Doctor of Philosophy in Education

About the Doctor of Philosophy in Education

PhD study offers opportunities to work with acknowledged experts in your field on a substantial and original research project in an area of Education. A PhD is the highest degree awarded by Victoria University of Wellington for research work.

As a PhD candidate, you will be need to possess intelligence and research aptitude, as well as considerable dedication, tenacity and rigour.

Ivy Abella
“Undertaking doctoral research is one path in achieving something significant. It is the best form of interpersonal and intrapersonal growth,for it involves a comprehensive, intensive and holistic approach to learning, progress and achievement. Research is an instrument of change and development, which I believe is the aim of my PhD journey.”
Ivy Abella

Research fields

Subject to the availability of staff, the Faculty of Education offers PhD supervision in areas such as:

  • classroom studies
  • comparative education
  • curriculum and assessment
  • diversity issues in education
  • early childhood education
  • education policy and theory
  • educational psychology and pedagogy
  • Māori and Pasifika education
  • professional development and learning.

Other areas may also be considered and enquiries are welcome.

Programme requirements

This qualification comprises a thesis that demonstrates a capacity for independent research and the ability to make a substantial and original contribution to knowledge and understanding in your field of study.

All PhD candidates are required to give an oral presentation of their proposal. There will also be an oral examination of their thesis.

Entry requirements

Candidates must already have shown good research and writing skills in their previous postgraduate studies. These will usually consist of an Honours or Master’s degree achieved at a high level of academic performance or equivalent previous postgraduate work, including training in research methods and including experience in writing. Most students enrolling in the PhD have completed a research-based Master’s degree, and candidates may also be expected to show evidence of relevant professional experience.


  • Part-time: minimum six years of supervised research
  • Full-time: minimum three years of supervised research.

Postgraduate research supervision

Theses are prepared and written in close consultation with a staff member who acts as supervisor. Research students are expected to participate in and contribute to research-in-progress seminars.The supervisor is the PhD candidate’s main point of contact at Victoria University of Wellington. Students meet with their supervisor regularly, and written progress reports are filed at six-monthly intervals.

Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research

The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research (WFGR) provides a first port of call for all students interested in enrolling in a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington. The WFGR website provides application information, details of available funding, application dates, and answers to a host of other questions.

There are three deadlines for all PhD applications to be considered:

  • 1 March
  • 1 July
  • 1 November.

How to find out more

For more information on PhD study, see the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research.