PhD with a creative practice component

Doctoral study that combines practice and theory.

A PhD with a creative practice component recognises a creative arts or design output as a contribution towards advancing knowledge in a particular field. Integrated alongside a thesis of up to 60,000 words, you can present an exhibition, design or performance as examinable work towards your qualification. Creative components can be presented as part of your printed thesis, as a digital recording or as a live performance or exhibition.

The PhD with creative practice 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. When applying, you outline your intention to undertake a PhD with creative practice. Within the Statement of Research Intent, it is important to give a brief description of the expected creative outputs of the research, and an indication of how the theoretical and practical components will be related throughout the research process and in the final presentation.

This form of doctoral study is available in:

  • Architecture
  • Dance studies
  • Fine arts
  • Music
  • Urban design
  • Urban planning

Student experience - PhD with a creative practice component

Becca Wood (left) with her supervisor Dr Carol Brown at the site of her final test event in central Auckland.

Becca Wood completed her PhD with a creative practice component in 2015 and shares her experience.

"I position myself as an interdisciplinary artist. I have trained in visual design, have a deep fascination for the mechanics of the body, for choreographic thinking and performance-based practice.

"I love facilitating learning with others through practice-led methodologies, and I wouldn’t have contemplated a PhD in any other way. Creative practice is what I do; it is a research process in itself. Writing is also a creative practice, and the two methods of going about research meet in a rigorous dialogue with each other, enabling enquiry, reflection, processing and refining.

"My PhD research centred around a new term, choreoauratics. Choreographic scores were listened to on headphones, bringing participants together, tuning them into one another and the sites they occupied. The practice led the research process; incorporating participants’ reflections, photographic documentation and choreoauratic scores. My supervisor’s experience was invaluable. Her understanding of contemporary performance practice in both a scholarly and research-based context supported me through the difficulties of bringing writing and doing together in the creative research process. She was involved equally as a colleague, friend, mentor, participant and supervisor.

"For those thinking of undertaking a PhD, particularly with a creative practice component, my advice is to establish your practice and know your field before tackling a doctorate. The combination of my life and professional experience gave me the discipline and perspective required to achieve what I wanted."

Application, regulations and guidance

Before you make a formal doctoral application, you should consult with the postgraduate adviser for the discipline you are interested in. See Help and advice.

All PhD students must be approved by the relevant department and faculty, as well as the School for Graduate Studies. This is to ascertain your suitability for doctoral study by assessing your current level of training or experience in your selected field.

You may also like to review the University's formal procedures for the PhD with creative practice component for further understanding of the requirements of this form of study:

PhD with creative practice component procedures

Contact us

You may need to contact our Student Centre at different points of your planning and application process.

Creative Arts and Industries Student Centre
Level 2, Building 421
(Architecture and Planning Building)
26 Symonds St