Doctoral study in Environmental Science

Why study with us?

New Zealand’s leading and largest Faculty of Science* brings together 10 diverse schools and departments to provide outstanding quality teaching and research opportunities. Our doctoral students work with some of the nation’s leading researchers and benefit from the faculty’s connections with international universities and industry. You will also have access to high-quality laboratory and field research facilities.


Research opportunities

We welcome PhD proposals in areas including:

  • Dendrochronology, dendroclimatology and environmental change
  • Geomorphology, Physical Oceanography, Coastal and Estuarine processes, Complexity and Pattern Formation, Machine Learning
  • Climate change, hydro climatology and dendroclimatology, the release, fate, effects and remediation of contaminants in the environment - including pesticides, polymers, PAHs, PFASs, pharmaceuticals, metals and nanoparticles
  • Vegetation dynamics and plant ecology, landscape ecology, environmental modelling and spatial statistics and spatial analysis, urban air pollution, urban meteorology, boundary layer meteorology and mesoscale flows
  • Carbon and nutrient cycling, ecosystem functioning, tropical ecosystems, stable isotopes, ecohydrology and global change
  • Freshwater and ecosystem ecology, watershed biogeochemistry, human influence on lakes and streams, urban hydrology, water and society, water sensitive urban design and positive impact living
  • Palaeoecology; human impacts; extinctions; fire history; environmental change; vegetation change; subantarctic islands

Our people

Many of our knowledgeable scientists are major contributors in their field.

(and search for relevant topics)

Research topics

See a selection of past and present research topics:

  • Paleoecology and ancient DNA of the kakapo Strigops habroptilus | supervised by Janet Wilmshurst and George Perry
  • Community forest management in the Bungo District, Jambi, Indonesia: participatory video and Communities' aspirations for forest management | supervised by Brad Coombes and Shuchi Kothari
  • Ecological Offsetting: The Dilemmas of Conservation Subdivision | supervised by Brad Coombes and Luitgard Schewendenmann
  • Machine learning modelling of shoreline dynamics | supervised by Giovanni Coco and Paul Kench
  • The role of artist's creative spatial practices in urban regeneration after disasters | supervised by Robin Kearns and JC Gaillard
  • Species based conservation programs with social development components | supervised by Brad Coombes and Nicholas Malone
  • Volcanic hazards and determining their effects on air quality, fertility of nearby agricultural soil and the consolidated effect on growing crops | supervised by Jan Lindsay, Luitgard Schwendenmann and Shane Cronin
  • The Interaction Between the Business Models and Environmental Strategies for New Media Technologies and Services | supervised by Brad Coombes and David Hayward
  • Plant functional traits and ecosystem functioning in alpine Kobresia meadows in the Sanjiangyuan region | supervised by Kevin Simon and George Perry

For more information about PhD theses and topics you may be interested in, or supervisors and their past research, please use the search function on the Libraries and Learning Services catalogue.

Scholarships and awards

See our University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship page for scholarship opportunities. Or search our database for scholarships that may be available.

Help and advice

Please see our Doctoral students section for further information, advice and contact information.

Apply for doctoral study