all interests. Your project may coincide with your major or lead you in a different direction, like mine did.

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Alumni testimonials

Cheng Hwee Soh

PhD student, Bachelor of Biomedicine (Honours) graduate (2018)

I decided to study an Honours year because research-based study really appeals to me and I wanted to know what it was like to be a clinical researcher. Honours helped me to develop important skills like critical thinking and problem solving, and has made me more confident. The highlight of my Honours year was my time spent in the computer lab with my fellow Honours students working on our thesis. I’m currently studying a PhD in the Department of Medicine, and there’s no question that doing an Honours year helped me to figure out that a career in research was something I wanted to pursue.

Kieran Sandhu

Doctor of Medicine student, Bachelor of Science (Honours) graduate (2017)

The Honours degree was a step up from a normal undergraduate degree. It provided an excellent opportunity to work in a professional environment and develop my skills in problem-solving, communication, teamwork and interpretation of scientific literature. Furthermore, it provided an excellent basis to understand how to develop robust scientific methodologies. These skills have been important in Medicine. Problem-solving, teamwork and communication form the crux of clinical medicine.

Doing the Honours degree was of great benefit to me. It provided me with an approach to critically analyse scientific literature, develop robust research methodologies and appreciate how to conduct both basic and clinical research. It also provided me with an opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary environment which has been an important skill for subsequent study.

I highly recommend an Honours degree. I would recommend that future students embrace all the opportunities that they are provided, and to talk to the world-leading researchers at The University of Melbourne. By doing so you will be able to maximise your learning opportunities and develop a skill set which is incredibly useful in your future professional career.

Peter Nguyen

PhD student, Bachelor of Biomedicine (Honours) graduate (2018)

I decided to study an Honours year because I had an interest in cancer research and wanted to develop some research skills before pursuing graduate research and potentially medicine in the future. The course offered a level of autonomy and independence, but also guidance and mentorship from supervisors and research team.

The best thing about my Honours year was the student cohort and unique research opportunities to work alongside respected experts within the primary care and cancer research fields Recruiting participants for my own study and analysing the data that I had collected myself was particularly exciting.

Throughout the Honours program, I was able to further develop my communication and presentation skills, critical thinking and analytical skills, problem solving, working well independently and as a team, and time management.

Jacqueline Kurrupu

Bachelor of Biomedicine (Degree with Honours) 2017

Honours has extended my knowledge on the causal relationships involved in disease as I learnt about the intersection between social interaction and illness. It's taken the integrative thinking skills I learned in Biomedicine and expanded it to considering how social factors impact on human health and, in turn, how health can benefit from certain social factors. I believe this knowledge is important when working within the health sector. Honours has also taught me additional skills such as office etiquette, how to work in a team with supervisors, how to manage your own project and it's developed my writing and people skills.

My Honours cohort were incredibly supportive to each other, not just academically, but socially too. I definitely developed some lasting friendships. There was also an onslaught of support from the department itself. There's a wonderful balance of being guided through yet being taught to work independently. Honours proved to be an amazing experience.

Anna Li

Bachelor of Biomedicine (Degree with Honours) 2018

I always wanted to be a scientist, and Honours has brought me one step closer to getting a PhD. My Honours project was under Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, but I was based at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

Throughout my Honours year I was investigating a de novo mutation in a gene that causes epileptic encephalopathy, using stem cell modelling and electrophysiological techniques. I chose this project because I was familiar with the lab after my undergraduate volunteering experience. I liked my project because it was challenging and I enjoyed being with the wonderful researchers who provided me with knowledge and encouragement.

I really enjoyed the research aspect of Honours, because I got to experience the life of scientist on a day to day basis. I have decided that this is what I want to do for a career.

Harrison Purves

Bachelor of Biomedicine (Degree with Honours) 2018

Initially I chose the Bachelor of Biomedicine because I wanted to become a doctor. However, over the course of my degree I became much more interested in research as a result of hearing so many fascinating lectures from researchers who work in and around the University.

I was most interested in the immunology and infectious diseases field, which led me to pursue a major in Immunology alongside an internship position in the lab where I completed my Honours project. Although I still plan to study medicine, I have changed my career goals because of my Honours experience, and I now hope to enter the field of clinical research.

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