Essential qualifications and skills

Find out what is required to undertake doctoral study at Victoria.

Prerequisite qualifications

Note that holding a prerequisite qualification does not guarantee you admission to the PhD programme at Victoria. Acceptance as a doctoral student will depend on your background and the availability of supervision in the area of your research interests.

New Zealand students

Before you can be admitted as a PhD candidate, you should normally either:

  • have obtained a first or second class pass in an Honours or Master's degree (this degree need not be in the subject area of your proposed research)
  • or be able to produce evidence of adequate training and ability.

Master's by thesis students enrolled at Victoria may also be able to upgrade to a PhD.

More about upgrading from Masters' by thesis to PhD.

International students

International students will be expected to have equivalent qualifications to those required of New Zealand students.

Students whose first language is not English must also meet the English language requirements below.

English language requirements

Victoria's English language requirements are strict and not negotiable.

If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English proficiency before you will be accepted as a PhD candidate. Requirements are:

  • TOEFL 575 with (preferably) a TWE of 5; or 237 on the computer-based test; or 90 on the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing; or
  • IELTS overall band of 6.5, no sub-score below 6; or
  • A minimum of two ratings of 5 and two ratings of 4 in the Victoria University English Proficiency Programme test;
  • Pearson Test of English, a score of 65 (with a communicative score of not less than 58).

Important qualities

In addition to formal qualifications and competence in English, various qualities will help ensure your success:

  • a strong interest in a substantial research project
  • self-discipline
  • persistence in the face of setbacks
  • willingness to respond effectively to advice and criticism
  • ability to work independently
  • willingness to work within the scholarly tradition
  • stable financial and personal circumstances
  • good writing ability.