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The Department of Psychological Medicine welcomes Doctoral students from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds, who wish to pursue research training in mental health topics. The importance of mental health to the productivity and well being of society has been repeatedly demonstrated by large epidemiological studies world-wide and is accepted by most governments. A higher degree in mental health topics is a sought after qualification by policy, education and research sectors.

Supervision of the PhD degree must be primarily undertaken by one academic staff member of the University of Otago. However it is a requirement that students will also have an advisory panel of others who offer research or clinical expertise in the chosen field. Members of the advisory panel may be staff at other universities or in other agencies.

For students wishing to work across disciplines it is usually possible to arrange supervision across Otago University campuses and even between Universities. These arrangements can work well for students but need careful planning and early consultation with the Associate Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies (email is strongly recommended.

View postgraduate research opportunities in the Department of Psychological Medicine

Funding sources

Personal support

Students are eligible to apply for PhD scholarships through the University of Otago. There are a number of scholarships available to postgraduate students.

The regulations, the scholarships and awards currently offered by the University of Otago as well as other sources of scholarship funding, are available on the University of Otago website at

Interested students should discuss the options for PhD funding with their potential supervisor. If you need help finding a suitable supervisor, please speak with Professor Sarah Romans, Acting Head of Department, Psychological Medicine.

You will also need to contact the Postgraduate Studies Office at the School. Email as early as possible (before the third term of the year preceding commencement of the PhD).

Most sources of personal support for PhD students funding are very competitive and close before the end of the academic year preceding the beginning of the PhD course.

Project support

PhD projects often require external funding and in recent years this has come from a wide variety of sources including the Health Research Council, Cancer Society of New Zealand, Lotteries foundation, Schizophrenia Foundation, Wellington Medical Research Foundation, and Kidney Foundation. Please discuss this with potential supervisors.


The Department offers designated workrooms for PhD students, with individual computer workstations. The common-area facilities at University of Otago, Wellington have been completely rebuilt, with a large extension to library and new teaching facilities.

Postgraduate Research Students Convener

Dr Elliot Bell
Postgraduate Research Students Convener, Senior Lecturer, and Clinical Psychologist
Tel +64 4 806 1894

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