Physics PhD in New Zealand (or Australia)?

In summary, the speaker is an American senior Physics major looking at New Zealand for grad school. They have questions about the system and admissions prospects, including if a bachelors is enough to start a PhD, how admissions compare to US schools, and if programs are generally funded. They have around a year of research experience but no thesis. The response is that a bachelors with honors or equivalent research experience may be enough to start a PhD, and admissions may be easier for international students. Funding may be available through scholarships. It is important to make connections with potential supervisors and institutions when applying for a PhD program.
  • #1
SquidwardTentacles
5
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Hey everyone, I'm an American senior Physics major and I've been looking at New Zealand (and possibly Australia) for grad school.

I wanted to ask if anyone could describe the system over there and answer a couple questions.

First, is a bachelors good enough to start the PhD without doing a masters? The New Zealand universities websites usually say a masters or Honors bachelors is required but I don't know if US 4 year degrees are treated differently. If I have research experience but no thesis would that work?

Second, how are admissions prospects in general? I know it's impossible to say in great detail, but is it extra hard for an international?If anyone can comment on this, please do. Thanks.
 
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  • #2
SquidwardTentacles said:
Hey everyone, I'm an American senior Physics major and I've been looking at New Zealand (and possibly Australia) for grad school.

I wanted to ask if anyone could describe the system over there and answer a couple questions.

First, is a bachelors good enough to start the PhD without doing a masters? The New Zealand universities websites usually say a masters or Honors bachelors is required but I don't know if US 4 year degrees are treated differently. If I have research experience but no thesis would that work?

Second, how are admissions prospects in general? I know it's impossible to say in great detail, but is it extra hard for an international?If anyone can comment on this, please do. Thanks.

First. If you graduate with honours from an undergraduate degree you can apply for PhD without doing masters. Depending on the research program you have done, this can also count as an honours equivalent.

Second. I would say it's easier if you're an international. Universities like to have a diverse range of students with different backgrounds.
 
  • #3
Joppy said:
First. If you graduate with honours from an undergraduate degree you can apply for PhD without doing masters. Depending on the research program you have done, this can also count as an honours equivalent.

Second. I would say it's easier if you're an international. Universities like to have a diverse range of students with different backgrounds.

Thank you.

I'd probably have around a years worth of research, but technically no thesis. Just working with professors on small projects, mostly on the computational side (simulation). No specific program as they don't do that at my school.

Do you know anything further about admissions? I'd probably have around a 3.5-3.6 GPA (like 85% average at my school) plus that research and good recommendations (research related recommendations), so I'm not a super-star. Is admissions at these schools (like U of Auckland or Canterbury) comparable to specific US schools? Like, getting into Berkeley (extraordinary applicant)? Or University of Oregon (solid applicant)? If you don't know, that's fine. Everything helps.

Also, are these programs generally funded?
 
  • #4
SquidwardTentacles said:
Thank you.

I'd probably have around a years worth of research, but technically no thesis. Just working with professors on small projects, mostly on the computational side (simulation). No specific program as they don't do that at my school.

Do you know anything further about admissions? I'd probably have around a 3.5-3.6 GPA (like 85% average at my school) plus that research and good recommendations (research related recommendations), so I'm not a super-star. Is admissions at these schools (like U of Auckland or Canterbury) comparable to specific US schools? Like, getting into Berkeley (extraordinary applicant)? Or University of Oregon (solid applicant)? If you don't know, that's fine. Everything helps.

Also, are these programs generally funded?

It could be enough. I think regardless of the country, it all really comes down to the supervisor, and if they're willing to take you on. Do you know roughly what you want to do? It's important to look at what sort of PhD applications are available and get in contact with those people, or make some other connection with the institution.

As for funding (in Australia, not sure about NZ), if you graduate with first class honours you can apply for a living allowance scholarship. ~$26k/y (aud) from memory. Another scholarship, which is relatively easy to obtain is the one which covers the cost of the program.

