PhDs and other research degrees

Complete your research qualification with us and work with leading researchers. We offer postgraduate degrees in over 120 different subject areas.

Victoria University of Wellington is New Zealand’s number one university for intensity of high-quality research (2018 Performance-Based Research Fund)—there’s no better place to gain your PhD or research degree.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) represents the highest level of academic qualification offered by the University. It is based on original and independent research carried out under academic supervision.

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

All PhD candidates work under the direct supervision of leading researchers; generally at the University but sometimes at external research institutes. We also allow distance enrolment with prior approval—conditions apply.

You can study towards your PhD in any subject area that the University offers—or you can forge your own links between subjects with original interdisciplinary research.

The minimum time for completion of a PhD is three years of full-time study. Most candidates are full time, but part-time enrolment may be possible.

Professional doctorates

Professional doctorates are available only in the disciplines listed below. They have restricted entry.

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The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) requires either substantial performance or substantial composition experience. It can be taken part time or full time.

Students who do not meet these restricted categories should instead apply for a PhD in the appropriate discipline.

Doctor of Musical Arts

Take your creative music studies to the highest professional level with a doctoral degree in Performance or Composition.

Doctor of Education

Extend your expertise and lead innovative thinking in education with a professional doctorate.

Doctor of Health

Become a leader in health theory, practice and policy. Make a difference in health settings in New Zealand with original, applied research.

Doctor of Midwifery

Develop and grow your leadership in midwifery. Enhance your career and make a difference with original, applied research through a Doctor of Midwifery.

Doctor of Nursing

Develop your leadership in nursing. Build on your career and make a difference in health settings with original, applied research with a Doctor of Nursing.

Master’s degrees

Find out what Master’s research degrees are available in your subject area.

  • Architecture and design

    The Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation is a leading centre for research in architecture, building science and design in New Zealand.

  • Arts and humanities

    Be part of the vibrant and stimulating culture of arts and humanities research in the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Business and government

    Research at Wellington School of Business and Government contributes to more effective government policy and better business practice throughout New Zealand.

  • Education

    Research in the Wellington Faculty of Education is focused on improving policy and practice across the education sector.

  • Engineering

    Complete your research degree at the Wellington Faculty of Engineering—join a school with an international reputation in computer and electronic engineering.

  • Health

    The Wellington Faculty of Health provides innovation in health teaching and research, with the aim of improving the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

  • Law

    Join the law school ranked top in New Zealand for the quality of its research, and study in the heart of the capital city’s legal and political district.

  • Science

    Join one of New Zealand’s top research institutions—at the Wellington Faculty of Science you’ll be part of a lively environment fostering world-leading research

Explore scholarship options available

Find out about different research scholarships that may be open to you by selecting your study-level, subject area or personal characteristics.

Search for scholarships

Postgraduate qualifications

The University offers a range of postgraduate qualifications ranging from postgraduate certificates to doctoral degrees.

Explore postgraduate options