Starting your PhD

Learn what's expected about starting your PhD, including start dates and what to do when you arrive at Victoria University of Wellington.

Your start date

Once you have accepted your Offer of Place, you’re expected to arrive at Victoria University of Wellington and begin your studies within:

  • six months if you are a New Zealand student
  • nine months if you are an international student.

Proposing a start date

Once you have accepted the offer, get in touch with your supervisor to discuss a start date for your study. Your Offer of Place will name your supervisor.

You need to agree on a start date that suits both you and your School, and takes into consideration the start date of any courses that may be stipulated in your Offer of Place. You must inform the Doctoral Admissions Office of any change to the date indicated on your Offer of Place.

We strongly encourage you to time your start date within six weeks of one of the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research’s induction programmes for new doctoral candidates.

Note: These programmes have one start date per year:

  • International Institute of Modern Letters
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Health
  • Doctor of Nursing
  • Doctor of Midwifery.

International students

Your Offer of Place may include a requirement to undertake some coursework and to achieve a particular grade to be allowed to continue. If you are required to undertake coursework you must make sure that you apply for your visa in sufficient time to arrive for the start of the course.

Deferring your start date

If your circumstances change and you wish to delay your agreed-upon start date, 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.

Note that any deferral may affect your scholarship offer. If you have been awarded a scholarship and wish to defer your start date, discuss this with the Doctoral Admissions Office.

What to do when you arrive

International students arriving in New Zealand can take advantage of Wellington University International’s airport pickup service. Contact Wellington University International to make arrangements.

All PhD students must initially report to the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research Office at 10 Kelburn Parade, Kelburn campus. Contact our Graduate Research Administrators to set up an enrolment appointment.

Working with a supervisor

Find out what to expect from your PhD supervisors, and how to get the most out of your work with them.

Off-campus study

Approval is required to conduct research away from Victoria University of Wellington.

Support services

The University provides research services and support, as well as other support services for all students.