Be surrounded by transformative public health research

Group of people smiling at the camera

Here at the School of Public Health you’ll work side-by-side with world-leading researchers making discoveries in fields including: early influences on health and women’s health; global health; environmental health and evidence-based policy and practice. 

The School of Public Health can help you expand your knowledge and career options through innovative research in areas that cover the spectrum of health – from child health development and maternal health through to end-of-life care. 

We conduct research on the social determinants of health and on the factors that influence health promotion and health policy. We consider environmental factors influencing health, such as climate change, heat stress and exposure to environmental contaminants, along with conducting research on One Health and the interplay between human, animal and the environment. 

We conduct health services research and research to inform better delivery of health services, improve workforce and ensure health care delivery is evidence-based. We undertake applied research assessing the value of health technologies and health interventions to determine whether they warrant government funding
Our research has real impact on the health of our community and on the health system that supports it.

If you wish to progress professionally in the area of public health or a related field, whatever your disciplinary background, a higher degree by research at the School of Public Health provides the ideal foundation.

Our greatest research strengths

Studying at, or collaborating with, the School will give you the opportunity to undertake research with a range of differently focused groups, many of which are internationally known, including: 

  • Adelaide Exposure Science and Health

    The Adelaide Exposure Science and Health (AESH) team is at the forefront of occupational and environmental health research and practice in Australia. Much of their research looks at translational health outcomes. The AESH unit is housed within a specialised, cutting-edge facility and staffed by experienced personnel, including occupational hygienists and exposure scientists with wide ranging industry expertise in health care, pest control, manufacturing, emergency services and mining industries.

  • Adelaide Health Technology Assessment

    Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA) undertakes evidence-based research, methods development and assessment of health interventions to inform health policy and clinical practice. AHTA advises national and international governments on the value of new and established medicines, diagnostic and screening tests, medical devices, vaccines and highly specialised technologies, among others, to inform regulatory and public funding decisions. 

  • BetterStart | Health and Development Research Group

    BetterStart’s research aims to understand how to ensure infants and children have the best start to life. Our studies focus on ways to enhance health and development throughout their life course.

  • Communities, People and Health Research Group

    The Communities, People and Health Research Group focuses on how communities respond to health issues and participate in health care. We are interested in the way culture intersects with: health behaviours, health providers, and health policy and the provision of, and access to, health services.

  • Environment and Health Research Group

    With research interests in environmental health, climate change, emergency public health event response (such as heatwaves) and population health, the Environment and Health Research Group also explores how risk, adaptation and preparedness messages and practices can provide coping mechanisms for environmental and climatic stresses within communities.

  • Health Evidence Synthesis, Recommendations and Impact (HESRI) group

    As experts in systematic reviews, guideline development, and evidence implementation, the Health Evidence Synthesis, Recommendations and Impact (HESRI) group creates trustworthy evidence and recommendations for impact on policy, practice, and decision-making.

  • Health Workforce Planning Group

    The aim of the Health Workforce Planning Group is to provide an evidence-based approach to planning and maintaining the primary care workforce, with interdisciplinary research involving education, health economics, biostatistics and epidemiology.

  • JBI

    JBI is a global organisation promoting and supporting evidence-based decisions that improve health and health service delivery. JBI delivers a unique range of evidence-based resources, software, education and training designed to improve healthcare practice and patient outcomes. JBI achieves this by working with 90+ universities and hospitals from 40+ countries through the JBI Collaboration. In doing so JBI ensures that the research evidence we seek to synthesise, transfer and implement is culturally inclusive and relevant across the diversity of healthcare internationally.

  • Life Course and Intergenerational Health Group

    The growth and development of a child are intimately linked to the health and wellbeing of the mother, and in turn, a woman’s health is influenced by her current family circumstances, her own life experiences, and her health inheritance from previous generations. The Life Course and Intergenerational Health Group (LIGHt) seeks to understand the interplay of social and biological factors that influence health over the life course.

  • Palliative Care Research Collaboration (PCRC)

    The Palliative Care Research Collaboration (PCRC) is a five-year Statewide project funded by The Hospital Research Foundation Group - Palliative Care. The program is aimed at improving access to and delivery of services to people and their families dealing with a life-limiting illness, to help them live as well as possible for as long as possible.

    This research program is an innovative public health collaboration involving experienced researchers and clinicians, local health networks, peak advocacy organisations, and patients and family members in South Australia.

  • Health Policy Centre

    Led by Professor Caroline Miller and based at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the Health Policy Centre conducts behavioural and policy research to help shape population health interventions. The Centre works to prevent diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes and has major ongoing programs of research in food policy and obesity prevention, tobacco control and vaping.


Our research capitalises on the strong working relationships we have with our external partners. As a Public Health Partner Authority, we work closely with Wellbeing SA and the Department of Health and Wellbeing on a range of projects of mutual interest. 

We have also been fortunate to partner with organisations that have supported our higher degree by research students. We partnered with Rotary, through the Rotary Adelaide Centenary PhD Indigenous Supplementary Scholarships, which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree by research students studying chronic disease in indigenous communities. We also partnered with The Hospital Research Foundation and SA Health to support PhD students studying a range of public health issues. We have strong links with government and non-government organisations and conduct research that has meaning to, or is embedded within, the community.

How to get started in research

If you’re keen to challenge yourself and potentially pursue a career in research, but aren’t sure where to start, consider applying for our Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences (Honours).

The honours degree enables you to research an area of personal interest, and develop the skills required for postgraduate study at a higher level (see below). You’ll undertake a research project, prepare a report for publication, and—in the process—acquire a potential point of difference in the eyes of employers. Find out more about applying for honours within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. 

Research-project supervision

If you’re searching for a research project topic, we've put together a collection of currently available research projects suitable for students interested in undertaking supervised research within our school. You can find out more about them in our Student Research Project booklet and the Research Opportunities Guide.

Although the projects listed target our established research programs, we will also consider other research topics or projects. You can also find potential supervisors by going to the People page.

Postgraduate Public Health research degrees 

The School of Public Health is the number 1 ranked School in the University for delivering effective and positive supervision and creating a sense of belonging among our higher degree by research students. We have a strong research record and can supervise students in any of the research fields and with any of the research teams described above.

We offer three research degrees:

Master of Philosophy (Public Health)

The Master of Philosophy (Public Health) degree is conducted over two years of full-time study. It will train you in research methodology and techniques, and engage you in advanced, critical evaluation of public health literature and results.

Master of Clinical Science

The Master of Clinical Science is a two-year (full-time) research degree provides an introduction to clinically-based research.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is our flagship research award and is the standard qualification for a research career or academic position. It is a stepping stone to a range of career opportunities and involves three – four years of research for a full-time candidate. Information on scholarships is available here.

Ready to take the next step?

You’ll find full admission requirements for each of these degrees in the University’s Graduate Centre Academic Program Rules.

For more information on how to apply for a higher degree by research or if you have any queries, visit the Adelaide Graduate Research School.