Upgrading a Master's to PhD

If you're currently enrolled in a Master's thesis at Victoria University of Wellington, you may be able to upgrade to a PhD.


Students wishing to upgrade to a PhD enrolment must:

  • be currently enrolled in a Master's thesis (minimum 90 points) at Victoria University of Wellington
  • be within 11 months of first enrolment for the Master's degree
  • not have submitted the Master's thesis for examination.

How to apply

The supervisor must recommend an upgrade on the student's behalf using the School/Faculty PhD Approval Form.

Students are not required to complete an application for the PhD, but students who wish to be considered for a Victoria Doctoral Scholarship must complete an online application. Any scholarship offer takes into account previous Master's enrolment.

Applications to upgrade may be considered at any time, but Victoria Doctoral Scholarship applications must be made within one of the three standard application rounds.

Criteria for assessing applications

In order to approve an application to upgrade from Master's to PhD, the School Research Committee must be satisfied that:

  • the student has the level of competence required for PhD study (including English language proficiency),
  • the student's Master's research can be extended so as to form a viable PhD project,
  • adequate supervision is available (the supervisors of the Master’s thesis will not necessarily remain on the PhD supervisory team), and
  • adequate resources are available for the student's research.
  • The student and supervisors need to agree in writing on the additional work to be undertaken. This document will form part of the application to be submitted to the School Research Committee.

Date of registration

Once the upgrade has been approved, you are provisionally registered for the PhD from the date of registration for your Master’s degree. You will still have to satisfy the requirements for full registration.