Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the University's highest qualification. The degree is undertaken by research only and leads to advanced academic and theoretical knowledge in a specialist area.

The PhD is suitable for students who want to pursue an academic or research career, or a senior position in the public or private sector. Doctoral studies present you with the opportunity to generate new ideas that can benefit business and society. You will make a significant original contribution to knowledge and understanding in your field of study and meet recognised international standards for your work.

AUT's academic supervisors are recognised world-class researchers in their fields who have the expert knowledge to guide and advise you throughout your PhD.

Minimum entry requirements

Must normally have completed the following in a discipline appropriate to the proposed research:

  • Master’s degree with honours OR
  • Bachelor’s degree with honours (equivalent to 4 years of study)

The degree must normally have been gained at the standard of first class or second class (first division) honours from this University or a recognised equivalent.

The degree should include advanced learning in research, execution of a research project and a written report on the research.

International student entry requirements

English language requirements

Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 overall with 6.5 in Writing and no band less than 6.0

All other study areas

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 overall with 7.0 in Writing and no band less than 6.0

English language requirements

Other requirements

Acceptance is subject to the availability of staff for supervision, prior research preparation and appropriate facilities.

How to apply for the Doctor of Philosophy

  1. Contact the Graduate Research School and provide the information required for assessing an application
  2. The Graduate Research School will assess your eligibility and forward to the relevant faculty to confirm possible research areas and supervisors
  3. Where the faculty confirms the availability of resources, including supervision, they will request for you to complete the formal research proposal and application for enrolment
  4. Once the research proposal is confirmed by the faculty, it will be sent to the Graduate Research School for approval and to issue an Offer of Place

Preparing a research proposal

Prospective PhD applicants are required to prepare a formal research proposal, specifying the field of research and a general research question you wish to investigate.

PGR2: Admission to a doctoral programme

PGR2 Guidelines for the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law

PGR2 Guidelines for the Faculty of Culture and Society

Information we need to assess your application

We require the following information:

  • Faculty and/or field you wish to conduct your study in
  • Academic transcripts
  • Grading scale for postgraduate qualification
  • Degree certificates (undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • Title of the thesis/dissertation/research project
  • 1-2 page document (maximum) outlining your proposed research project
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • If English is not your first language you need to provide evidence of English language proficiency – IELTS (Academic) test results or recognised equivalent. If your postgraduate study was completed in English within three years, this may be waived

Once the required information is received, we will forward your enquiry to the relevant faculty who will communicate to you about the outcome of your application, possible research areas and supervisors.

Requirements for specific subjects

Art & design

We require a portfolio (between 10-15 annotated images as a pdf or PowerPoint file or a URL for a website)


Provide evidence of completing the courses Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics at postgraduate level. Course syllabus or similar is required for assessment of comparability of those courses to those taken in New Zealand

Doctoral students will attain the knowledge, values and attributes to make significant contributions to their professional communities and societies through further high-quality research, and developments.

Stage 1

You put together a proposal that critically reviews work done in your area of research. This requires a suitable research methodology and a timeframe for completion of the degree.

You are expected to publish one or more papers for a reputed international conference in your chosen area of research.

Stage 2

Once you have completed your research proposal, you refine your design, collect data and conduct your research as appropriate.

Data is collected and analysed and the results are published at international conferences. A journal publication is also encouraged at this point.

Stage 3

The first step in the final stage of the PhD is finalising the data collection and analysis. You then write your PhD thesis and submit it to the supervisor for feedback. It could take two or three drafts before the thesis is ready for submission and examination.

Skills you will develop

The outcomes for graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy are outlined in the Graduate Profile below.

Graduate Profile

It is expected that graduates with a Doctor of Philosophy will have gained the necessary skills and qualifications to follow an academic or research career.

Alternatively, your research topic may lead you to a position of expertise in your chosen field.

The opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills you gain through a PhD will be extensive, both in industry and academia.

Quick facts
Programme code:
3 to 6 years
City Campus
North Campus
South Campus
Any time
  • This represents the approximate tuition fee based on a full-time workload of 120 points in 2019. The exact tuition fee will depend on papers selected and may exceed this figure.
  • Fees are subject to change year to year, if you are planning for beyond 2019, the tuition fee may vary from the figure stated.
  • There may also be other fees and charges you need to pay. Learn more about fees to study at AUT
  • This represents the approximate tuition fee based on a full-time workload of 120 points in 2019.
  • Fees are subject to change year to year, if you are planning for beyond 2019, the tuition fee may vary from the figure stated.
  • The fee shown is for candidates conducting the majority of their study within NZ. Where the majority of studies is conducted outside NZ an international tuition fee of $36,950 will apply.
  • There may also be other fees and charges you need to pay. Learn more about fees to study at AUT
  • International students' tuition fees reflect the full cost of tuition. Domestic students' tuition fees are less due to a proportion of the tuition fees being funded by the New Zealand Government.

Scholarships at AUT

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.