Doctor of Philosophy
The UC Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-only degree carried out under expert supervision and using world-class facilities. At UC you can complete a PhD in over 70 subjects, joining over 1,000 students from more than 60 nations.
A PhD involves extensive, sustained and original research and study in your chosen subject, with the results being presented in a thesis that will contribute to intellectual knowledge of the field. It is a mark of intellectual ability, self-discipline and commitment. A PhD prepares you for a number of careers, including as an academic.
- In addition to expert supervision UC provides all doctoral students with opportunities to gain transferable skills in areas including communication of research, networking, career planning, databases, statistical analysis, ethics, professional practice, and cultural awareness.
- UC has a number of unique research facilities, collections, resources and field stations; many of which are renowned globally. Please see the research website to find out more about these resources.
- The University has a thriving postgraduate research community which includes clubs and associations that students can join for social interaction and support. See the postgraduate student page for links.
- To find out more about the research interests of staff, start by searching the database in the UC Research Profile. UC Research Profile provides information about individual researchers, the projects they are working on, the research groups they belong to, the specialist equipment that they use for research and their affiliations.
- There are many benefits for international students studying towards a PhD in New Zealand, such as the possibility to work while studying, apply for a work visa once graduated, pay domestic student fees, and school and work benefits for your partner and children.
The minimum requirement to apply for doctoral study is that you should have completed, or be in the process of completing, a research-focused honours degree or master's degree.
You are also required to meet UC's English language requirements.
Specific entry requirements
Enrolment in a PhD requires completion of a research-focused honours or master’s degree at first-class or second-class division 1 level (or equivalent qualifications). PhD candidates must contact a potential supervisor before applying. Information about the research interests of academic staff (supervisors) can be found on the relevant department website or the UC Research Profile.
Applicants with qualifications from outside New Zealand must have been granted admission to the University. Our admissions team, in consultation with the host department, look at your qualifications and transcripts to ensure that you have the background required to complete a PhD. It is possible that you may be required to complete preparatory courses prior to or after admission into a PhD programme.
In exceptional circumstances applicants without the typical academic background but who can demonstrate the ability to pursue a PhD may be admitted at the discretion of the Dean of Postgraduate Research.
How to apply
Find out more about how to apply for PhD and Doctoral degrees.
Candidates may begin a PhD on the first day of any month of the year and regard study and research as a full-time occupation throughout the calendar year.
The minimum period of enrolment for a full-time candidate is 36 months and the maximum period 48 months; most PhD students take between three and three-and-a-half years. There are provisions for candidates to apply for part-time study, in which case the minimum period is 55 months and they should complete their thesis within 74 months.
Subject areas for the Doctor of Philosophy are:
- Antarctic Studies
- Art History
- Art Theory
- Biological Sciences
- Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Computational and Applied Mathematical Sciences
- Computer Science
- Cultural Studies
- Disaster Risk and Resilience
- Earthquake Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Engineering Geology
- Engineering Management
- Environmental Science
- European Studies
- Evolutionary Biology*
- Fire Engineering
- Forest Engineering
- Health Sciences
- Human-Animal Studies
- Human Interface Technology
- Human Services
- Information Systems
- Māori and Indigenous Studies
- Mathematical Physics
- Mathematics and Philosophy
- Mechanical Engineering
- Media and Communication
- Medical Physics
- Medical Physics (Clinical)
- Pacific Studies
- Plant Biology*
- Political Science and International Relations
- Science Education
- Social Work
- Speech and Language Sciences
- Te Reo Māori
- Transportation Engineering
- Water Resource Management
For full requirements see the Regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy.
For study planning help contact contact the Dean of Postgraduate Research or the Postgraduate Office:
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800