Not having the living allowance scholarship puts you in a tricky place. But is possible to do.
 
  • #5
Joppy said:
It could be enough. I think regardless of the country, it all really comes down to the supervisor, and if they're willing to take you on. Do you know roughly what you want to do? It's important to look at what sort of PhD applications are available and get in contact with those people, or make some other connection with the institution.

As for funding (in Australia, not sure about NZ), if you graduate with first class honours you can apply for a living allowance scholarship. ~$26k/y (aud) from memory. Another scholarship, which is relatively easy to obtain is the one which covers the cost of the program.

Not having the living allowance scholarship puts you in a tricky place. But is possible to do.

Thanks that helps a lot.

I guess I'm not clear on the exact topic (which I probably should be). Biophysics seems interesting, as does condensed matter (I'm generally interested in the more practical; possibly industry later). I've looked at the current PhD opportunities at U of Auckland and there are some good options like Photovoltaics and some biophysics stuff. Not related to my previous research, however.

This is the page I have for Physics scholarships at U of Auckland: https://www.physics.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/our-research/funded-phd-projects-available.html

"All funded research projects are available now and cover fees plus stipend of $25,000 p.a. and are open to both New Zealand and international students, unless otherwise indicated. "

Based on the top paragraph, it sounds like if you get accepted for one of those projects, you get a stipend to live on, and it also applies to internationals. Can you tell if I'm interpreting that right (maybe I am misunderstanding some terminology). It's my impression that you apply to work on a specific project rather than the school itself.

Thanks again for your help.
 
  • #6
Bump.

Anyone else have comments on New Zealand or Australia's PhD system?
 
  • #7
Yes I think you interpreted correctly.

The sooner you are in contact with an individual the better in my opinion :).

I haven't heard of 'project' before to be honest. But you can apply into a 'PhD program' here, so, project/program same thing.

Yes you will be working on a specific project as part of your PhD? I'm not sure what else you could do. Typically, you will tackle a problem within the field, publish a few papers on the topic, and then write a thesis using these papers and other things you have found.

Post-doc is where you work for the institution.
 
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Related to Physics PhD in New Zealand (or Australia)?

1. What are the requirements for applying to a Physics PhD program in New Zealand/Australia?

To apply for a Physics PhD program in New Zealand or Australia, you will typically need a strong background in physics, mathematics, and relevant laboratory experience. You will also need to have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in a related field, and high grades in your undergraduate and/or postgraduate studies. Additionally, you may need to provide letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and/or a research proposal as part of your application.

2. How long does it take to complete a Physics PhD in New Zealand/Australia?

The duration of a Physics PhD program in New Zealand/Australia can vary depending on the university and individual circumstances. Typically, it takes around 3-4 years to complete a full-time PhD program, and up to 6 years for part-time study. However, the time may be extended if you choose to take breaks or if your research project requires more time.

3. Are there any scholarships or funding opportunities available for international students pursuing a Physics PhD in New Zealand/Australia?

Yes, there are several scholarships and funding opportunities available for international students pursuing a Physics PhD in New Zealand/Australia. Some of the options include government-funded scholarships such as the New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships and the Australia Awards. Additionally, many universities offer their own scholarships and financial assistance to international students. It is recommended to check with individual universities for their specific funding options.

4. Can I work while pursuing a Physics PhD in New Zealand/Australia?

Yes, international students are allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) while studying in New Zealand or Australia. However, it is important to note that your studies should be your main focus and you should not let your job interfere with your research and academic progress. Additionally, some universities may have restrictions on the type of work you can do, so it is best to check with your university beforehand.

5. What research opportunities are available for Physics PhD students in New Zealand/Australia?

There are various research opportunities available for Physics PhD students in New Zealand/Australia, ranging from theoretical and computational research to experimental and laboratory-based studies. Some of the popular research areas include astrophysics, condensed matter physics, particle physics, and biophysics. Many universities also have collaborations with research institutions and industries, providing students with opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects and gain valuable experience.

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