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Rebuilding Life After Migration for Young Refugees and Migrants – PHD Opportunity

Seeking a prospective PhD student interested in investigating the settlement experiences of refugee and migrant youth and their access to support services in Australia.

The University of South Australia (UniSA) Justice & Society is seeking applicants interested in pursuing a PhD to investigate the settlement experiences of refugee and migrant youth, their psychological health and wellbeing, and the role of support services.

Forty nine percent of all Australians are either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. Prior research has indicated multiple risks for the wellbeing of refugee and migrant youth attributed to migration and acculturation processes. Refugee and migrant youth need strong support systems as they negotiate the challenges associated with resettlement and cultural transition. Conducted across three countries, Australia, Canada and USA, this research study will be one of the most comprehensive studies of refugee and migrant youth settlement in the world. The specific project aims are listed below:

  1. To conduct an in-depth investigation of the experiences of refugee and migrant youth and the diverse contexts of migration to inform knowledge and evidence to improve their settlement and psychological wellbeing;
  2. To identify contextual factors that youth and their families identify as relevant for settlement and psychological wellbeing of youth, and examine the relationships between successful settlement and wellbeing;
  3. To investigate the nature, scope and effectiveness of support services currently accessed by youth and their families;
  4. To provide recommendations for effective research communication and dissemination strategies to impact policymakers and service providers across the mental health and social services sector, and position future research in the field of settlement.

This mixed method research will involve collecting survey and focus group data. The PhD will commence in 2021 and conform to UniSA’s general requirements. A 1st class Honours, or Master’s degree in psychology, social work or a related field is necessary.  Candidates are especially encouraged to apply if they have:

  • Interest in refugee and migrant issues,
  • Experience and competency in quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.

The candidate will be supervised by a team of senior researchers led by Associate Professor Tahereh Ziaian of UniSA Justice & Society. The PhD research will be undertaken as part of a larger research program funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Scheme. This project is conducted in partnership with the University of Adelaide, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC), Multicultural Youth South Australia (MYSA), Newcomer Centre of Peel (NCP – Canada) and Institute of Multicultural Counseling and Education Services (IMCES – USA).

The exact details of the thesis topic will be developed by the interested candidate in close consultation with the supervisory team. UniSA Justice & Society has a strong research environment and is deeply committed to world-class research performance. It is expected that the individual selected for this position will be highly competitive in the academic job market after completing this program.

Qualified candidates will be eligible to receive $28,597 per annum (2021stipend rate) over 3 years in scholarship support.

Interested candidates should send a CV to  along with a personal statement (one A4 page) that describes the candidate’s research interests and explains how they relate to the project, no later than 30 November 2020.

For further information about research degrees at UniSA and the application process itself please visit: