Starting a PhD

Master of Business Management class at UC
© Restricted/University of Canterbury

Thank you for your interest in doing a PhD in the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Canterbury.

PhD study is considered to be an integral part of the research activity within the Department. We typically have about 40 students enrolled at the PhD thesis level. About half of these are recent graduates planning careers in business or academia, with the remainder being mid-career professionals from a variety of backgrounds, and with a variety of career goals. We believe that this environment provides excellent opportunities for doctoral study in Management or Marketing. In the first instance, please check the Potential supervisors section and read the following information very carefully before approaching the Department.

Take the next steps

Paul Ballantine
Interested in supervising projects in retailing, consumption behaviour (particularly the negative aspects of consumption), and social and ethical issues in marketing. Applicants should have a background in marketing or psychology, and be familiar with journals such as Journal of Retailing, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Marketing Research.

Michaela Balzarova
I welcome research interests in the following areas:
- Business and sustainability
- Environmental management systems
- Eco-labels; eco-labelling schemes
- Environmental differentiation strategies

Pavel Castka
Interested in supervising researchers in the general areas of quality management and corporate social responsibility (CSR) particularly those interested in process-based management systems, meta-standards in operations management and operalisation of the CSR agenda. Preference is given to applicants familiar with qualitative methods in the social sciences. Applicants should be familiar with journals such as Journal of Management, Journal of Quality Management, the TQM Magazine, Total Quality Management and Business Excellence and International Journal of Operations and Production Management.

Ning (Chris) Chen
Chris is interested in supervising students willing to pursue a PhD in the area of Destination Branding, Tourist and Resident Psychology & Behaviours, Sports Marketing, Environmental Psychology, as well as Consumer Psychology & Behaviours in Information Age. A strong knowledge of research methods and an ability to develop theory are essential. Applicants will need to be familiar with statistical tools, be ready to undertake quantitative and/or experimental fieldwork, and be willing to draw upon cognitive theory in addition to mainstream marketing and tourism literature.

Herb de Vries
Interested in supervising projects in the field of small business management and entrepreneurship, with a particular interest in entrepreneurship among immigrant and minority groups. Applicants should have a suitable background and should be familiar with, or interested in, qualitative methodologies.

Joerg Finsterwalder
Interested in supervising researchers in the fields of Services and Relationship Marketing, in particular Group Service Experiences / Consumer Tribes / C2C Relationships, Service (Eco) Systems, Value Co-creation, Customer Experiences, and Disasters and Services. Applicants should have a degree in Marketing and should be familiar with journals such as Journal of Service Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Services Marketing, Managing Service Quality, Journal of Service Management, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Journal of Relationship Marketing, Marketing Theory, etc.

C. Michael Hall
Interested in supervising enthusiastic and intellectually curious researchers within the fields of tourism and services marketing; place branding and promotion; tourism and human mobility; international business; regional development and policy; sustainability, business and the environment; and food, wine and gastronomy. Depending on the research problem and methodological and philosophical interests candidates may explore a variety of approaches and subjects. Candidates will be expected to perform at a high level of international scholarship as evidenced though seminars, publications and the thesis itself. Applicants should have good degrees with a solid understanding of relevant literature in journals and research monographs and research method in the social sciences, i.e. international business, management, marketing, tourism, hospitality, recreation and leisure studies, public policy, geography and/or environmental studies.

Ann-Marie Kennedy
Ann-Marie is interested in supervising students who are concerned about an issue regarding marketing and society. This could be around the environment, sustainability, voluntary simplicity, social marketing, ethics or macromarketing. Alternatively, those seeking to use qualitative/interpretive methods for their research, no matter the topic are welcome.

Paul Knott
I welcome suitably qualified students who have the background and intellectual drive to undertake research in the fields of strategic management, strategy-as-practice, or innovation management. I particularly welcome proposals that relate strategy tools, techniques and ideas to practitioner cognition and action. My preference is for qualitative methods and non-positivist epistemologies. I have supervised several PhDs to completion and co-authored research publications with past and present students.

