Doctoral study information

This advanced degree provides a qualification for students who intend pursuing an academic or research career. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is offered in all faculties; other named doctorates are also offered in some faculties.

Admission to doctoral study requires:

  • a first-class honours or second-class honours first division bachelors degree or
  • a masters degree with first-class honours or
  • second-class honours first division standard or
  • comparable qualifications.

Acceptance is also subject to the availability of staff for supervision, and appropriate facilities.

Almost invariably, you will work under supervision to produce a substantial thesis representing original research into an approved topic that contributes significantly to knowledge and understanding or application of knowledge.

A doctoral degree is normally carried out over a minimum of 3 full-time years, with candidates preparing a thesis on the conduct and results of their research.

The doctorate is directed by an appointed supervisor and an academic committee and usually takes 3 years of full-time study. Your thesis is then assessed by a panel of examiners (including at least two external to the University) appointed by the University’s Senate. In most cases, this is followed by an oral examination of the thesis and your knowledge in the area before the degree is awarded.

Higher degrees

These are awarded for an original contribution of special excellence to your field of expertise, in published form. Candidates are usually graduates of the University of Auckland or another New Zealand university. You cannot present for consideration for the degree until at least 8  years after graduating from your first degree. The degrees are:

  • Doctor of Engineering
  • Doctor of Laws
  • Doctor of Literature
  • Doctor of Science.

Doctoral programmes

The application process for doctoral programmes is highly vigorous. It includes writing preliminary research proposals in consultation with your potential supervisor(s) to provide evidence of your capability and dedication.

More information