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Postgraduate Studies

The NPEU is a multi-disciplinary unit with experienced senior staff who undertake supervision for postgraduate students and public health trainees. It offers a stimulating and dynamic environment in which to conduct doctoral studies in perinatal health. The NPEU is part of the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the Medical Sciences Division both of which offer extensive training opportunities to postgraduate students.

DPhil students

Examples of current and recent DPhil projects in the NPEU include:

  • A study looking at inequalities in breastfeeding in the United Kingdom - socio-economic, culture or support?
  • Improving the prevention and outcomes of severe complications of pregnancy through international comparative and collaborative studies.
  • Improving outcomes in paediatric surgery through the development and implementation of core outcome sets (funded by NIHR)
  • Short and longer-term outcomes for women and their children according to intended mode of delivery after previous caesarean section (funded by NIHR)
  • The effect of mode of delivery at birth on child health
  • An investigation into the impact of congenital anomalies on infant and child death rates – why children die?
  • Improving maternity services in Sudan through context-specific, evidence-based enhancement of the current maternal mortality review processes.

Potential applicants can apply for an advertised DPhil project or develop their own DPhil idea with input from a potential supervisor. Details about both processes are available on the Nuffield Department of Population Health website. The advertised projects vary each year, and typically would suit candidates with backgrounds in epidemiology, statistics or other health sciences and some may be of interest to doctors or midwives interested in academic research

The NPEU also holds, or has access to, a range of perinatal datasets, some of which may be suitable for a DPhil project. These include:

  • UKOSS – the UK Obstetric Surveillance System – a national system to study rare disorders of pregnancy
  • National Maternity Survey – regular surveys of women's experience of maternity care in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2017.
  • Birthplace - a programme of research designed to compare outcomes of births planned at home, in different types of midwifery units, and in hospital units with obstetric services.
  • Millennium Cohort Study – a cohort of approximately 19,000 babies born in the UK in 2000-2002.
  • Randomised Controlled Trials – the Clinical Trials Unit has a large number of ongoing and completed trials.

For an informal discussion about pursuing doctoral studies in the NPEU, please contact Maria Quigley in the first instance

For more information about the University of Oxford application process for DPhil studies and for details of other study opportunities within the Nuffield Department of Population Health, please visit the Nuffield Department of Population Health website.


All funded studentships available in the Nuffield Department of Population Health are listed on the Department's 'study with us' page.

Occasionally funded studentships are available through grants to the NPEU, and these can be found on the NPEU jobs page.

Public Health Trainees

The NPEU is an accredited training location for public health trainees. All placements will have to be approved by the trainee's Training Programme Director but informal enquiries can be made to Marian Knight in the first instance.

Updated: Wednesday, 23 March 2022 17:23 (v11)