General Information about PhD study
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) enables a student with a particular interest to carry out independent, original research culminating in a thesis.
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Requirements for a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies
This programme is usually completed within three years. A PhD thesis should not exceed 100,000 words and must be a thorough, comprehensive and original study of a topic or issue which makes a significant contribution to the knowledge of the particular field.
Eligibility for the PhD programme
Prospective candidates must have completed either:
- a four‐year Arts degree with a substantial research component (equivalent to an Honours dissertation at Otago), and must have achieved at least an upper second class Honours (75% plus) for their fourth year of study; or
- an accredited Masters programme with an appropriate research component.
Acceptance as a candidate for the PhD degree depends upon the University being able to provide adequate expert supervision in the intended area of research.
How to apply for the PhD programme
Acceptance to the PhD programme is highly competitive and we unfortunately have to turn down many well-qualified candidates.
Applications are considered by the Director of PhD programme in conjunction with Faculty in February, April, July and September. You will be informed of their decision on your application by the end of the month of consideration, or shortly thereafter.
Before making a formal application, we strongly recommend that prospective students first contact the PhD Programme Director in order for your proposal and academic records to be evaluated and for Faculty to determine supervisory capacity. After this assessment (which can take up to two months), we may then encourage you to make a formal application for admission to the PhD programme.
The following criteria are used when making an internal assessment:
- Academic standard: Prospective students must meet the highest academic standards. A first class Honours degree or Masters degree including a significant research component is required; research publications (peer-reviewed articles in academic journals or book-chapters) are desirable.
- The project proposal must fit well with our research profile and appears manageable and feasible within a three-year time frame and given financial and other constraints.
- The project must be likely to generate high-quality, publishable work in peer-reviewed journals.
- A master's degree with a focus on peace and conflict studies is highly desirable.
- Our research problematique is peace and conflict issues; and our geographic focus is open.
In order for us to make our internal assessment, we need four things from the applicant:
- Full academic transcripts highlighting which course is your thesis or dissertation and / or details of your research publications (see above).
- Where possible, an electronic copy of the piece of independent research which you submitted for examination.
- A curriculum vitae which includes publications, at least one reference letter and the contact details of referees (a minimum of two).
- A preliminary research proposal (about 5 pages) which identifies the contribution of the project to the discourse, a description of its theoretical framework, research design, methodology and time plan.
- The completed rubric document which helps us to clarify the key points in your application.
Rubric for PhD application (PDF)
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Rei Foundation scholarships
Since 2013, Te Ao o Rongomaraeroa | the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, in partnership with Rei Foundation Limited, have offered two new doctoral scholarships per year.
Applications are normally called in July for study beginning the following year. Theses completed by Rei Foundation scholars are noted below.
Rei Foundation Limited (RFL) aims to attain social change through sustainable human development as a means of expanding people's life opportunities and their capacity to make responsible decisions as members of the global community. Scholarships such as this expand not only the opportunities for the students concerned but also for the wider communities that will benefit from their research.
It is RFL's aim that by offering this scholarship, we will be able to nurture capable individuals who will go on to contribute to conflict resolution and peace activities around the world through their research into a multitude of areas. We also hope that these individuals will be able to apply the skills and knowledge gained through this programme to contribute to their local and the global communities.
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Some examples of completed PhD theses
Presidential Statements and US use of Force (2018), Griffin Leonard
Nothing about us, without us: The pursuit of inclusive and accessible positive peace (2018), Roberta Francis
Envisioning an Anarcho-Pacifist Peace: A case for the convergence of anarchism and pacifism and an exploration of the Gandhian movement for a stateless society (2018), Joseph Llewellyn
Faa Samoa: Peacebuilder or Peacebreaker? Understanding Samoa's Domestic Violence Problem: A Peace and Conflict Perspective (2018), Michael Ligaliga
Authoritarian Politics and the Outcome of Nonviolent Uprisings (2018), Jonathan Sutton
Peace, violence, and the everyday in the Maoist conflict in Junglemahal, India (2018), Monica Carrer
Rivers of Peace: Third Party Conflict Management of Transboundary River Disputes (2013), Elvira Bobekova
How does Truth-Telling Heal? An Exploration of Voice and Pathways toward Victim Healing in Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste (2014), Holly Guthrey
Understanding effectiveness in peacekeeping operations: Exploring the perspectives of frontline peacekeepers (2014), Ellen Furnari
Tracing the Discursive Origins of the War on Terror: President Clinton and the Construction of New Terrorism in the Post-Cold War Era (2014), Chin-Kuei Tsui
Third-Party Coordination in Conflict Resolution: Views from Third-Party Practitioners in the Maoist Armed Conflict of Nepal and the Moro Conflict of the Philippines (2014), Prakash Bhattarai
Discourse transformation in peace processes: Revisiting Sudan's 2005 comprehensive agreement (2014), Patrick Mbugua
El camino se hace caminando: Using Participatory Action Research to evaluate and develop Peace Education practice in a Secondary School in Northern Nicaragua (2015)
Human Spirituality and coming together in peace, looking together through two lenses (Maori and Sahaj Marg Raga Yoga) (2015) Janine Joyce
Access to Justice in the Wake of War, Rule of Law Programming and Customary Justice in Post-conflict Bougainville (2016) Naomi Johnstone
“Instruments of Peace?” Franciscans as Peacemakers in Sri Lanka During and After the Civil War (2016) Christopher John Masters
Civil Society Activists in a Protracted Conflict: Explaining Differences in Motivation to Engage in Intergroup Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland (2017) Rachel Rafferty (RFL scholar)
War, Identity, and Inherited Responsibility in Sino-Japanese Relations (2017) Ria Shibata
Owning Peace: Assessing the Impact of Local Ownership of Police Reforms on Post-conflict Peace (2017) John Gray
The Theory and Practice of Emancipatory Counterterrorism (2017) Sondre Lindahl
Fanohge Famalåo’an & Fan’tachu Fama’lauan: Women Rising Indigenous Resistance to Militarization in the Marianas Archipelago (2017) Sylvia Frain
Colonial Continuities: A study of anti-racism in Aotearoa New Zealand and Spain (2017) Mahdis Azarmandi (RFL scholar)
Military Order Disobedience: An Analysis of Personal and Political Transformation (2017) Daniel Fridberg
Arts, Peacebuilding and Decolonization: A Comparative Study of Parihaka, Mindanao and Nairobi (2017) Babu Ayindo
Facilitation, Imposition, or Impairment?: The Role of Bridging Networks on Peacebuilding of Local Religious Leaders in the Deep South of Thailand (2017) Ajirapa Pienkhuntod
The Hidden Potential of the Palestinian Resistance in Israel: A Grounded Theory Study on Resistance among Palestinian Activists in Israel (2018) Nijmeh Ali
- More information about PhD study at the University of Otago
- NCPACS guide to writing a research proposal
- Research thesis advice and support from the Central Library