Faculty of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Here you will find out all you need to know about studying for a PhD at the Faculty of Arts at The University of Auckland.
PhD students conduct advanced and original research and present it as a thesis. An oral examination completes the degree. You can carry out research in any area within the Faculty of Arts, provided that supervision is available and your research proposal and supervision arrangements are approved by the University.
The PhD does not include coursework. However as part of your provisional year you may be required to complete any coursework considered necessary for you to complete the degree successfully.
Although you have the guidance of a supervisor, you are expected to manage your own PhD, and your research will be largely self-determined. As you shift from student to researcher you will be able to actively participate in an international research culture. If you are interested in an academic career, this is a time to develop a teaching and publishing profile.
Timeframe and residency
A PhD requires a significant commitment. Students are expected to study full-time, and typically complete the PhD within three to four years. However there is provision for part-time study if your circumstances require it.
In exceptional circumstances off-campus registration allows for students to reside outside Auckland while pursuing their PhD.
Jointly awarded PhDs
As part of the Universitas 21 international consortium, The University of Auckland can enable doctoral degrees that are jointly awarded by the University and another partner university.
The first 12 months of doctoral research are provisional. To continue in the PhD you must achieve the goals set for your provisional year and have a full research (thesis) proposal approved.
Goals for the first (provisional) year
The following goals are compulsory for all PhD students:
- completion of a full research proposal, normally within the first six months
- completion of a substantial piece of written work, eg, a literature review
- presentation of the proposal or work-in-progress to an appropriate forum, eg, a seminar, to the satisfaction of supervisors.
- approval of the full research proposal by the appropriate departmental / faculty postgraduate committee
- ethics approval(s) / permissions obtained for the research if required
- attendance at an Induction Day.
Other goals might include developing your methodology and working out a provisional thesis structure.
In your first year you must submit a full research proposal for your PhD. This establishes your central research question or topic, and provides a guideline for your research programme.
The full research proposal must be approved by your department and the University's Board of Graduate Studies before you can move beyond provisional status.
For guidance on preparing your research proposal:
- seek advice from your supervisor and your department’s Graduate or PhD Adviser
- refer to the University’s Doctoral Handbook - Part II: Phases of the Doctoral Degree
- attend one of the workshops offered by the Doctoral Skills Programme.
The PhD thesis consists of not more than 100,000 words.
A PhD thesis is expected to:
- make an original contribution to knowledge or understanding in its field
- meet internationally recognised standards
- demonstrate knowledge of the literature relevant to the subject and the field/s to which the subject belongs, and the ability to exercise critical and analytical judgment of that literature
- be satisfactory in its methodology, in the quality and coherence of its written expression, and in its scholarly presentation and format.
Information and guidance
Formatting and submitting your thesis
You must meet University requirements regarding how you format and bind your PhD thesis. These are set out in:
The Guide to Theses and Dissertations
Previous PhD theses are held in:
The University of Auckland Library