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PhD in New Zealand : Universities, Costs, Eligibility & Scope

Updated on 09 November, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Doing a PhD in New Zealand is an academic decision worth considering, especially for those looking to advance their careers globally. A PhD in New Zealand for Indian students promises to be hugely rewarding. The country is one of the top global destinations for PhD programs, offering robust course frameworks with intensive theses. 

Why study PhD in New Zealand?

A PhD in New Zealand for international students is rewarding for the following reasons: 

  • You can study at the best universities in New Zealand for PhD courses globally acclaimed, offering cutting-edge academic and research infrastructure. 
  • New Zealand also provides comparatively affordable tuition costs and a wide range of curricular and co-curricular interests/activities. 
  • New Zealand is famed for its research opportunities in almost all fields and subjects of study while being home to globally famous finance, engineering and science centres. 
  • All eight major universities in the country have public regulation, funding, and accreditation by the government. 

Best Universities for PhD in New Zealand

Here are the top institutions for doing PhD courses in New Zealand.

Institution2021 QS Global RankCourse NameFees
University of Waikato375Doctor of PhilosophyNZD$6,415-6,878 (up to INR 3.45 lakhs)
University of Otago184Doctor of PhilosophyNZD$8,000 per year (INR 4.02 lakhs)
Massey University272PhD (Business, Humanities& Social Sciences, Health, Creative Arts and Sciences courses)NZD$18,000-32,000 (up to INR 16.09 lakhs)
Victoria University of Wellington223Doctor of PhilosophyNZD$8,800 per year (INR 4.42 lakhs)
The University of Auckland81Doctor of PhilosophyNZD$46,688 (INR 23.48 lakhs)
University of Canterbury270Doctor of PhilosophyNZD$7,099-8,552 (up to INR 4.30 lakhs)
Auckland University of Technology437Doctor of Philosophy

NZD$7,454 per year (INR 3.74 lakhs) approximately



Universities have varying criteria for admissions. There are a few options for a PhD in New Zealand without IELTS.  

Applying for PhD courses in New Zealand

 You will have to show your capabilities for doing research independently while proving that your work will contribute to the subject or field of study. You have to meet all the qualification requirements and understand the PhD requirements in New Zealand for international students before applying. Here are the next few steps: 

  • Submit your research proposal with the application. 
  • Universities in New Zealand do not consider direct applications. You should contact a supervisor via email, introducing yourself and summarizing the purpose of your research study. 
  • After emailing the supervisor, you can directly apply to the institution with your research proposal and documents.
More to Read
New Zealand Scholarship for Indian Students- Your GuideMS in New Zealand for Indian Students – An OverviewAn overview on how to get PR in New Zealand
New Zealand Student Visa RejectionBest tips on how to get a student visa for New ZealandIELTS Score for Studying in New Zealand

Eligibility for PhD in New Zealand

  • Undergraduate degree within the 2:1 framework or any equivalent system. 
  • Master’s degree that demonstrates knowledge of your chosen subject. 
  • Viable research proposal and project. 
  • Clarity on your research goals. 

Scholarship for PhD in New Zealand

 Following are the PhD scholarships for Indian students in New Zealand: 

  • University Of Waikato Tuition Scholarship 
  • University Of Auckland – Summer Research Scholarships
  • AIWA Lucy Kasparian Aharonian Scholarship
  • Keith And Dorothy Mackay Postgraduate Travelling Scholarships 
  • Wellington Doctoral Submission Scholarship
  • Lincoln University Doctoral Scholarships in New Zealand
  • The University of Otago – Noni Wright Scholarships in New Zealand
  • Sir Ratanji Dalal Research Scholarship
  • SCAR Fellowships in Antarctic Research
  • D.V. Bryant Trust University of Waikato Scholarship 
  • MobilitySeeker Outdoor Sports Scholarship 
  • John Monash Scholarships
  • OECD CRP Research Fellowships
  • Tan Kah Kee Postgraduate Scholarships

Cost of doing PhD in New Zealand 

New Zealand offers comparatively affordable PhD options for international students. You can study for roughly NZD 6,500-9,000 per year (full-time), which equates to around INR 3.3-4.5 lakhs. The program tenure may hover between three to four years on average. PhD graduates have eligible for three-year work visas after completing their courses.  

Documents Required

  • Personal Statement. 
  • Academic transcripts. 
  • Passport (valid). 
  • English language proficiency test scores. 
  • References. 
  • Resume/CV.
  • New Zealand student visa. 


Career Prospects after PhD in New Zealand

A PhD program in New Zealand opens doors to fulfilling career opportunities. PhD graduates can work full-time in flourishing sectors such as law, writing, research, and investment banking. Depending on the field and prospects, they may earn up to NZD 156,000 or roughly INR 78 lakhs. Popular job roles include environmentalist, data, research, and food scientist, senior lecturer, policy advisor, research and development engineer, ecologist, chief technology officer, professor, product development manager, senior mechanical engineer, and research fellow. 

Disclaimer! All course fees and salaries are approximate amounts subject to change depending on various conditions.

Also Read:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a PhD in New Zealand free?

The PhD courses are not free in New Zealand. However, unlike many other globally acclaimed study destinations, the country does not charge sky-high fees for these courses. Many scholarship options offer full funding. New international PhD candidates can pay the same annual costs in tuition as local New Zealand peers. However, you should stay in the country for the entire doctoral program tenure. You may obtain funding for your PhD degree via university or government scholarships and other charitable/industry-based bursaries.

Can PhD students work in New Zealand?

PhD students get special three-year work visas upon course completion. At the same time, their work rights are unlimited under their student visas. Student visas mostly allow full-time aspirants to work for up to 20 hours every week and 40 hours every week during breaks and holidays. Ph.D. students can work for up to 40 hours every week throughout the year. Upon completing the PhD course, you can apply for the first 12 months of your post-study work visa. After that, once you find employment, you can apply for another two years with your employer’s support.

How to study PhD in New Zealand without IELTS

You can take the TOEFL test if that is what you are more comfortable with. Or you may provide proof of studying Classes VIII-XII with English being the instructional medium in your home nation. You can also submit scores of other language proficiency tests like CAE, PTE, ESOL, and more.

How do you get funding for a PhD in New Zealand?

You can apply for various industry and government scholarships, university-based assistantships, and charitable and industry-based grants. There are many types of scholarships available, including some which offer total funding for PhD courses and living costs. You must meet the eligibility criteria of the university/institution. For example, the University of Auckland offers doctoral scholarships only to those with a GPA of 8 or more in their qualifying programs from any university in New Zealand

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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