Liggins Institute

Apply for a PhD programme

Find out what research projects are on offer at Liggins and how to go about applying.


Research opportunities

The Liggins Institute is a large-scale research institute at the University of Auckland. Our mission is to improve lifelong health through excellent research into the long-term consequences of early life events, and ourresearch opportunities fall into the following key themes:

  • Healthy mothers, healthy babies: the importance of a mother’s environment, diet and lifestyle prior to and during pregnancy for her child’s life-long health.
  • Nutrition for life-long health: from the health of parents at conception, to the impact of diet on muscle health in adulthood.
  • Determinants of a healthy life: a ground-breaking area of science with the potential to understand why and how non-communicable diseases develop.
  • Research to Reality: finding the best ways to translate our research findings into changes in clinical practice.

We offer research projects for doctoral, masters and honours degrees and postgraduate diplomas in a wide range of subjects including Biomedical Science, Community Health, Health Science, Medical Science, Molecular Medicine, Nutrition and Dietetics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Pacific Health, Paediatrics and Physiology.

To view the latest research projects and supervisors visit

Meet a current student

Our talented PhD students work alongside academics and practising health professionals including nurses, midwives, neonatologists, obstetricians and endocrinologists on a wide variety of studies. Stephanie Segovia is investigating the impact of maternal obesity on the long-term health of a mother's offspring. Find out what she thinks are the advantages of conducting her research at Liggins.


How to apply

You can apply for and start a PhD at the Liggins Institute all year round. You need a BSc (Hons), MSc degree or equivalent, and a strong academic record with a GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least 7.0.

We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in biological sciences, medicine, molecular medicine, nursing, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, pharmacology, endocrinology, physiology and other disciplines.

If this sounds like you, please start by contacting the Liggins Institute Academic Director at who will guide you through the steps required and help you find a suitable supervisory team.

You can also review our current research activities and principle investigators on the Liggins Institute website.


If your application is successful and you have a GPA of 8.0 or greater, you’ll be supported throughout your PhD study by a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship, which gives you a NZ$27,000 tax-free stipend (plus tuition fees) every year for three years. If your GPA is less than 8.0, there may still be scholarships available - you can discuss this with your potential supervisor or the academic director.

There are no international fees for PhD students: as long as you live in New Zealand during your period of enrolment you will pay the same as New Zealanders.

Find out more about the range of scholarships on offer.

Find out more

For information about how to apply to Liggins and scholarships at the Institute contact Associate Professor Mark Vickers at or

Liggins PhD student with supervisor