Doctor of Philosophy

This is the premier research degree and is a critical part of the career of any professional scientist. The degree normally takes 3 years of full-time study. It is the highest degree awarded by the University for research that is carried out under the supervision of staff members.

PhD Benefits

  • Nationally and internationally recognised degree.
  • Supervision from academic staff who are leaders in their field.
  • Can enrol at any time of the year.
  • Highest degree awarded by the University for research.
  • Specialised equipment laboratories.

Candidates are required to make an original contribution to the field of study by empirical investigation, the formulation of theories, or the innovative reinterpretation of known data and established ideas. The research is normally written up as a thesis. The thesis is required to demonstrate methods of research and scholarship; display intellectual independence; present arguments, findings and conclusions; make a substantial contribution to knowledge in a particular field and may include published papers or those that are intended for publication.


Research programmes exist across a wide range of disciplines, supported by the primary research interests of our staff. Visit our extensive list of staff profiles to view their current areas of research.

Practical Experience

Up-to-date laboratories, well maintained equipment and highly trained technical staff are crucial components of our research infrastructure. The Faculty has a rigorous equipment replacement and upgrade policy, and an ongoing programme of laboratory refurbishments. This strategy has helped create world class facilities for science and engineering research.

Entry requirements

Please refer to the relevant regulations in the University of Waikato Calendar for official details of admission and degree requirements, and more.

If you do not hold the appropriate qualifications required for direct entry, you may be eligible to apply for a pathway via other University qualifications. Contact the Faculty for advice on the possibilities.

Degree Structure

2-4 years 

The PhD will normally take three years of full-time study to complete, and may not exceed eight calendar years from the initial date of enrolment if undertaken on a part-time basis. The PhD is acquired solely by the submission of a thesis and can be completed in a minimum of two years.

Contact us

To enrol in a higher degree with our Faculty, you must first find a supervisor from our staff. Visit the University of Waikato Experts File, or browse our staff listings to find a potential supervisor. Once you have been in contact with your potential supervisor, and discussion between applicant and academic result in agreed supervision, please contact the Faculty Office.