PhD Program in Migration, Statelessness and Refugee Studies

An interdisciplinary program addressing the contemporary issues of asylum-seeking, enforced migration and statelessness across the areas of law, health, culture, education, creative arts, history, social policy, housing, social sustainability, community wellbeing and mental health.

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute's Interdisciplinary PhD Program is open to graduate researchers in any faculty undertaking a PhD related to migration, refugee studies or statelessness.

Students are supported to build networks across the University and with relevant external organisations and to develop their research in reference to current real-world challenges. Masterclasses, workshops and seminars will include a focus on ethics, research methods and approaches for communicating research to diverse audiences across and beyond the academy.

The program enriches the PhD experience by creating a strong cohort and intellectual community that assists students in developing their post-doctoral pathways.

Eligible students must have commenced a PhD and have at least one supervisor based at the University of Melbourne.

The program is giving me the opportunity to expand my understanding of the field beyond my own research interest and to reflect more deeply on significant research issues. I particularly appreciate getting to know PhD students from other disciplines, learning more about their work and experiencing the interconnectedness of our research topics. This program opens up possibilities for future collaborations and significant ongoing conversations, which I believe is very exciting and sustaining. Sarah Strauven, University of Melbourne Phd Candidate
As a supervisor it's been a joy knowing that a PhD candidate I am supervising is able to be part of this Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. It's also made it possible for us to create an interdisciplinary supervisory team. Three cheers for interdisciplinary team work! Dr David Denborough, University of Melbourne PhD Supervisor

Update – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Despite being away from campus, the Interdisciplinary PhD Program is continuing to support graduate students to build their networks and develop their research in reference to current real-world challenges.

In addition to the formal events below, participants have been having casual catch-ups and virtual "shut up and write" sessions, as well as sharing information about relevant webinars, conferences, scholarships, post-doc opportunities, funding opportunities and more.

Upcoming Events

Thursday 30 September 2021

Workshop – The Politics of Solidarity and Anti-Racism in Settler Colonial Contexts

Past Events

Thursday 16 September 2021

Masterclass with Professor Lynn Gillam (Centre for Health Equity) on Managing Ethical Tensions in Research

Tuesday 16 August 2021

Panel: Post-PhD Careers in Academia and Beyond

Thursday 3 June 2021

Seminar:  Funding Opportunities and Strategies for Grant Writing

Thursday 1 April 2021

Reading Group: Spatial Politics and Migration

Monday 22 March 2021

Workshop: Working with Supervisors

Friday 26 February 2021

Welcome Event 2021

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Writing and Publishing for ECR and HDR Researchers (open to all)
Video Available

Thursday 8 October 2020

Workshop on Policy and Policy Change in Asylum Governance

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Masterclass with Professor Karen Farquharson (Faculty of Arts) on Critical Race Theory

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Masterclass with Professor Deborah Warr (Charles Sturt University) on Co-produced Research

Friday 21 February 2020

Welcome Event 2020

Monday3 December 2020

Activism and Academia Workshop

Tuesday19 November 2019
All Day

Migration, Refugees and Statelessness Interdisciplinary Conference

Friday20 September 2019

Masterclass with Carolina Gottardo (Jesuit Refugee Service) on Global Compacts and Regional Refugee Processes

Wednesday21 August 2019

Masterclass with Dr Ibi Losoncz (ANU) on Unforced Migration

Wednesday29 May 2019

International Fieldwork Workshop

Monday25 March 2019

Ethics Workshop

Thursday14 March 2019

Welcome Event 2019

Thursday21 February 2019

Workshop on Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant Integration

Friday7 December 2018

Masterclass with Associate Professor Val Colic-Peiske, Migration and Mobility Research Network, RMIT

Thursday15 November 2018
All Day

Researchers for Asylum Seekers Interdisciplinary Conference

Friday6 October 2018

Share Your Research Session

Thursday16 August 2018

Study Circle led by Shannon Owen: The Research Encounter

Friday10 August 2018

Masterclass with Associate Professor Eva Alisic (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health) on children and trauma

Friday13 July 2018

Study Circle led by Anh Nguyen: Refugee Mobility, Framework and Purpose

Friday29 June 2018

Masterclass with Gillian Triggs, Vice Chancellor's Fellow and former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission

Friday8 June 2018

Masterclass with Professor Nick Haslam, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Friday18 May 2018

Skills Workshop: Writing and Responding to Journal Review with Professor Julie McLeod, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Capability)

Friday11 May 2018

Masterclass with Erika Feller, Vice Chancellor's Fellow and former Assistant High Commissioner (Protection) at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Friday23 March 2018

Welcome Social Event at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Tuesday & Wednesday13 – 14 February 2018
All Day

Refugee Alternatives Conference

Thursday16 November 2017
All Day

RAS Postgraduate Conference

Friday13 October 2017

Abstract writing and presentation skills workshop

Friday8 September 2017

Research translation and communication workshop

Friday11 August 2017
All Day

Introductory full-day workshop and launch of the PhD Program

PhD candidates enrolled in the PhD program come from schools and faculties from across the University of Melbourne including Law, Education, Architecture, Fine Arts and Population Health.

Photograph of approx 20 people outside smiling at the camera. In the background are buildings on the University campus.
Students from the PhD program at their first meeting in August 2017.

