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We invite those interested in PhD and Master's study in Public Health to consider the outstanding opportunities available at the Wellington campus of the University of Otago.


The Master’s of Public Health (MPH) is the second part of a two-year qualification. Prospective students need to hold or be working towards a postgraduate Diploma of Public Health (DPH) or equivalent qualification.

Further information about the MPH requirements can be found here

Prospective PhD students need to hold a prior research degree (Bachelor’s with Honours or Master’s) in a relevant topic area, including a recognised research component of study.

Further information about PhD requirements at the University of Otago can be found here

Prospective international students wishing to enrol in a PhD in the Department of Public Health should first contact the International Office for advice about studying at the University of Otago:

University of Otago International Office enquiry form

Finding a research topic and supervisors

Postgraduate research students in our department are typically supported by 2-3 supervisors. Some of our students work on larger, pre-existing projects that are run by our research groups, and some students carry out standalone projects.

Students may develop their own research topic, in conjunction with a prospective supervisor, or may apply for a pre-existing project. Student research projects need to align with the research interests of supervising staff within the Department.

Check out the PhD and Master's topics already available

If you are interested in a PhD or Master's degree but are not sure what your topic area would be, please see the areas of research focus in the Department by looking at the research groups below and/or staff profiles. Then contact the postgraduate coordinator, Emma Osborne (, to discuss your areas of research interest. Prospective students should send Emma:

  • A short description of the research you are interested in doing (limit 2 pages), including:
    • Your background, interests and research skills
    • Topic areas you are interested in exploring, with reference to current or recent work that is done in the Department of Public Health
    • Research methodologies you would like to use and your prior experience using those approaches
  • A current CV
  • Copies of your Master's or Research Honours academic transcript
  • For prospective PhD students, an indication of how you plan to fund your study
  • If your prior study was not with the University of Otago, contact details for your primary Master's or Honours supervisor and one other person (two academic referees in total)

If all the above material is received, Emma will make an initial assessment in line with the entry requirements of the programme and, if the requirements are met, identify potential supervisors.

If you already have an area of interest, feel free to contact one of our research groups directly with any questions or to discuss ideas for possible research topics.

Research group contact details for prospective postgraduate students

Research groupResearch Directors
ASPIRE2025Professor Richard Edwards
Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) research groupAssociate Professor Jason Gurney
Health Environment and Infection Research Unit (HEIRU)Professor Michael Baker
Health Promotion and Public Health Policy Research Unit (HePPRU)Associate Professor Louise Signal
New Zealand Centre for Sustainable CitiesProfessor Philippa Howden-Chapman
He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research ProgrammeProfessor Philippa Howden-Chapman
Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora A Eru PōmareBridget Robson

Contact for enquiries

Emma Osborne
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington

Or for administrative queries:


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