Doctor of Philosophy in Law

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law is an advanced research qualification, the highest offered by the Faculty of Law.


The PhD is examined by thesis after a minimum of three years full-time supervised research. It can also be undertaken part-time over six to seven years.

See here for current domestic and international fees information.

Entry requirements

Admission to our highest qualification is very competitive. The selection panel will need to be fully confident that an applicant can justify pursuing doctoral-level study in the Faculty of Law.

Applicants are expected to have a First or Second Class Honours or Master’s degree in Law with an overall GPA no less than 8 (or equivalent, as calculated by the Faculty of Graduate Research). Refer to the Faculty of Graduate Research website for full admission details.

International students, including those with degrees from English-speaking universities, are required to provide formal proof of English competency:

  • IELTS: an overall band of 7, including a writing sub-score of 7 and no sub-score below 6.5 (or equivalent); or
  • TOEFL: 100 on the internet-based test with a minimum of 25 in writing; or
  • a minimum of three ratings of 5 for reading, writing, and speaking and one rating of 4 for listening from the Victoria University of Wellington English for Academic Purposes programme.

Teaching and programme staff

The teaching staff at Faculty of Law includes scholars of national and international standing, which allows advanced research supervision over a range of topics, as reflected by the work of our current PhD students.

The programme is overseen by PhD Adviser Nicole Moreham and administered by the Postgraduate Administrator.

Research Degrees—PhD and Masters

If you’re thinking about studying a Master of Laws by research, find out more about what the Faculty of Law can offer you and your research project. Read more about Research Degrees—PhD and Master of Laws.


The Faculty of Graduate Research (FGR) provides a first port of call for all students interested in enrolling in a PhD at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

The FGR website provides an online enrolment procedure (incorporating scholarship application), along with answers and resources related to a host of questions. The FGR continues to provide support to PhD students throughout their studies at the University.

How to apply

Applications to the Faculty of Graduate Research are due by 1 March, 1 July, and 1 November. Formal acceptance into the programme occurs after the deadline.

Find out more about the PhD application, scholarship, and admission process.