Entry Requirements

Before you submit your application, you need to check you meet the entry requirements for the qualification you plan to study.

Hands of two people reviewing an application form

Applications for Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education or Doctor of Musical Arts study can be received at any time. If you have completed prior qualifications at a New Zealand university, the minimum entry requirements are either:

  • Completion of a relevant Honours degree with first class or second class, division one Honours
  • Successful completion of a Master's degree or equivalent degree

You should see the relevant qualification for more information or use the Admission to Graduate and Postgraduate qualification requirements checker.

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 doctoral degree. If you want to be considered for admission under such circumstances, please contact the Dean of Postgraduate Research.

Students who have completed prior qualifications overseas

If you completed your prior qualifications overseas, the Admissions Team, in consultation with your proposed Department or School, will need to assess your qualifications and transcripts. They will determine on a case-by-case basis if you have the academic background required to complete a doctoral level degree.

Transfer from a master's to a PhD

You can apply to transfer your enrolment from a master’s degree to a PhD after a minimum of six months work on your master’s thesis. There are different steps you need to take to apply for this, see Transfer from a master's to a PhD

English language entry requirements

You must be competent in the use and understanding of written and spoken English. Check you also meet the minimum English language requirements.

Research based qualifications

If you undertake a research-based qualification, it is important not only that you work in an area of interest to you, but also that you identify and meet your supervisor prior to any commitment to the qualification.

Your supervisor is an individual who will work closely with you for the period of your research (two to four years), so it is worthwhile finding out if you will feel comfortable working with them.

The research interests of UC’s academic staff are listed on the web pages of the relevant academic programmes and departments. You can also search the UC SPARK Research Profiles for current research projects at UC. Senior supervisors are usually a continuing academic staff and must have appropriate doctorial qualification or research experience to support you.

A good place to start the search for a potential supervisor is by looking at the relevant subjects you wish to study.

Be sure to ask your potential supervisor relevant questions such as:

  • How many students they have had in the past?
  • How long those students took to complete their postgraduate studies?
  • Whether there were any problems in completion?

While this may not be relevant for all supervisors, it is worth getting a feel for their previous experience and success rate.

Current students are a great benchmark to get some real information about your potential supervisor. Make a point of meeting with them if possible.

It is important to clarify what your potential supervisors expectations are. What workload are they expecting from you? What important milestones do they expect you to be meeting and how do they expect the supervisor-student relationship to work? A clear understanding on both sides at the start of the relationship can help it work more smoothly, rather than unclear expectations which have a possibility for someone to be let down.

Once you have gathered some of the information above, it is important that you consider what is important and necessary to you. Do you want to be left to work primarily independently, or do you require someone who will meet with you regularly to keep you on track? Think about how you like to be managed.

It is important to get a sense of how well you and your proposed supervisor will be able to work together. The supervisory relationship is a important determinant of a successful and enjoyable research experience, it is important that both parties feel they will be able to have a productive relationship. If possible, it is recommend that you meet with your proposed supervisor. If there are any concerns about the ability to work together, these should be addressed before you start your research or consider alternative supervisory arrangements.

When to Apply

If you have Admission to the University of Canterbury you can simply apply to enrol by the relevant application dates. If you need to apply for Admission please submit your complete application for Admission at least 6 months before the intended start date. PhD and master's research students may begin their studies at any time during the year with the approval of their supervisor.

You should apply as early as possible to give yourself maximum preparation time for visa application, fee payment, travel and accommodation arrangements. Late applications may be processed, but we cannot guarantee that a decision will be made in time for you to make the necessary arrangements to start your studies here.