Doing a PhD at Victoria

Learn about PhD study at Victoria, and decide whether it’s right for you.

A PhD involves three to four years of independent and original research under the guidance of a supervisor. The concrete output will be a thesis of up to 100,000 words in length which aims to advance existing knowledge.

The first year

If you undertake a PhD at Victoria, you will spend the first six to twelve months writing a full research proposal. During this time, you will be 'provisionally registered' for the degree. Once your proposal is approved, you will be fully registered and may proceed with your research and the writing of your thesis.


At Victoria, the PhD does not normally involve coursework. There is, however, provision for you to do some coursework during provisional registration to support your research. You won't pay extra fees.


Your research will be conducted within one of the University's schools. The school, generally made up of several programmes (subject areas), is responsible for ensuring that you have access to suitable supervision and research facilities.

Living in Wellington

Unless you need to undertake research away from Victoria, you will be expected to be resident in Wellington and regularly present on campus during your studies.

Submission and examination

You will be expected to submit your thesis for examination within three to four years. Your thesis will then be read by three expert examiners. You will also be required to defend your thesis in an oral examination which you are expected to attend in person, in Wellington.

Deciding to apply

A PhD involves a serious commitment of time and energy, but it also provides exciting challenges and rewards.

The links in the menu on the left will help you decide whether a PhD is the right option for you and will guide you through the application process.