Thinking About PHD?

Doing A PHD?


The full name of the PhD qualification is 'Doctor of Philosophy'.

The PhD, or doctorate (as it is sometimes known) is the highest academic qualification you can receive. It is recognised internationally, so if you have a PhD from a New Zealand university, people from other countries will understand what the qualification means.

A PhD thesis is the written presentation of an original, independent piece of research. During your time as a student you will get academic advice and feedback about the planning, analysing and writing up process from one or more academic supervisors.

The Aotearoa Experience

The PhD qualification was first introduced in New Zealand in 1922. It was abolished in 1926 because the full-time study requirement meant that very few people could afford to do it. It was reintroduced in 1944, when the full-time study requirement was eased, and research fellowships were provided.


  • 1894, Sir Apirana Ngata became the first Māori University graduate
  • 1954, Maharaia Winiata, First Māori to gain a doctorate overseas
  • 2003, Patricia Wallace, First Ph.D. in Māori studies, Canterbury University


  1. Dictionary of NZ Biography
  2. Māori Graduate Statistics
  3. Te Ao Māori - International News