Wananga landing Wananga landing
PhD or Doctoral degree

Doctor of Philosophy

09 October 2023

UC's Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) involves extensive, sustained, original research in your chosen subject. Learn more about doing a PhD through Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School. 


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Structure - Duration
3–4 years full-time


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Structure - Start In
First day of any month





Doctor of Philosophy


The UC Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-only degree, carried out under expert supervision and using world-class facilities. At UC you can complete a PhD in over 70 subjects, joining over 1,000 students from more than 60 nations.

A PhD involves extensive, sustained, and original research in your chosen subject, with the results being presented in a thesis that will contribute to intellectual knowledge of the field. It is a mark of intellectual ability, self-discipline, and commitment. A PhD prepares you for a number of careers, including as an academic.

Doctor of Philosophy

Why study a PhD at UC?

  • In addition to expert supervision, UC provides all doctoral students with opportunities to gain transferable skills in areas including communication of research, networking, career planning, databases, statistical analysis, ethics, professional practice, and cultural awareness.
  • UC has a number of unique research facilities, collections, resources, and field stations; many of which are renowned globally. See more about our Research impact.
  • The University has a thriving postgraduate research community which includes clubs and associations for social interaction and support.
  • To find out more about the research interests of staff, start by searching the database in the UC Research Profile. UC Research Profile 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.
  • There are many benefits for international students studying towards a PhD in Aotearoa New Zealand, such as the possibility to work while studying, apply for a work visa once graduated, pay domestic student fees, and school and work benefits for your partner and children.

Doctor of Philosophy

Entry requirements

Enrolment in a PhD requires completion of a research-focused honours or master’s degree, at First or Second Class (Division I) Honours or Distinction level (or equivalent qualifications).

Applicants with qualifications from outside Aotearoa New Zealand must have been granted admission to the University. Our admissions team, in consultation with the host department, look at your qualifications and transcripts to ensure that you have the background required to complete a PhD. It is possible that you may be required to complete preparatory courses prior to or after admission into a PhD programme.

In exceptional circumstances applicants without the typical academic background, but who can demonstrate the ability to pursue a PhD, may be admitted at the discretion of the Dean of Postgraduate Research.

If English is your additional language, you are also required to meet UC's English language requirements.

For the full entry requirements, see the Regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy or use the admission requirements checker.

One or more courses or research may require vaccination

The government has announced new vaccination requirements for the health and education sectors. At UC, our programmes are strongly connected to our communities of practice. For many of our programmes, you will not be able to complete research or practice-oriented courses if you are not vaccinated. This is due to research/practice taking place in health centres and schools/kura where all employees and volunteers are required to be vaccinated.

For enrolment in the Health Sciences major, you will be required to be vaccinated in line with the NZ Government regulations, and supply evidence of your vaccination status.

How to apply

PhD students must contact a potential supervisor before applying. Information about the research interests of academic staff (supervisors) can be found on the relevant department website, or the UC Research Profile.

Find out more about how to apply for Doctoral degrees.

See Admission and enrolment for all information on enrolling at UC.

Doctor of Philosophy

How do I plan my degree?

You may begin your PhD on the first day of any month of the year. Study and research for the PhD is regarded as a full-time occupation throughout the calendar year.

The minimum period of enrolment for full-time study is 3 years and the maximum period 4 years. There are provisions to apply for part-time study, in which case the minimum period is 4.5 years, and you should complete your thesis within 6 years.


Note: approval for international students to study part-time is only granted in exceptional circumstances and has implications on the status of their student visa.

For full requirements, see the Regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy.


Postgraduate Prospectus 2024

Whakatairanga Tāura

Download (application/pdf, 3 MB)

International Prospectus 2024/2025

Download (application/pdf, 6 MB)
Student stories
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.