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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. Some of the main areas of academic interest and postgraduate research are:

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:

Department of Women's and Children's Health research supervisors and areas of interest (PDF 717 KB)

Scope of undergraduate training required

While many students in the department have a medical background, a medical degree is not necessary for postgraduate study with us. Our research covers many different aspects of women's and children's health, and students from a range of undergraduate backgrounds can contribute to research in our department.

Admission to Master's and PhD programmes

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.

Apply for admission to the PhD programme online

View or download the flowchart of how applications are processed (PDF 192 KB)

Thesis Committee

Each PhD student has a Thesis Committee comprising 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) (PDF 355 KB) 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

Instructions for submission of BMedSc

Instructions for submission of MMedSc

Instructions for submission of Masters

Instructions for submission of PhD


University of Otago Master's and Doctoral scholarships

Applications can be made to the University of Otago for a Master's or Doctoral scholarship at any time of the year. Please talk to your supervisor and the Graduate Research School regarding eligibility.

Postgraduate scholarships at the University of Otago

Dunedin School of Medicine scholarships

The Dunedin School of Medicine (DSM) also have scholarships advertised mid-year. Please refer to the link below or contact the DSM's Administrative Assistant for further information.


Postgraduate scholarships at the Dunedin School of Medicine

Other helpful scholarship pages:

Additional funding available

The Department of Women's and Children's Health also allocates some funds to support PhD, Master's, and BMedSc students with the direct costs of their research.

Departmental support for students information sheet (PDF 94 KB)

Conference and travel support

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.

Once a student is enrolled in postgraduate study, the Department of Women's and Children's Health can offer financial support for students to attend one scientific conference each year.

Postgraduate research support

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).

Women's and Children's Health Research Committee Guidelines (PDF 115 KB)

Women's and Children's Health Research Committee application form for travel funds (Microsoft Word 33 KB)

Women's and Children's Health Research Committee application form for Grant-in-Aid (Microsoft Word 34 KB)

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.

Fees support for PhD students entering their fourth year of study

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.
For terms and conditions check out the Postgraduate study at the Dunedin School of Medicine page .

Postgraduate Student Support

The Department of Women's and Children's Health has developed a policy to support PhD students with fee payments.

Students must meet certain criteria to be eligible.

View or download the eligibility criteria (PDF 205 kB)

Publishing bursaries on completion of Master's and PhD

Postgraduate Publishing Bursaries are available to support 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.

Current postgraduate student profiles

  • Noni Allison Understanding antiepileptic medicine exposure in pregnancy
  • Mee-Yew Chen Impact of rotavirus specific maternal antibodies on immune response to RV3-BB rotavirus vaccine within the RV3-BB phase Iia clinical trial in Dunedin, NZ
  • 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
  • Ben Halliday Whole genome sequencing of periventricular nodular heterotopia cohort
  • Rebecca Harding Prevalence and factors associated with sleep disordered breathing in children with learning problems
  • Dagmara Kociszewska Mechanically sensitive property of FLNB gene and several of its isoforms are central to the development of large synovial joints and osteogenesis
  • Lisa Kremer Microdrop administration of phenylephrine and cyclopentolate in neonates (MAPC-N)
  • Leseli Prescott What happens to young Pacific people with mental health conditions—Evidence from the New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure
  • 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?
  • Ben Wheeler Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy, lactation, and childhood

Alumni profiles

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
  • Health-related advisory roles with the Ministry of Social Development and University of Otago
  • Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Cincinnati and University of Cambridge
  • Senior position in genetic counselling
  • University clinical teaching

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