Tyron Love
Tyron is interested in supervising dedicated and passionate organisation focussed researchers studying within the broader fields of corporate social responsibility, business ethics, critical public relations, organisational communication and Indigenous management. Tyron is particularly keen to hear from organisational researchers inspired by what narrative methods, other qualitative approaches and the social construction of reality can contribute to the production of knowledge within these fields.

Sanna Malinen
Interested in supervising students in empirical research in the fields of organisational behaviour, organisational psychology and human resource management, specifically in the areas of workplace wellbeing, organisational and employee resilience, discrimination in employment, and employee attitudes and attitude measurement. Applicants should have a suitable background and a good knowledge of quantitative methods.

Sussie Morrish
Sussie is interested in supervising postgraduate research projects in the area of marketing strategy, entrepreneurship and the interface between the two disciplines such as entrepreneurial marketing. Applicants should have a good background in marketing, entrepreneurship and related fields and be familiar with leading journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Strategic Marketing, Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and Journal of Business Venturing.

V. Nilakant
Interested in supervising researchers and scholars in the field of Organisational Behaviour and Organisational Change. Applicants should be familiar with quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies in the social sciences and with articles in journals such as Organisation Studies, Organisation Sciences, Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation.

Lucie Ozanne
Interested in supervising students in the general area of social marketing, more specifically, socially and environmentally responsible consumption behaviour and corporate social responsibility.

Girish Prayag
Interested in supervising projects in the area of consumer behaviour with a particular focus on experiential and emotional aspects of tourism and hospitality consumption. I am also interested in other aspects of tourism consumption such as tourism impacts, sustainable tourism, service experiences and airline marketing. Preference will be given to candidates willing to undertake a quantitative or mixed method study with some interest in using multivariate techniques and structural equations modelling. Applicants should have a background in psychology, social sciences or any management related fields and should be familiar with journals such as Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management and Journal of Travel Research.

Grant Read
As an Adjunct Professor, Grant is no longer able to act as a principal supervisor, but is available to act as associate supervisor, particularly for research on managerial, economic, or optimisation approaches to improving efficiency in the energy, resource, and environmental sectors. Particular interests in the design of electricity and gas markets, reservoir management, and firm level optimisation in a market environment, but also in duality in Dynamic Programming and/or Decision Analysis.

David Stiles
Interested in supervising students in the area of strategy formulation and implementation in the public or private sectors. Topics of particular interest include the application of strategy in the cultural settings of emerging and transition countries; higher education policy and strategy; joint ventures in China; the interrelationships between strategy, organisational image and identity; and strategy-as-practice in organisations. Applicants should have a first degree in management, strategy, marketing, international business, social psychology, politics, linguistics or semiotics.

Ekant Veer
Ekant is interested in supervising students willing to pursue a PhD in the area of Social Marketing, Transformative Consumer Research, Consumer Psychology or Advertising. A strong knowledge of research methods and an ability to develop theory are essential. Students should be familiar with relevant theories in both consumer research and psychology. Students wishing to undertake experimental research or ethnographic research will be given preference.

P Venkateswarlu
Interested in supervising researchers in the fields of quality management, reliability theory and operations management. Applicants should have suitable background and should be strong in quantitative methods.

Sarah Wright
Interested in supervising projects in the field of organisational behaviour, with a particular focus on relationships in the workplace, interpersonal dynamics in organisations, and loneliness at work. Applicants should have a background in organisational behaviour/organisational psychology.

A PhD candidate normally must have a recent and relevant Masters or Honours degree (e.g. Master of Commerce, or Bachelor of Science (Hons)), with First or Upper Second Class Honours. If you have other qualifications, and especially research experience, you are invited to discuss your situation with the PhD Programme Coordinator, Dr Sarah Wright. You must have adequate training and ability to pursue the proposed course. A thorough knowledge of both written and spoken English is required of all candidates.

