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Procedure to Transfer from a Graduate Research Degree to an Exit Qualification

Category Research
Type Procedure
Approved by Senate
Date Procedure Took Effect 26 May 2021
Last approved revision
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise)
Responsible officer Dean, Graduate Research School

Purpose

If a candidate is unable to continue in a graduate research degree due to personal circumstances, unsatisfactory progress or a failed examination, they can either choose to withdraw from study or they can choose to have their enrolment transferred to a programme for a possible exit qualification at a lower level. This procedure outlines the process for a transfer of a candidate from a graduate research degree to a possible exit qualification at the University of Otago.

Organisational scope

This procedure applies to all graduate research candidates and staff involved in the oversight and administration of graduate research degrees.

Definitions

Academic Leader
The academic in charge of a programme
Exit Qualification
The degree or award that may be granted as a result of a transfer.
Graduate Research Candidate
A student enrolled in independent thesis research (i.e. ≥90 point thesis) that involves a supervisor.
Graduate Research Degree
A degree involving independent thesis research where the thesis is ≥ 90 points
Transfer
Change of programme to one involving an alternative degree or award. A requirement to change programme usually results from unsatisfactory progress or a failed thesis examination.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Nominee
This is usually the Associate Dean Postgraduate or Associate Dean Graduate Studies

Content

1. Determine if a candidate wishes to pursue a possible exit qualification

2. Determine possible exit qualifications

  1. Discuss the possible exit qualification(s) with the Dean of the Graduate Research School and/or the appropriate Pro-Vice-Chancellor or their nominee.
  2. Exit qualifications that can be considered include lesser degrees than the programme of current enrolment. For a doctoral programme, this could be a Master’s degree or a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate. For a Master’s degree programme this could be a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate.
  3. All discussions will take account of the regulations of the degree under which the student was originally enrolled, as well as the regulations for the exit qualification.
  4. The timing of the transfer impacts how a doctoral thesis may be graded for a Master’s degree as an alternative qualification. If the transfer occurs before an examination, the thesis may be graded (see 3(b)x). If the transfer occurs after an examination has started, the thesis is normally ungraded (see 4e).

3. Process of a transfer to an exit qualification before a final examination

  1. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) corresponds with the Academic Leader of the exit qualification programme to confirm requirements and procedures.
  2. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) corresponds with the candidate regarding details of the possible exit qualification. Communication with the candidate should be timely and include the following information:
    1. The nature of the work required to be considered for the exit qualification
    2. A due date, normally within six months, for completion of the work to be presented for consideration
    3. Checking with Student Record Administrators about whether a change of programme needs to occur
    4. The need to withdraw from the current programme once admission to the new programme has been approved
    5. The expectation that supervision should continue until work is completed for assessment
    6. For candidates who are funded by a University of Otago scholarship or by an external funder, clarification over whether they can continue to hold this funding
    7. The cost of enrolling in the new programme
    8. For international candidates, the need to consult with the International Office to determine any variations to their student visa
    9. Clarity over who will examine the work for the exit qualification and what procedure will be used
    10. If the work being submitted is for consideration of a Master’s thesis degree, then it may be graded; work submitted for other qualifications will be ungraded i.e. pass/fail.
  3. The candidate completes their work under appropriate supervision and submits it for assessment.
  4. The candidate’s work is assessed as per agreed procedures (see 3(b) ix)
  5. Upon completion of assessment of the candidate’s work, the Academic Leader makes a recommendation to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) regarding a result.

4. Process of a transfer to an exit qualification after a final examination has started

  1. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) corresponds with the Academic Leader of the exit qualification programme to confirm requirements and procedures.
  2. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) corresponds with the candidate regarding details of the possible exit qualification. Communication with the candidate should be timely and include the following information:
    1. The nature of the work required to be considered for the exit qualification
    2. Clarity over whether any revising will occur before being considered for an exit qualification
    3. Clarity over who will examine the work for the exit qualification and what procedure will be used
  3. The thesis submitted for the alternative degree, could be the same thesis submitted for the first degree (i.e. without any changes), with assessment from the original examiner panel.
  4. The thesis may undergo revisions before being presented for assessment for the exit qualification. Any work submitted should be examined using procedures appropriate to the alternative qualification.
  5. Work being submitted for an alternative qualification is normally ungraded i.e. pass/fail.
  6. Upon completion of assessment of the candidate’s work, the Academic Leader makes a recommendation to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) regarding a result.

5. Determination and Communication of final result

  1. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee) considers the recommendation from the Academic Leader, determines the final result and conveys this to the Academic Leader.
  2. The Academic Leader communicates the final result, and, where relevant, sends the examiner reports, to the candidate.
  3. The Academic Leader conveys the final result to Student Administration.
  4. The final result is uploaded onto the candidate’s record by Student Administration.

Related policies, procedures and forms

PhD Regulations
Doctoral degree regulations
Master’s degree regulations
Guidelines for the Assessment of Student Performance
Student Academic Grievance Procedures
Appeals Statute 2011

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this procedure or need further clarification, contact the Dean, Graduate Research School:

Email dean.grs@otago.ac.nz