PhD Scholarship – Life Patterns project

The Melbourne Graduate School of Education seeks expressions of interest from eligible graduates for 2 PhD positions on the Life Patterns project. Life Patterns is a mixed-methods longitudinal panel study tracking three generations of young people in Australia ( The project has 5-year funding (ARC DP, 2021 - 2025), building on two previous 5-year ARC grants. The project is led by Prof. Johanna Wyn (Lead Chief Investigator) and CIs A/Prof. Hernan Cuervo, Dr Jenny Chesters, Prof Helen Cahill, Prof Dan Woodman and Dr Julia Cook (University of Newcastle), and PIs Prof Carmen Leccardi (University of Milano-Bicocca) and Prof Rachel Brooks (University of Surrey). The successful candidates will be supervised by A/Prof Hernan Cuervo (Principal Supervisor) and Dr Jenny Chesters (Principal Supervisor) respectively. Analysis generated from the project’s mixed methods design draws on longitudinal data from three cohorts of Australian school-leavers (cohort 1 from 1991, cohort 2 from 2006 and cohort 3 in 2022). The Life Patterns project contains an extensive longitudinal data set with quantitative and qualitative data from three ongoing cohorts which will span 35 years by 2025. The third cohort will be recruited during 2021. This phase of the program investigates how in a context of technological and structural change (including COVID pandemic), a new generation of young Australians transition to adulthood, keeping the focus on those elements that have proven to be enabling for previous generations to generate new knowledge about the influences of education, work, housing, relationships, and wellbeing on positive trajectories.

Applications open

1 Jul 2021

Applications closed

1 Nov 2021

Application type

Application required
How to apply

Benefit type

General allowance
Full benefit details

Citizenship requirements

Australian / domestic student

Applicable study areas

Education, teaching and training

Number of scholarships awarded


  • Eligibility & selection criteria


    To be eligible for this scholarship, you need to:

    • satisfy the School’s PhD entry requirements.
    • commence Semester 1 or Semester 2 2021

    Full-time enrolment is a condition of the MSS scholarship.

    We encourage you to contact us at and if you wish to discuss your eligibility or any other aspect of the scholarship.

    Selection criteria

    The Melbourne Strategic Scholarship candidates’ research will use selected data from the project, framed by at least one of the project’s core aims which are to:

    • Analyse the ways in which a new generation of young adults negotiate the challenges and opportunities they encounter within education, work, relationships, and attitudes towards personal, social and global futures.
    • Analyse, across three generations, the work young adults do to build relationships and access the material and social resources that enable them to manage productive transitions; including a focus on how class, gender or place (rurality) impact on youth trajectories.
    • Analyse the policy structures and social processes that support young adults in their trajectories through education, work and relationship formation.

    The successful candidate will:

    • have experience in designing and implementing a research project and working with qualitative and/or quantitative data
    • demonstrate experience and interest in youth research, sociology and/or sociology of education
    • have strong communication skills, demonstrated through the presentations in seminars, workshops and conferences
    • demonstrate ability to work with a team
    • have the independent capacity to lead and collaborate in research outputs (e.g. publication of journal articles, book chapters, research reports)
  • Application process

    Please submit an expression of  interest (EOI) to A/Prof Hernan Cuervo ( and/or Dr Jenny Chesters (

    Applicants will be considered based on:

    • A research proposal stating the rationale, aims, conceptual framework and methological design of your PhD project. The proposal should be approx. 1000 – 1,500 words (excluding references)
    • Curriculum vitae – with a focus on previous research and professional experience, current educational qualifications, research and professional publications
    • Academic transcript
    • Two referee letters
  • When will I know the outcome?

    Candidates will be advised of the outcome of their EOI by email as soon as possible.

What are the benefits?

The successful candidates will receive a Melbourne Strategic Scholarship (MSS) of approx. $31,200 pro rata per year for 3.5 years of the PhD (full time).

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For complete listings of faculty-specific scholarships, please see individual faculty websites.

The information listed here is subject to change without notice. Where we have listed information about jointly run scholarships programs, please also see our partners' websites. Information describing the number and value of scholarships awarded is indicative.