PhD in English

The PhD is an opportunity to engage in advanced research. This research can be carried out in any area within the Faculty of Arts, provided that supervision is available and the research proposal and supervision arrangements are approved by the University. The PhD is by thesis only. It consists of supervised research work culminating in a thesis of approximately 80,000 words. Students meet regularly with supervisors to discuss research and writing in progress. In the first 'provisional' year of registration PhD students must meet the goals established for that year.

Research opportunities

Research areas include, but are not limited to:

  • New Zealand Literature
  • Maori and Pacific literature
  • Settlement studies
  • Postcolonial and Global literatures in English
  • Medieval and early modern literature
  • Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
  • Eighteenth Century Literature
  • Nineteenth-century literature
  • Modernist and Contemporary literature
  • American Literature
  • Irish literature
  • Poetry
  • Drama
  • The Novel
  • Writing studies
  • Creative writing

Staff in English, Drama and Writing Studies have individual specialist research expertise in the following:

  • Women’s writing and Gender studies
  • narrative theory
  • literary and cultural theory
  • indigenous studies
  • evolution and literature
  • children’s literature
  • popular fiction
  • psychoanalysis and literature


The PhD is expected to be completed in three or four full-time years, although it may be possible to complete on a part-time basis.


The usual requirement is a master's degree with Honours (First Class, or Second Class, First Division) from The University of Auckland, or an approved equivalent qualification. You must also have demonstrated an ability to pursue doctoral level research. All candidates must submit a research proposal and obtain registration.