PhD and other doctoral degrees

Victoria University of Wellington is the number one research institution in New Zealand—there’s no better place to gain your PhD.

Studying for a PhD

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree represents the high point of academic achievement. It involves original and sustained research under academic supervision and demands considerable intellectual ability, academic rigour, self-discipline, and dedication.

A PhD normally follows a Master's or Honours degree or extensive relevant experience.


The PhD thesis is a major piece of work that demonstrates your ability to carry out independent research. It must make a significant new contribution to the knowledge or understanding of your field of study.

Your thesis must meet international standards of excellence—it is assessed by three examiners, one from Victoria University of Wellington, one from another New Zealand university, and one from an overseas university. This is followed by an oral examination (or viva).


Supervision for PhD research is offered in most subject areas taught at Victoria University of Wellington.

Other doctoral degrees

The Doctor of Education (EdD) is usually completed part time and involves two years of coursework in preparation for your thesis.

Victoria University of Wellington also offers the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA). This degree has a year of preliminary coursework, followed by supervised research or creative practice.

Our Wellington Faculty of Health offers three professional doctorates: the Doctor of Health (DHlth), Doctor of Midwifery (DMid), and Doctor of Nursing (DNurs).

Application deadlines

There are three application deadlines—1 March, 1 July, and 1 November each year. Applications must be completed online and before the deadline to be considered. The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research website has detailed information on applying for a PhD programme and the Wellington Doctoral Scholarships.

Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research

The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research (WFGR) has overall responsibility for the PhD programme. If you are interested in studying for a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington, go to the WFGR website for more information.

For any enquiries about PhD admission and enrolment, contact