Honours Students and Independent Learning Project Students at CHeBA have an excellent opportunity for exposure to conducting research within the field of brain ageing.
They develop research skills and learn about current issues in brain ageing research. An understanding of brain ageing research will help students in their future careers as health practitioners (both as general practitioners and specialists, such as geriatricians), policy makers or researchers.
- Honours Students
Students who graduate with an Honours degree (at least class 2 division 1) in a relevant field from an Australian or New Zealand University may be eligible to apply to the Masters by Research or PhD programs in the Faculty of Medicine.
Our aim is that they should finish their Honours with at least one first author paper.
For more information on Honours degrees in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW, including application deadlines, visit the BSc (Med) Honours Program webpage.
- ILP Students
An ILP is a useful entry point for any students considering a higher research degree or a research career. Students who graduate with an MBBS from an Australian or New Zealand University are eligible to apply to the Masters by Research or PhD programs in the Faculty of Medicine.
CHeBA staff are available to supervise both allocated and negotiated Independent Learning Projects. Click here for more information on our research.
Find out more about Independent Learning Projects, including application deadlines, on the UNSW Medicine Program Independent Learning Project (ILP) website.
- Student Testimonials
My honours project utilised data from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study and CogSCAN to compare the cognitive performance of participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to native English speakers on traditional paper-and-pencil and computerised neuropsychological assessments. Further, I identified linguistic and acculturation factors, such as years of education in English, that may influence culturally and linguistically diverse participants’ performance. This helps to inform clinicians and researchers alike on a more culturally-appropriate way to assess cognitive decline in people from diverse backgrounds. Throughout my honours project, I had fantastic opportunities beyond writing my final thesis such as presenting a poster at a conference, speaking at an event for early-career researchers and writing a paper for publication.
My supervisors Dr Nicole Kochan and Dr Karen Croot were exceptional at supporting and encouraging me throughout my honours project and built my skills and confidence to take on a PhD project.
Dementia is one of the leading causes of death in Australia and can be a devastating condition, with no treatment currently available to halt disease progression. Because of this, researchers have been investigating methods that may identify dementia before major neuronal loss and functional impairment has already occurred. Dementia has traditionally been assessed through pencil-and-paper cognitive tests, but novel, computerised tests may provide more precise measurements. My ILP project aimed to investigate the sensitivity of these computerised tests in detecting subjective cognitive decline, a stage where someone may self-perceive memory impairment and yet perform normally on traditional tests. The findings from this study and many others at CHeBA are increasing our knowledge of dementia assessment, potentially influencing future screening practice.
My ILP experience at CHeBA has been invaluable to discovering what research is all about while in an extremely well-supported and connected environment!
The aim of my Honours project was to examine whether an older adults’ abilities to carry out complex daily activities could predict their risk of developing dementia. This was assessed using a performance-based measure, where assessors observe the daily activities being performed. I also examined whether these performance-based measures provided a greater predictive value over measures where informants report on older adults’ daily function using a questionnaire. It is important to understand the risk factors for cognitive decline and to develop standardised methods of measuring these factors, as the prevalence of dementia will increase with the ageing population.
Although I was initially unsure as to how to start my project, my supervisors and the CHeBA researchers guided me, providing me with insight into what it means to be a researcher.