Department of Mathematics

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD will provide you with the opportunity to make an original research contribution. We have an active research programme in the many areas of Pure, Applied Mathematics and Mathematics Education.

About the Programme

A PhD usually takes three to fours years of full-time study to complete, however it can be completed part-time over six to eights years.

While conducting your independent research you will be supported and supervised by a member of the department in your research field. The results of your research will be submitted as a thesis at the end of your study.

For more information about members of the department and possible areas of research, please see our postgraduate research topics page.  

You can also look at what our current PhD students are studying.


The Department of Mathematics requirements

In addition to The University of Auckland regulations regarding the annual reviews of PhD students, the Department of Mathematics requires that:

1.      Every PhD student will have an Advisory Committee consisting of:

                a.      Supervisor

                b.      Co‐Supervisor

                c.       Two others, who might be internal or external to the Department. The people will be chosen by the
                         Supervisor and approved by the HOD.

2.      At the end of the first year the student must:

                a.       Present a significant piece of written work to the advisory committee.

                b.      Present a formal seminar attended by the advisory committee.

                c.       Have an oral examination, up to one hour in length, conducted by the advisory committee. In the
                         written work, seminar and oral examination, the student must show that they:

                                       i.      Understand the problem under investigation.

                                       ii.      Understand how the thesis will develop over the next 2 years.

                                       iii.      Understand other work in the field.

3.      At the end of the second year the student must:

                a.       Present a substantial piece of written work to the advisory committee.

                b.      Have a PhD Review meeting, up to one hour in length, with the advisory committee.

                c.       In the written work and PhD Review Meeting, show that they:

                                       i.      Understand the problem under investigation.

                                       ii.      Understand other work in the field.

                                       iii.      Are able to explain clearly how their contribution in the previous two years, and the
                                                expected work in the next year, is original research and contributes in an original way to
                                                the field.

4.      Each year the advisory committee will recommend (to the HoD):

                a.       Confirmation, or

                b.      Deferral of confirmation, or

                c.       Suspension, or

                d.      Discontinuation. This requires a majority decision of the Advisory Committee.


Entry Requirements

To register for a PhD an applicant must have obtained the equivalent of a New Zealand BSc (Honours) or Masters degree in Mathematics. The degree must contain a research component and it must be first class or second class division one or equivalent.

Applicants whose first language is not English must have International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic not lower than 6.5, and each band not lower than 6.0 or an English background judged equivalent to these criteria.

Application for Admission

Doctoral programmes are the highest qualifications awarded by The University of Auckland. The application process is highly rigorous.

Before beginning the application process you may want to read through The University of Auckland’s doctorate application guide by visiting our Applying for a doctorate page.


Enrolment application steps

  1. Fill in the form, found by clicking the link below, this form is to be completed even if you are a current student. Departmental online enquiry
  2. Once the Department has received the form, we will check whether you meet the Department of Mathematics and The University of Auckland basic admission requirements for entry into the PhD programme and get back to you. We will endeavor to contact you within a week.
  3. Fill in an online Application for Admission (AfA)
  4. Your application will be assessed by the Mathematics PhD Coordinator. They will ask you to identify a main supervisor amongst academic staff and develop your research proposal with them, and then perhaps submit further documentation to the department.
  5. Your Application for Admission and all documentation supplied will be assessed by the Mathematics PhD Committee. Their decision will be passed to your proposed supervisor, who will discuss it with you.
  6. A preliminary thesis proposal should be completed in consultation with your potential supervisor(s). This proposal should describe the research you are going to undertake.
  7. Your AfA will be considered by several levels within the University and if approved, you will be sent a Letter of Offer. You have eight weeks to accept or decline this letter.
  8. Once you have accepted a place in the PhD programme and paid your fees, you will be provisionally registered.

If you have any questions at any stage, please visit the Faculty of Science postgraduate page.

Alternatively you can contact the PhD Coordinator:


International Students

International students who do not have permanent residency or a student visa, can direct immigration and Visa enquiries to the International Office.

Students may also wish to check the requirements or direct their enquiries to Immigration by visiting the New Zealand Immigration Service website.

Fees, Funding and Financial Support



For all information on fees, please visit the doctoral tuition fees page.


Funding (Scholarships)

For help with scholarship applications contact the PhD Adviser. He has access to a more extensive list of scholarships and experience with successful applications.

The University of Auckland offers Doctoral Scholarships to suitably qualified candidates.   

All prospective students should check for other available scholarships by visiting the Faculty of Science Postgraduate scholarships page.

Prospective international students should visit The University of Auckland International scholarships page.


Financial Support

The University of Auckland supports PhD travel and conference participation via PReSS accounts.

The Department has various types of financial support for registered PhD students including:

  • opportunities to be employed as a tutor or marker with the department
  • funding from research grants
  • PBRF grants
  • the Department of Mathematics provides every PhD student with shared office space,
  • a computer, computing facilities including software licenses, printing, email and internet access, stationery and photocopying, as well as library resources access.

For further details, please contact our PhD adviser.