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Admission Criteria

When a person applies to the University to undertake a higher research degree, their application will be assessed to check that they meet the admission criteria for entrance to the University as well as meeting the entry criteria for admission to the qualification in which they wish to enrol.
There are separate application processes for domestic and international candidates.

Academic pre-requisites for higher research degrees

To qualify to enrol in a an MPhil, PhD, EdD or SJD degree, all applicants are expected to have

  1. qualified for the award of a bachelor's degree with honours or a master's degree, and must have achieved first or second class honours (first division) or distinction; or
  2. have qualified for the award of Master of Philosophy; or
  3. have passed qualifying papers at a satisfactory level; or
  4. in exceptional circumstances have produced other evidence to the satisfaction of the Postgraduate Research Committee that he or she has adequate skills and knowledge to proceed with the proposed research.

Candidates are also expected to be able to demonstrate knowledge of appropriate research methodologies to undertake a higher research degree, and to have gained some experience of conducting research in a previous qualification.

Alternatively, an applicant for a PhD may

  • have enrolled for the degree of Master of Philosophy and during the period of enrolment in that degree demonstrated the ability to transfer to the PhD.

Additional entry requirement for the EdD degree

In addition to the entry criteria listed above, an applicant who wishes to enrol in the EdD degree must also

  • have qualified for the award of a recognised teaching or allied professional qualification and must produce evidence of at least three years of competent service as an education practitioner.

An applicant for a DMA must

  • have qualified for the award of a Master of Music (MMus) degree, and must have achieved at least second class honours (first division), and
  • pass an audition.

For more information see the Higher Degree Regulations in the University of Waikato Calendar.

For all enquiries please contact

Qualifications gained from outside the University of Waikato

All qualifications other than a recognised New Zealand qualification are evaluated for equivalence by the University of Waikato, regardless of whether the person making the application is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, or an international  student. Original or fully authenticated (in English by a Justice of the Peace or Notary Public or solicitor) transcripts and certificates (translated into English if necessary) must accompany the Application to Enrol.

Transferring research undertaken at another University

Candidates wishing to transfer research already undertaken at another institution towards a higher research degree at the University of Waikato must apply to the University using the same enrolment procedures as all new research degree candidates, and clearly identify on their application that they are applying to transfer.

Special skills

Applications for Enrolment must demonstrate (through qualifications already gained) proficiency in research skills and/or such other special skills as are required by the degree programme, e.g., research methodology for statistical analysis. Candidates could be required to undertake additional papers to gain the necessary skills to succeed in their research.

English language proficiency

Students whose first language is not English are required to have at least an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 overall, including 6.0 or better in the Writing Band, or a TOEFL score of 600 overall, with a TWE (Test of Written English) of 5.0 or better, or a PTE Academic overall score of 65 with no less than 58 for each communicative skill. The English language proficiency requirements for admission are at the discretion of the Dean of the Faculty/School concerned and a higher score may be required in some areas of study and research. Submitted test scores must be less than two years old.


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