I did a thorough investigation of most of the university websites around the globe which were offering the opportunity to conduct research in my field (medical image processing). Following are the top 5 reasons why I chose New Zealand:
1. Fee structure
The first and the most important thing that drew my attention to New Zealand was the PhD fee structure. The fees were the lowest amongst all the other countries that I looked at (international students pay domestic fees). I did manage to get admission to Imperial College London to conduct my research there but I dropped that admission as the fees were too high. In New Zealand you can complete your PhD degree at a cost of approximately $24,000 (NZD) over three years. I believe that there is nowhere else in the world (with university rankings in the top 200 globally), that this is possible.
2. Global university rankings
Another factor that influenced me were the QS global rankings for the universities in New Zealand. All the major universities rank in the top 500 with further variation for different disciplines. The university at which I am conducting my research, The University of Auckland, is ranked 82nd out of all other universities in the world. This factor is important when selecting a particular university to conduct your research at as the ranking indicates the quality of the research facilities and staff at the universities.
A number of scholarship opportunities are also offered by universities in New Zealand. The University of Auckland offers doctoral scholarships to all PhD candidates with a GPE (Grade Point Equivalent) of 8 or higher. The New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarship (NZIDRS) is a Government funded scholarship, administered by Education New Zealand.
4. Work opportunities
Even with a scholarship, PhD students are allowed to work full-time to support their families while studying here in New Zealand. Also the spouse of a PhD student is eligible for a full-time work visa which provides them with the opportunity to find a full time job to support their family. This is a really important factor as most PhD students are married and have to support their families along with their studies. Visit Immigration New Zealand for more information.
5. Help with application process
The supervisors at The University of Auckland were incredibly helpful and friendly throughout my admission process. They provided me with all the necessary details that I needed at the time of the application process.