Current Students

Adrienne Anderson
Refugee law and gender-based violence against women: uncovering the political dimensions

Sayomi Ariyawansa
Tackling the exploitation of temporary migrant workers

Surriya Baloch
Antenatal screening for family violence with migrant south Asian women in Australia

Estelle Boyle
Interstitial spaces of belonging: the role of digitally networked spaces in refugee and migrant inclusion

Deirdre Brennan   
Campaigning for citizenship in Nepal (2006 – 2018): assessing how activism impacts upon law reform and the public perception of the stateless

Duncan Caillard
The art of looking: contemplating emptiness in the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Vincent Dogbey
The dilemmas of development: forced migration, displacement and involuntary resettlement

Jean Dinco
Framing the Rohingya conflict: can social media and traditional media frames forecast conflicts?

Caitlin Douglass
Exploring alcohol and other drug use among young people of migrant backgrounds in Victoria

Philippa Duell-Piening
The right to be counted for people with disabilities who are refugees or from refugee backgrounds

Rose Iser
Understanding second-generation African Australian students from refugee backgrounds in the classroom

Mireille Kayeye
Empowerment of women seeking asylum: a voice for change

Sarah Khaw
Exploring community-based doulas' and health care providers' experiences when providing care to migrant and refugee women in Australian maternity settings

Meghan Lee
Exploring mental health supports, needs and access with young people of a refugee background in western Victoria

Thomas McGee   
The displacement-statelessness nexus – Syrians in limbo

Sheenagh McShane
Refugee populations: what role does housing play e.g. accessibility/instability/affordability in mental health outcomes over time?

Hala Nasr
Safe spaces as a response to gender-based violence in refugee settings: possibilities and limitations

Shannon Owen
Projecting futures through documentary film

Daniel Pejic
The city as group agent in global migration governance

Gowri Rajaram
Help-seeking behaviours and service utilisation following self-harm in young people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Jade Roberts  
Beyond the state: an individual rights approach to recognising and protecting the rights of stateless people

Eyram Ivy Sedzro
Risk assessment in migration: the impact of information campaigns on the risk perception of unskilled and semi-skilled Ghanaian female migrants

Nina Serova
Inheritances and encounters: Russian migrant women’s experiences in Australia

Farnaz Shahimi
Resilience and sense of identity among refugee children: a social ecological perspective

Kelly Soderstrom
Governance and responsibility in the refugee crisis in Germany: an analysis of institutional change and the capabilities-expectation gap

Sarah Strauven
People with and without refugee experience co-creating a shared world through narrative practices

Claire Sullivan
Legal responses to violence: experiences of women from refugee backgrounds

Catherine Townsend
Continental European Architects who migrated to Victoria between 1930 and 1940: their experience and contribution to Australian architecture.

Franka Korantemaa Vaughan   
Who is a Liberian anyways? The claim for formalised identity by diasporic Liberians

Martha Isela Vazquez Corona
Giving mums a fair go: culturally responsive care for refugee and migrant women

Max Walden 
Where to now, if anywhere? The role of international NGOs and grassroots civil society actors in advocating on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia

Dana Young
Sports participation, social capital and health for refugee and migrant teenage girls

Completed Students

Jonathan Daly
Out-of-placeness: mediating intercultural encounter through urban design
Completed in 2019

Rasika Jayasuriya
Protecting the right to family unity: the impact of low-waged labour migration on children left behind
Completed in 2019

Ebony King
The role of services in facilitating the resilience of unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors
Completed in 2019

Sanaz Nasirpour
Diasporic relations and women’s leadership: the question of women’s rights in Iran
Completed in 2018 

Anh Nguyen  
Vietnamese child migrants in Australia and the historical use of Facebook in digital diaspora
Completed in 2019

Louise Olliff
Refugee diaspora organisations in the international refugee regime: motivations, modalities and implications of diaspora humanitarianism
Completed in 2017

Elham M Shoorcheh
Examination of key clinical, biological, psychological and social factors associated with post-pubertal anxiety in young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Completed in 2018

Brandais York
The legal rights and protections of Cambodian women within international marriage migration to China
Completed in 2019

The Program is offered by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and students remain enrolled in their current departments. Eligible students must have at least one supervisor based at the University of Melbourne and be undertaking doctoral research on a relevant topic.

Timely completion of a PhD thesis remains the priority, with the Program intended to enhance the experience of advanced research training and aid post PhD pathways.

Students can join the program at any time during their candidature and remain part of the program until the completion of their doctoral studies.

If you are not a current student at the University of Melbourne and would like information about how to apply to become a PhD candidate at the University, please visit the Future Students website.

Application Process

Applicants are asked to provide the following information via an online form. We strongly recommend that you prepare your answers offline (in Microsoft Word or similar) and save a copy for your own records.

  • Name, enrolment and contact information
  • Start and expected completion dates
  • Current Supervisor/s
  • Thesis title (or proposed title)
  • A brief description of their topic (up to 100 words)
  • An outline of what they are most interested in gaining from the program (up to 100 words)

The PhD Program in Migration, Statelessness and Refugee Studies is open to students enrolled in a PhD at the University of Melbourne through any of its Faculties.  If you would like information about how to apply to become a PhD candidate at the University, please visit the Future Students website.

If you a current student or have already applied to study at the University of Melbourne and have questions about the PhD Program please contact:

Dr Karen Block

+61 3 8344 0862

For updates about our work in the area of refugees and migration, and the other activities of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, please subscribe to our email newsletter.