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    • 2014

Doctor of Philosophy PhD

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy involves extensive, sustained and original research and study in a subject of your choice, with the results being presented in a thesis which will contribute to intellectual knowledge of the field. It is normally the highest academic qualification available and is a mark of intellectual ability, self-discipline and commitment. A PhD prepares you for an academic career in your chosen subject.

The thesis must meet recognised international standards and presents the outcome of the research, placing it in the broader framework of the discipline or field of study. Carried out under qualified supervision, study towards a PhD promotes intellectual independence and the capacity to embark on further research at an advanced level.

PhDs are offered in a wide range of subjects at the University of Canterbury (see below).

Before applying for a PhD, it is important that applicants contact academic staff to ensure that the University has expertise in their intended area of research.

To find out more about the research interests of staff search the UC SPARK. UC SPARK provides information about individual researchers, the projects they are working on, the research groups they belong to, the specialist equipment that they use for research and their affiliations.

Entry requirements

Candidates wishing to enrol in the PhD degree must have qualified in New Zealand for a bachelor’s degree with first or second class honours, or a master’s degree at the standard of first or second class honours, or the equivalent; or have been admitted Ad Eundem Statum (that is, on the basis of overseas qualifications that have been assessed as being equivalent to these New Zealand qualifications).

In special circumstances the Dean of Postgraduate Research may admit a candidate who does not meet the above criteria but can demonstrate the ability to pursue a PhD.


Candidates may begin a PhD on the first day of any month of the year and regard study and research as a full-time occupation throughout the calendar year.

The minimum period of enrolment for a full-time candidate is two years and they should normally complete their thesis within four years. There are provisions for candidates to apply for part-time study, in which case the minimum period is three years and they should complete their thesis within seven.

More information

For more information on studying towards a PhD at the University of Canterbury see the Postgraduate Studies website or contact the the Dean of Postgraduate Research through the Postgraduate Office.

Subject areas for the PhD are listed below. Contact the relevant school, department or programme directly on the link below for postgraduate information about these subject areas.

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy (University Regulations website).

For course advice contact the relevant College/School:

For more information see the Postgraduate Studies website or contact the Postgraduate Office.