Doctor of Philosophy

A PhD is an advanced research qualification carried out under academic supervision and is the highest degree offered by the Wellington Faculty of Engineering.

The PhD thesis is a major piece of original research that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to carry out independent research and constitutes a significant and original contribution to knowledge or understanding in a field of study. As well as intelligence and an aptitude for research, the degree requires considerable dedication and tenacity.

A PhD is generally required by those seeking careers in a university or research laboratory such as a Crown Research Institute. A number of private companies and government departments also carry out research and look for new employees with a PhD.


The minimum period of registration before a PhD thesis can be submitted for examination is 36 months full-time (or equivalent).


Applicants normally have either an Honours or Masters degree in Engineering or Computer Science, or a closely related discipline and with at least second class (first division) honours.

Applicants will also need to propose, in general terms, a research project that can be supervised by a member of Victoria University of Wellington staff. We expect that preparing a good research proposal will require the applicant to do background reading and engage in discussion with prospective supervisors.

Students interested in entering the PhD programme are encouraged to discuss their plans with staff who may supervise their research.


Admission is subject to the availability of supervisors and approval of the Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research Students).
It is possible to begin a Masters by thesis degree and upgrade to a PhD in certain circumstances.

Professor in Computer Science · Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research)
School of Engineering and Computer Science


The thesis is assessed by three examiners—usually one from Victoria University of Wellington, one from another New Zealand university and one from an overseas university. An oral examination is mandatory for all doctoral candidates at the University.


The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research (WFGR) is the best place to start if you are interested in doctoral study at Victoria University of Wellington. Its website will link you to the online application process, provide you with details of available funding, application dates, and answers to questions you may have about what is involved in undertaking a PhD.

Your acceptance will depend on a number of factors, including your previous qualifications and experience, the suitability of your topic for PhD studies and our capacity to supervise you and your topic.

Application for admission and for consideration for a Victoria Doctoral Scholarship is a combined process. You may apply at any time, but there are three deadlines for PhD applications to be considered:

  • 1 March
  • 1 July
  • 1 November.

Find out how to apply here. If you have any questions about the application process please email the Doctoral Admissions staff.