School of Government

PhD Programme

If you are considering doctoral study, we offer the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), with applications made centrally via the Faculty of Graduate Research.

The PhD programme is a selective, moderate-size programme for exceptionally able scholars.

The Key Benefits of the PhD

We believe the PhD, both as a process of learning, and as an internationally recognized credential, offers numerous intrinsic and extrinsic benefits, including:

  • The opportunity to make a significant contribution to both scholarship and practice
  • The rewards of pursuing a topic of deep personal interest to you, building on your prior education and experience through an individualised course of study
  • The development of skills in research, analysis, theorising, methodology and communication
  • The opportunity to develop close networks with the School's interdisciplinary academic members and the other PhD candidates
  • Inclusion in the academic life of a vibrant School, which includes the Health Services Research Centre, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, and teaching and research programmes in Public Policy and Public Management.

Who is the PhD for?

Our current PhD cohort includes 19 women and 6 men, many of whom combine half-time PhD study with work and family obligations. Our 'typical' student is older and more experienced than those in many discipline-based PhD programmes. Our students are passionate about the real-world application of their work.

We look for candidates who:

  • Have a solid preparation for advanced study through prior academic training and/or significant, relevant work experience, often at senior levels
  • Appreciate the challenges of and gains to be achieved from intensive scholarship, and can commit to striving for excellence in their work
  • Have developed a feasible and well-scoped plan for the doctoral thesis
  • Have an interest in undertaking doctoral research in an area of the School’s expertise.

2014 PhD Research Topics

The School of Government has an expanding PhD Programme, offering opportunity for graduates with Master's-level degrees to undertake doctoral-level research.

Research in the School of Government reflects the School’s distinctive mission to build public sector capability by advancing and disseminating knowledge in the broad fields of public policy, public management and governance. Our roles and relationships with the New Zealand government and public service (and others) foster our emphasis on building linkages between theory and practice and promoting the exchange of ideas on key policy and management issues with local, regional, national, international or comparative focus (especially trans-Tasman and Asia Pacific).

Individual research expertise in the School spans a wide set of interests. Honours, Master’s and doctoral expressions of research interest are encouraged in the following areas:

  • Government and governance

strategic management of public service reform agendas; collaborative governance; the community and voluntary sector; global governance; the policy process

  • E-government

ICT governance; regulation and governance of privacy; network governance; social marketing; online identity behaviour; social media and public engagement

  • Leadership and integrity

integrative leadership innovation; anti-corruption and ethics systems; codes of conduct; Pacific Islands policy leadership; executive leadership; ethical leadership; initiative-taking; New Zealand’s involvement in the UN

  • Effectiveness, sustainability and wellbeing

studies in selected policy domains (such as climate change, child poverty, tourism, human development); policy capability; gender, poverty and economic geography; social enterprise; place-based leadership

  • Political and management interactions

minister–official relationships; prime ministers and advisors; political staff in executive government; workplace culture; human resource management;

  • Health systems and services

evaluation of service reform; integrated care; contracting and accountability; health evaluation; hospital productivity; health behaviours

  • Policy design and methodologies

participatory policy analysis; evidence-based policy making; wellbeing indicators; Q methodology; policy implementation; policy experimentation; case-based learning

Learn more about current PhD Research topics taken by students.

For more information

For more information about any of the topics, or to discuss an idea that may not fit directly in these areas, please contact:

Emeritus Professor Rowena Cullen
Director, Graduate Research Programmes
Phone: (04) 463 5712
Email: rowena.cullen@vuw.ac.nz

Sophia Zhao
Administrator
Phone: (04) 463 5710
Email: sophia.zhao@vuw.ac.nz