PhDs with Creative Practice Procedures


PhD candidates at the University whose degree includes a corpus of creative work for examination, their academic units and their supervisors 


To outline the procedures which must be followed in order for a creative practice component to be included in a PhD 


The PhD Statute allows creative practice components to be integrated with a doctoral thesis to produce a PhD with Creative Practice

The presentation of a corpus of creative work allows for a particular theme to be investigated through more than one creative output

The creative work and the written thesis are expected to be distinct yet interdependent, presenting an integrated and reflective approach to the research topic

This has significant implications for the resources and processes of the PhD candidate, supervisor and host academic unit, and is therefore normally only considered for candidates whose research project adheres to these procedures



Expression of intent

1.    PhD applicants must indicate their wish to present creative components for examination within their application for admission or initial research proposal prior to admission into the PhD programme

Note: Only in exceptional circumstances would creative practice components be introduced into a research project following admission

2.    The application must include:

  • a brief description of the expected creative outputs for examination (e.g. performance, exhibition, design)
  • expected resources required by the research
  • an indication of how theoretical and practical components will be integrated

PhD applicants must complete the PhD with Creative Practice: Statement of Research Intent

Prior training and experience

3.    PhD applicants seeking to present a corpus of creative work for examination must have advanced training and/or professional experience in the subject

Supervisor selection

4.    The main supervisor or joint supervisors must have a PhD or equivalent academic status

5.    At least one of the supervisors must have extensive professional experience as a practitioner in the field of research

Provisional year review

Confirmation of creative practice components

6.    The candidate must confirm their wish to present creative components for final examination during their provisional year review

7.    The creative practice components may include (but are not limited to) written fiction or creative nonfiction, performance, exhibitions and/or artefacts (such as images, music, designs, models, structures, digital media)

8.    The candidate must fulfill all standard requirements of provisional goals and:

  • clarify the intended examinable format of the creative component within their completed research proposal
  • address how theory and practice will be integrated in process and presentation

Note  - the substantial piece of work presented as a provisional year goal must be scholarly, such as a draft literature review or methodology chapter

9.    Inclusion of the creative practice component must be approved by the academic head, faculty dean (or nominee), and the Board of Graduate Studies

Note - at this point the academic unit should confirm their capacity to provide resources for the required research, supervision and examination

Criteria for progression

10.    Approval of a PhD candidate’s inclusion of creative practice components at the provisional year review is to be informed by:

  • the candidate’s eligibility to engage in creative practice research within a PhD
  • the candidate’s progress within their provisional year

Submission and examination

Submission formats

11.    Candidates must present their creative component in one or more of the following three formats:

  • as printed material integrated into the bound thesis
  • as a digital recording in a portable format that can accompany the thesis
  • as a live performance, exhibition or artefact

Examination of live performance/exhibition

12.    The attendance of the doctoral examiners and the academic head’s nominee must only be required at one live performance/exhibition, irrespective of the number of creative practice components included in the thesis

13.    The academic unit must bear the costs associated with bringing examiners and the academic head’s nominee to the live performance/exhibition

14.    Examiners attending any such event must not confer on the candidate’s work

15.    Normal schedules and protocols for PhD examinations must not be guided by the timing of the live performance/exhibition examination. This precludes the possibility of combining the oral examination with the live performance/exhibition examination

16.    Candidates may elect to submit either their thesis or creative work for examination first, but both will normally be presented for examination within a six-month period. The candidate's enrolment in the PhD programme concludes when the second component is submitted, and all components must be submitted by the candidate’s maximum submission date  


17.    The candidate must correctly attribute the contributions of collaborators to creative work by:

  • completing co-production form/s with all collaborators on the creative work
  • providing an articulation of the distinct contributions of such collaborators within the written thesis


18.    The candidate must obtain third party permission on copyright for:

  • any subsequent public dissemination of such recordings
  • presentation on ResearchSpace and other publicly-accessible digital archive


19.    The candidate must arrange for all performances or exhibitions being presented for examination to be recorded

20.    If a live performance or exhibition is presented for examination as a digital recording, the candidate must articulate their role in the digital recording and editing process within their written thesis 

21.    The candidate must gain the permission of any co-producers of the digital recording of the work through the use of co-production form/s 


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head is the head of the academic unit

Academic unit refers to the faculty, school, department or institute in which the PhD candidate is registered

Advanced training may be understood as a postgraduate degree or diploma

Application for admission refers to the online application (“AfA”) which must be completed and submitted in order to be considered for entry into a doctoral programme at the University

PhD candidates are students enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University

PhD with Creative Practice is an original enquiry that is examined through a written thesis accompanied by creative work

Professional experience may be understood as at least two years of employment and/or professional productivity in the relevant field(s)

ResearchSpace is the digital repository or online archive for the University, and contains full-text theses and other research outputs 

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries 

Document management and control

Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies

Content manager: School of Graduate Studies

Approved by: Board of Graduate Studies 

Approval date: September 2016

Review date: September 2019