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University of Auckland
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Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences

This course is available


Level of Study

Doctoral Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


University of Auckland


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.

Health Sciences

Health Sciences focuses on the socio-economic and behavioural factors affecting health, along with the role the health system, governments and policy play.

A non-clinical subject, Health Sciences offers a multidisciplinary understanding of health in New Zealand. You’ll learn about the biological, social and behavioural bases of the Western medical system as you prepare for a career in the health sector and related industries. Taken into consideration will be socio-economic and behavioural factors, as well as the role governments play in determining the health of our communities.

Topics include health and society, epidemiology, behaviour and health, health systems, healthcare ethics, Maori and Pacific health and human biology. Health Sciences is a great choice for students who want to prepare for a broad range of health-related careers.

Research opportunities

When you join the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences or the Liggins Institute for your doctorate in Health Sciences, you'll become part of a high-calibre research community and have the opportunity to publish papers, attend international conferences and develop your network in academia and industry. You’ll be undertaking an advanced course of independent study and original research, presented in the form of a thesis.

There is much support available, including from outside the university, and we have strong links to the Crown Research Institutes of New Zealand. Financially, you’ll have access to PReSS, which offers our doctoral candidates funding above and beyond scholarships or grants.

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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