Doctoral application process

To apply for a doctoral programme you must complete and submit an online Application for Admission (AfA) so that we can evaluate your academic background and match your research interests with an appropriate supervisor

Step 1. Learn about our doctoral regulations and requirements

  • Read the PhD Statute and Guidelines to ensure you meet the academic eligibility requirements for entry into the PhD programme: PhD Statute and guidelines
  • If you are applying for a named doctorate, read the relevant regulations in the University Calendar.
  • Look at some masters and doctoral theses in your area of interest to get a sense of the standard of research you are expected to achieve.

Step 2. Choose your area of interest

  • Decide upon, and clarify as much as possible, your area of research interest or potential research topic.
  • Look at relevant faculty or department websites. Consider the research interests and publications of academic staff.

Step 3. Complete and submit an online Application for Admission (AfA)

You can submit an AfA at any time of the year.

  • Before you begin, be sure to have at hand, in electronic format:
    • Transcripts for your highest tertiary qualification. You must also include the grading scale for the university that you have studied at. This is usually found on the back of the transcript. If you are a returning student to the University of Auckland, you can find out How to view your unofficial transcript.  
    • Your Statement of Research Intent.
    • If English is not your first language: your IELTS, TOEFL and TWE (or an approved alternative) test scores if you have sat such tests within the last two years.
    • Your CV or resumé.
    • Some programmes may also require a portfolio.
    • Please check the website of your prospective faculty or department for any additional information they may require.
  • You will also be required to provide two Doctoral Referee Reports*
  • When the AfA is complete, you will receive an acknowledgment via email; your AfA will then be considered by the appropriate academic staff.
  • If you need help with the AfA process:

*Preferably, the letters should be from academic staff of your home university, who can comment on your research capability and experience.


Step 4. Doctoral Admission approval

Every candidate for every doctoral degree must be registered by the Board of Graduate Studies before they may be enrolled for that degree. See Board of Graduate Studies.

Registration process

The registration process consists of the following steps:

1. Head of Department Recommendation
The Head of Department completes and signs off on the application, which is then referred to the Associate Dean (Postgraduate) of the Faculty for endorsement before being referred to the School of Graduate Studies.

2. Board of Graduate Study Approval
The recommendation is then considered by the Board of Graduate Studies. In many cases, the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies is able to make a decision on behalf of the Board, thus reducing the waiting time for a decision.

Step 5. Complete the admission process

  • Once your application for admission has been approved, and you have provided originals (or certified copies) of your academic transcripts and other required admission documents, you will be sent a letter of offer and asked to log onto Student Services Online to accept or decline the offer.
  • After you have accepted the offer and details of your registration have been finalised, you will be sent confirmation of your place in the doctoral programme by email and letter.

Step 6. Enrol

  • Once you have received your confirmation letter you will need to contact the School of Graduate Studies to complete your enrolment.
  • As a doctoral candidate, you will be re-enrolled at the beginning of each academic year by the School of Graduate Studies. Fees should be paid on time each year to ensure successful re-enrolment.

Contact the School of Graduate Studies