The Doctor of Philosophy is a research based degree, in which students develop research skills that will be invaluable for further work in a research environment. Students are expected to make a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of study. Your thesis is assessed by internal and external examiners, and you will required to defend your research at an oral examination.
The regulations for the PhD degree are set out in the University Calendar.
More information can be found in the Handbook for Research Degrees available from the Postgraduate Studies Office.
You will be required to follow a course of advanced study and research under the direction of your supervisor, normally at the University and for at least two calendar years (full-time), and to present a thesis on an original
investigation relating to some branch of computer science, mathematics or statistics. It is unlikely that your research will be completed in the two-year minimum time, and you should expect to take at least three years (but not more than five).
Although the PhD degree does not normally involve coursework, you may be required to satisfy the examiners in up to two papers on topics determined
in consultation with the Department, before you begin work on your thesis.
The thesis must be an original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in or understanding of the field of study, and containing material worthy of publication. It must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the field
of study and relevant literature; show the exercise of critical judgment with regard to both your own work and that of other scholars in the same field; contain material which presents a unified body of work such as could
reasonably be achieved on the basis of three years of postgraduate study and research; be satisfactory in its literary presentation; give full and adequate references; and have a coherent structure understandable by a scholar
in the same general field with regard to intentions, background, methods and conclusions.
The thesis may consist of either published or unpublished material, or a combination of both. You will be expected to indicate in the thesis any part that you have used or presented for any other degree.
To enrol for the PhD you are normally required to hold a Bachelors degree with honours or a Masters degree in the appropriate area, with First or Second Class Honours (first division). If you are a Waikato University graduate wishing to do a PhD in the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, you should have qualified for either the BCMS (Hons) or BSc (Hons) or the MSc with First or Second Class Honours, or the MPhil.
If you have an honours degree with second class honours second division or below, you may be permitted to enrol in an MPhil with the option of transferring to a PhD after a year's satisfactory prgress.
You should begin by discussing your application with the Chairperson of the appropriate department or, in the case of Computer Science, the Director of Graduate Studies in that department. If you live outside Hamilton this initial discussion can be by letter, telephone, fax, or e-mail.
You will be referred to members of staff who are potential supervisors in the area in which you wish to work. You can help in this process by examining the research interests of members of the appropriate department (see the department's Graduate Handbook or refer to the department's Web pages), and looking for ideas about likely supervisors.
The next step is discussion with potential supervisors about project areas. You can contact them by letter, telephone, fax, or e-mail. It is always a good idea to consult widely at first-with more than one potential supervisor-and to consider a variety of possible research topics, though eventually you must settle on a particular supervisor and project area. The departmental Chairperson, or the Director of Graduate Studies, in the case of Computer Science students, will remain involved until that stage is reached.
Research students are normally supervised by a panel of two or three supervisors, one of whom-the one with whom you have set up the research topic-is designated "chief supervisor". This scheme provides breadth of coverage and some insurance against a supervisor's absence or illness. Your chief supervisor will arrange the other member for your supervisory panel, and will discuss the choice with you.
The next step is to fill out an application form for the PhD degree. This is an application to the Higher Degrees Committee for registration. It will include a synopsis, usually about one page, of the research project you intend to tackle. Your supervisor will help you to come up with a suitable description of the proposed research.
Once the Higher Degrees Committee has approved your admission to the programme, you must then fill in a standard University of Waikato enrolment form so that the Academic Services Division can record the necessary information. For more information about the formal side of the registration process, please contact the Postgraduate Studies Office.