massey university phd entry requirements

Last Updated on August 16, 2022 by Alvina Ibe

Doctoral degree entry criteria and application process

You can apply for admission to a doctoral study programme anytime during the year. Make sure you meet all the entry criteria before submitting an application. We will decline applications that don’t meet the entry criteria.

Entry criteria

You must have:

  • completed a postgraduate bachelors (honours) degree with first class or second class (division 1) honours, or a masters degree with first class or second class (division 1) honours in a relevant field. This qualification must also include a substantive (minimum 30 credits) research project, dissertation or thesis in which you have achieved a minimum grade of B+ 
  • International qualifications will be assessed in terms of their broad equivalence to a Massey Honours or Masters’ degrees with Grade Point Equivalency. Typically this should be 75% or B+. Admissions with Equivalent Status will be used to assess the quality and ranking of the overseas institution. A qualifying degree, like domestic qualifications must include a supervised research component such as a substantial thesis or dissertation and previous research methods study is recommended
  • good academic references. The referees should know you in an academic capacity. At least one should be a supervisor for the research component of your most recent qualification (honours/masters). Contact them before you submit your application. Follow up to make sure they have received the request. We do not accept personal friends or relatives as referees.

English Language Requirements:

  • English will be considered the First Language of citizens (passport holders) of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and therefore applicants from these countries do not usually need to meet English language requirements evidenced through an English language test
  • Applicants who have successfully completed university study in the medium of English may also be exempt, following consideration by the Graduate Research School, if this has been within the last 2 years
  • Our English language requirements are as follows: 
    • Academic IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 – this must be achieved in one sitting; or a minimum TOEFL iBT of 90 overall (minimum of 20 in writing). These tests are valid for 2 years. The Institute of Education requires a higher score.

Documents you need to provide

Following the admission screening stage, we may request verified copies of the following documents:

  • Transcripts for all tertiary qualifications, master’s, bachelor’s etc, even if these are incomplete
  • Grading legends for all tertiary qualifications
  • All graduation certificates, unless completion is noted on the transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • References to any publications you have
  • English language test results (if you are from a country where English is not the first language)
  • Evidence of your citizenship

Please make sure you have all of these ready before applying as it will speed up the application process. You will need to supply the original documents when you arrive.

How your application is processed

Once you submit the completed online admission form The Graduate Research School completes an eligibility assessment based on all documents and qualifications submitted. If you meet the basic entry requirements an academic assessment will be carried out in the academic unit you are applying to. 

If your application is successful we issue you with an Offer of Place. You must accept the offer and pay your fees before you can start the enrolment stage.

Please allow four to six weeks for this process. However, significant delays will occur if you don’t provide all necessary documents.

Doctoral tuition and AES application fees

International students must accept the Offer of Place and then pay your fees. You will receive a receipt of payment from the Graduate Research School which you can use to apply for a visa. Once your visa has been approved, you will be able to come to Massey and enrol. Please see more information about the enrolment process below. Your offer will have an expiry date by which time you must be on campus and ready to enrol. Domestic students should pay their fees on enrolment.

All domestic students pay their fees on enrolment.

Find out more about doctoral tuition and university fees

Admission with Equivalent Status fee

If your highest qualification is from an overseas institution you will be required to pay an Admission with Equivalent Status (AES) overseas qualifications fee of NZD$138.50 before your application for admission will be considered. This fee will be refunded to you upon enrolment in the programme.

Please complete the following questionnaire to begin the admission application process.

Doctoral degree entry criteria and application process

You can apply for admission to a doctoral study programme anytime during the year. Make sure you meet all the entry criteria before submitting an application. We will decline applications that don’t meet the entry criteria.

Entry criteria

You must have:

  • completed a postgraduate bachelors (honours) degree with first class or second class (division 1) honours, or a masters degree with first class or second class (division 1) honours in a relevant field. This qualification must also include a substantive (minimum 30 credits) research project, dissertation or thesis in which you have achieved a minimum grade of B+ 
  • International qualifications will be assessed in terms of their broad equivalence to a Massey Honours or Masters’ degrees with Grade Point Equivalency. Typically this should be 75% or B+. Admissions with Equivalent Status will be used to assess the quality and ranking of the overseas institution. A qualifying degree, like domestic qualifications must include a supervised research component such as a substantial thesis or dissertation and previous research methods study is recommended
  • good academic references. The referees should know you in an academic capacity. At least one should be a supervisor for the research component of your most recent qualification (honours/masters). Contact them before you submit your application. Follow up to make sure they have received the request. We do not accept personal friends or relatives as referees.

English Language Requirements:

  • English will be considered the First Language of citizens (passport holders) of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and therefore applicants from these countries do not usually need to meet English language requirements evidenced through an English language test
  • Applicants who have successfully completed university study in the medium of English may also be exempt, following consideration by the Graduate Research School, if this has been within the last 2 years
  • Our English language requirements are as follows: 
    • Academic IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 – this must be achieved in one sitting; or a minimum TOEFL iBT of 90 overall (minimum of 20 in writing). These tests are valid for 2 years. The Institute of Education requires a higher score.

