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Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Materials Engineering

This course is available


Level of Study

Doctoral Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


Grafton Campus


The PhD is a globally recognised postgraduate research degree and the highest level of degree you can achieve. PhD students are critical, curious, creative thinkers who undertake original research over at least 3 years.

This course is also offered at overseas locations.

Chemical and Materials Engineering

Chemical and Materials Engineering involves transforming raw materials into valuable end-products, and the development of high-performance materials for our modern society.

Chemical engineers draw on the chemical, physical and biological sciences to provide a systems approach to understand changes that take place in materials – from the molecular to the global scale. They also establish methods for required changes in composition, energy content, structure, or physical state. They often see engineering as a means towards useful outcomes. They can prioritise safety, loss prevention and environmental protection in their activities. These activities may include:

Converting raw materials into useful products: turning crude oil into petrol and plastics, turning milk into butter, cheese and powder, or processing biomaterials for body part replacements
Altering chemical, biochemical or physical states to create value-added products, such as face creams, washing powder, processed foods, coatings, and more
Managing, operating, and maintaining large-scale processes, such as drug manufacturing

These activities involve a sound knowledge of energy, raw materials, process chemistry and dynamics to achieve products, processes, and designs of the highest quality and efficiency. Our teaching philosophy also emphasises the shift from pollution prevention to clean technology.

Programme structure

The University of Auckland PhD is a three-to-four year full-time advanced research degree.

On possible to the PhD programme, you will be enrolled provisionally. By the end of your first year, you must meet a number of goals to be confirmed into the PhD programme, including developing a full thesis proposal. After confirmation, you will continue to work on your research before submitting your thesis for examination after three years and within four years of your start date. The examination process includes an oral exam.

As part of your PhD study, you can take part in our doctoral skills programme, designed to help you achieve success in your research and develop skills for your future. We have a dedicated postgraduate careers advisor, and our library service includes specialist subject librarians to help you in your research. The central School of Graduate Studies provides dedicated support and advice for the doctoral community.

Where could this programme take you?

Our PhD graduates are successful in a wide range of fields and careers, as well as the traditional academic research career path. The PhD gives you extensive specialist and transferable skills, which are sought after in many sectors, including industry and government, and can even help you to develop entrepreneurship skills to run your own startup.

Entry criteria

Masters-level qualification or the equivalent of a bachelor's degree with honours

Evidence of significant research, usually undertaken as part of prior study

IELTS (Academic): Overall score of 6.5 and no bands less than 6.0; Internet-based TOEFL (iBT): Overall score of 90 and written score of 21; Paper-based TOEFL: Overall score of 68 and a writing score of 21; Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) or Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE): Overall score of 176 and no bands below 169; Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic: Overall score of 58 and no PTE Communicative score below 50; Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP): Grade of B-; Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): 85.

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