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Sydney Research Seminars

Sydney research seminars (SRS) are elective units that are designed to offer students with a passion for inquiry and discovery something quite different from their regular undergraduate learning experience.


Sydney Research Seminars (SRS) are pitched across a diverse range of themes and issues. Each SRS unit of study invites you to draw on perspectives from multiple disciplines to develop a research question, collaborate with students and academics across different areas of knowledge and apply your own ideas and critical thinking to a contemporary issue. Each unit of study is: 

  • 6 credit points
  • 3000-level and open to eligible students from all disciplines
  • open to first and second year Dalyell Scholars as enrichment units.

Enrolments for semester long projects close Friday 2 August.

Enrolments the July intensive project close Friday 24 June.

Semester long projects

This unit provides you with a unique opportunity to gain research experience and deep insight into the future of learning. You will conduct research on emerging trends in this area together with experts from a wide range of disciplines. Through a series of online discussions and face-to-face seminars, you will expand your understanding of how innovations from diverse disciplinary fields – such as information technology, psychology, neuroscience, architecture, anthropology, and economics – contribute to new ways of learning across formal and informal educational settings as well as organisational contexts.

The work produced will contribute to the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation's report on recent innovations and opportunities for improving teaching and learning titled 'Re-imagining the future of learning'.

You will work with leading researchers from multiple disciplines to engage in ‘planetary thinking’ to explore the process of developing a research problem. At the core of this new thinking is an approach to academic knowledge production that crosses disciplinary boundaries and takes into account the profound challenges facing humanity in times of 'planetary boundaries'. The first part of the course will introduce you to the idea of planetary thinking through a critical engagement with methods, concepts and academics from across disciplines.

You will then apply planetary thinking to an individual project, tackling a concrete issue from within your respective disciplines. At the end of the course, you will be assessed on a presentation of your planetary approach to a research problem which you should present in a form that reaches an audience beyond the academy.

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s (SSEAC) interdisciplinary SRS unit will focus on a particular social issue in Southeast Asia – for this first unit it will be the historical, economic and political significance of water in Singapore. Based on inputs from seminars, readings and online modules, you will work in multidisciplinary groups to develop your own research question in relation to this social issue and then undertake research to complete a final paper that addresses this question.

You will also travel to Singapore for two weeks in December with a SSEAC academic to conduct fieldwork and observe the real-world impacts. This experience will allow you to apply your disciplinary knowledge and critical thinking skills to a cutting-edge research problem, as well as develop skills in research design, field work methodology, and your understanding of research ethics. Visit the SSEAC website to find out more.

July intensive projects

This unit, comprising seminars and practical workshops, provides you with a unique opportunity to bridge the disciplinary divides between social science and medical science, by exploring collaboratively how social and neurobiological factors dynamically interweave in processes of learning and wellbeing.

You will work with real examples of research projects and papers published in academic journals, and critically engage with the literature to help guide your research project design. A hands-on workshop will give you practical engagement with the electroencephalogram (EEG), eye-tracking and other forms of brain imaging.

Eligibility and how to apply


To be eligible to enrol in a Sydney Research Seminar you need to:

  • be an undergraduate student
  • have completed 72 credit points or be a first or second year Dalyell Scholar
  • have a free elective available in your degree.

How to apply

SRS units are listed as electives in Table S (Shared Pool) in the Interdisciplinary Studies handbook.

You can enrol in SRS units through Sydney Student. If you've already enrolled, you can do this by changing your units of study (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, then ‘Change your units of study’).

If you are enrolled in a degree that has access to Table S, select the unit from the 'Table S Electives' collection. Select 'Continue' and then 'Confirm' your selection on the next screen. If your unit requires departmental permission, you will be prompted to complete a departmental permission application.

If you are enrolled in a degree that does not have access to Table S you will need to submit an enquiry through the Unit of study selection issues form. If your intended unit requires departmental permission, ensure that you address its requirements when you submit our form.

Find out more about selecting units in Sydney Student.

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Last updated: 17 September 2021

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