The payment of tuition and other fees is somewhat more complex for graduate research candidates (those completing a Master's degree with a thesis component or a supervised doctoral degree) than for other students, particularly as there are few restrictions as to when such study may start or end. This page provides additional information on fees for graduate research candidates, along with links to other relevant resources.
Fees for new candidates
For candidates starting their thesis part-way through the year, a pro-rata system is used for charging fees. Tuition fees are calculated on a month-by-month basis, and the Student Services Fee on a quarterly basis. For example:
- A new candidate, not previously enrolled in the current year, starting their thesis on 01 September would pay tuition fees for four months (4/12ths of the full-year tuition amount) and the Student Services Fee for two quarters (2/4ths the Student Services Fee amount).
As tuition fees are calculated on a month-by-month basis, candidates are strongly advised to being their thesis study on the 1st of a month (candidates beginning on any day of a month will still be charged for the whole month).
Candidates on a University of Otago scholarship should be aware that the Student Services Fee is not usually covered by the scholarship, and that this and other costs (such as insurance for international students) must be paid by the candidate by the due date for payment.
Fees for continuing candidates
Tuition fees and the Student Services Fee are charged for each calendar year at the start of that year, or for second semester enrolments at the start of second semester. Dates by which payments are required are available elsewhere on this website. Please realise that payment due dates apply to all candidates who will be enrolled for part of the relevant enrolment period, including those who are deferred for part of the period – if in doubt about your correct payment amount please contact the Revenue Management Office in plenty of time to sort this out in order to avoid later payment charges.
Candidates on a University of Otago scholarship should be aware that sundry fees are not usually covered by the scholarship, and that these and other costs (such as insurance for international students) must be paid by the candidate.
Fees for candidates submitting in the current year
When a candidate submits their thesis, so long as they have met the minimum enrolment time requirement for their qualification, any tuition and Student Services Fee* already paid, relating to the unused portion of their enrolment, will be refunded. Refunds are made on a pro-rata basis using a month-by-month calculation for tuition fees, and a quarterly calculation for the Student Services Fee. For example:
- A candidate submitting their thesis on 10 Jun, who had previously paid for a full-year enrolment, would receive a tuition fee refund for six months (6/12ths of the full-year tuition amount) and a Student Services Fee*refund for two quarters (2/4ths the Student Services Fee amount).
If the fees are paid by a student loan or scholarship, the refund will be made directly to the funder, not to the student. Candidates wishing to claim their refund should contact the Revenue Management Office following submission (it is best to wait several days following submission to allow time for the submission to be processed).* In order to receive a refund of the Student Services Fee, candidates must surrender their Student ID Card to the Revenue Management Office; this will mean a loss of access to services. Students may choose to keep their card and associated access beyond submission, but in that case no Student Services Fee refund will be given.
Partial tuition fee payment in the final year of study
If a candidate is confident they will submit part-way through the year, they can request to only have to pay tuition fees in advance for the time they expect to use on their enrolment (using a month-by-month calculation). For example:
- When enrolling in January, a candidate expects to submit in August, so can apply for permission to only pay the January to August portion of their tuition fees in the first instance.
Requests for partial fee payment in the submission year should be made to the Revenue Management Office, and must be accompanied by a statement from the candidate's supervisor, confirming that the expected submission date is realistic. If approved, the actual fee invoice will remain the same, but permission will be granted to pay only a portion of the bill (advice will be provided on this).
Under this arrangement, if the expected submission date is not met, the remainder of the fees for the year must then be paid in advance, and further partial fee approvals may not be granted.
It is strongly recommended that students receiving a Studylink allowance inform Studylink when they submit their thesis.
Submission in December (PhD candidates)
The University is typically closed from 24 December until the new year, making submission late in December impossible. For this reason, PhD theses submitted on the first day on which the University re-opens (in January) will have their submission date recorded as 31 December. This will mean that an enrolment for the new year will not be needed and January fees will not be charged.
Rules for Master's candidates may vary. It is recommended that Master's candidates check with their departments (to whom they submit their theses) if they think this may be relevant to them.
Fees after submission of the thesis
Candidates are not usually required to be enrolled after submission of their thesis, and so no fees are charged. Doctoral candidates are manually given access to resources and services (if they meet the criteria) after they submit for examination, which ensures continued access, but incurs no fee charges.
Note that in some circumstances, where required post-examination amendments to a thesis take longer than necessary, candidates may be required to re-enrol, with associated fees.
Deferrals during study
Deferrals (temporary withdrawals from study) count as periods of non-enrolment, and so any tuition fees already paid (for a period where the candidate is subsequently deferred) will be refunded, usually through the application of a credit to the candidate's fee account. This is calculated on a month-by-month basis. For example:
- A candidate enrols for the full year and then defers from March to September due to illness. The dollar value of seven months worth of tuition fees are credited to the candidates fee account. Note that if the candidate submitted before using this amount, it would be refunded to them or the funder of their study (e.g. a student loan or scholarship provider).
