4th Floor,
Commerce Building, cnr Union and Clyde Streets,
University of Otago,
Dunedin 9054, New Zealand


Tel 64 3 479 8520
Fax 64 3 479 9034

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Tourism Department, University of Otago PhD application process

The first step in applying to enroll in the PhD program is to look through the academic staff research interests to identify a potential supervisor. Once you have found at least one potential supervisor send an email to him/her that identifies the topic you wish to research. He/she will then let you know if they are able to potentially supervise you and will guide you through the application process. If you are unsure who would be a suitable supervisor please contact the departmental PhD coordinator - Dr Tara Duncan (School of Business Tourism PhD Enquiries) who will help with the process of locating a potential supervisor.

Once a potential supervisor has been identified he/she will ask you to submit all the following information as part of the application process:

  1. A detailed proposal for the PhD (at least 5 pages long, not including references) that explains the topic of the PhD in the context of relevant literature and clearly demonstrates the aims of the PhD and how these will add to academic knowledge/fill a gap in academic understanding. You should also include in this proposal an outline of the methodology you would employ to gather the data necessary for the completion of the PhD. In addition, an outline of the proposed timetable for completing the PhD and an idea of the main costs (PhD students are able to apply for up to NZ$2400 of departmental funding to cover the costs of any data collection processes they undertake as part of their thesis) associated with the data collection process should be included in your proposal.
  2. An up-to-date CV.
  3. The overall and individual course/paper grades you have received for the highest degree you have been awarded/are in the process of completing. You should note that all PhD applicants must have completed a graduate level program (normally a Masters, but potentially an Honours program) that incorporated the completion of a dissertation/thesis prior to undertaking a PhD.
  4. If your first language is not English, the results of an English language test (i.e., IELTS or TOEFL). The university has specific English language ability requirements that all PhD applicants are required to meet (see the following website for details: http://www.otago.ac.nz/international/postgraduate/
  5. An abstract of any dissertations/theses you have completed as part of your graduate level degree/s.
  6. Copies of any academic material you have published. Please note that it is not a requirement of entry into the PhD program to have published any material prior to joining the program but where available such publications can will help to demonstrate your experience as a researcher and potential as a PhD candidate.
  7. An indication of whether you intend to apply for a scholarship to help fund your PhD.
  8. Your plans regarding whether you would be based in Dunedin for the full term of the PhD (notes: All PhD students based in New Zealand during their candidature pay domestic fees irrespective of their nationality. The departmental requirement is for all students to be in Dunedin for at least 12 months during their candidature. This time should be spread throughout the duration of the candidature).
  9. Do you plan to be enrolled  as a part or full time student (if you plan to enroll as a part-time student can you please provide an indication of how you plan to balance the requirements of a PhD with any other commitments you may have)?
  10. The date when you would like to enroll as a PhD student (note that students may enroll at any time in the PhD program).

Once your potential supervisor has received all the information noted above he/she will examine it to ensure you meet the requirements for entry to the program. He/she will also work with you to develop your PhD proposal; a process which can require several drafts of the proposal. Once the proposal is complete the potential supervisor and a second member of staff will undertake a telephone call or face-to-face meeting with you to discuss your proposal, research background, and reasons for wishing to undertake a PhD at the University of Otago. During this call/meeting you are encouraged to ask any queries you may have about the department and/or PhD program. Assuming a positive outcome from this interview the details of your application will be forwarded to the departmental graduate studies committee who make the final decision about all PhD applications at the departmental level. Assuming a successful outcome from the graduate studies committee you will be informed by the PhD coordinator that the Tourism Department is willing to accept you as a PhD student and will fully support your application to the University of Otago to join the PhD program (note:  the University will only accept students in cases where the department states it is willing to accept them) and any applications you make for scholarships (refer to the bottom of the following website for links to potential scholarship options: http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/tourism/teaching/phd.html). New Zealand residents/citizens may also wish to look at the following link for scholarship opportunities: http://www.tec.govt.nz/templates/standard.aspx?id=675

International applicants may wish to have a look at the information available at the following website: http://www.otago.ac.nz/international/postgraduate/index.html

Frequently Asked Questions

University of Otago Department of Tourism