Funding your PhD

Funding your PhD

Funding can be an issue that makes or breaks your PhD, particularly if you’re looking at studying at an overseas university. The most important things to find out (1) the closing dates and (2) which scholarships/awards are relevant to you, in that order.

The next best thing you can do to help your application is to have a really good idea of what you want to research and, more often than not, the best way to get this is by contacting researchers in your field of interest, talking to them about potential projects and getting them to offer you a position! Scholarship application are much stronger if you have already been offered position and it also shows the evaluation board that you are organised, committed and have a realistic idea of what to expect of a PhD. Our second piece of advice is “Believe you will get every scholarship you apply for (certainly during the interviews), but plan to not get any of them”. You can lose months of precious time of you don’t have a Plan B and your funding falls through – you can always turn down funding if you have too much, but not the other way around!

We have a short list of the major funding bodies for PhDs in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and USA as well as closing dates for applications – keep a note of these, they are potentially worth thousands of dollars to you and it doesn’t pay to miss out on a scholarship just because you forgot the closing date!

New Zealand Universities


  • VictoriaUniversity of Wellington – PhD applications and Scholarship applications for fully funded 3 year PhDs come in 3 rounds that close on 1st March, 1st July and 1st November each year. The stipend is ~NZD$23,500 p.a. and the scholarship includes the payment of all university fees for the 3 year period.
  • University of Auckland – The dates vary based on faculty, but PhD scholarships are generally ~NZD$25,000 p.a. and the scholarship includes the payment of all university fees for the 3 year period. Some highlights include the “Materials Accelerator Scholarship”, the “Universitas 21 Joint PhD Programme Scholarships”, the “The University of Auckland Commonwealth Scholarships” and the general “The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships”. For more information, click here.

New Zealand Funding Bodies


  • MacDiarmid Institute – PhD application deadlines depend on the associated university and the scholarship deadlines depends on the closing date of the specific project. These are advities through MESA and on the MacDiarmid site.

International Study Funding Bodies – for Full PhDs


There are a number of scholarships from New Zealand available for those who wish to complete a PhD at an overseas university.




Foreign University Funding





2 thoughts on “Funding your PhD

  1. Hi
    I an in search of how to fund my phd in nz

    Currently preparing my research proposal for massey unv

    However before come I want to make some plans about funding
    I ve living in turkey .any advice would be greatly appreciated

  2. Good evening,

    I am an international doctoral student from the U.S. I commenced my studies here in this past February at AUT University. I was wondering what funding opportunities are available to me to assist with tuition and living expenses whilst I continue my studies.

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