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So you’re thinking of a PhD?

PhD application pic

Just finished some postgrad study and craving more research to sink your teeth into? Like the ring of ‘Doctor’ before your name, but a drop of blood makes you queasy? Then a PhD might be just right for you!

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme is the University’s highest level supervised research degree. We currently have over 1300 doctoral candidates studying at Otago, from both around New Zealand and overseas. Here are a few tips on how to get started with a PhD application.

Pre-requisite step:  You need to have put in some hard yards before applying – here’s the nitty gritty:

Every candidate must be a university graduate and produce evidence of ability to undertake research in the area of proposed study. Such evidence shall include:

i.  a Bachelor’s degree with first or upper second class Honours or equivalent (including a research component, e.g. a dissertation or a thesis); or

ii.  a Master’s degree (including an appropriate research component, e.g. a dissertation or a thesis); or

iii.  appropriate research experience (e.g. publications in academic journals, books, etc).

Got it? Cool – that will lead you nicely onto step one…

Step one: Find a supervisor!

Someone needs to be there with you on your research journey, to guide you, advise you, and support you; maybe even to provide you with coffee, chocolate, office space with a comfy chair conducive to napping in…

But in all seriousness, approaching a department and finding a supervisor with the right expertise, and that is able to supervise you, is the first necessary step. Keep in mind that this person will be your ‘colleague’ – we get regular feedback from completed PhD candidates that choosing the right supervisor off the bat is a crucial aspect of the PhD journey.

Step Two: The application process [Sidenote – you can totally apply at any time of the year – woo!]

a) If you’re a domestic student (‘Domestic’ includes Aussies; and international students who have previously studied at the Uni of Otago):

You will complete an online application form through eVision. You can access this from our website: http://www.otago.ac.nz/courses/qualifications/phd.html

After filling out the form, you will need to upload to eVision a research proposal, current CV, any academic transcripts for tertiary study undertaken outside of the University of Otago (we can get the Otago ones ourselves), and a Scholarship Application form – if you are applying for a University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship.

eVision then sends us your submitted application, and provided all the necessary documents are there, we will forward it on to your nominated department for them to complete their sections. Once it’s returned to us, we process it and flick it on to the meeting of the Graduate Research Committee to determine your fate… dun dun dunnnnn!

Check out this sweet flow chart for more detail: http://www.otago.ac.nz/research/graduate/otago084600.pdf

b) If you’re an international student (new to the Uni of Otago):

Once you’ve found that supervisor, contact the International Office (international.enquiries@otago.ac.nz), and they will work through the application process with you. Once they’ve done their bit, they send your application to us and as above, it goes to the GRC meeting for consideration.

Check out this just-as-cool flow chart for more detail: http://www.otago.ac.nz/research/graduate/otago084644.pdf

Step Three: The outcome

Technically you don’t need to do anything until we contact you – but bear with us, your application will be processed as quickly as possible. Sometimes we need to follow up on a few things, but rest assured, we’ll contact you as soon as we can with an outcome!

Other stuff:

Here are some helpful links to our website, where you can get more information on the process, and access other handy tidbits:

General PhD Information: http://www.otago.ac.nz/study/phd/index.html

More info on applying for the PhD: http://www.otago.ac.nz/study/phd/otago009275.html

The Doctoral Office is located in the Graduate Research School, on the Ground Floor of the Clocktower Building. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at: phd@otago.ac.nz.

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