Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PhD Opportunities


Listed below are a selection of specific PhD opportunities available for prospective candidates. Please note, however, that the University has many other research opportunities available for prospective PhD candidates and you are encouraged to contact the Department or academic staff member concerned for more information.

PhD on the microstructural evolution of ice during episodic creep

We seek an excellent, well-motivated student with good practical skills to undertake this PhD supervised by Dave Prior, Pat Langhorne and Sean Fitzsimons in Otago and Bill Durham at MIT and Dave Goldsby at Brown University.

The student will be part of a team of staff and PhD students, funded by a Marsden Fund grant. Other PhD students within the team will be share responsibility for comparison of ice data with experimentally and naturally deformed rocks and for up-scaling data to understand the response of the BDT to the earthquake cycle. Ice deformation is of significant interest in its own right, with brittle-ductile transitions having importance to glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice and the interiors of icy planets. The student will be encouraged to seek the relevance of new data to these research areas.

The PhD will be based in the Geology Department, using cold-room facilities in Physics and Geography and electron microscopes at Microscopy Otago. The student will be trained in experimental deformation techniques, mechanical analysis, cryo-preparation, optical and electron microscopy (SEM and EBSD) and microstructural analysis. The supervisors will help the student gain an understanding of creep mechanisms, rheology and microstructure and the broader scientific context of the research. Relevant experimental and microanalytical techniques have been set up in Otago in the last year. In addition the student will make a research visit (3-6 weeks) to MIT to conduct confined media experiments (currently unavailable in Otago) and will be funded for at least one international conference. The PhD is fully funded (NZ$25,000 + fees, pa). The ideal start date for the PhD is September/October 2012. Interested applicants should contact Dave Prior ( by email for further information.

Postgraduate Research Opportunities in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago Wellington

PhD opportunities within ASPIRE2025 tobacco-free research collaboration in New Zealand

A new opportunity to join an outstanding multi-disciplinary group of New Zealand tobacco control researchers – ASPIRE2025 – and undertake a PhD in any one of a very wide range of tobacco-related fields.

We are looking for top students who have an Honours or Masters degree in any discipline, who love to research and write, and who would like to study with the University of Otago in Wellington or Dunedin, or with Massey University in Wellington. Supervision is available from researchers with expertise in public health, medicine, public policy, marketing, and Maori Studies, and who have developed expertise across many fields of tobacco-related research.

Successful applicants will join a productive and collegial research team whose work has helped decrease smoking prevalence. We offer excellent support to talented students and welcome applications from qualified candidates wishing to work in this important and fulfilling field.

Competitive scholarships are available from the University of Otago, Massey University and other sources.

All inquires in the first instance should be directed to the ASPIRE2025 research theme leaders for the field within you are interested in pursuing research.

Acceptance to the PhD program will depend on the quality of the candidate and the supervisory capacity.

PhD Position in Space Physics: Physics Department

The Space Physics group at the Physics Department, University of Otago has a funded PhD student position available. The position is funded through the European Union FP7 project "A new, ground based data-assimilative modeling of the Earth's plasmasphere - a critical contribution to Radiation Belt modeling for Space Weather purposes". This project includes multiple institutions worldwide, including Europe, the USA, South Africa and New Zealand. The student's research will be part of a work package inside this project, under the supervision of Associate Professor Craig J. Rodger. The PhD student is intended to start from 1 August 2011 and the position will remain open until it is filled.

For more information please contact Professor Craig Rodger at or visit the Space Physics Group webpage.