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Physics PhD in New Zealand (or Australia)?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

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.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
61
22
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
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
61
22
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
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
61
22
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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