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PhD in Tourism

The Department of Tourism at Otago is home to an array of leading, internationally recognised researchers. The Department is one of the world’s leading research institutes studying tourism and its related disciplines.

Otago’s Tourism PhD programme currently includes approximately twenty-five students from across the globe.We have a very successful record of securing scholarships for our PhD students. These scholarship sources are open to both domestic and international students and cover all tuition costs and provide for living expenses. 

A PhD at Otago is awarded on the basis of the submission and successful examination of a thesis. There is no taught component to the PhD.

Find out about studying for a PhD in Tourism

Information for PhD in Tourism applicants

All applicants are required to submit the following information either to the Departmental PhD Coordinator or directly to a potential supervisor if an applicant has already identified someone they wish to be supervised by:

  1. A detailed proposal for the PhD (five to ten pages long, not including references) that explains the topic of the PhD in the context of relevant literature and clearly demonstrates the aims of the PhD and how these will add to academic knowledge/fill a gap in academic understanding. You should also include in this proposal an outline of the methodology you would employ to gather the data necessary for the completion of the PhD. In addition, an outline of the proposed timetable for completing the PhD and an idea of the main costs (PhD students are able to apply for up to NZ$2400 of departmental funding to cover the costs of any data collection processes they undertake as part of their thesis) associated with the data collection process should be included in your proposal.
  2. An up-to-date CV.
  3. The overall and individual course/paper grades you have received for the highest degree you have been awarded/are in the process of completing. You should note that all PhD applicants must have completed a graduate level program (normally a Masters, but potentially an Honours programme) that incorporated the completion of a dissertation/thesis prior to undertaking a PhD.
  4. The University of Otago has specific English language ability requirements that all PhD applicants are required to meet. If your first language is not English, the results of an English language test (i.e., IELTS or TOEFL).
  5. An abstract of any dissertations/theses you have completed as part of your graduate level degree/s.
  6. Copies of any academic material you have published. Please note that it is not a requirement of entry into the PhD programme to have published any material prior to joining the programme but where available such publications help to demonstrate your experience as a researcher and potential as a PhD candidate.
  7. An indication of whether you intend to apply for a scholarship to help fund your PhD.
  8. Your plans regarding whether you would be based in Dunedin for the full term of the PhD (notes: All PhD students based in New Zealand during their candidature pay domestic fees irrespective of their nationality. The departmental requirement is for all students to be in Dunedin for at least 12 months during their candidature. This time should be spread throughout the duration of the candidature).
  9. Do you plan to be enrolled as a part or full time student (if you plan to enrol as a part-time student can you please provide an indication of how you plan to balance the requirements of a PhD with any other commitments you may have)?
  10. The date when you would like to enrol as a PhD student (note that students may enrol at any time in the PhD programme).

If all the above material is submitted to the departmental PhD coordinator, he/she will check to ensure it is all present and correct, make an assessment of your application in line with the entry requirements of the programme and, if the requirements are met, identify potential supervisors. Alternatively, this role can be undertaken by a potential supervisor if they have been approached directly.

Once two potential supervisors have been identified they will contact applicants to arrange either a face-to-face or Skype meeting to discuss applicants’ PhD proposal, research background, and reasons for wishing to undertake a PhD at the University of Otago. During this call/meeting applicants are encouraged to ask any queries they may have about the department and/or PhD programme.

Potential supervisors may require revision of the PhD proposal before acceptance of it but assuming a positive outcome to the interview potential supervisors will forward the details of the applicant to the departmental graduate studies committee who make the final decision about all PhD applications at the departmental level.

Assuming a successful outcome from the graduate studies committee, applicants will be requested to complete the official University PhD application form.

Need help with the PhD application process?

Read our Frequently Asked Questions about the PhD application process.

The Department of Tourism at Otago:

  • Provides office space and a personal computer for all PhD students
  • Provides financial support to enable all PhD students to attend at least one conference and to undertake fieldwork pertinent to their studies
  • Encourages students to engage in tutorial and teaching opportunities (for which they are paid) where appropriate

All PhD students based in New Zealand during their candidature, irrespective of their nationality, are eligible to pay domestic level tuition fees of approximately NZ$5,698.00 per year (2015 fees).

International PhD students should contact the International Office to confirm the maximum number of hours of paid employment they are permitted to undertake per week during term time and full-time during summer vacation. Partners of all international postgraduate students are able to apply for an open work permit valid for the duration of the student's course of study. In addition, international PhD students with children should note that their children may attend school in New Zealand without paying international student fees.

Contact details for PhD in Tourism

Please email Senior Lecturer Doctor Sebastian Filep (Departmental PhD coordinator) with any queries about the PhD program within the Tourism Department.

Regulations and online application for a PhD in Tourism

Please visit the qualifications page of the Otago website about regulations relating to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), as well as online application details.

Scholarship information for a PhD in Tourism

For details about the different scholarships available for PhD in Tourism applicants, please visit the following websites:

Further information regarding a PhD in Tourism

Find out about the Department of Tourism’s staff/faculty details and research interests.

Please visit the Research Higher Degrees Office’s webpage for generic details concerning the University of Otago’s PhD programme.

Please visit the International Office’s webpage if you are an applicant from outside of New Zealand. For international applicants, the following websites will give you an overview of the University of Otago and of Dunedin city.

Current and past PhD in Tourism research

Find out about our current PhD in Tourism students and explore the range of topics they are researching for their PhD theses.

Read abstracts from the theses of our PhD in Tourism graduates. We are very proud of our PhD graduates and the high-quality research they produced for their theses.