MBBS honours

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The Honours program is an optional program that is offered to provide research training opportunities to students enrolled in the MBBS degree. The program is undertaken concurrently with the rest of the course and allows students to develop a more complete understanding of an area of medical science or clinical medicine under the supervision of an academic member of staff or adjunct staff (e.g. staff of our hospitals who hold academic appointments with the University). Honours will be assessed by a thesis (called “report” till now - typically shorter than the usual ‘thesis’) and a research seminar and will be graded to reward and recognise academic achievement.


  1. To provide training in the core research skills required to undertake future clinical or basic medical research.
  2. To recognise high academic achievement throughout the MBBS course.

When to apply to undertake honours

Students can apply to undertake Honours any time from the end of Block 4 in Stage 1 up until 31 March of Stage 3, Year 3.
Research is undertaken from the time of acceptance into the Honours stream until 30 June in Stage 3, Year 4 when the thesis is submitted.

Students enrolled in the Medical Program part-time are not eligible to enrol in Honours.

New resolutions

To be eligible for the award of Honours students need to achieve the following grades in assessments throughout the 4 years of the MBBS course:

Assessment Grade required to be eligible for Honours (%)
Year 1 written exam Satisfactory
Years 1-3 portfolio on Personal and Professional Development Satisfactory
Year 2 written exam Minimum 75% competency
Year 2 OSCE-practical exam Satisfactory
Year 3 Long case practical exam
Years 3 and 4 written exams Minimum average 75% competency


Students will be encouraged to participate in research projects in a wide range of areas including clinical research, medical sciences, rural and public health, and medical education. Students are encouraged to use the Honours research studies as an opportunity to undertake research in international settings. The Honours project must address one of the themes of the Medical Program (Basic and Clinical Sciences, Population Medicine, Patient-Doctor and Personal and Professional Development). Of course, these themes overlap and a project could encompass aspects of more than one theme.

Selection of a project

The selection of each Honours project is an individual choice for the student. The student should identify an area of interest and seek an appropriate supervisor for the project. In many cases, students will be able to identify potential projects and supervisors based upon their own knowledge of the activities with the Faculty.

It may be possible for more than one student to work on a research project. In this case, however, the supervisor must ensure that each student performs or analyses a different aspect of the project and that each student writes an individual research report.

The individual Honours project should not be an overwhelming additional burden on the student. It must be remembered that these projects are additional to the required self-directed learning of the Medical Program. Supervisors should be aware of this and realise that the workload expected from the students could not be the same as that from full-time Honours students. Accordingly, it is suggested that a student spend an average of 6 hours per week on the project. The anticipated duration of a project is between 6 and 12 months of work. A wide variety of tasks are suitable for Honours projects.

Some suitable tasks are:

  • Participation in one aspect of an ongoing research project
  • A survey and analysis of results obtained
  • A critical writing review of a research or clinical topic
  • Participation in special patient clinics and review of ancillary basic and/or clinical science data
  • Development and evaluation of educational materials, evaluation tools or analysis of educational issues

These examples are suggestions and it is anticipated that students and potential supervisors will formulate a wide variety of Honours projects. Students should not be expected to set up large new research projects nor should they serve simply as research or clinical assistants. The project application and final report should make clear the student's intellectual input into the work.