How to apply for a doctoral degree , Hei tono tohu kairangi

Find out whether you meet the entry requirements for a PhD or professional doctorate at Massey, how to find a supervisor in your research area, and how to apply.

You can apply for a doctoral programme anytime during the year. Follow these steps to submit your application.

1, Check you meet the entry requirements

To be accepted into a PhD or professional doctorate at Massey, you need to meet the academic and English-language entry requirements.

Academic entry requirements

You need to have the following to apply for a doctoral degree.

  • An honours or master’s degree with first or second class (division one) honours in a relevant subject or equivalent qualification. Typically, this is about the same as 75 per cent or a B+ average. If you have an international qualification, Admissions with Equivalent Status (AES) will be used to assess your qualification.
  • A completed research project, dissertation, or thesis of at least 30 credits or a minimum of 25 per cent of your honours or master’s degree, with a B+ or higher grade.
  • Two academic references, including one from your research supervisor for your honours or master’s degree. Referees should not be personal friends or relatives. It’s a good idea to contact your referees before you submit your application and follow up to make sure they’ve received the request.

English language entry requirements

You also need to meet the English language requirements for study at Massey. You need one of the following:

  • to be from, or have completed your qualifying degree from, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States
  • an Academic International English Language Test (IELTS) score of at least 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
  • an internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) score of at least 90 overall and 20 in writing.

All English evidence is valid for 2 years from the date of completion.

Find out how to register for an IELTS test

Learn about taking a TOEFL test

Other entry requirements

For professional doctorates, there may be other requirements such as relevant work experience.

For PhDs in the creative or performing arts, you may need to submit a portfolio of your creative work with your application.

Find out more on the relevant qualification page.

Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych)

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

2, Research your area of interest

Before you apply for a doctoral degree, you need to think about what you want to research. Remember your research will be a big part of your life for the next three to four years – so it’s important to choose something that you’re passionate about and that will hold your interest.

Take these steps to come up with a research topic.

  • Think about what kind of doctorate you want to do.
  • Choose a topic you’re knowledgeable about and that fits with your long-term career goals.
  • Read other theses and research on the topic. You can find theses and research by Massey staff and students at Massey Research Online.

3, Find a supervisor

After you’ve thought about the topic you want to focus on, you need to find a supervisor. Your supervisor’s research and skills should match your area of interest.

Search for supervisors

When you find someone who you think might be a good fit, it’s a good idea to:

  • look at other students they have supervised
  • read their published research
  • see if they have any current projects listed.

Then, contact them to discuss your ideas. You should email them and set up a meeting. You want to find out if they’re available, interested and willing to supervise you.

To act as a supervisor, a Massey staff member needs to have relevant experience and be engaged in professional development. Massey’s Supervisor Accreditation ensures you will have qualified supervisors for your research.

4, Get your documents ready

Make sure you have the following documents ready before you apply:

  • transcripts for all your tertiary qualifications, including those you haven’t completed
  • graduation certificates for all your tertiary qualifications
  • your CV, including references to any publications you have
  • a portfolio of your creative work if you’re applying for a PhD in the creative or performing arts
  • evidence that you meet the English language requirements
  • evidence of your citizenship.

5, Pay the AES fee

If your honours or master’s degree is from a university outside New Zealand, you will need to pay the AES fee. This will be refunded when you enrol in your qualification.

Pay the AES fee

6, Complete the online application

Once you’ve completed all the steps above, you’re ready to put in your application. Go to the page for the doctoral degree you want to apply for and click ‘Apply now’. Follow the instructions to apply.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych)

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

After you apply

After you submit your online application, you will be able to track the progress of your application in your Student Portal.

If you are successful in your application, we will send you an Offer of Place. After you have accepted your Offer of Place, you are ready to enrol. If you are an international student you need to pay your fees and apply for a visa before enrolling.

To enrol, you need to:

  • show us your original documents – your Offer of Place will tell you what these are
  • complete your application for doctoral enrolment.

Once your enrolment is complete, you become a current student and have access to university resources including the library, support services, learning and development opportunities and our doctoral community network.

Contact us

If you have any questions about doctoral study, contact us. Include your student ID number if you’re a current student.

Contact us