Dissertation & Research Projects – What Could You be Doing?

It is finally summer here in London, and as a prospective student, you might be wondering what you’ll be doing this time next year. This year, you might be sipping cocktails by the beach, having a summer picnic or even preparing for your postgrad (eager beavers!).

For many students, this time of year involves conducting research projects, and writing up dissertations. Delving into a topic you’re interested in and being able to carry out your own research project is an excellent opportunity not only to learn new skills, but also to grow personally and professionally. But, what does this even look like?

I have spoken to some students who have kindly shared a snapshot of their research project and dissertation experiences to provide a taste of what your summer could be like next year.

Dumitra is undertaking an MSc in Neuroscience, specialising in Neural Stem Cells and Neural Repair.

“I was able to find an external project at University of Cambridge investigating ageing in iPSC derived neurons, in the Anne McLaren Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine. The project aims to generate a model for late onset diseases. It is the perfect setting to learn laboratory skills required for a future career in research and gain confidence in decision making.”

Cindy is on the final leg of her MSc in Early Interventions in Psychosis.

“Alongside doing my placement, I am also in the process of finishing up my thesis that investigates the effect of nature on mental health. Ever since my undergraduate, I have not been a big fan of doing research (mostly because of the statistics), but this time I have really enjoyed it! Although, it was my second choice of project, I have been privileged enough to work with the programme director of my course, who made my research experience go quite smoothly, as I was able to receive the right amount of guidance and feedback throughout my research journey. I have also enjoyed working on this project because it is using a smart phone app called Urban mind to collect the data, so I had the opportunity to use a new and modern research design. However there have been some challenges along the way, such as ensuring I have enough participants, structuring my essay, and finding the motivation to do my analysis! Overall, there will always be ups and downs when it comes to writing a piece of work that will have a big weighting on the overall grade, but I believe that it’s how you make the most of the experience, and if I learnt something from this experience, is not to be afraid to ask for help! Be it your supervisor, your peers, maybe even your pet, if you’d like some extra support during your write up!”

Sahir is undertaking an MSc in Neuroscience and had the opportunity to design his own research project.

“I was one of the few fortunate enough to design my own research project for this course and it helped that the university had such a wide range of expertise, making it easy to find a supervisor willing to accommodate my interests within theirs. As a chronic asthma patient, I wanted to look at any effects of allergies such as asthma on predicting depression. My supervisor, Dr. Alexandru Dregan, who works in translational epidemiology and public health, helped me design and carry out my study that looks at leukocyte ratios in participants of the UK biobank. It’s a large data analysis dry lab study, which involves assessment of participant depression scores with incidence and onset of asthma and dermatitis, along with leukocyte ratios in patients accounting for various other confounding factors. I picked this style of project as it best suited the experience I wanted to gain and have had a great time doing it. I feel most of my course mates also did the same by joining the areas they found most interesting and fortunately the course has been able to provide for it.”

If you have any questions about research projects and dissertations for your course of interest at King’s, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the relevant programme team.

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