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Formal approval is required for most changes which may become necessary regarding the details of a candidate's admission.

Typical Changes

Typical examples of such changes include:

  • major change of topic or title. (Variations in the wording of the title of the thesis do not require formal approval. The precise title of the thesis should be submitted only at the time when the examiners are nominated).
  • change to supervisory arrangements or advisory committee members
  • changes from full-time to part-time study or vice versa. At the beginning of each year or semester a candidate may apply to change status by application on a CORD form and providing a reason/justification for the change. When the change to enrolment is made in eVision the student receives an alert to confirm.
  • change of supervising department or subject code
  • off-campus (distance in New Zealand or overseas study) requests
  • additional paper while completing a thesis

For any of the above changes, you must fill in a Change of Research Details form.

Overseas Study

If studying overseas, permission is required (unless on deferral) and a Change of Research Details form must be submitted. Before embarking on overseas study, supervisory and resourcing arrangements should be discussed with supervisors, the Guidelines for Postgraduate Students Travelling Overseas for Research should be consulted, and a Postgraduate Travel Overseas Research and Safety Plan completed.

When candidates are going overseas for research related travel or to work on their thesis the University need to know dates they are away (this is for Immigration NZ purposes for international candidates and there also may be IRD implications for domestic candidates). This does not apply to shorter, low risk periods e.g. a few weeks thesis work back home overseas/conference attendance. Also please note that in some cases, repeated short term overseas trips can have visa implications for international students or tax (loan etc.) issues for domestic students.

For Otago Scholarship recipients, approval of travel up to one year, for research-related reasons, will also automatically grant overseas tenure on their scholarship unless otherwise stated. Scholarship tenure for travel for personal reasons shall be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Overseas tenure on a scholarship over one year (across the PhD) is not permitted, and the recipient would forfeit their scholarship if and when that limit was reached.

New Zealand citizens are entitled to pay domestic fees while studying overseas.

International Candidates

International candidates should be aware that there are time limits on total overseas study, beyond which international study fees will be charged.

  • For all candidates except New Zealand citizens, domestic fee status is retained only if travel is approved for research-related reasons (ie. research activities that cannot be conducted in New Zealand) and the total approved/official time spent overseas across the PhD does not exceed twelve months.
  • If a candidate loses eligibility for domestic fee status more than two months into a semester, then international fee status (and fees) shall be applied from the following semester. However, any scholarship support would be lost from the time the candidate lost eligibility for domestic fee status (a part-month of domestic status will allow scholarship support in that month).

Request for Deferral from Research Component

You are required to be continuously enrolled until submission of your thesis. Circumstances, however, may make it necessary for you to withdraw from doctoral study for a period of time. A period of temporary withdrawal is known as a deferral and is usually taken for personal reasons. A period of deferral does not count as progress on your thesis – for University purposes it effectively 'stops the clock' on enrolment, and thesis submission deadlines will be adjusted accordingly. Scholarship payments also cease while on deferral, and you have no right to any services or support, including supervision, from the University during the period of withdrawal. Candidates receiving or eligible for StudyLink entitlements, including student loans, should be aware that these may be affected by deferral. International candidates should check with the Student Visa Team about the implications of a deferral; normally deferrals over 3 months duration result in a student visa being cancelled.

When applying for a deferral, you must have started enrolment for study in that calendar year. If your deferral extends into the next year you must re-enrol for that year as well. Re-enrolment opens for the next calendar year in September of the current year. You must be course declared by the end of that working year for January Scholarship payments to be made and continued access to be maintained.

Deferrals can be from one month (note that they must always be from the first day of a month to the last day of a month) and no more than 12 months in the first instance. Multiple deferrals (ie: more than two) will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. You can apply for a deferral through your eVision portal or using a  deferral form. A reason and explanation must be given (and a medical certificate may be required if the request relates to a medical condition), and the application must be endorsed by the supervisor(s), and the Head of Department.

The 3-step re-enrolment process is to be completed for study in the next calendar year prior to 22 December of the current year. The only exception to this is if you will be deferring from 1 January to 31 December and this is approved and on your record by 22 December.

Request for Permanent Withdrawal

Any decision to withdraw permanently from a Doctoral programme should be made after careful consideration of all the factors involved, and after discussion with appropriate parties, including supervisors and the Head of Department, where appropriate.

In order to submit a permanent withdrawal, the candidate will need to log in to eVision, enter the Graduate Research area and submit a request through this portal. This will be processed by the Student Administrators - doctoral and notification will be sent to the candidate, primary supervisor and Head of Department once the process is complete.

Additional Paper while Completing a Thesis

Permission is required for candidates to take an additional paper alongside their PhD via a Change of Research Details form.  An additional paper with a PhD enrolment cannot be taken towards another enrolled qualification and must be enrolled against a COP (Certificate of Proficiency).
An indication can be made in the admission application that an additional paper is to be taken.  In the year the candidate enrols in the paper a Change of Research Details form must be submitted for approval.  If approved, Student Administration – Doctoral will then instruct the candidate to apply for a COP (Certificate of Proficiency) and then add the enrolment in the paper.

Payment for the paper is the candidate's responsibility.  If the candidate has a University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship, (and provided the paper is listed as required on the Change of Research Details form and the Graduate Research School approves this), then the Scholarship will pay for the paper.

For approved combined programmes such as the PhD/MB ChB or PhD/PGDipClps, papers from the concurrent non-thesis degree are not covered by the University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship.

If the candidate does not have a University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship or the paper is not listed nor approved as being required then the candidate will need to find funding or fund the paper themselves.

For international candidates additional papers will be charged at the international fee rate, unless the paper is approved as being required.

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