Studying a PhD in New Zealand - All You Need to Know

Last Updated: 31 October 2023 NZ Course Guide PhD

Although planning for a PhD in New Zealand can be challenging, it is worth considering if you want to advance your career globally. Considered one of the top educational destinations for research due to its structured course framework and intensive thesis, studying in New Zealand perfectly combines excellent research opportunities, affordable fees, and unique extracurricular activities.

Why study for a PhD in New Zealand?

A PhD for international students in New Zealand is beneficial for the following reasons -

  1. Doctorate programs in New Zealand provide excellent research opportunities, and students can work with leading researchers and academics in their field, contributing to cutting-edge projects. 
  2. PhD students in NZ have the opportunity to work full-time throughout their studies. 
  3. The country provides affordable tuition fees with various scholarships and grants. 
  4. All eight major universities in the country have public regulation, accreditation, and funding by the government. 
  5. New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. It offers a high-quality life, a sound healthcare system, and a clean environment.

Learn more below if you are considering pursuing a PhD in New Zealand. To have any further questions answered, contact SI-New Zealand today for a free consultation.

phd in new zealand

Overview of PhD in New Zealand

A PhD is the highest level of academic qualification that one can achieve. It is also known as a doctoral research degree or doctorate in philosophy. Here is an overview of the PhD degree in NZ. 


Doctor of Philosophy


3 to 4 years

Type of Degree


Mode of study

Full-Time and Part-Time

Popular Specializations

Finance, Management, Health Sciences, Accountancy, Architecture, and Engineering.

Popular Universities

University of Auckland, Massey University, Auckland University of Technology, University of Waikato, and University of Otago

Average fees

$10,000 to 40,000

Top Universities for a PhD in New Zealand

A doctorate from an NZ university is recognized globally, identifying you as an expert in a specialty. The top universities to study PhD in New Zealand are -

1. University of Auckland

The University of Auckland ranks in the top 1% of universities globally regarding research. It allows students to perform independent and original research supervised by experienced researchers and academic experts. 

The doctorate graduates can showcase their work at local and international conferences and are encouraged to network and collaborate with various experts. The University of Auckland offers PhDs in more than 150 subjects, which include accounting, international business, environmental science, social work, etc. 

2. University of Otago, Wellington

The university is committed to providing doctoral-level programs and training of the highest caliber in public health and biomedical fields. All the departments are research-active, with more than 20 well-established research groups. PhD at Otago University involves in-depth research, leading to the generation of a thesis. 

After completing their doctorate at the university, students can gain specialist knowledge in their area of interest, positively impact our society, economy, and environment, and achieve an advantage in a competitive market job market. The university offers more than 200 doctoral scholarships per year. 

3. Auckland University of Technology

PhD at AUT offers doctoral programs in various disciplines, such as arts and humanities. The degree suits students who want to pursue an academic or research career or a senior position in the public or private sector. Auckland University of Technology holds 1st position for global research impact and international outlook. 

Popular PhD Specializations in New Zealand

New Zealand is a hub for world-class universities, state-of-the-art educational infrastructure, and excellent research opportunities. So, if you are planning to study for a PhD in New Zealand, here are some top courses that you can consider -



Health and Medical Sciences

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Medical
  • Physics Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences
  • Doctor of Clinical Dentistry


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Law

Business Studies

  • PhD in International Business
  • PhD in Marketing
  • PhD in Business Administration

Engineering Science

  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering
  • PhD in Materials and Processing
  • PhD in Civil Engineering
  • PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering. 

Documents Required to Study a PhD

International students applying for a doctorate must meet the eligibility for a PhD in New Zealand and submit the documents mentioned by the authorities. They must include -

Eligibility Requirements for a PhD

Here are some general guidelines and requirements for studying for a New Zealand PhD. 

Application Process

Universities in New Zealand accept students based on their academic scores and details provided in the online/offline application form for PhD programs. Students must plan their journey to NZ universities and colleges smartly to benefit their careers. Here is the step-by-step process to study PhD in New Zealand -

  1. Complete in-depth research and shortlist the universities you are interested in
  2. Make a list of the deadlines for PhD courses and application dates of the New Zealand universities 
  3. Take standardized tests on time before the admission process. IELTS is the most accepted in NZ. The scores for IELTS must be around 6.5 or above, and TOEFL score above 95
  4. Keep all the documents specific to the PhD 
  5. Visit the university website and apply for the course. Apply for scholarships and mention the required details
  6. Prepare documents required for student visa application and apply for it

Cost of Studying a PhD in New Zealand

The cost of studying PhD in New Zealand is low compared to other countries. The average cost for PhD studies ranges from $10,000 to $40,000 per annum, depending on the type of course, university, and study duration. The living expenses can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per month.

PhD Scholarships

New Zealand universities and the government offer scholarships. Popular scholarships include  -

Job Opportunities after Studying for a PhD in New Zealand

A PhD in New Zealand can open doors to many career opportunities because the student becomes an expert in a specific field. PhD graduates in New Zealand can work full-time in various sectors, like Law, Humanities, Writing, and Investment Banking. The average salary pay for international students in NZ is $27,000 annually. 

Job Profile

Average Salary

Research scientist


Professor (Higher Education)


Chief Executive Officer


Software Engineer


Social Worker


Students can work in New Zealand for up to three years with a post-study visa. Part-time students can earn up to $20/hour. However, this may vary depending on your experience and the type of work you’ve taken.

Study a PhD in New Zealand

If you want to learn more about studying for a PhD in New Zealand, arrange a free consultation with SI-New Zealand today.

PhD in New Zealand FAQ

What are popular New Zealand PhD programs?

New Zealand has many universities that offer various doctoral and research programs. Some popular PhD programs in New Zealand include education and arts, engineering sciences, finance, and management. 

How much does a PhD cost in New Zealand?

A PhD in New Zealand is affordable compared to other universities. The average course fee is around $ 6,500 - $10,000 annually. 

Is there any age limit for PhD in New Zealand?

There is no age limit to study for a PhD in New Zealand. 

What is the expected salary of a PhD graduate in New Zealand?

The average salary for international students in NZ is $27,000 annually. For example, the average salary of a data scientist is $87,073. Part-time students can earn up to $20/hour. However, this may vary depending on your experience and the type of work you’ve done.


  • Auckland University of Technology
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Otago

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