Thinking about a Research or Industry subject in Semester 2, 2015?

Some words of advice from Natalie Jamieson, Subject coordinator of research project subjects at the OEP.

It’s a month or two till the deadline for proposal submission (May 18th, 5pm).  You know this because yet another reminder from the OEP has landed in your email in-boOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAx or flashed up on Facebook. You want to do a research project in semester two this year but you haven’t quite gotten a plan together yet – what do you do? Don’t panic. There is still time. You do need to focus and start taking some steps though.

Students who have travelled this path before you have had many different experiences. I share some common stories here for inspiration.

I have a general idea but I don’t have a specific project in mind yet, should I approach a supervisor now or after I have a topic?

It’s time to get talking to someone with expertise relevant to the general area you have in mind for research. If you have done your homework right and are talking to the best person then it is highly likely that a specific project idea will emerge from the conversation. Academic researchers have experience working from the kernel of an idea to a researchable question or hypothesis.

I have some academics in mind but should I/how do I approach them?

There is a reason a famous advertising campaign has been so successful. ‘Just do it’, cause you have to. Start with an email. Outline your question, the issue, your interests, your research subject plans and conclude by asking for a meeting time. There are tips for approaching academic supervisors in the Research and Industry Subject Guide. You need to have a conversation with a potential supervisor; it is best done in person.

I have approached a number of people but they haven’t gotten back to me.

This happens unfortunately. I don’t know why from the point of view of the person you wrote to. What I do know is that you can review and revise your approach strategies. Have you given enough idea about who you are, what you are interested in and what sort of subject you are preparing towards? Get someone else to review the email you wrote and revise as required.

Have you approached the right sorts of people? Try to draft your proposal – a sketch out of your ideas at the very least. What are the key words? Who do you know about who has relevant expertise? Check find an expert. Ask other students. Consult an academic advisor.

The academics I have approached said they were unavailable to be my supervisor?

In some cases for reasons relating to workload and/or availability academics say no to your request for supervision. Many departments have workload limits and some academics have too many students hence they will be unable to take you on as a student.  Academics may also be on study leave. Whilst it is always disappointing, remember that what is most important is being supervised by someone who is available to meet with you in the semester or two in which you are enrolled and has time to read your work and provide timely and constructive feedback.

Always ask for suggestions of colleagues with relevant expertise that you might approach.

The proposal and application form deadline (May 18th, 5pm) is real and won’t be extended. As well as topic preparation you need to take care of the paperwork. Particularly, ensure that you allow enough time to get signatures from the relevant Head of Department. No signatures means no enrolment in a research subject.

It is daunting to get a research project idea off the ground, but the rewards are fantastic. Students report high levels of satisfaction and intellectual engagement in research and industry subjects. They also very much enjoy the opportunity to work closely with an expert academic supervisor on a topic that they feel passionate about.

Find your passion, talk to someone. You can do it.

Further Advice:

Research and Industry Subjects and/or Dr Natalie Jamieson, Research and Industry Subject Coordinator

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Coffee information chat @ OEP

nametag open dayAre you interested in studying environment and sustainability but not sure whether your degree is relevant? Do you want to know what skills you will gain in a multi disciplinary program?
Or what environmental career you might go into?

Join us for a coffee and chat with our academics about your options. You’ll meet some current students and learn more about the course.

We offer Masters, Graduate Diploma and Certificate degrees all with flexible study options. Applications for Semester 2, 2015 close 31st May, 2015

Info sessions:

Date: Thurs 19th March, 11.30am – 12.30pm
Tues 21st April, 3.30-4.30pm
Wed 13th May, 12.30-1.30pm
Venue: Office for Environmental Programs meeting room, Ground Floor, Walter Boas Building (163) find us
REGISTER your attendance and see you there!

The OEP Team

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Semster 2 subject: International Forest Policy

International Forest Policy 2015Information for OEP students:
this subject addresses the policy and governance framework for forest
management in international, national and state contexts. It describes policy processes and the role of different actors in policy development and implementation. Different policy instruments are described and their suitability for achieving policy objectives is discussed. Current issues in international forest policy, such as illegal logging and trade, conservation, certification, environmental management, forests and poverty and climate change are considered from the viewpoints of different forest policy actors. This subject will equip students with an improved capacity for critical thinking in relation to policy issues.

Enrolment details and Learning Outcomes can be found in the 2015 Handbook
FRST20029 International Forest Policy

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2015 changes to Quota Subjects for OEP students

The enrollment deadline for GEOG90007 to March 1 2015. A link in the handbook will direct you to Faculty of Science webpage should they need further information about quota selection.
Two more graduate quota subjects, FRST90030 Forests in the Asia Pacific Region (November) and GEOG90019 Indigenous Land Management (June).We believe a similar process will be set in place.We are yet to confirm with these coordinators when the enrolment deadline shall be.


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OEP Students please read! Scholarships

Sunshine Foundation Graduate Scholarships

Eligible University of Melbourne Graduate students are encouraged to apply for one of our two Sunshine Foundation Scholarships.

ValueUp to $10,000 per year (the maximum value will be commensurate with the level of demonstrated financial need)

DurationThe scholarship covers the 51 week period from January 5 to 31 December 2015. Subject to satisfactory end-of-year results and involvement in the International House community, the scholarship may continue into 2016 and 2017.

Selection criteria
- Applications are invited from Graduate students who have an offer or conditional offer from the University of Melbourne and who are entering courses which are likely to lead into areas of work or research which may assist rural and/or farming communities
-  an indication of their history of and capacity for part-time work (including tax return
-  information to establish a history of part-time work)
-  a statement of their weekly expenses
-  any Centrelink benefit or Commonwealth income support payment details (such as Austudy,
-  ABSTUDY, Youth Allowance etc); or, evidence of Family Tax Benefit A support.
-  Applicants will be required to demonstrate a history of participation and service in their schools and / or tertiary institutions and local communities which best complement the vision of International House. This history should be endorsed by a written reference from an appropriately qualified individual.

Please note that accommodation is for single occupancy only, consequently successful applicants cannot be accommodated with partners or family

For more details visit the graduate section of the International House website

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