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University of Auckland
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Doctor of Fine Arts

This course is available


Level of Study

Doctoral Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Jul 2024


University of Auckland


The Doctor of Fine Arts (DocFA) is an advanced studio-based research degree, encompassing research and practice. DocFA study is an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art and/or design.

Programme overview

Suitable for both experienced practitioners and emerging artists, the DocFA involves both research and practice. You will be supervised by a committed team of professionally active, internationally recognised staff from Elam School of Fine Arts and, if appropriate, other schools/departments within the University of Auckland.

The DocFA is the highest-level university qualification in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland that is predominantly founded on studio-based practice. Like the PhD, it is expected to be a contribution to knowledge in your chosen field. Candidates work on advanced-level research in a manner relevant to medium-based or post-medium practices throughout the course of the degree.

Alternatively, we also offer the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Fine Arts with a creative practice component. If you wish to undertake a solely written thesis, then a PhD might be for you.

Programme structure

The University of Auckland DocFA is a three-to-four year full-time advanced creative practice and research degree.

  • On entry to the DocFA programme, you will be provisionally enrolled.
  • By the end of your first year, you must meet a number of goals to be confirmed into the DocFA programme, including developing a full research proposal for both the creative work and thesis.
  • After confirmation, you will continue to work on your research before submitting your thesis and creative work for examination after three years and within four years of your start date (full-time study). The creative work may be an exhibition, or other approved work. The examination process will include an oral exam.

As part of your DocFA 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.

Part-time enrolment is available for New Zealand students, in which case provisional enrolment lasts for 24 months, and you must submit your full thesis for examination no earlier than 6 years, and within 8 years, of your start date. For students who have undertaken a mix of part-time and full-time study, submission deadlines are calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Entry criteria

Masters-level qualification in fine arts

Level of training and ability necessary to undertake advanced doctoral study in fine arts creative practice and research

English language requirements

  • IELTS (Academic) - Overall score of 6.5 and no bands below 6.0
  • Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) - Overall score of 90 and a writing score of 21
  • Paper-based TOEFL - Overall score of 68 and a writing score of 21
  • C1 Advanced (previously - Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)) - Overall score of 176 and no bands below 169
  • C2 Proficiency (previously - Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE)) - Overall score of 176 and no bands below 169
  • University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) - Grade of B-
  • University of Auckland English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) - Grade of B-
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 58 and no PTE Communicative score below 50
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) - 85
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) - ISE III with a pass in all 4 components
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL - C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • AEMG English for Academic Purposes Direct Entry Program (AEAP DEP) Final Exam - Overall score of 70% with no section below 65%
  • English New Zealand Accredited Pathway Assessment - Assessment Level 3 overall and no skill below Level 2

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