Higher Doctorate Application Procedures


Applicants to higher doctorates at Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland.


This document outlines the procedures which must be followed by applicants to candidature and examination of a higher doctorate. It is to be read alongside the relevant regulations for the Degree for which the candidate is being examined – see University Calendar


The University offers higher doctorates in Engineering (DEng), Laws (LLD), Literature (LittD), and Science (DSc). These are the highest academic awards offered by the University and are awarded to graduates or close affiliates of the University who have published original work that has, over an extensive period of time, given them authoritative standing and international eminence in their respective field.

The higher doctorate is thus to be seen as recognition of real distinction in one of these areas of study. It is awarded rarely and only after rigorous examination of a substantial and significant corpus of material by examiners of authoritative standing and international eminence in the field of the submitted work and who are themselves active in research.



1. The applicant must be a graduate of Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland or have a substantial, demonstrable association with the University.

2. No application for a higher doctorate will be considered until at least 8 years after graduation to the applicant’s first degree.

Application for candidature

3. A person wishing to become a candidate for a higher doctorate must apply in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies, providing:

Application for examination

4. If the application for candidature is accepted, the candidate must apply to be examined by:

  • providing written notification of their intention to proceed
  • making payment of the fees set out in the Fees Statute


5. The submission of work to be examined must be received by the Dean of Graduate Studies within 3 months of the notification that the application was accepted.

6. Applicants may submit a subset of their published portfolio for examination.

7. If an applicant chooses to submit selected works, those works must have a coherent focus in a specialised field, be seminal to that field and evidence a sustained contribution over an extended period.

8. Each submission must include an introduction that addresses the nature and significance of the work.

9. The applicant must have played a significant role in all works submitted and for the majority of the works submitted the candidate must have initiated and led the research and the reporting of the work.

10. In the case of co-authored works, including joint publications with graduate students, the applicant must indicate the extent and nature of their contribution to each work.

11. The submitted works must provide sufficient evidence that the candidate has made an original contribution of special excellence to their discipline such that they are considered to have authoritative standing and international eminence in their field.

12. Candidates must supply the School of Graduate Studies with:

13. A previously unsuccessful submission must not be presented for re-examination until at least 5 years after initial submission and must include new material.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Higher doctorates include the Doctor of Engineering (DEng), Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Literature (LittD) and Doctor of Science (DSc).

University means Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies
Content manager: School of Graduate Studies
Approved by: BOGS, Senate and Council
Date approved: September 2022
Review date: September 2027