Study with us


Why do your postgraduate study at the Judith Lumley Centre?

The Judith Lumley Centre is an internationally recognised multi-disciplinary research centre within the Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University. We are located in the heart of Melbourne's city centre.

The primary focus of research at the Judith Lumley Centre is in the following areas:

  • Health services for pregnancy and birth;
  • Perinatal and child outcomes;
  • Cross-cultural issues in pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood;
  • Woman's health outcomes and reproduction.

The Judith Lumley Centre has a strong interest in health services research building on observational studies to design and implement intervention studies in hospitals, primary care and community settings. A major focus is the maternal sequelae of reproductive events, in particular antecedents of preterm birth and physical and psychological problems initiated or aggravated by pregnancy, labour or birth and intimate partner violence. Another focus of the work here at the Centre is the health and childbearing experiences of immigrant and refugee women, and the development of culturally relevant research methods and approaches.

Studies conducted at the Centre address major public health issues in terms of the associated burden of disease, implications for women and their families or the society as a whole. Staff are also actively involved in advocacy for evidence based policy in areas of Centre scholarship and participate in international research including the Cochrane and ROAM Collaborations.

Studies include use of routinely collected data and record linkage, observational surveys and interview studies, cohort studies and randomised trials with long term follow-up of participants.

Interested in postgraduate study at the Judith Lumley Centre?

Postgraduate study at the Judith Lumley Centre is carried out through enrolment in research degrees at Masters and Doctorate levels. We do not run postgraduate coursework degrees.

Inquiries from students interested in undertaking studies with us should contact one of the Postgraduate Coordinators, Dr Amanda Cooklin or Dr Sharinne Crawford. Application for admission to postgraduate work requires that you have discussed the proposed research project with a staff member who confirms an interest and capacity to supervise.

Staff at the Judith Lumley Centre have a range of expertise including nursing, midwifery, general practice, epidemiology, sociology, health economics, ethnography and bio-statistics. Many studies involve supervision across a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives

Recent postgraduate study topics:

  • The emergency contraceptive pill rescheduled: knowledge, attitudes and practice among women
  • Early Births – a case-control study of very preterm birth
  • Perinatal outcomes following treatment of cervical dysplasia
  • The experience of maternity care and depression after childbirth among women from Iran and Afghanistan
  • Women's health and recovery after caesarean
  • An exploration of depression in adulthood with the social context of treating tall stature in adolescent girls over three decades
  • For a list of PhD topics see our Annual Report.[PDF 9.95MB]

Support for postgraduates

We offer a supportive and scholarly environment at the Judith Lumley Centre with monthly postgraduate seminars, alternating with Journal Club and lunchtime seminars from visiting international, national and in-house scholars. The Centre also provides support for the rehearsal of conference papers and research proposals.

The Judith Lumley Centre combines a climate of rigorous intellectual inquiry with support to complete degrees either full-time or part-time, depending on students capacity within the available time. Students are encouraged to meet with their principal and co-supervisors in regular monthly minimum meetings. Students are provided with a desk, telephone and computer and with access to other research support (eg statistical advice) if required.

The Judith Lumley Centre and the Faculty of Health Sciences separately provide financial postgraduate support including, e.g. for conference papers and travel, research expenses and publications. All candidates enrolled in a PhD are expected to undertake a confirmation of candidature toward the end of the first year.


What qualifications are needed to apply for a research degree?

A four years honours degree with a first or high second class honours or equivalent is usually required for entry to doctoral studies. However, in exceptional circumstances, previous pass degrees with a high level of professional practice, publications or relevant research experience may be accepted.

If you do not have an honours degree, you will usually be asked to commence a Masters research degree before later applying for transfer to a PhD. Please e-mail or call the Postgraduate Coordinators, Dr Amanda Cooklin or Dr Touran Shafiei, if you have doubts about your eligibility.

Application process

The application process

First please read the web site and all other material, for example research papers written by staff in whose work you are interested.

For further information please refer to the Study website.

If you are an international student, please read the additional advice offered on the University's International Students website as there are issues related to degree equivalence and language requirements for international students to consider.

E-mail a one or two page outline of your proposed research project and a short curriculum vitae (CV) to the postgraduate coordinator. She will circulate both these documents to staff to see whether anyone is available to supervise your project. This should take no longer than two weeks.

If we are able to supervise your proposed research, you will then need to complete the application form for entry to La Trobe University. The same form is used for Masters or PhD applications. You can then discuss with the postgraduate supervisor whether you may be eligible for a scholarship application.

Closing dates

La Trobe University operates on a calendar year from January to December and postgraduate students may apply for postgraduate study at any time. However, if you wish to be considered for a scholarship you would need to have completed a scholarship application by mid-October of the previous year, or even earlier if you are applying as an international student.



If you have completed your honours degree with first-class honours you will be eligible for the highly contested postgraduate scholarships. There are some other circumstances under which you may be considered for a scholarship.

These include:

  • Your mark was just below first-class but may be upgraded because you now have several refereed journal articles which have been independently graded as first-class
  • You have another postgraduate qualification which includes a thesis of more than 10,000 words and that can be independently graded to assess honours equivalence
  • You have other qualifications together with significant publications that could be graded to establish Honours equivalence