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Master’s and PhD study

Overview of postgraduate study

The Department of Women's and Children's Health trains postgraduate research students in PhD and masters' degrees. You do not need a medical degree to study in the Department.

Postgraduate research can also be done in conjunction with supervisors in different departments and units of the university, and also with different universities.

Potential students interested in studying at the Department of Women's and Children's Health can consult our current list of research supervisors, their current projects, topics of expertise and interest, and other departments we have collaborated with:

Master’s and PhD programmes

University admission

University regulations govern admission to master’s and PhD study. Acceptance into the supervisor's area of study is usually on a case-by-case basis with the suitability of undergraduate training addressed as a priority. Each student has a primary and, in most cases, a secondary supervisor. Secondary supervisors may be members of staff in other departments.

Thesis Committee

Each PhD student has a Thesis Committee made up of their supervisors and a convenor. The convenor chairs regular university progress report meetings and any discretionary meetings. Convenors have knowledge in the relevant research practice, but are not involved in the study. It is common practice for PhD projects to also have an advisor who can be called upon to provide independent specialist advice.

Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for each new research student and their and supervisor(s) is recommended. This covers the expectations that the Department and University have of students and supervisors. Students and supervisors should look at the MOU independently before meeting to complete the MOU together.

Submission of Thesis

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There are a variety of scholarships you can apply for when you study in the Department of Women's and Children's Health.

The following institutions advertise available scholarships and fellowships:

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Additional funding

The Department of Women’s and Children’s Health allocates funds to support PhD, master's, and BMedSc students with the direct costs of their research. In addition, there is specific funding students can get to support conference travel or fee payments.

Conference and travel support

Division of Health Sciences

Every PhD student in the University of Otago is offered funding towards the cost of presenting their research at a relevant international conference. The Division of Health Sciences will accept applications for this scheme at any time of the year. Applications must be received at least three months prior to date of travel.

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health

The Department of Women's and Children's Health can offer financial support for students to attend one scientific conference each year.

Research Committee funding

Some supplementary funding is available to support students' postgraduate research from the Department Research Committee. This application for financial support would need to be endorsed by their supervisor(s).

Dunedin School of Medicine “Finishing your PhD” Research Grants-in-Aid

The purpose of these grants is to support  students entering the last year of their research towards a PhD within the Dunedin School of Medicine (DSM). The grants are designed to provide some funding for those who have had financial support during their PhD which has now come to an end, and still require additional time to complete their degree.

 Fee support

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health Fee Payment Policy

Dunedin School of Medicine fourth-year fee support

The purpose of this award is for Dunedin School of Medicine school-wide fees support for PhD students entering their fourth year of study. The award is to facilitate and incentivise degree completion within 3.5 years.

Publishing bursaries

Postgraduate Publishing Bursaries are available upon completion of PhD or Master's as support for candidates to complete papers arising from their research.

Applications may be submitted at any time provided that they are received no later than one month following submission of the thesis.

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Current postgraduate student profiles

  • Taiwo Adebowale Can early sleep intervention improve mental and physical health and wellbeing in pre-teens?
  • Deanna Beckett Dental consequences of Vitamin D deficiency
  • Brad Brosnan Does promoting good sleep early in life lead to healthier and happier children?
  • Nick Bowden Exploring Autism Spectrum Disorder using the Integrated Data Infrastructure
  • Helen Cao Wound Healing after Caesarean Delivery
  • Gloria Dainty Kids BMI study
  • Pauline Dawson What are the barriers to equitable maternity service access in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  • Rebecca Duncan Adolescent use of and access to long acting reversible contraceptives in New Zealand
  • Mona Elbalshy Investigating a new type 1 diabetes glucose monitoring technology and its impact on children and their families
  • Ben Halliday Whole genome sequencing of periventricular nodular heterotopia cohort
  • Rosalie Jackson How does sleep deprivation impact eating behaviours and food cravings in children aged 8-12 years
  • Amy Jones Cellular mechanisms controlling neuronal differentiation and disease
  • Lisa Kremer Microdrop administration of phenylephrine and cyclopentolate in neonates (MAPC-N)
  • Rashmi Kumar Identification and characterization of novel genetic variants implicated in microcephaly
  • Emma Macfarlane - How could first trimester abortion care be optimally provided in the New Zealand primary care setting?
  • Lauren Miller Can wearable cameras assist in the diagnosis of sleep problems in pre-schoolers?
  • Shelley Mitchell The role and impact of 'flash' glucose monitoring technology in youth with type 1 diabetes
  • Silke Morrison Does not getting enough sleep change what children eat?
  • Gianna Salis Paracetamol pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PKPD), and metabolism in a population of children with fever
  • Bryan Simpson Personalised medicine through information technology (PerMIT)
  • Annika Sjoeholm Genetic deficiency of chymotrypsin-like family member 3A (CELA3A)—A clinical and biochemical assessment of a rare heritable cause of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Leehe Vardi Placental HPV infection in preterm delivery: Cause, contributor, or innocent bystander?
  • Ella Williams Analysis of novel variant clusters in the CREB binding protein gene ZZ domain, and their relation to Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome

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Alumni profiles

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Career opportunities

  • Graduates from the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health have entered into positions which include:
  • Academic research management
  • Health-related advisory roles with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, and University of Otago
  • Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Cincinnati and University of Cambridge
  • Research Analyst at the Salvation Army's International Social Justice Commission in New York
  • Senior position in genetic counselling
  • University clinical teaching

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Contact us

To find out more about postgraduate study in the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health please contact:

Sarah-Jane Robertson
Tel +64 3 470 9574

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