Postgraduate Research

Postgraduate Research

Why study a research degree with us?

At the Sydney School of Public Health we are passionate about research that creates knowledge and fosters innovation to improve population health. Our research is evidence based, relevant and impactful, and focuses on new discovery as well as translating existing knowledge into improved health care.

Our researchers are active in Australia and across, motivated by the need to improve the health of populations. The school is a leader in research into policy, health promotion, prevention of disease and disabilities, and a number of other areas. Researchers’ interests embrace the ethical, social, economic and environmental causes of health.

Graduate opportunities

Public Health research graduates have a wide range of career opportunities. Our graduates have moved on to work in universities, government departments, non-government organisations (NGOs), international organisations, private industry, and hospitals both here in Australia and overseas.

Once you complete a research degree employers can expect you to be highly independent and self-motivated. A research degree will train you to become an independent researcher, sharpen your project management and writing skills, provide opportunities to do many presentations and network with experienced researchers as well as improve your analytical skills . It is the degree of choice if you want to work in a research organisation such as a university or research institute.

If you undertake a PhD, you will be expected to discover new knowledge in your chosen field, and publish your findings. You will become a recognised expert in the topic you have chosen to study.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for admission into a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) you must have undertaken a significant research project or thesis in your previous university studies and/or employment.

For admission into a Masters by Research (MPhil) you must either hold a Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree (in any field), although a Master’s degree is preferable.

Course Options

A full-time PhD takes three to four years to complete. A full-time MPhil takes one to two years to complete.

Domestic students can study either part-time or full-time, international students can only study full-time. Full-time study requires at least 20 hours per week, independent of work and family commitments.


Some research students support their study by winning a scholarship. Others are supported by a grant that their supervisor or their department has won. Some research students develop their own projects; others are supported to complete a component of a larger study. Either way, research students are expected to be highly independent and self-motivated.

Find out about the scholarships available to research students.

How to apply

Your initial proposal should include the following:

  • Title: Working title for the project
  • Area: The subject area of your proposed research
  • Objectives: What aims does the work have?
  • Synopsis: Briefly describe the key aspects of what you will be investigating
  • Background: Describe what research has already been done in relation to your topic
  • Significance: Why is the topic important?
  • Methodology: Approach or methodology to be used in the research
  • Resources: Provide details of resources required for you to carry out your research project, and
  • Work plan: An initial plan for completion with annual milestones.

Your proposal should be no more than four A4 pages.

Find a research supervisor and lodge an Expression of Interest.

Finding a supervisor is the most challenging aspect of the application process. Each academic can only supervise a limited number of students and so the selection process is competitive. You must make a strong case to show why you should undertake a research degree. For help with finding a supervisor, please email the below information to Susan Martinez.

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Academic transcript/s
  3. Research proposal
  4. A statement of support from an academic referee
  5. A sample of your written work (this may include an assignment from an undergraduate program, a thesis chapter, dissertation or a published or unpublished paper), and
  6. A "Statement of Purpose" in which you describe your:
    • Interests
    • Reasons for pursuing an advanced degree, and reasons for pursuing an advanced degree at the School of Public Health (this should be no more than 1 page)
    • Ultimate goals
    • A clear summary of all your research skills and experience, and
    • How you intend to finance your degree (i.e. scholarship or private funding)

Please note we are unable to guarantee you will be matched with a suitable supervisor.

After meeting with your potential supervisor, if you are interested in undertaking the project and the supervisor is willing to accept you for the project then you can proceed to make a formal application on Sydney Courses. You can use the documents from the Expression of Interest process within your application.

Once you have completed these steps you can apply:

Apply now for the
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Apply now for the
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)