Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is an advanced research qualification and is the highest degree offered by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The PhD is examined by thesis after a minimum of three years of full-time supervised research. It can also be undertaken part-time. Supervision for PhD research is available in almost all subject areas offered by the Faculty.

The PhD thesis is a major piece of original research that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to carry out independent research and constitutes a significant and original contribution to knowledge or understanding of a field of study. As well as intelligence and an aptitude for research, the degree requires considerable dedication and tenacity.

The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research (WFGR) is the best place to start if you are interested in doctoral study at Victoria University of Wellington. Its website will link you to the online application process, provide you with details of available funding, application dates, and answers to questions you may have about what is involved in undertaking a PhD.

Your acceptance will depend on a number of factors, including your previous qualifications and experience, the suitability of your topic for PhD studies and our capacity to supervise you and your topic.

Application for admission and for consideration for a Victoria University of Wellington Doctoral Scholarship is a combined process. You may apply at any time, but there are three deadlines for PhD applications to be considered:

  • 1 March
  • 1 July
  • 1 November

The Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences places a high value on research and provides ongoing support and services for PhD students, including access to financial support through the Faculty’s joint research committee. PhD students may be eligible for grants of up to $2,000 a year. Information on how to apply is available on the Faculty’s intranet. For access, you will need a Victoria University of Wellington staff email address—if you don't have one already, contact your School administrator or the Joint Research Committee Administrator Margot MacGillivray.

Applications for PhD admission are considered three times a year: 1 March, 1 July and 1 November. You will need a Bachelor's degree with Honours or a Master's degree at a New Zealand university, with an overall GPA of no less than 6 (letter grade B+), to apply to enrol for a PhD. Enrolment will be subject to the availability of supervisors and approval of the Associate Dean. In certain circumstances (conditions apply), it is possible for a candidate to begin a Victoria University of Wellington Master’s thesis degree and upgrade to a PhD before submission.