Honours in immunology & Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases and Immunology Honours are research-based courses, commencing in early February and culminating in presentation of a thesis in late October/early November. Candidates are assessed on all aspects of their research performance, by their supervisor and by examiners who will be scientists familiar with the general field of research, but not directly associated with the student or their research laboratory. Assessed components are: (i) a review of the literature pertaining to the particular research project undertaken by the candidate (formative), (ii) oral presentation of research in the form of a short seminar (twenty minutes talk and ten minutes for questions)(summative), (iii) the thesis, (summative) and (iv) research performance (summative).

Honours Coordinator:

Honours Co-coordinator:

The research program

Candidates will work almost exclusively on their chosen research topic, independently, but under the guidance of their supervisor. At the end of the year, the research is written up in the form of an Honours Thesis and is examined by the supervisor and two other scientists appointed by the Honours committee. Each thesis is assessed on its overall quality and not simply on the quantity of results. "Getting results" is not the sole aim of the research program.

In mid-November, approximately two weeks after the thesis is submitted, candidates are required to present a seminar on their project. This will be a 20-minute presentation, followed by constructive feedback in the form of questions from the audience of peers, supervisors, examiners and interested colleagues.

The research program is further structured to help develop scientific writing skills in the following way:

  1. Preparation of an approximately two-page summary outlining the aims and experimental approach which the candidate understands to be their project and why the project has scientific merit in their opinion. (in other words, what they are going to do and why they are doing it). This is not formally assessed but will be discussed at interview with the supervisor.
  2. Preparation of a "literature review" essay that is the basis of the Introduction to the final thesis, and prior preparation of the results and methods chapters. These sections are read by the supervisor, and some corrections, suggestions for improvements and other comments are made before submission of the thesis.

The supplementary program

The supplementary program has two main aims:

  1. To keep the candidate abreast of wider issues in Immunology and Infectious Diseases, while fostering their particular research interest, and
  2. To enable the candidate to develop strong skills in communication and critical appraisal of the literature.

To this end, in addition to research at the bench, students are required to attend

  1. A Research Seminar Series at Infectious Diseases and Immunology or equivalent in other locations.
  2. Honours class meeting, where we create a "self-help" program reviewing each other’s aims, results and relevant literature, solving technical problems and providing workshops in statistics and data analysis.
  3. Meetings of their own research group which will focus on the particular interests of the group, and where the student is expected to participate both in presenting results and reviewing literature.

Introductory course on animal experimentation

An introductory course on Animal Experimentation will be presented by the Animal Care and Ethics Committee of the University and attendance and successful completion by all Honours students whose projects involve animals is compulsory.

Qualifications for Admission

To qualify for admission to Honours the Faculty of Science requires that a student is qualified for the award of a pass degree, has a SCIWAM score of at least 68 and a credit in their chosen Honours topic. Further a student must be considered by the Faculty and the Head of Department concerned to be suitable for the IDI Honours program. Admission is also dependent on the number of places available in a particular year. To qualify for Honours in Immunology or in Infectious Diseases a student must satisfy the minimal conditions. The student should have performed well in all aspects of the senior Immunology units IMMU3102/3902 and IMMU3202/3903 or Infectious Diseases course INFD3012 or Virology course VIRO3002/3902 and achieved at least a credit. In special circumstances applicants who have studied subjects other than Immunology or Infectious Diseases may be considered.

The admission to Honours will be based upon these criteria and recommendations from the interview with the supervisor.

Allocation of projects: Students are first allocated in laboratories of the academic members of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. Students are then placed into affiliated laboratories. However due to the relatively large number of potential supervisors offering projects and the limited number of students that can be placed in any one year, it is unlikely that more than one student would be placed in each affiliated laboratory. For this reason it is important to select projects from multiple supervisors, rather than selecting multiple projects from the same supervisor.

Honours research projects are offered in different Sydney University locations, viz. Central Campus and Concord Campus in various institutions within those areas.

Please direct questions and submit your application together with your academic transcript and CV to .