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Supervisor updates

This page will be updated regularly with important news and information for supervisors of graduate research candidates. Please bookmark it and visit frequently.

18 January 2023

Celebrate your Doctoral Thesis Submission – Collect your Chocolate Fish and Ring the Bell!

Did you know, the tradition of collecting the gift of a delicious chocolate fish from the Graduate Research School on submission of a Doctoral thesis for examination is a decades old tradition at the University of Otago?

We now also have the new tradition of ringing the University bell which is located in the Quad behind the Clocktower Building.

View dates and times for celebration of thesis submission.

17 January 2023

Graduate Research School Manager

We are pleased to confirm the outcome of the recent appointment process for the position of Manager, Graduate Research School, following Andrew Lonie’s secondment as Manager to the Ageing Well National Science Challenge.

Bronwen Stephens has accepted the position as a secondment and commenced the role on January 16. We are absolutely delighted with this appointment – Bronwen is a well-known and respected colleague, who brings extensive skills and experience from her various roles at the University, including most recently as a Lead Administrator in Student Administration.

We look forward to working with Bronwen in her new role, providing advice and support to students and supervisors across the university.


13 January 2023

Postgraduate Research Scholarship Cost-of-Living Increases

From 1 January 2023, students on some postgraduate research scholarships received a cost-of-living increase.

For Doctoral candidates, the fulltime student stipend increased from $28,600 per annum to $30,696 per annum.

The Master’s Research Scholarship stipend increased from $16,000 to $17,172 for one year of fulltime thesis enrolment.

Students currently on applicable scholarships will receive the new rate along with all new recipients.

The following scholarships will be covered by the stipend increase:

  • University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship
  • University of Otago Māori Doctoral Scholarship
  • University of Otago Pacific Islands Doctoral Scholarship
  • University of Otago City of Literature PhD Scholarship
  • University of Otago Special Health Research Council Scholarship
  • University of Otago – China Scholarship Council Doctoral Scholarship
    Partial increase to bring external funding to the same level as an Otago Doctoral Scholarship.
  • University of Otago Master’s Research Scholarship
  • University of Otago Māori Master’s Research Scholarship
  • University of Otago Pacific Islands Master’s Research Scholarship
  • University of Otago International Master’s Research Scholarship
  • Alliance Group Postgraduate Scholarship
  • Bamforth Postgraduate Scholarship
  • Bruggeman Postgraduate Scholarship in Classics
  • David Renfrew White Scholarship in Education
  • Dr Sulaiman Daud 125th Jubilee Postgraduate Scholarship
  • Duffus Lubecki Postgraduate Scholarship in Applied Science
  • Fanny Evans Postgraduate Scholarship for Women
  • James Park Scholarship
  • John Edmond Postgraduate Scholarship for Industrial Research in Chemistry
  • Macandrew-Stout Postgraduate Scholarship in Economics
  • Senior Smeaton Scholarship in Experimental Science
  • Tassell Cancer Research Scholarship

If a scholarship is not listed above, it will remain at its current rate unless otherwise advised.

9 January 2023

Māori Postgraduate Support Adviser – Dr Rachel Sizemore

Ko Hikaroroa te māunga, ko Waikouaiti te awa, ko Takitimu te waka, ko Ngāi Tahu tōku iwi, nō Ōtepoti ahau. Ko Rachel Sizemore tōku ingoa.

Kia ora. I am Rachel Sizemore, the Māori Postgraduate Support Adviser in the Graduate Research School. I am also the MAI ki Otago co-ordinator for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. I have scientific research background with a BSc (Otago) in Zoology and Anatomy, an MSc (Otago) in Anatomy, and a PhD (Otago) in Neuroscience. Having studied at Otago I have experience in navigating university systems as Māori. I am passionate about making sure Māori postgraduate candidates have a successful tertiary experience.

In my capacity I:

  • act as a link to the resources offered by the University;
  • offer workshops, regular research hui and seminars;
  • act in an advocacy or support person capacity;
  • offer support to individual students;
  • offer advice on scholarships and administration; and,
  • provide opportunities for Māori postgraduates to meet others.

Some of the equitable opportunities I offer include Writing Days. There are two Writing Days per month, from 9am–5pm on a Thursday and from 9am–3pm on a Friday at the University Staff Club. We provide a quiet space to write, and lunch is provided. Many students who attend find them very helpful. I hope you will encourage your Māori students to register for these.

Māori Postgraduate Workshops and Events.

I also hold two Writing Retreats per year. This year we are kicking off the new year with a Writing Retreat on campus in February. We will hold a second Retreat in November. At these retreats we often provide a small workshop. In the past we have had writing and library workshops. Again this is an opportunity for Māori students to get together and write. We can also provide travel assistance for distance students who wish to attend.

We take students to conference. In July we attend Hono MAI, a one-day online wānanga for Māori doctoral candidates involved in Mai ki Otago under the Ngā pae o te Māramatanga banner. We zoom in with other MAI sites around New Zealand for a day of seminars and online workshops. There will be guest speakers, panels and lots of interesting information to listen too. Lunch will be provided.

Finally, in November we take a group of Māori PhD candidates to the MAI Doctoral Conference. This is an excellent opportunity for our Māori doctoral candidates to attend a unique Māori-centric conference. This is year it will be hosted by Massey University. We have funding to take up to 10 PhD candidates for this 4-day conference. It is a safe space for our students to present their research and network with other Māori scholars.

If you would like more information about how I can help you help your Māori postgraduates, please contact me.

I send all Māori postgraduate students monthly panui with information on upcoming events so please encourage your Māori students to attend.

Hari tau hou ki a koutou.

Dr Rachel Sizemore

14 December 2022

Guidelines for Graduate Research Supervisors

Some of the most Frequently Asked Questions we receive at Graduate Research School include:

  • Can a new supervisor be a primary supervisor for doctoral candidates?
  • What is the recommendation on how often supervisory meetings should be held?
  • Is there guidance or a checklist on induction of new graduate research students?

Did you know there is a useful resource to guide supervisors on these, and other, important issues?

Please see the Guidelines for Graduate Research Supervisors

30 November 2022

Tuition fees for international candidates overseas

International candidates currently enrolled in doctoral studies outside New Zealand should be aware that, from 1 March 2023, tuition fees will be charged at the international fee rate, unless they have obtained off campus approval for approved research related purposes. The University of Otago is required by its funder, the Tertiary Education Commission, to restore this policy, which existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students with University of Otago Doctoral Scholarships should be aware that the scholarship will only cover tuition fees at the domestic rate. If they are overseas for non-research purposes, such as writing-up their thesis from their home country, they will need agreement from the University to continue holding scholarship tenure, and even if continued tenure is granted, these students will need to self-fund the difference between the domestic tuition fee rate covered by the scholarship and the international tuition fee rate. Please note that this difference may constitute a significant sum of money.