Qualifications required

Find out what qualifications are required to undertake doctoral study at Victoria University of Wellington.

Academic qualification prerequisites

Holding a prerequisite qualification does not guarantee you admission to a doctoral programme at Victoria University of Wellington. Acceptance as a doctoral candidate will depend on your academic record, your research background and the availability of supervision in the area of your research interests.

Academic record (GPA) is calculated as per approved University Research Committee methods for doctoral assessment. These will be based, where possible, on 240 points (or equivalent) on the relevant qualification(s) that provides admission to the doctoral programme (for example courses at levels 400 and 500 or equivalent).

New Zealand university qualifications

Applicants who have studied at a university in New Zealand will need:

  • a Bachelor's degree with Honours or a Master's degree with a GPA* of no less than 6 (letter grade B+), or
  • approved evidence of adequate training and ability.

You must provide certified copies of academic transcripts for any qualifications not awarded by Victoria University of Wellington.

Master's thesis students enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington may also be able to upgrade to a PhD.

* The GPA calculation will depend on your pre-requisite degree.

International qualifications

International applicants are expected to have equivalent qualifications to those required of New Zealand applicants:

  • Applicants who have a four year Bachelor’s degree graded in a four point GPA system should have a GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0.
  • Applicants who have a Bachelor’s degree graded in the British system, including India, must be awarded the degree with first or upper second-class Honours.

For some programmes evidence of relevant work or research experience may be necessary.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also meet the English language requirements below.

You must provide certified copies of academic transcripts for all qualifications except those you have obtained at Victoria University of Wellington.

English language requirements

Victoria University of Wellington's English language requirements are not negotiable.

If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English proficiency before you will be accepted as a PhD candidate. Minimum requirements are:

As you are aware, several English language testing centres around the world, including TOEFL test centres, may be closed due to the global issues surrounding COVID-19.  ETS/TOEFL is now offering a Special Home edition of the TOEFL iBT test. Victoria University of Wellington will proudly accept scores from applicants who have taken the Special Home Edition version of the TOEFL iBT test, as this At-Home version is the same as the regular TOEFL iBT taken at a testing centre, the only difference being the mode of test delivery. Please visit the TOEFL website for further information.

For applicants in Mainland China and Iran: Since TOEFL Special Home Edition is not available in mainland China or Iran, we are currently accepting the Duolingo English Test (DET) as an alternative for those who reside in these countries. Applicants with a score of 110 or above will meet the doctoral English Requirement.

IELTS is also offering an an online test called the IELTS Indicator that you can take from the comfort of your home, to help you continue your education journey during the Covid-19 situation. Please visit the IELTS Indicator website for further information.

Important qualities

In addition to formal qualifications and competence in English, various qualities will help ensure your success:

  • a strong interest in a substantial research project
  • self-discipline
  • persistence in the face of setbacks
  • willingness to respond effectively to advice and criticism
  • ability to work independently
  • willingness to work within the scholarly tradition
  • stable financial and personal circumstances
  • good writing ability.