Victoria University Of Wellington PhD

Our step-by-step guide will take you through the process of applying to do a PhD or named doctorate at Victoria University of Wellington.

Applicants to most doctoral programmes at Victoria University of Wellington should follow the instructions in this section, but some programmes may have additional requirements.

If you are currently studying for a Master’s thesis at Victoria University of Wellington, you may be able to upgrade from a Master’s to a PhD.

Application closing dates

You may submit an application at any time, but applications will only be considered three times each year—the three application deadlines are 1 March, 1 July and 1 November.

Your application must be completed by 4.30 pm (NZ time) on the deadline of your chosen application round. If your application or any required documentation is received after one of these cut-off points, you will need to import your application in the following application round. We strongly advise that you apply as early as possible.

These deadlines don’t apply to the International Institute of Modern Letters, which only considers applications once a year, 1 July.

How to apply

Applications for the November 2020 Round of Doctoral Admission and Scholarships are now open.

How to apply, step-by-step

Follow this guide to ensure your doctoral application is completed correctly.

Certified copies of official documents

Before you can be admitted as a doctoral student, you must supply us with certified paper copies of all official documents.

Incomplete applications

Your application will only be processed if all completed documentation, including references, is received by 4.30 pm (NZ) on the closing date of the application

Privacy of personal information

Your privacy is important. Understand how we protect the personal information you submit to us.

Studying for a PhD

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree represents the high point of academic achievement. It involves original and sustained research under academic supervision and demands considerable intellectual ability, academic rigour, self-discipline, and dedication.

A PhD normally follows a Master’s or Honours degree or extensive relevant experience.


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 University of Wellington, 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 University of Wellington.

Other doctoral degrees

The Doctor of Education (EdD) is studied part time and involves two years of coursework in preparation for your thesis.

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

Our Wellington Faculty of Health offers three professional doctorates: the Doctor of Health (DHlth)Doctor of Midwifery (DMid), and Doctor of Nursing (DNurs).

Application deadlines

There are three application deadlines—1 March1 July, and 1 November each year. Applications must be completed online and before the deadline to be considered. The Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research website has detailed information on applying for a PhD programme and the Wellington Doctoral Scholarships.

Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research

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

For any enquiries about PhD admission and enrolment, contact [email protected].