Doctor of Philosophy

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Massey’s Doctor of Philosophy is a prestigious research qualification essential for a rewarding academic career in any research institution or university. It’s the highest supervised degree Massey University offers.

To do a PhD you need to have a passion for your subject, and pursue it to the limit.

The degree is awarded for a thesis that demonstrates the candidate's ability to carry out independent and original research that provides a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of a field of study.

Candidates can complete a thesis with publications or a monograph, depending on the supervisor’s advice. The programme is expected to be completed within three to four years full-time or six years part-time.

Opportunities for research and career development

PhD candidates can access the UK Vitae platform which is a world leader in supporting the professional development of researchers. Massey is the only New Zealand university that subscribes to Vitae.

We support and provide training for all candidates to participate in the annual university 3MT (Three-Minute Thesis) competition and offer lucrative prize money for the winners.

Workshops to hone your skills

Massey offers a wide range of workshops to PhD candidates.

  • Graduate Research School - develop your research skills from project management to writing a research funding application.
  • The Centre for Teaching and Learning - improve your study skills with writing support workshops.
  • Massey Library - develop as a researcher, including learning strategies for getting published and data management.

Accessible lecturers and supervisors

Massey University academic staff provide quality and caring supervision and are easily accessible. We limit our PhD enrolments to high-achieving candidates, so you’ll receive close attention and regular interaction with staff. You’ll have at least two supervisors, allowing you to benefit from a range of expertise.

Great connections and facilities

Massey has close relationships with leading research organisations worldwide, and we regularly host visiting researchers and experts in many fields.

You’ll have access to excellent research facilities and equipment, and benefit from Massey’s connections with industry.

Regular feedback and support

Start your research journey as part of the Massey researcher community. We place a strong emphasis on pastoral care and creating social networks.

Graduate Research School

The Graduate Research School provides administrative support for doctoral degrees as well as advice about all doctoral-related matters.

Information for prospective doctoral students.

A good fit if you:

  • Want a research career in industry or academia
  • Have a passion for your subject
  • Want to be treated as a research colleague, not a student
  • Are keen to take ownership of a research project
  • Wish to become an expert in your field
Dr Litea Meo-Sewabu
Doctor of Philosophy (College of Health) in Social Policy
Research Officer and Coordinator

“Exploring the intricate and delicate weaving of Fijian knowledge and Western philosophies may be the future to improving health and wellbeing for Fijian women.…”

Dr Litea Meo-Sewabu directs her passion and mission for better health through cultural understanding into her work at Massey University’s Pacific Research and Policy Centre.

Her doctoral thesis, founded on her belief that women are often the change agents in families, uncovered the unique factors that Marama iTaukei, or indigenous Fijian women, perceive as being healthy. These included: Dau veiqaravi, being of service; Taucoko ni qaravi itavi, completion and completeness of tasks; Na veiwekani, maintaining harmony in relationships; Kena I raira, outward reflection or physical appearance; and Bula vakayalo, spirituality.

“Exploring the intricate and delicate weaving of Fijian knowledge and Western philosophies may be the future to improving health and wellbeing for Fijian women.”

Litea says understanding health and wellbeing from a cultural perspective allows the health sector to plan and implement empowering strategies that work for each unique population, rather than impose foreign strategies adopted from elsewhere in the world.

Her study, conducted in Fiji and New Zealand, also allowed her to explore how perceptions and experiences of health and wellbeing evolved as Fijian women migrated to New Zealand.

The mother of four, originally from Fiji, now calls Aotearoa home. It was when she returned to Fiji after living in America that she realised, despite agencies having good intentions, health disparities and inequalities continued to grow.

“I was working at Fiji’s Ministry of Health, and the Fiji School of Medicine. I thought maybe we don’t understand health from the perspective of the people we are serving, so it has always been an important issue for me.”

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