Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

button for easy access to information about this qualification

Ngahuia Harrison lands internship at the Met

AUT PhD candidate, the photographer Ngahuia Harrison, has secured an internship to work at one of the most famous art galleries in the world. Harrison is heading to the US to intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of AUT's interNZ programme. She will shadow the curator of the museum's Oceanic department, which holds their Māori collection.

You can see more of Harrison’s work here.

Art and Design

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)is a thesis-based research degree that leads to advanced academic and theoretical knowledge in a specialist area. The programme enables you to make an original contribution to knowledge or understanding in your field of study and meet recognised international standards for such work.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is awarded after the successful completion of concentrated research constituting an original and substantial contribution to knowledge.

You work closely with your supervisor to prepare a thesis, which is examined by independent experts who apply contemporary international standards.

Quick facts

Programme Code: AK3518
Level: 10
Points: 360
Duration: 4 years
Venue: City Campus
Start date: Anytime

Entry requirements and application guide

Read or download the APPLICATION GUIDE for the Doctor of Philosophy in Art and Design

Specialist areas:

  • Digital Design (animation, moving image, gaming, web, post production and film)
  • Fashion and Textiles (knit, print, textile, fashion and costume design)
  • Graphics (typography, illustration, animation and short film, photography and graphic novel)
  • Product Design (product and furniture)
  • Spatial Design (interior, furniture, urbanism, performance, installation, moving image, digital environments, exhibition design and spatial theory)
  • Visual Arts (multimedia, painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation and performance)

pdf icon Research Areas for Art & Design, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Stage one
You are admitted provisionally in the first year where you will refine your preliminary proposal into a fully fledged PhD proposal (the PGR9 document). This document critically reviews the significant work done in the area of research. The PGR9 proposal should also contain a suitable research methodology and methods along with a time-frame for completion of the degree that highlights important milestones to be achieved in the next couple of years. Once your PGR9 proposal is completed and approved through the faculty processes, it is submitted to the University Postgraduate Board for full admission approval.

Stage two
Once you have completed your research proposal, you will typically refine your design, collecting data and conducting your research as appropriate. Results are analysed and may be published through international conferences, journal publications and peer review as this lends further credibility to the research.

Stage three
The first step in the final stage of the PhD is spent finalising the data analysis. Thereafter, the PhD thesis should be written and submitted to the supervisors for feedback. It should be noted that the process of finalising the thesis is time consuming as typically two or even three draft versions need to be produced before the thesis is in a form that is ready for submission and examination.

The School of Art and Design offers PhD either as a full written thesis or as a body of creative work accompanied by a written exegesis.

For programme information, please email the Postgraduate Coordinator or one of the PhD Programme Leaders:
Welby Ings or Steve Reay

Career opportunities

  • Research
  • Teaching

Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.49pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.