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General university information about postgraduate study at the University of Otago

Find information about postgraduate qualifications, support and scholarships.


Concerns with supervision

If at any time a postgraduate student experiences concerns with their supervision, then any of the following individuals can be consulted. All postgraduate concerns are treated confidentially:

  • Your supervisor
  • Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (currently Professor Lachy Paterson)
  • Centre Co-Directors (Professor Liam McIlvanney and Professor Sonja Tiernan)

Research and study leave

Staff regularly receive Research and Study Leave sabbaticals. During this time the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies Co-Directors will appoint a substitute supervisor to ensure that you receive continuity with your supervision.

Student supervisor agreement

Completion of a student supervisor agreement is compulsory and is completed after your acceptance. It serves as an agreement between you and your supervisors concerning supervision practices (how often you meet etc.) and deadlines for the submission of written work.

Progress reports

PhD students have a six-month meeting with their supervisors in the first year, and annually thereafter. MA students have 6-monthly meetings with their supervisors. These meetings are a chance to consider and judge progress, and to raise any supervision or other issues.


Conference Funding

PhD students can request overseas conference funding for one conference from the Division of Humanities.

Details for conference applications.

The current amount that can be applied for is up to a maximum of $2,500. We generally recommend that a research trip is carried out in conjunction with conference attendance.

University-related international travel

For international travel, all flights should be booked and paid directly from our programme through the University travel agents. This is to ensure that in the event of a crisis the University can check where you are and alert embassies accordingly.

It is mandatory that postgraduate students take out the University's travel insurance for any University related international travel. Please see our Administrator for help with this.

Tutoring and lecturing

Opportunities for tutoring are limited but we are committed to ensuring that students gain, where possible, some tutoring experience during their postgraduate study.

Where possible, supervisors are encouraged to give their postgraduate students some lecturing experience (e.g. a guest lecture in a taught course).


Office space including desk space, internet access, and a computer will be provided (if required).

Access to the building after hours is via student ID card and code access.

Library and interlibrary loans


The Centre has a designated library contact: Christopher Seay.

Tel +64 3 479 8976

Christopher is available to provide tours of the library and assist with access to library resources and training.

University of Otago Library

Interlibrary loans

Interlibrary loans are covered by the programme, within reason. Please ask at reception if you require an interlibrary loan.


Your student card can be loaded with credit for photocopying. We pay for photocopying within reason, and it is expected that you will use the programme photocopy machine whenever practical.

Should you need photocopying from the Hocken Collections, we can provide you with an account code to use.

Ethical approval

If your research requires you to use ethically sensitive sources (e.g. restricted Health Department or Asylum records, to conduct interviews) or to deal with questions that might lead individuals or groups to challenge your research in court then your supervisor should apply for ethical approval on your behalf.

Information about the Human Ethics Committees.

The Human Ethics Committees page provides all the information and application forms you will need. You should be able to decide on whether or not you need ethical approval, and what kind you need, by reading these guidelines.

If you are unsure about whether or not you need to obtain ethical approval, you should discuss your research with your supervisor. If in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution and obtain ethical approval, which is in most cases a straightforward process. But you and your supervisor should do so as early as possible, before beginning your research.

For additional information or any queries, please contact us.

Thesis writing guides

Thesis writing guides are available from the University library.

Submission of thesis

PhD students submit 4 soft bound copies of their thesis to the PhD Office.

MA students submit 3 soft bound copies of their thesis to the Centre.

Students are welcome to use our photocopy machine to print their thesis for soft binding. Please discuss this with reception a few days before you are ready to submit. Students should be aware that their thesis will be printed double-sided, and should have a ready-to-print PDF of their thesis for printing. Theses can be soft bound at UniPrint.

MA and PhD students must include an author declaration in their soft bound theses.

Forms for Master's students

Forms for PhD students

Contact information

Professor Sonja Tiernan is Éamon Cleary Chair of Irish Studies and Professor Liam McIlvanney is Stuart Chair of Scottish Studies.

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