Scholarship detail

Alpine Fault Seismology Masters by Thesis Scholarship


Stipend of $16,000 and domestic tuition fees for one year.

Tenure of award:

To be awarded for one year.

Closing dates for applications:

Until the scholarship has been awarded.

Number of awards offered:

One scholarship

History or background of award

Funding has been secured from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand for a one-year MSc scholarship focussed on low-frequency earthquakes and other seismological manifestations of plate boundary deformation in southern New Zealand.

Purpose of award

One of the biggest challenges in seismology is to understand how the intermittent, earthquake-producing behaviour of large faults is related to incremental, small-scale deformation processes that prime the earthquake machine. This scholarship relates to a larger research project focussing on recently detected slow tectonic deformation occurring near the Alpine Fault and on the deep structure of the Australia– Pacific plate boundary. The recipient of the scholarship will work with researchers at Victoria University of Wellington and collaborators in New Zealand and overseas to analyse the ambient seismic noise field and examine the shear-wave structure of the lithosphere beneath the Southern Alps. The MSc project will involve fieldwork and seismological data analysis.

Selection criteria

The successful applicant will have an undergraduate qualification equivalent to an Honours degree or MSc Part I in the New Zealand system in one or more of geophysics, mathematics, physics, geology, or a related field. Previous experience in computational data analysis and/or geoscientific fieldwork would also be advantageous but is not a requirement.

How do students apply?

Please contact the project leader Assoc Prof John Townend (, with any project-specific questions and before submitting an application. Questions related to the application procedure or enrolment at Victoria University of Wellington should be directed to theSchool of Geography, Environment, and Earth Sciences (
Application Form

Additional information

The tectonics group at Victoria University of Wellington has an established track record of research in seismology, tectonics, crustal geophysics, and structural geology. In the most recent Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) evaluation, Victoria University of Wellington was ranked first in New Zealand for research excellence and was also ranked first in New Zealand in Earth Sciences.

Decision makers

Applications will be considered by the project leader Assoc Prof John Townend in consultation with other scientists involved in the research.

How and when do students learn of the decision?

The scholarship will provide a stipend ofNZ$16,000 and meet the costs of domestic tuition feesfor one year. The recipient will be responsible for paying the student levy and for international insurance, if applicable. Students who are not citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand are required to pay international tuition fees (see

What conditions are attached to acceptance of this award?

Applications are welcome from New Zealand and overseas students (but note that students from most overseas countries will need to pay additional tuition fees). Students whose first language is not English should ensure prior to applying that they have met Victoria University of Wellington’s English language requirements, as listed below: • 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 • CAE grade B; or • a minimum of two ratings of 5 and two ratings of 4 in the Victoria University English Proficiency Programme test.

For guidelines, application forms and more information about this award contact:

Position: The Scholarships Office
Organisation: Victoria University of Wellington
Address: PO Box 600 Wellington 6140 New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 463 5557