Starting your PhD

Find out when you need to arrive, enrol and start your PhD studies, about our induction programmes, and what to do if your plans change.

Arrival and enrolment

Once you have accepted your Offer of Place, you're expected to arrive at the University in person to formally enrol and begin your studies within:

  • Six months if you are a New Zealand candidate.
  • Nine months if you are an international candidate. You should start your application for a visa as soon as you have received an unconditional Offer of Place.

Any requests for an extension will be considered in relation to your programme of research and the University’s requirements.


You need to enrol in person before you start your doctorate. Arrange your enrolment appointment with one of our Graduate Research Administrators by emailing

Your appointment will take place in the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research Office at 10 Kelburn Parade, on the University’s Kelburn campus.

Start date

Once you have received your Offer of Place, you need to confirm your proposed start date with your supervisor.

If your Offer of Place requires you to do coursework at the start of your PhD, you will need to take the start date of the course(s) into consideration. If you are an international student, you need to make sure that you have received your visa in time to arrive in New Zealand for the start of the course.

Deferring your start date

If your circumstances change and you wish to start your PhD later than the date you’d agreed, you must contact the Doctoral Admissions Office, your supervisor, and the Head of School. Your School will need to agree to defer your start date.

Scholarship deferral

If you have been offered a Wellington Doctoral Scholarship, this must be taken up within one year of the offer being made, otherwise the offer will be withdrawn. If you have been awarded a scholarship and wish to defer your start date, please contact the Doctoral Admissions Office to discuss your options.

Induction programme

All doctoral students must attend the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research’s induction programme for new doctoral candidates. The series of workshops helps you to get your studies off to the best possible start.

We run this programme three or four times every year—you should try to arrange your start date so that you can attend an induction session in your first six weeks as a PhD student.

More about the induction programme