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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. Usually this means a grade no lower than B+ for an MA degree, or no lower than A for a BA honours degree.

Applying to study for a PhD in the Media, film and communication programme

The application process consists of two steps. Step one involves the academics in the programme considering a research proposal and writing sample. If the proposal and writing sample are supported, 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.

To start the application process, you will need to submit the following to the Head of programme, Dr Brett Nicholls, before applying for entry and scholarship:

  • A research proposal, including a bibliography (400-700 words and a select bibliography of one page). Proposals for the PhD must indicate the research field, topic and methodology. If you have been in contact with a possible supervisor from the programme, mention this in your document as well.
  • 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 English is not your first language, a brief statement about your experience in writing in English or your ESL (English as a Second Language) test scores.

Enquiries about PhD study

Monica Vonesch
Programme administrator 

Tel +64 3 479 8371


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.