Graduate Research

(PhD and Master's by research)

A PhD or MPhil provide advanced skills in clinical and/or public health research. The School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has a strong record of achievement in PhD training with many graduates obtaining prestigious post-doctoral awards and securing senior positions in Australia and overseas.

In 2018 we have nearly 190 graduate research students enrolled.

Head of School, Professor John J McNeil AM, on our PhD program

Research in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine comprises many aspects of clinical and public health research. Groups that are part of our School include:

ASPREE Research · ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) · ASPREE Substudies · Biorepository · Biological Neuropsychiatry and Dementia

Cancer Research

Clinical Epidemiology · Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics · Musculoskeletal Epidemiology · Cabrini Epidemiology · Infectious Diseases Epidemiology · Women's Health Research Program

Research Methodology · Biostatistics · Epidemiological Modelling · Cochrane Australia · Research Governance

Health Services · Registry Science and Research · Transfusion Research Unit · Prostate Cancer Registry · Bariatric Surgery Registry · Australian Breast Device Registry

Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences · Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (MonCOEH) · Australian Centre for Human Health Risk Assessment (ACHHRA) · Aviation Medicine · Hazelwood Health Study

Critical Care Research · The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC) · ANZCA Clinical Trials Network · Pre-hospital, Emergency, and Trauma Research

Social Sciences Research · Jean Hailes Research Unit · Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights · Andrology Australia

Metabolism Ageing Genomics Research · STAREE (STAtins in Reducing Events in the Elderly) · Diabetes and Vascular Medicine · Monash Ageing Research Centre (MONARC) · Public Health Genomics Program

Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) · Womens and Childrens Public Health Research · Chronic Disease, Diabetes and Metabolic Health · Healthcare Improvement and Implementation · Research Methodology and Support · Data-Driven Healthcare Improvement

Department of Forensic Medicine (DFM) · Injury Prevention · Health Law and Ageing Research · Drug Harm Prevention

2017 Monash Public Health and Preventive Medicine Graduate Research students

Current PhD opportunities

For information on current PhD opportunities, contact

Why do a PhD in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine?

Progress of PhD students in our School is facilitated by a strong research environment with an extensive program of NHMRC-funded research, and access to extensive infrastructure support including:

  • biostatistics
  • data management
  • computing
  • support from experienced staff and a large student body

Why study epidemiology?

Epidemiology is the key scientific discipline underlying some of the most important and rapidly developing areas of medicine. These include:

  • Public health
  • Applied clinical research and clinical trials
  • Preventive medicine and health promotion
  • Health services research
  • Quality assurance and outcome measurement in healthcare
  • Health economics
  • Health policy development
  • Occupational and environmental health
  • Health risk assessment

What skills will I develop?

All students undertaking PhD studies are expected to attend coursework units in Epidemiology and Biostatistics as part of the Monash doctoral program. In addition, PhD students are encouraged to participate in conferences and workshops, and to undertake further professional development in relevant fields.

During the course of their research, students will develop skills in the following areas:

  • Protocol development
  • Design and conduct of research in humans
  • Data management and statistical analysis
  • Scientific writing and communication
  • Critical appraisal and interpretation of medical literature
  • High level knowledge of the chosen field of study

How will I support myself?

Full-time PhD students in the School are supported by PhD scholarships provided by Monash University, the Alfred Hospital, the NHMRC, VicHealth or other bodies. These provide a tax free stipend, to which may be added income from teaching, and other limited employment within the stipulated guidelines.

Most students undertaking a PhD find it to be a demanding experience requiring extensive after-hours work. University rules do not allow more than six hours per week of outside employment in normal business hours during a full-time candidature. This restriction is observed within this School.

Virtually all full-time and most part-time PhD students are given exemption from HECS liability. Further details on HECS exemption can be found in Chapter 6 of the SPHPM Graduate Research Handbook.

How do I choose a PhD project?

A project suitable for a PhD has the following characteristics:

  • It is scientifically worthwhile
  • It can be undertaken successfully with the available resources
  • It provides training in appropriate skills
  • It can be completed within a 30 to 42 month time period

Considerable judgement is needed to identify projects meeting these requirements and most students will need to be advised about appropriate studies, especially in the early stages of their enrolment. Whenever possible, students undertaking PhD studies within SPHPM are attached to a major funded study and their work involves "substudies" within the larger project.  Before choosing a project, prospective students should review the research activities within the School to identify areas of interest.

What is expected from PhD students?

  • Contribution to the intellectual life of the department
  • Attendance and presentation at relevant professional seminars
  • A strong motivation to publish results of studies completed
  • An ethical and careful approach to research
  • Strict adherence to University restrictions on outside employment and other conditions of candidature
  • Daily attendance if full-time, 2 days per week if part-time

How to apply

You may not apply for candidature with or without a scholarship, or contact staff members about a project, before we invite you to do so. You must first contact the Manager of the Graduate Research Program via

You may apply for candidature without a scholarship at any time after receiving the invitation. Applications for scholarships close each year on 31 May and 31 October commencing study 2–3 months later; (the academic year in Australia runs from March to October).

Monash University offers tuition and stipend scholarships to international students. However, these are extremely competitive and to obtain one you will need to have an outstanding academic record in at least one degree and a first author publication in an ISI- or SJR- listed journal. Conference presentations are given little weight.

Please visit our web pages for an indication of the current area/s of research that match your interests. We expect many students will pick up a topic that a supervisor here already has planned.

Further information and contact

If you have any questions regarding a PhD in the School, please contact the Graduate Research Administrator via email or phone +61 3 9903 0276.

General information on resources and facilities available to postgraduate students at Monash University is provided by the SPACE Monash Institute of Graduate Research.

Prospective international students should consult the Monash University Admissions information page to obtain relevant information on studying at Monash.