Study with us

Postgraduate students in chemistry are invited to apply to study with the world-class Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University.

Photograph of Juby Mathew working in a laboratory

The Ferrier Research Institute is proud to be part of Victoria University of Wellington. Victoria is ranked number one in New Zealand for research quality in both Biomedical Science and Chemistry.

We have 27 PhD-qualified staff on site, many of whom have international experience at prestigious institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge universities and Imperial College London.

As a postgraduate student you will have the opportunity to work alongside our internationally recognised leaders in carbohydrate and organic chemistry, solving real challenges in synthetic chemistry and structure elucidation.

You’ll also benefit from our close links with business that span a range of commercial industries—from pharmaceuticals to paint to pesticides. This exposure to commercial work means students often spend time in industry labs. This is a unique opportunity not normally available in the traditional university environment, and is particularly valuable experience for those who plan to work on, or with, commercial enterprises after they graduate.

Research study options

Master’s by thesis and PhD students often come to us to undertake a funded project based around our existing applied and fundamental research programmes. Students do real drug discovery work, make fundamental advances to science and many will see their products commercialised.

There is also flexibility for applicants who wish to pursue their own research interests. Students considering this should contact the Institute as early as possible to discuss their proposed topic and confirm appropriate supervision is available. While this option is not typically funded, students who are accepted are eligible to apply for Victoria University scholarships.

Chemists at the Ferrier Research Institute provide the primary supervision for students. Projects with a significant biological component may require additional co-supervisors from Victoria University, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research or other collaborating organisations.


Chemists at the Ferrier Research Institute provide the primary supervision for students, but projects with a significant biological component may require additional co-supervisors. These co-supervisors may be from Victoria University, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research or other collaborating organisations.

Research projects

Our current Master’s by thesis and PhD projects cover dendrimer chemistry, enzyme inhibitors, pharmaceutical manufacture and functional biopolymers.

Research projects with scholarships are listed on our website. If you are interested in applying for any of these, please contact the postgraduate co-ordinator to discuss your application.

Taught Master's in Drug Discovery and Development

The Master of Drug Discovery and Development (MDDD) is a one-year full-time taught Master’s, available to students who have an undergraduate degree in a relevant area, such as chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical science, pharmacology, or other relevant life science.

Research into drug discovery operates at the interface between the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering and biology. The course provides students with the skills required for employment in research organisations, Government agencies or companies involved with discovery, regulation, manufacture or commercialisation of therapeutics.

Students will attended lectures, tutorials, interactive seminars, and complete assignments as well as undertaking a research project.

Visiting students

Students enrolled in postgraduate research degrees at New Zealand and overseas universities are invited to apply to spend 3–12 months working at the Ferrier Research Institute.

Location and facilities

We are a fully equipped commercial and research laboratory, with a full range of chemical and analytical facilities. We are located on Victoria’s spacious Gracefield site and will be opening additional new laboratories at the Kelburn campus from June 2017.

Up to 20 students will be based at Gracefield, and up to 10 at Victoria’s Kelburn campus.

Find out more

Contact Dr Alison Daines, postgraduate coordinator at the Ferrier Research Institute, to apply and for all enquiries.