Retrospective deferrals are only approved if there are exceptional circumstances. In such cases, a refund of fees may not always be possible. It is best to apply to defer in advance, or as soon as possible after stopping work on the thesis.Note also that the Student Services Fee is not refunded as a result of deferral.
It is strongly recommended that students receiving a Studylink allowance inform Studylink if they defer from study.
Withdrawing from study
Fees are not typically refunded for candidates who permanently withdraw from study. However, only first year Master's and PhD candidates withdrawing before 1 March (first semester enrolment only), 1 May (full-year enrolment) or 1 September (second semester enrolment only), may have their enrolment deleted and can thus receive a refund of fees. However, if the fees are paid by a student loan or scholarship, the refund will be made directly to the funder, not to the student. Candidates wishing to claim their refund should contact the Revenue Management Office following withdrawal (it is best to wait several days from confirmation of withdrawal to allow time for the withdrawal to be processed).
It is strongly recommended that students receiving a Studylink allowance inform Studylink if they withdraw from study.
Part-time study typically halves tuition fees (for the same period of time), but has no effect on the Student Services Fee. Note that immigration requirements do not allow international students to study part-time. Otago scholarship holders should also be aware that part-time study with retention of a scholarship is only possible in certain circumstances. Scholarship holders considering part-time study should contact the Doctoral and Scholarships Office.
It is strongly recommended that students receiving a Studylink allowance consider the implications that part-time study may have for their allowance, and inform Studylink if they switch to part-time study.
Additional papers while completing a thesis
Tuition fees will be charged for any additional papers undertaken during thesis study (for which approval should be sought). For candidates on University of Otago scholarships, fees for additional papers will only be covered by the scholarship if the paper is deemed a requirement of the thesis degree (in combined programmes such as the PhD/MB ChB or PhD/PGDipClPs, papers from the concurrent non-thesis degree are not covered by the scholarship).
For international candidates additional papers will be charged at international fee rates, unless the candidate is completing a doctoral degree, and the paper is required for completion of their doctorate.
Most University of Otago scholarships at Master's or doctoral level cover tuition fees for the period of the scholarship, however typically sundry fees are not covered and these costs must be met by the student.
Please be aware that the process for loading scholarships onto fee accounts is currently manual and occurs at a very busy time of year for the Revenue Management Office. If a candidate in receipt of a fee-paying scholarship receives an invoice for the full fee amount, a further corrected fee invoice is likely to follow. If in doubt candidates should contact the Doctoral and Scholarships Office for clarification. Note that scholarship deductions are recorded on fee accounts (usually as “Uni of Otago Postgrad Award”) so can be checked by students on eVision.
Scholarship recipients should try to be aware of when their scholarship is due to end, and if possible plan to submit their thesis at that time. By requesting partial payment in their final year, it is possible to avoid paying any tuition fees if submission is on time. If it becomes clear in the final year of a scholarship that timely submission is not going to be possible, candidates should consider saving money from their stipend to contribute to tuition fees once their scholarship finishes.
It is strongly recommended that students receiving a Studylink allowance inform Studylink if they receive a scholarship.
Note that if a scholarship is funding fees, any fee refunds will be credited back to the scholarship funder.
Student services fee for Christchurch, Wellington and distance candidates
Candidates based at the Christchurch and Wellington campuses of the University pay a reduced Student Services Fee.
Candidates studying under a distance thesis are not charged the Student Services Fee.
While amounts may differ, the fee payment mechanism is essentially the same for international students as for domestic students. The University's International Office maintains information on the payment of fees for international students.
International students should also be aware that in addition to tuition and the Student Services Fee, they will also be required to pay for medical and travel insurance while in New Zealand. Scholarship recipients should note that insurance and the Student Services Fee are not covered by Otago scholarships, and the costs of these will need to be met by the student each year.
Studylink (student loans and allowances)
For information on student loans and allowances, candidates should visit the Studylink website. It is recommended that students liaise directly with Studylink about their loan or allowance application or questions they may have. The Revenue Management Office may also be able to assist you with queries.
Candidates applying for limited full-time status on a loan or allowance should visit the Revenue Management Office to have their forms completed. Candidates applying to extend over the 200 week allowance limit should have their form completed by their individual department or the Doctoral and Scholarships Office.
Additional information on paying fees by student loan is available elsewhere on this website. Note that if a loan is funding fees, any fee refunds will be credited back to Studylink and reduced off the student's loan amount.
General fee enquiries:
Fee-related scholarship enquiries:
Doctoral and Scholarships Office
International-related fee enquiries:
(e.g. insurance payment enquiries)