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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is the ultimate step in university education. Those awarded the degree will become the next generation of researchers, university teachers and leaders in their fields. The prerequisite for entry into the PhD programme is a BA Honours or MA degree in which performance has been of a sufficiently high standard to satisfy the University Senate of the student’s ability to successfully complete a doctorate.

Requirements to entry for PhD

The application process consists of two steps. Step one involves the department considering a proposal and writing sample. If the proposal and writing sample are supported by the department, the applicant will be invited to move to step two. Step two involves formally applying to the University’s central administration for admission and scholarships. PhD applicants must either have completed an MA in Film and Media Studies, or Communication Studies, or in a relevant cognate field normally with a grade at the B+ level, or above, or be able to demonstrate equivalent levels of experience and achievement. Applicants who have not completed an MA but have completed an Honours dissertation of exceptional quality will also be considered. 

Applying for PhD study

PhD Study at Otago is your central reference for information, and contains the Handbook for PhD Study, regulations and admission forms for the central University administration.

To start the application process, you will need to submit the following to the Postgraduate coordinator before applying for entry and scholarship:

  • A research proposal, including a bibliography, outlining your proposed topic (400-700 words and a select bibliography of one page). Proposals for the PhD must indicate how the proposed topic will be a contribution to knowledge in the field.
  • A writing sample (an example of your best and most academically informed work). Otago graduates with a grade of B+ or above in the MA do not need to submit a writing sample.
  • A transcript from your most recent degree-granting institution.
  • If applicable, your ESL (English as a Second Language) test scores.

Enquiries about PhD study

Dr Hugh Slotten
Postgraduate coordinator

Tel 64 3 479 6546


Postgraduate services and facilities

The Department of Media, Film and Communication is proud to support postgraduate students with some of the best study facilities and services available at the University of Otago.