Social sciences

Research is at the heart of the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences—explore new ideas and challenge old ones, to contribute to a better world.

In the most recent Performance-Based Research Fund evaluation the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences ranked either first or second in New Zealand across 10 humanities and social sciences subject areas.

Our internationally respected researchers regularly publish in national and international journals, and many are leaders in their fields. Postgraduate students are an integral part of the Faculty’s research community.

Research funding

We place a high value on our research programmes and our staff and postgraduate students have access to a range of internal research grants, and support to secure external research funding. The Faculty’s record of success in attracting outside funding, including from the Marsden Fund, demonstrates the standing of our research.

Ideal location

Wellington is at the centre of New Zealand politics and the home of national archives, museums and libraries. This gives research students valuable opportunities, such as our parliamentary internships, and provides good access to materials and documents for postgraduate research.

Research focus

Social Sciences at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington fall within several broad subject areas—Applied Linguistics, Criminology, Cultural Anthropology, History, International Relations, Linguistics, Media Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Study of Religion, Social Policy, and Sociology—each with their own research strengths.

Find out more about our areas of research focus in Social Sciences.

The University also offers social science programmes in other subjects such as Development Studies, Economics, Human Geography, Psychology, and Public Policy—you can find out more about these in the Science and Business sections.

Research degrees

The Faculty offers a PhD, a research Master’s degree (MA), and four further Master’s degrees that can include a 60-point research project.

Research across disciplines

The University encourages innovation by thinking beyond traditional subject boundaries. You can take an interdisciplinary approach to your research—combining ideas or methods from other subjects within the Faculty or collaborating with another school outside the Faculty.


All research students have an academic supervisor to guide and mentor them. If you are applying for admission to a research degree, you can start your own search for a supervisor or get in touch with the relevant school's postgraduate coordinator.

Research centres

The Faculty of Social Sciences is home to, or affiliated with, several specialised research centres associated with social sciences. The centres provide opportunities for research students to work with institutions of national and international standing.

Centre for Strategic Studies

The Centre for Strategic Studies is the New Zealand anchor for research, teaching and public dialogue on strategic and security issues.

New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre

Promoting knowledge and understanding of contemporary China in New Zealand through research, collaboration and knowledge sharing.

New Zealand India Research Institute

The New Zealand India Research Institute is a consortium of scholars in seven New Zealand universities who are actively engaged in research on India.

Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies

The Stout Research Centre was established to facilitate, encourage and coordinate academic learning and research into New Zealand society, history and culture.

Research focus areas in Social Sciences

Discover some of the research interests of staff who work in the Social Sciences and find links to more information.