Detecting movement in a hatching kiwi egg, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


DOC offers postgraduate research scholarships for conservation related research in the natural and social sciences. Applications close 1 October 2021.

Conservation research in this context is interpreted broadly and includes a range of disciplines and perspectives, for example biophysical sciences, the social sciences (including economics), and Te Ao Māori thinking.

It covers the biodiversity, visitor and heritage related responsibilities of the Department of Conservation (DOC).

The purpose of these scholarships is to help achieve New Zealand’s conservation goals.

2021 application round

Applications open: 1 August 2021
Applications close: 1 October 2021

Scholarship details

The scholarships are for Masters students undertaking the research component of their degree at an approved institution. Full-time and part-time students are eligible.

There are 10 DOC scholarships worth up to $15,000 each. Full-time students are funded for one year and part-time students are funded for up to two years.

Selection criteria

The selection committee awards scholarships based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of research topic to the achievement of DOC's and the relevant funding partners' research priorities.
  • Relevance of the thesis topic to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Whether the proposed research contributes to the relevant body of knowledge.
  • Academic merit of the applicant.
  • Genuine interest in research topic and evidence of commitment to conservation science from the applicant.

Research priorities

Find the list of research priorities for the 2021 application round.

We welcome either a mainstream science and/or Mātauranga Māori approach to any of the research priorities.

Who can apply

Applications for the scholarship will be open to candidates:

  • who are enrolled in, or eligible to enrol in, a full time or part time Masters degree in a New Zealand university or equivalent tertiary institution
  • whose proposed course of study includes a minimum research component of 90 credits
  • who will undertake research into a topic identified by DOC as a priority for conservation research.

How to apply

Scholarship applications for the 2022 year open 1 August and close 1 October 2021.

Apply on the Universities NZ scholarships website.

Guidance on how to apply is found on the Universities NZ website.

2020 application round

There was an impressive response to the scholarship programme in 2020, read about the successful applicants.

2020 research priorities

Find the list of research priorities for the 2020 application round. The topics of the 10 masters scholarships awarded by DOC in December 2020 are highlighted in grey.


For queries about the research priorities or general enquiries, email DOC's Capability Development Team:

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