Doctoral study in Law

Why study with us?

  • The University of Auckland and Auckland Law School is the highest-ranking university in New Zealand (QS World University Ranking by subject 2021).
  • The Davis Law Library is the largest law library in New Zealand.
  • Auckland Law School is home to a number of renound research centres. 
  • Stimulating and rewarding, a PhD at the Auckland Law School requires a high level of self-motivation and discipline, providing an exciting opportunity to engage in independent, cutting-edge research.
  • The University of Auckland offers a range of scholarships and opportunities for incoming doctoral candidates.

PhD Thesis

Your PhD is an ideal qualification if you wish to pursue an academic or research career. 

The PhD is an advanced degree awarded for an original contribution to research and academic debate in a student’s chosen legal specialisation, with the findings published in a substantial thesis. 

Your thesis can be completed within three to four years of full-time study or on a part-time basis.

The PhD is a thesis-only research degree programme and your research will be guided by an appointed supervisor (usually a senior academic from Auckland Law School) and co-supervisor.

Research opportunities

Auckland Law School has New Zealand’s largest community of legal academics, with leaders in Corporate and Commercial Law, Public Law and International Law. With these and all other major areas of the law, we attract research students from around the world.

The University of Auckland Law School is an active and vibrant research institution. Its members regularly publish articles and books in New Zealand and around the world, and also serve as editors of a range of publications. The faculty hosts a number of research centres, and maintains close cooperation with the Legal Research Foundation. The faculty’s work is supported by the Davis Law Library’s extensive collection of legal materials.

The faculty welcomes enquiries from prospective research students. The faculty’s core subject areas include: 

  • Constitutional, Administrative and Public Law
  • Contract, Torts, Equity and Private Law
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law and Justice
  • Human Rights Law
  • Indigenous Peoples and the Law
  • International and Comparative Law
  • Land and Environmental Law
  • Legal History and Theory
  • Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Family and Relationships Law

Our Supervisors


University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships

Each year, the Auckland Law School will award one additional scholarship to a student whose application best serves the strategic aims of the School. These strategic aims include:

  • Promoting PhD research on consequential practical or theoretical problems in law
  • Supporting excellent PhD students and their research aspirations
  • Supporting Māori and Pacific PhD students
  • Supporting PhD students from equity groups

Students who wish to be considered for this scholarship should complete the appropriate section in the Law School’s Statement of Research Intent. You can find more information about this scholarship.


Professor Brian Coote Memorial Scholarship

The Scholarship was established in 2021 and is funded by a significant bequest left to the Auckland Law School by the late Professor Coote.

There is no formal application for this scholarship. The scholarship is awarded on the recommendation of the Auckland Law School or University of Auckland committee once your application for doctoral studies is accepted. For more information about the awarding process for this scholarship please download a copy of the Professor Brian Coote Memorial Scholarship regulations.


Ngā Ara Whetū PhD Scholarships

The University of Auckland will award three doctoral scholarships for transdisciplinary research on Climate Change and/or Biodiversity and Society starting in 2023. The University seeks applications from scholars with high quality track records in research who wish to pursue doctoral projects combining law and other disciplines. Applications to this scholarship have not closed. 

There are several scholarships you may be eligible for when you decide to pursue your doctoral studies in Law.

University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships

University of Auckland Law School’s Dean’s Doctoral Scholarships

Contact us

If you want to chat further about your studies, either email or click below to get in contact.

Apply for doctoral study


Every effort has been made to ensure the information we have supplied is correct and up to date. However, the regulations take precedence over all other material.

You are strongly advised to read the relevant scholarship regulations for complete information, to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for scholarship consideration, and that you understand the implications of any regulations, awarding value and selection criteria.