Documents you need to provide

Following the admission screening stage, we may request verified copies of the following documents:

  • Transcripts for all tertiary qualifications, master’s, bachelor’s etc, even if these are incomplete
  • Grading legends for all tertiary qualifications
  • All graduation certificates, unless completion is noted on the transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • References to any publications you have
  • English language test results (if you are from a country where English is not the first language)
  • Evidence of your citizenship

Please make sure you have all of these ready before applying as it will speed up the application process. You will need to supply the original documents when you arrive.

How your application is processed

Once you submit the completed online admission form The Graduate Research School completes an eligibility assessment based on all documents and qualifications submitted. If you meet the basic entry requirements an academic assessment will be carried out in the academic unit you are applying to. 

If your application is successful we issue you with an Offer of Place. You must accept the offer and pay your fees before you can start the enrolment stage.

Please allow four to six weeks for this process. However, significant delays will occur if you don’t provide all necessary documents.

Doctoral tuition and AES application fees

International students must accept the Offer of Place and then pay your fees. You will receive a receipt of payment from the Graduate Research School which you can use to apply for a visa. Once your visa has been approved, you will be able to come to Massey and enrol. Please see more information about the enrolment process below. Your offer will have an expiry date by which time you must be on campus and ready to enrol. Domestic students should pay their fees on enrolment.

All domestic students pay their fees on enrolment.

Find out more about doctoral tuition and university fees

Admission with Equivalent Status fee

If your highest qualification is from an overseas institution you will be required to pay an Admission with Equivalent Status (AES) overseas qualifications fee of NZD$138.50 before your application for admission will be considered. This fee will be refunded to you upon enrolment in the programme.

Please complete the following questionnaire to begin the admission application process.


Entry requirements for international students

Alternative methods for English requirements during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 impact we are accepting online testing sites as alternative methods for students to obtain the necessary English requirements:

Undergraduate academic entrance requirements

  • For most undergraduate level programmes, the minimum academic entry requirement is successful completion of a qualification equivalent to the New Zealand Year 13 – NCEA Level 3 University Entrance. International students need to check the equivalency of their secondary school qualification by reviewing the list of Academic Admission Requirements by Country/Region.
  • International students who have previously studied at a New Zealand secondary school should refer to the secondary school requirements section.
  • International students who have completed 3 x B at level 5 or 6 passes in the New Zealand Diploma of Business may apply for entry into a Bachelor’s programme.
    • An NZQA transcript as formal evidence of the NZDipBus results is required before credit will be assessed and only papers with a minimum grade of B will be assessed for credit.
    • The English language requirements can be met by:
      1. A minimum IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent) used to gain entry to the NZDipBus or,
      2. A recent IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5

Graduate Diplomas
Admission to a Graduate Diploma requires successful completion of a three year diploma or undergraduate degree from a recognised tertiary institution.

Sub-degree English language entrance requirements

Students from a country where English is not the first language, must obtain a minimum English Language competency level. Some programmes require a higher level of English Language competency than the minimum requirement indicated, you can view further details on specific programme requirements.

Programme LevelIELTSTOEFL iBT PTE AcademicCambridge English
English for Academic Purposes 1 (EAP 1)5.0 overall61 overall 36 overall 155
English for Academic Purposes 2 (EAP 2)5.5 overall70 overall42 overall 165
Certificate in Foundation Studies (Full Foundation)5.5 (no band less than 5.0)70 overall (min 17 in Writing)42 overall (min 36 in communicative skills)165
Certificate of University Preparation (CUP) (Fast-track Foundation)6.0 (no band less than 5.0)80 overall (min 17 in Writing)50 overall (min 36 in communicative skills)170

Undergraduate English language entrance requirements

Programme LevelIELTSTOEFL iBT PTE AcademicCambridge English
Undergraduate Level6.0 (no band less than 5.5)80 overall (min 19 in Writing)50 overall (min 42 in communicative skills)170

Massey University recognises the following English Language examinations:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    Only Academic IELTS scores are acceptable. A scanned copy of your academic IELTS scores is acceptable as Massey is able to verify your results online.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    A scanned copy of your TOEFL scores is acceptable as Massey is able to verify your results online. (This applies to iBT test results only)

Test scores for English proficiency are valid for two years from the test date.

If you have taken a test other than IELTS or TOEFL, include it with your Application for Admission as an International Student so that it may be considered. Please note there are also alternative methods for English requirements during COVID-19.

International Students who qualify for admission with NCEA Level 3/CIE from a New Zealand Secondary School do not need to present any additional English language evidence for general admission. IELTS can not be used as a substitute for literacy but will be required for programmes with a higher English language requirement in addition to meeting the literacy requirement (refer to the programme specific exceptions).

Postgraduate academic entrance requirements

Masters, postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates

An appropriate undergraduate degree from a recognised tertiary institution is required

Doctorate degrees (PhD)

The equivalent or better of a relevant Bachelor’s (Hons) or Master’s Degree with First or Second Class Honours, Division 1 (B+ and above) with sufficient prior experience of independent research at postgraduate level

Postgraduate English language entrance requirements

Programme Level IELTSTOEFL iBT PTE AcademicCambridge English
Postgraduate Level6.5 (no band less than 6.0)90 overall (min 20 in Writing)58 overall (min 50 in communicative skills)180
DAAD (For German students only)A minimum B grade in each section, plus a letter of support from UniversitySome colleges may specify a higher level of attainment for PhD applicants

Page authorised by Director, Student Administration
Last updated on Tuesday 09 March 2021