Research Project Overview

Research subjects are the perfect opportunity to explore your passions and make a contribution to change.

Research subjects are undertaken for a number of reasons: completion of a capstone requirement; preparation for a PhD; a strong desire to investigate a specific topic in depth; focusing a number of elements of coursework learning into one specific area; or general research training. You can question an issue that is of interest to you in greater detail than that which usually presents in regular subject assignments. Up to 25% of subjects can be taken as research within the Master’s program (100 and 200 point programs).

Research subjects are independent, original endeavours of enquiry, guided by an academic supervisor, researching a topic relating to the environment and/or sustainability which culminates in the presentation of a written report for assessment.

Industry-based research projects are distinguished by an opportunity to co-develop a research topic with an industry supervisor and a relevant academic supervisor, and to apply appropriate methodologies and analytical frameworks to interesting problems in real world contexts.

Undertaking your research project

With the support of a leading expert in the field, you will conceive and execute a project and make a novel contribution to knowledge with positive implications for environmental change. Through your independent research, you will develop skills and knowledge that will give you an edge in a competitive employment environment.

Independent study

An OEP research subject may be the first opportunity a student gets to conceive and execute their own research, which is both exciting and fulfilling! It also means that students are primarily responsible for their own progress and learning. Students should:

  • Ensure that they have the necessary background and skills for the project;
  • Draw on the services offered by the Academic Skills Unit to develop study skills where appropriate;
  • Create and stick to a realistic research plan;
  • Keep themselves motivated;
  • Submit assessment tasks on schedule;
  • Be proactive in their dealings with their supervisor.


A research project is a collaboration between a student and their supervisor. You are not the supervisor's assistant, and similarly they cannot do your project for you. The relationship is individual and tailored to best suit each party to ensure the successful completion of the research subject.

Supervisors should be the first port of call for discipline specific advice on research questions, analysis and investigation, and skills for data collection and analysis. They also manage health and safety and ethics processes of a project. They are expected to meet with students regularly and provide timely feedback on progress and written work. Each supervision relationship is unique – students and supervisors will negotiate what works best for them. Some tips include:

  • Organise regular meetings. The University recommends one hour per fortnight on average;
  • Be on time, work to a schedule, take notes during and/or after each meeting;
  • Have reasonable expectations on the turnaround of feedback on writing;
  • Research can take surprising and unexpected directions – seek your supervisor’s guidance.

Subject Coordinator

In addition to supervisors, the Subject Coordinator, Professor David Kennedy, and the Senior Tutor, Gab Corbo-Perkins, provide guidance on administrative and academic matters, such as supervision challenges. Students can make an appointment to see David or Gab via the Course Advice Booking System.


Research workshops are run as a day-long seminar at the beginning of semester. The workshop is highly valued by students, providing a combination of practical strategies and research skills, and a regular opportunity for peer support and feedback. The details of the workshop will be included in approval emails.