PhD and other doctoral degrees

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

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Studying for a PhD

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is normally the highest academic qualification available within a university. It involves original and sustained research under academic supervision and demands considerable intellectual ability, academic rigour, self-discipline and dedication.


A PhD usually takes at least three years of full time study. At the end you will present your findings in a thesis.


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, 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.

Other doctoral degrees

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

What do you need to apply?

To enrol for the PhD you must meet the prescribed academic standard and be accepted by a School.

  • Before admission, you must have completed a Bachelor's or Master's degree with First or upper Second Class Honours, or a Master's degree at an equivalent standard at a New Zealand university.
  • Alternatively, you may enrol initially in a Master's degree and then be allowed to transfer to the PhD.
  • In exceptional circumstances, you may be permitted to enrol without meeting these criteria if you have extensive relevant experience.

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 Faculty of Graduate Research website has detailed information on:

Faculty of Graduate Research

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

For any enquiries about PhD admission and enrolment, contact