If you are an international student, the International Office, in consultation with the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, looks at an applicant's qualifications and transcripts and compares them to those of New Zealand students, in order to see whether the applicant has the background that is required to complete a PhD. See for further information. You will also need to meet the English Language competency requirements for entry to postgraduate study. See


The PhD at the University of Canterbury is an advanced research degree. The degree follows the British tradition which involves the preparation of a research thesis under the close supervision of a faculty member. The thesis must make an original contribution to knowledge in the area under study. No specific course work is required but, if you do not have the necessary academic background, you will be required to study for a BCom (Hons) and/or Master of Commerce degree prior to enrolling for a PhD or, if the deficiency is minor, to take selected graduate courses in parallel with your thesis research.


The thesis is subject to external examination. Normally, at least one of the examiners will be a recognised authority from outside of New Zealand.


The minimum period between enrolment in the degree and submission of the thesis is two calendar years, although most students take three or four years to complete. The maximum time limit for full-time students, is normally four calendar years. Part-time enrolment is also possible, in which case the minimum enrolment period shall not be less than three years, with a maximum of seven. A period of at least six months must be spent on full-time study in the Department.

It is acceptable for a student to take the first three to six months researching the literature and settling on a precise topic. However, we encourage students, especially those coming from overseas or from employment, to work through a detailed proposal with a staff member before enrolling. 

Fees and Financial Assistance

Candidates may enrol for a PhD degree at any time during the year.

For your information, international PhD students pay tuition fees at the domestic rate of approximately $6,150.  Details of the current fees are available from UC Fees and Funding site. More information for overseas students, including the current fees and information about the university, is available from the International Students website.

Students with A average or better grades have a reasonable chance of obtaining a scholarship to cover these fees plus living costs of around NZ$20,000 pa (for a single student).

A limited number of NZODA scholarships are available for students from "developing countries" to cover these fees, plus family living costs, if required These are quite competitive, though, and there is little point in proceeding with an application unless you have an excellent academic and/or professional record with a proposal which is likely to bring significant benefits to your home country.

University Scholarships are available for outstanding candidates. Some funding may be available for tutoring/research assistantships. A limited number of Departmental Scholarships are also available, and currently cover annual tuition fees at the domestic rate.

Provision of Resources for PhD Student

All departments in the School of Business and Economics provide PhD students with office space equipped with ergometrically compliant furnishings and equipment (e.g. desks, chairs, computers), and formal supervision at intervals negotiated with supervisors. Printing, internet, and photocopying facilities are available for a fee.

Please visit for Internet and Print and Copy charges.

From 1 January 2017, new PhD students will receive a $90 printing credit (equivalent to 3,000 pages), and existing PhD students will have this added to any unused credit. 

More specialised support would be considered by the HoD and potential supervisors at the time of registration. See the Policies, regulations and guidelines page for additional information on the Provision of Resources Policy.

Other financial support (e.g. for research, attendance at a doctoral colloquium, etc.) is available on a contestable basis through the College Research Committee.

In the first instance, please send an 8-10 page proposal that would include: a short review of the current literature; the key research questions that you will address; and the research methodology or design that you will use to answer these questions; explain why the proposed research has the potential to make an original contribution to knowledge in the area; your curriculum vitae and academic transcripts. Please send this proposal in the first instance to our PhD administrator, Irene Joseph Your documents will then be circulated to potential supervisors to see if they could be interested in supervising.

Guide to Writing a Proposal

Broadly introduce the topic and purpose of research.


Explain (a) why the research is important, (b) how it relates to existing discussions, and (c) what makes it sufficiently broad, deep and original for PhD work.


Identify at least three broad areas of literature which you intend to consult. For each area explain how it relates to your research questions. Here you must show that you are looking further afield than the core literature connected with your topic.


Describe (a) the research approach which you intend to employ, (b) how this will be translated into data collection or source consultation, and (c) how it is an appropriate means for addressing the research questions.

Arrangements and access 

Describe what arrangements will be made for data collection or source consultation, with special reference to access, and relations with participants or other bodies.

Timed objectives 

State what you hope to have achieved by the end of each year of your proposed study.

You can also approach supervisors directly. In order to do this:

  1. Go to our Potential supervisors section above to identify a supervisor who matches your interest.
  2. Approach this supervisor directly with your 8-10 page proposal
  3. Make sure you identify a supervisor with matching interests and do not spam all academics.

News, events and seminars