Postgraduate study

Postgraduate study in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences is the next step for students wanting to become experts in chemistry and physics.

About our programmes

The School of Chemical and Physical Sciences offers world class teaching and research in Wellington, New Zealand’s Science Capital. The School’s commitment to providing academic training and first class facilities allows students to achieve an education comparable to that received in the best universities overseas.

The School has particular strengths in materials science and nanotechnology, which rely on expertise in both chemistry and physics. Recent additions have included research into renewable energy and astrophysics.

The school's continuing expansion over recent years has resulted in the completion of major construction projects, including an extension to the Laby Building and the Alan MacDiarmid Building, to provide the additional laboratory and office space. The buildings, which include a cleanroom, have been built to the highest specifications and are fully equipped with modern facilities and equipment. Special care has been taken to incorporate excellent office space for postgraduate students.


Research collaborations with other New Zealand and overseas universities, research institutes and technology companies see the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences well placed in the international science community.

Victoria University of Wellington has strong links with the many Wellington-based Crown Research Institutes especially Callaghan Innovation (formerly Industrial Research Limited). Many postgraduate students have their research projects co-supervised by scientists from these institutes and benefit from their expertise and the state of the art facilities available to them. The School also hosts the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and has close ties with the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, which is on campus.

Academic staff

Victoria University of Wellington is ranked first in New Zealand for research in Chemistry and Physics.The School’s academic staff are highly committed to the success of their students and take a personal interest in the progress of each one. Their research interests cover a wide range of chemistry and physics, ranging from the discovery of bioactive natural products from New Zealand marine organisms through to theoretical physics, astrophysics and geophysics.

All students give presentations as part of their study and are encouraged to attend and participate in national and international conferences. Research supervisors hold regular group meetings and students are also encouraged to attend relevant lectures and seminars within the University.

Part-time students may carry out some research at their place of work and distance supervision for full and part-time students is also possible. Additionally, students may visit other national or international laboratories to complete part of their studies.

Postgraduate Coordinators

For more information about postgraduate study in our School, please download the Postgraduate Handbooks/Course Lists or contact the relevant Postgraduate Coordinator:



Extend your knowledge and skills in the science of matter with postgraduate study in Chemistry.

Drug Discovery and Development

Build on your science degree and get a broad knowledge of the processes involved in drug discovery, design and development.


Develop an in-depth understanding of energy and matter with postgraduate study in Physics.


Graduate Diploma in Science (GDipSc)

A Graduate Diploma in Science is a course for students who already have a degree in another subject, but wish to pursue further study in science. It is usually completed in one year full time (or equivalent part time) and is ideal preparation for postgraduate programmes.

The GDipSc is offered in:

  • Applied Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics.

Postgraduate Certificate in Science (PGCertSc)

A Postgraduate Certificate in Science is a half year full time (or equivalent part time) course for those who wish to extend their BSc with a coursework qualification.

The PGCertSc is offered in:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics.

The School also offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Drug Discovery and Development.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSc)

A Postgraduate Diploma in Science is a one year full time (or equivalent part time) course for those who wish to extend their BSc with a coursework qualification.

The PGDipSc is offered in:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics.

The School also offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Drug Discovery and Development.

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons))

A Bachelor of Science with Honours is a stand-alone one year full-time programme of coursework with a research project. It generally allows students to progress directly to PhD study.

The School offers the BSc(Hons) in:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics.

Master of Science (MSc)

A Master of Science is a research degree. It consists of two parts and is normally completed in two calendar years (or equivalent part time). Part 1 (the first year) involves three courses of 30 points each and a research preparation course. Part 2 (the second year) is a full time research project, leading to a thesis.

The School offers the MSc in:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics.

The School also offers specialist qualifications in the Master of Drug Discovery and Development. For further information on submission or to access forms, please contact Patricia Stein at the Science Faculty.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD is the highest degree offered by the School and usually takes three to four years to complete. It is an internationally recognised research degree in the scientific community and opens up rich and varied career opportunities.

The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research is the initial contact point for all PhD students. Please visit their website for all queries, including available funding, the role of a supervisor and the application process. The Faculty provides ongoing support to PhD students throughout their studies at Victoria University of Wellington.