Introduction to doctoral study at Creative Arts and Industries
The University's home for creative research.
We offer a range of internationally recognised degrees for students who intend to pursue an academic or research career. You can choose to write a traditional thesis, or combine theory with practice as part of your studies. As a doctoral candidate, you join a creative scholarly community with meeting opportunities to encourage networking, support and idea-sharing.
You are invited to make contact with our Student Centre or relevant Postgraduate Advisers at any stage for more information.
For detailed information on doctoral study in your area of interest, please visit our specific school doctoral pages. Here you will learn about types of programmes on offer and the available doctoral supervisors, and find the contact details for each discipline’s Postgraduate Adviser.
Types of doctoral study
Before you submit your Application for Admission (AfA), it is important to consider which doctoral programme is best suited to you and your research. Your research can be a written thesis, or a combination of written work and a creative output. Our faculty offers Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees across each of our disciplines, as well as the named doctorates, Doctor of Fine Arts (DocFA), Doctor of Music (DMus) and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA).
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Dance studies
- Fine arts
- Urban design
- Urban planning
The PhD thesis is a formal and sustained exposition of a piece of advanced research work, generally carried out over a period of three to four years of full-time study, resulting in an examined thesis of up to 100,000 words. It is also possible to complete part-time.
As a PhD student, you will have the opportunity to make an original contribution to knowledge in a specific field and are required to meet internationally recognised standards for such work.
All PhD students must be approved by the relevant department and faculty as well as the School of Graduate Studies. This is to determine your suitability for doctoral study by assessing your current level of training or experience in your selected field. For more information about the structure of PhD study, visit the Doctor of Philosophy programme.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with creative practice component
- Dance studies
- Fine arts
- Urban design
- Urban planning
This form of the PhD recognises a creative arts or design output as a contribution towards advancing knowledge in a particular field. Candidates can present exhibitions, design work or performances as examinable work towards their qualifications. The component shares the same regulations as the University of Auckland PhD, with some guidelines specific to admission requirements and the timing of the examination of the creative work. If you are intending to undertake a PhD with creative practice, you must outline this at the application stage.
To read more about the regulations and hear the experience of a previous student, visit PhD with creative practice component.
- Fine arts
For artists and musicians or composers, our faculty offers named doctorates as a chance to present work(s) as the main examinable component of the degree. Find out more about the structure of these programmes by visiting the following pages.
How long will the application process take?
The time taken to prepare, submit and process the Application for Admission intent can vary. We recommend you start early and contact the Postgraduate Adviser in the relevant School/Department to get the administrative process underway. Details can be refined at a later date.
Also, while you can submit your application and start at any time of the year, doctoral candidates officially commence their research on the first day of the month, following consultation with the relevant School/Department and supervisors.
How do I develop my Statement of Research Intent?
Your statement should succinctly outline your intended topic and explain what you hope to achieve during your studies at the University. It is recommended that you draft your Statement of Research Intent early. This can even be done prior to contacting a Postgraduate Adviser, as the information can assist in selecting the most suitable available supervisor(s). The statement can always be refined at a later date, and the School or Department may require you to revise your statement on more than one occasion.
Note: Some Schools and Departments require you to fill out a specific Statement of Research Intent, in addition to the University’s general document. Please see our specific School/Department doctoral pages, or contact the relevant Postgraduate Adviser to clarify before commencing.
How do I choose a supervisor?
Over the next three years or more, you will develop a strong collegial relationship with your supervisor, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with the guidance and support you and your research will gain from their input. Some Schools or Departments advise you to approach the academics who closely align with your research interests, but others do not require you to have identified a supervisor before applying.
For detailed information on the policies and procedures for doctoral supervision, see Supervision policies and guidelines.
What financial assistance is available during my studies?
There are a variety of scholarships on offer across the University, some specific to doctoral studies. You can browse by type of scholarship or search for available scholarships and awards by visiting Find a scholarship or awards.
Doctoral students also receive support from the University’s PReSS (Postgraduate Research Student Support) fund. This fund can be used to cover direct research costs, conferences and materials that can’t be covered by other research grants.
What other support is available for doctoral candidates?
The Critical Edge to Doctoral Research programme was developed to support doctoral candidates and supervisors across the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries. Through a series of workshops, symposia and writing retreats, our researchers come together in a relaxed environment, offering networking and stimulating discussions across our cross-disciplinary research community. For more information, visit Critical Edge for Doctoral Research.
For study support, we encourage engagement with the School of Graduate Studies’ Doctoral Skills programme.
Can I study off-campus?
Yes, but only if certain requirements are met. Detailed information is provided in this document:
As an international student, is there anything else I need to know?
Generally, your visa conditions will state that you must be enrolled in full time study. If you are planning on undertaking one of our named doctorates (DocFA, DMA, DMus), you must understand that the domestic fees scheme and off-campus study concessions apply only to the standard PhD programme and not the named doctorates.
You may also want to read about:
You are welcome to contact our Student Centre for more information about doctoral study.
Creative Arts and Industries Student Centre
Level 2, Building 421
(Architecture and Planning Building)
26 Symonds St
Open: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm