Doctor of Health Science

The Doctor of Health Science fulfils today's industry needs, enabling health professionals to pursue research that is directly relevant to their workplace. AUT is the only university in New Zealand to offer the Doctor of Health Science.

The Doctor of Health Science is designed to challenge. You explore a specialist area of interest, contribute to the body of knowledge in your field, and advance your career prospects. This degree is an innovative combination of taught courses and a research project investigating your own field of professional practice.

Explore our research expertise

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

If you’re interested in applying to study this research degree email first to assess your eligibility for the programme.

Browse research expertise

Download programme guides

Applications are welcome at all times during the year.

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

Minimum entry requirements

Must have completed the following in a specialisation 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 have a standard equivalent to first class or second class (first division) honours.

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


A minimum of five years’ professional experience in the specific area of study

English language requirements

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

English language requirements

How to apply for the Doctor of Health Science

  1. It is expected that a candidate will meet with the Programme Leader Duncan Reid about suitability of the programme and to organise a supervisor.
  2. Apply to gain entry to the programme and provide a current CV and transcripts, showing evidence of postgraduate qualifications and research capability (like publications). This will be assessed to ascertain eligibility for entry to this doctoral programme
  3. Link with your supervisor to work on and gain approval of your research proposal
  4. Once the research proposal, qualifications and practice experience have been approved by the faculty, this will be sent to the Graduate Research School for approval and to issue an Offer of Place.

Coursework and thesis

You need to complete three courses (HEAL910, HEAL911 and HEAL912) over three semesters (part-time) followed by a thesis component, which you should complete within two years full-time or four years part-time.

Preparing a research proposal

The three courses in the Doctor of Health Science are designed to help you prepare the research proposal for your thesis. For admission we simply require an idea of your likely area of interest, and leanings towards which research approach. This enables us to link you with a suitable supervisor. Students within the Doctor of Health Science often change and refine their thinking once in the programme.

Admission to a doctoral programme

Information we require 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 3 years, this may be waived
  • Evidence of a minimum of five years’ professional experience in your specific area of research

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.

The Doctor of Health Science is a combination of 120 points from courses and a research thesis of 240 points.

A distinguishing feature of this doctoral degree is the clear focus on practice and on research that can inform professional practice. Students are encouraged to build collaborative relationships with health system managers, policy makers and practice experts while going through the planning, enacting and dissemination phases of their research project.

You provide a full research proposal when you're close to completing the coursework courses, before you start the thesis course.

Courses you need to complete

Practice as a health professional in New Zealand is governed by legislation and a number of ‘Responsible Authorities’ (such as the NZ Psychologist Board, Physiotherapy Board and the Nursing Council who register practitioners). Overseas qualified health professionals who wish to practise in New Zealand should communicate directly with the relevant Responsible Authority. Qualifications recognised for professional registration at AUT are undergraduate; study at postgraduate level is not considered equivalent recognition for NZ Board certification.

Quick facts
Programme code:
3 years full-time or 6 years part-time
South Campus
1 Jul 2024
3 Mar 2025
21 Jul 2025
If you start in February, you start by taking the course HEAL911. If you start in July, you start with the course HEAL910.

Key semester dates
Apply by:
1 Oct (for Feb start)
1 March (for July start)
$8,623 (for 120 points)
($7,477 tuition fees + $1146 student services levy)
This programme is not available for international students
  • Fees shown are based on a full-time workload for the points indicated next to the fee. The exact fee charged will depend on which courses you select at the time of enrolment.
  • Fees are subject to change year to year. If you are planning for study beyond the current year, fees may vary from those stated.
  • There may also be other fees and charges you need to pay.


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