Types of doctoral degree

Victoria University of Wellington awards three types of doctoral degree, find out which is right for you.

Victoria University of Wellington awards three types of doctoral degrees: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), professional doctorates and Higher Doctorates. The majority of our doctoral students are enrolled in a PhD, explore our doctoral degrees below and find out which is right for you.

To find out what is involved in undertaking research at Victoria University of Wellington you can read about our general thesis requirements.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy is available in any subject the University offers at Master’s level provided appropriate supervision is available. It is the highest degree awarded by the University for research work carried out under academic supervision and will involve you in a minimum of 36 months full-time study. You will be engaged in original research which makes a significant contribution to knowledge or understanding in your field of study. The outcomes of your research will be presented in a substantial written thesis.

Professional doctorates

Professional (or named) doctorates are only available in the disciplines listed below.

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) requires either substantial performance or substantial composition experience; it can be taken part-time or full-time.

The Education (EdD) and Health (DHlth, DNurs, DMid) doctorates are restricted to New Zealand citizens or permanent residents and require several years of professional practice. These doctorates are expected to be taken part-time.

The level of study is similar to that required for a PhD but a professional doctorate combines coursework with research.

Higher Doctorates

A Higher Doctorate is awarded for a substantial body of published work which indicates excellence, distinguished leadership and provides an original and prestigious contribution to the relevant field. Applicants submit a portfolio of work for initial consideration, followed by an examination process.

An application fee of $4,000 applies, if your application does not proceed beyond initial consideration $3,000 will be refunded.

For more information see the Higher Doctorates Statute and the Guidelines for Applicants and Examiners.