Higher Degrees

Why not apply to enrol to do advanced research in the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies? You can study full-time or part-time in a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research degree.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The MPhil is normally a one-year full-time research degree. Entry normally requires a candidate to have qualified for a Bachelors degree with honours or a Masters degree and must have achieved at least Second Class Honours (first division) or Distinction. In special circumstances, candidates with other academic qualifications or appropriate research experience may be accepted.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD is normally a three-year full-time research degree. A part-time option is available. Entry normally requires a candidate to have qualified for a Bachelors degree with honours or a Masters degree and must have achieved at least Second Class Honours (first division) or Distinction. See us for other entry options.

What is involved in doing MPhil or PhD research?

In the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, candidates doing MPhil and PhD research degrees work on a topic of particular interest to them, with the guidance and supervision of a panel of people who have expertise in the area. They aim to produce a written thesis, which is then examined by experts from New Zealand and elsewhere in the world. Often, the thesis will lead to a book, or one or more published articles and conference presentations in national or international journals.

A thesis will report lucidly on a critical investigation of an approved topic of substance and significance. It will:

  • Demonstrate expertise in the methods of research and scholarship
  • Display intellectual independence
  • Make a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality

When you enrol in the MPhil or PhD in the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, you will be assigned a panel of supervisors, including a chief supervisor in your general area of interest.

Over the first six months, you will work with your chief supervisor to refine your topic and prepare a detailed research plan. You will then meet regularly with your chief supervisor and other members of your supervisory panel as you work through your research plan, and begin to write draft chapters of your thesis.

If you have not yet done an advanced research methods paper, you may be advised to enrol in MAOR570 Te Mahi Rangahau: Māori and Pacific Research Methods and Issues before you enrol for a research degree.

Potential Research Topics

Here are some examples of research interests in our school.

Development studies

  • Alternative paradigms of sustainable development in indigenous contexts
  • Tribal governance and options for indigenous communities
  • Social and cultural capital and links to capacity building
  • Fostering entrepreneurship and indigenous competitive advantage
  • Challenges of indigenous resource issues
  • Voluntary work and community based options of development intervention
  • Developing poverty-free options for sustainable communities
  • Processes of disadvantage and impact on indigenous development
  • Role of culture in corporate governance

Interpreting and translation

  • Theory of interpreting and translation
  • Ethical issues associated with interpreting and translation
  • Issues associated with interpreting in legal and professional contexts
  • Interpreting, translation and issues relating to the Treaty of Waitangi

Māori language

  • Form
  • Meaning
  • Vocabulary
  • Discourse analysis and genre in relation to Māori

Māori media

  • Critical discourse analysis and media treatment of indigenous issues
  • Māori media in Aotearoa: history and development
  • Writing for the media
  • Spirituality, culture and the media

Māori and Pacific culture and society

  • Customs: traditional and contemporary
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Celestial navigation
  • Treaty issues
  • Māori Pedagogy

Māori and Pacific linguistics and applied linguistics

  • Language teaching and learning
  • Language and style
  • Language policy and planning

Māori and Pacific arts and performing arts

  • Verbal arts
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Weaving

To find out whether we can supervise research in a specific area of interest to you, just contact us.


Does it matter that I don't know exactly what research I want to do?

If you are unsure of the research topic you want to investigate, just contact us and we'll talk through your options with you.

What will it cost to do MPhil and PhD research?

The fees for full-time and part-time study are different, as are the fees for domestic and international students. If you want to know about the fee structure, just contact us.

Are there scholarships available?

There are scholarships and funding available to students doing research in the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies. To find out more, please contact us or check out the University of Waikato website.

How can I find out more?

You can visit the Postgraduate Studies website or visit them at Te Mata Kairangi, School of Graduate Research,  W Block, off Hillcrest Rd.

Note: Applicants will be advised by the Chairperson as to the appropriate documentation and steps to follow after the initial appointment.

You can also contact:
Professor Rangi Matamua
Associate Dean, Postgraduate
Phone: +64 (0)7 856 2889 ext. 6312
Email [email protected]