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?
  • An investigation into how parents with intellectual disabilities are assessed by children's social workers
  • An evaluation of the impact of socio-economic position on women's outcomes in pregnancy and childbirth
  • A study of the factors affecting intrapartum transfer of women planning birth outside hospital, the outcomes associated with transfer and women’s experiences (funded by NIHR NCCRCD)
  • A study of the relative cost effectiveness of different planned places of birth (funded by MRC)

We have a number of exciting potential DPhil research projects for study from October 2015. The topics available 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. There is more information about these projects and how to apply on the Nuffield Department of Population Health website.

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 - survey of women’s experience of maternity care in 2006.
  • 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.
  • 4Child – Four Counties Database of Cerebral Palsy, Vision Loss and Hearing Loss in Children.
  • CAROBB – Congenital Anomaly Register for Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
  • 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 (

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.