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Changes During the PhD

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 his or her status by amending the enrolment form accordingly and providing a reason for the change (the latter is only required in the case of a change from full-time to part-time study and by obtaining the signature of the supervisor)
  • 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

A deferral is a period of temporary withdrawal, for usually personal reasons. A deferral stops the clock in terms of EFTS, calendar years, tuition fees and scholarships. Deferrals will not normally be granted for periods of less than one month or more than 12 months in the first instance. Multiple deferrals (i.e. more than two) will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. A reason and explanation must be stated on the deferral form, and the application must be endorsed by the supervisor(s), the Head of Department and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

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.