PhD application process

The doctoral degree is the highest degree awarded at Massey University. It is a very demanding degree and the entry criteria to a programme reflect this.

The PhD application process to a doctoral study programme consists of two stages:

  1. Admission
  2. Enrolment

If your admission application is successful you will receive an Offer of Place. For international students you must accept this offer and then pay your fees. You will then receive a receipt of payment from the Graduate Research School which you can then use to apply for a visa. Your offer is valid for one year by which time you must be on campus and ready to enrol. Domestic students should pay their fees on enrolment.

Admission stage

You can apply for admission to a doctoral study programme anytime during the year. Your application must include all required documents and the details of two referees. The referees should know you in a professional capacity. At least one should be a supervisor for the research component of your most recent qualification (honours/masters). Contact them before you submit your application. Follow up to make sure they have received the request. We do not accept personal friends as referees.

Entry criteria

Check that you meet all the entry criteria before submitting an application as we will decline applications that don't meet the requirements listed below:

You must have:

  • completed a postgraduate bachelors (honours) degree with first class or second class (division 1) honours, or a masters degree with first class or second class (division 1) honours in a relevant field. This qualification must also include a substantive (minimum 30 credits) research project, dissertation or thesis in which you have achieved a minimum grade of B+ 
  • International qualifications will be assessed in terms of their broad equivalence to a Massey Honours or Masters’ degrees and this is termed the Grade Point Equivalency. Typically this should be 75% or B+. A qualifying degree, like domestic qualifications must include a supervised research component such as a substantial thesis or dissertation and previous research methods study is recommended. Usually it would be expected that at least four years of tertiary study had been completed before starting the PhD
  • good academic references.

English Language Requirements:

  • English will be considered the First Language of citizens (passport holders) of The United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland, The United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and therefore applicants from these countries do not need to meet English language requirements.
  • Applicants who have successfully completed University study in the medium of English may also be exempt if this has been within the last 2 years.
  • Our English language requirements are as follows: 
    • Academic IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 - this must be achieved in one sitting; or a minimum TOEFL score of 575 paper based test along with a minimum TWE score of 4 (Essay Rating 4.0 or Writing 20). The Institute of Education and the School of Journalism, Marketing and Communication require higher scores.

Find out more about accepted alternative English language qualifications for international students

Documents you need to provide

Following the admission screening stage, we may request verified copies of the following documents:

  • Transcripts for all tertiary qualifications, master's, bachelor's etc, even if these are incomplete.
  • Grading legends for all tertiary qualifications.
  • All graduation certificates.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • References to any publications you have.
  • English language test results (if you are from a country where English is not the first language).
  • Evidence of your citizenship.

Please make sure you have all of these ready as it will speed up the application process. You will need to supply the original documents when you arrive.

How your application is processed

Once you submit the completed online admission form, a three step process needs to be completed:

  1. Your application is screened for suitability
  2. The Graduate Research School completes an assessment of all documents and qualifications 
  3. An academic assessment is completed by the potential supervisor and Head of School

If your application is successful we issue an Offer of PhD Place. You must accept the offer and pay your fees before you can start the enrolment stage.

Please allow four to six weeks for this process. However, significant delays occur if requested documents are not provided.

Enrolment stage

Once you have accepted the Offer of PhD Place and paid your fees, you are ready to start the enrolment stage.

You need to be on campus to start your enrolment.

Make sure you bring the original documents needed for admission as outlined in your Offer of a PhD Place. You will need to take these documents to either the:

  • Campus Information Services office
  • Graduate Research School (Palmerston North) or
  • International Student Support (ISS) office (if applicable).

International students will also need to show their New Zealand study visa to ISS staff who will also complete a university induction for you.

Provisional registration

The provisional registration application form is the final part of the enrolment stage. When this is complete you will have access to all campus facilities and services.

You must ensure that you are enrolled within 4 weeks of your arrival on campus.

You need to complete the form with your supervisor(s). This involves a discussion with your supervisor(s) around the first year's requirements.

The form will document those requirements and expectations. You need to sign the form, as well as your main supervisor and the Head of your academic unit or delegate.

You submit the completed form to the Graduate Research School. They will notify you by email to confirm the enrolment stage is complete. This can take five working days but is usually completed sooner. An incomplete form will take longer to process.

Enrolment documents

Application for PhD Provisional Registration

Guidelines for PhD Thesis with Publications

Application for DClinPsych Provisional Registration.pdf
Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Application for Doctor of Social Work
Doctor of Social Work

Induction checklist

You will receive the induction checklist as part of the admission stage. Please make sure you have read this and that you go through the list when you arrive on campus.

If you have misplaced the induction checklist, you can download a copy from the link below.

Induction Checklist

Apply for doctoral study

Before you start your application, please ensure you meet the minimum entry criteria and understand the costs associated with study, then make sure you have:

  • researched your areas of interest
  • researched potential supervisors in your areas of interest
  • all the relevant documents
  • approached referees
  • identified potential sources of funding for your PhD

Apply now

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