Health Sciences PhD - College of Education, Health and Human Development - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

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Health Sciences PhD

Thank you for choosing to consider the School of Health Sciences at the University of Canterbury.

Our PhD students in Health Sciences come from around the world with a wide variety of experiences, and are pursing new and exciting fields of research.

This page will help you learn more about our exciting programme.

We ensure that PhD students have the best possible supervision, and have prepared this web-page to help you find the best possible supervision for your research topic. 

PhD Current Topic Supervision Capacity

The following list shows whether supervision is available for the following topics. If your topic is not in one of the available areas, please check other departments and schools.

Health Science topics

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: Yes
  • Biostatistics: Yes (for example: population health following the Christchurch earthquakes)
  • Child and Family Psychology: Yes (high-risk child populations)
  • Counselling: No capacity at present
  • Design Thinking in Health Care (Designing health systems, designing health care): Yes
  • Disability: Yes (for example: assistive technology to support children and adults with complex physical and communication needs)
  • Environmental Health: Yes
  • Epidemiology: Yes (for example: cancer epidemiology, child psychiatric epidemiology and environmental epidemiology)
  • Ethics / Clinical Ethical Decision Making: Yes
  • Health Information: No capacity at present
  • Health Policy: No capacity at present
  • Health Services Research and Evaluation: No capacity at present
  • Health workforce: Yes
  • Inclusive social and educational practices for children with disabilities and their families: Yes
  • Infant health: Yes
  • Interprofessional education and practice: Yes
  • Loss and grieving: Yes
  • Maori Health: No capacity at present
  • Men's Health: Yes
  • Mental Health: Yes
  • Mental Health Promotion and Prevention: Yes (for example: Addressing mental health problems in school settings)
  • Motivational Interviewing: Yes
  • Nursing (including rural nursing, perioperative practice, regulation and fitness for practice, undergraduate nursing education, workplace support for nursing students and new graduates): Yes
  • Palliative care: Yes
  • Positive Behaviour Support: Yes (home, school, disability)
  • Primary and community health: Yes
  • Public health (sexual and reproductive health): Yes
  • Public Health: Yes
  • Qualitative research methodologies: Yes
  • Social Environment: Yes
  • Specialist Teaching: Yes
  • Spoken and written language disorders: Yes
  • Voice disorders and stuttering: Yes

Please note: the School of Health Sciences does not offer supervision for laboratory-based PhD topics.

Sport and Physical Education topics

  • Adventure education: Yes
  • Adventure Sport Science: Yes
  • Biomechanics: Yes
  • Cricket: Yes
  • Environmental education: Yes
  • Exercise Physiology: Yes
  • Health and Physical Activity: Yes
  • Injury epidemiology: Yes
  • Sport Sociology: Yes
  • Olympic Studies, Olympic Education, Olympic Pedagogy, and Olympism: Yes

  • Outdoor education: Yes
  • Performance Sport: Yes
  • Physical Education Curriculum: Yes

  • Physical Education Pedagogy: Yes
  • Physical Education Teacher Education: Yes

  • Psychophysiology: Yes
  • Science of Rock Climbing: Yes
  • Sport and culture: Yes
  • Sport and Exercise Science: Yes
  • Sport Coaching: Yes
  • Sport-specific Measurement and Evaluation: Yes
  • Sport Pedagogy: Yes
  • Sport Performance Analysis: Yes
  • Sports physiology: Yes
  • Strength and Conditioning: Yes
  • Sustainability education: Yes
  • Teacher education: Yes


Health Science topics

Sport and Physical Education topics

Health Sciences: examples of some current and Recent PhD Student Topics

  • Algarni, Saleh: Fit and minimally disruptive medicine in the management of adulthood obesity in primary health care, Riyadh, KSA
  • Alkhaldy, Ibrahim: A spatial analysis of dengue fever and an analysis of control strategies in Jeddah City
  • Allison, Lucinda: The impact of a Feldenkrais postural control programme on pain, spasticity and fatigue in spinal cord injury: A mixed method study
  • Almutairi, Faisal Abdulaziz: Patients’ rights in Saudi Arabian hospitals
  • Barraclough, Shanee: Discursive, affective and material intra-actions in the production of counsellor identities
  • Chesang, Jacqueline: Ovarian cancer and contraception
  • Clair, Sandra: The renaissance plant medicine in the materia medica of tabernaemontanus and modern phytotherapy: What changed, what remained? An exploration into the regulatory implications of empirical knowledge for today's evidence-based healthcare system
  • Collings, Amy: Early intervention literacy engagement - Literacy intervention for teenage parents and their young children
  • Couper Llyween: The Communication Choices of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are Nonverbal
  • Farmer, Allison: A community-based participatory approach to diabetes education for Christchurch Maori
  • Fortune, Kiri: How are Maori medium educational settings providing for children with special needs?
  • Kaluliyanage, Thanuja: Parental engagement in delaying adolescent alcohol use in urban Sri Lanka
  • Kozhissery, Vinod: Effectiveness of knowing the people planning (KPP) as a service development tool for long term mental health clients in Canterbury
  • Johnston, Robyn: How well do people live across the continuum of care in Ryman Healthcare retirement villages?
  • Loh, Yin Yin (Vanessa): Child-parent relationship therapy for children with behavioural problems and their families: Development and pilot study
  • Mataiti, HelenThe practice of coaching in early childhood intervention settings in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Nawawi, Junita: Children's experience in play-based therapy after experiencing the Christchurch earthquakes
  • Persendt, Rosa: Children's understanding of health and illness in Namibia
  • Reid, Kathryn: Building communities of care: Supporting people living with their dying
  • Rodrigues, Neville: The experiences of Bhutanese youth of refugee background in counselling with mindfulness in the context of the Canterbury Earthquakes
  • Williamson-Garner, Donna: What are the needs of teen mothers as they transition to parenthood?

Application for PhD. Supervision

If your proposed area of research fits with one of those for which we have supervision available, please organise the following documents and email them to us.

  1. A CV (Resume) that includes details of your tertiary education, the title of your Masters thesis, if completed, and any research methodology training.
  2. A copy of your transcript of your previous study, showing the courses you have taken, and the marks achieved.
  3. A two to three page description of your initial research concept as a word document. In Health Sciences, we support students to develop and plan their own research, rather than assigning a topic to a student. This ensures that your research will support your career goals.

Your concept plan should give a brief rationale for your proposed research question with references to articles or books that have inspired you or contributed to your thinking, your draft research question, and your current ideas of methodology, including the location of your planned study. Once accepted, the PhD candidate works with their supervisors to further develop the proposal over a 12 month period, so we are not expecting a huge amount of detail at this stage.

Next Steps:
Please note, we do check what you send to us using TURNITIN to help protect the integrity of our degree processes. Any copying that is in the document will be picked up during this process and we will not accept students who have copied material from articles or the internet, without proper and accurate attribution, including the use of quotation marks, in-text citations, and accurate referencing. We are seeking students with the skills to put research into their own words and their own ideas.

We will read through your materials and contact our academic staff in your intended area of research and share the information with them. If we are able to provide supervision, we will let you know within 3 weeks, and put you in contact with the potential supervisor for your further interaction. The next step after that would be to apply for formal admission to the University and obtain a “Letter of Offer of a Place”. This process is handled through the University admission office and through the UC Post-graduate office. If we are able to provide supervision, we will provide you more information about these processes.
We look forward to hearing from you. We would appreciate it if you would please send all the information in the same email, or on the same day for large files.  Thank you.


Health Science topics

Sport and Physical Education topics