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Changes to admission details or circumstances

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

Changes to Research Details

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 of a supervisor
  • 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 as Adviser of Studies)
  • Change of supervising department or subject code
  • Off-campus (overseas study) requests

The Change of Research Details form is available here.

Please note that there is a separate form for when a candidate needs to request an extension to submit their thesis over the normal maximum time (4EFTS). This form is available on request from the Doctoral Office.

Overseas Study

Permission is required to study overseas for more than two months, and candidates must remain enrolled while studying off shore (note that deferred candidates do not need to request permission from the University to be overseas). Before embarking on overseas study, supervisory and resourcing arrangements should be discussed with supervisors. All candidates other than New Zealand Citizens should be aware that there are time limits on total overseas study, beyond which international study fees will be charged.The following guidelines apply:

  • Candidates traveling overseas for more than two months shall need to apply for permission to undertake their research while overseas by submitting a Change of Research Details form.
  • Travel overseas covering less than two months of enrolment will not require permission and shall not be counted towards official total time spent overseas during the PhD. However, if travel for research-related reasons is initially intended to be for less than two months, but then exceeds this threshold, permission must be applied for, and the two months shall be counted towards the total time overseas.
  • 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.
  • For all candidates except New Zealand citizens, domestic fee status is retained only if travel is approved for research-related reasons 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 shcolarship 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).
  • If a candidate loses eligibility for domestic fee status less than two months into a semester, then international fee status (and fees) shall be applied from the start of the current semester. Any scholarship support would be lost from the time the candidate lost eligibility for domestic fee status; scholarship fee payments to that point would remain at the domestic rate (a part month of domestic status will allow scholarship support in that month).

Request for PhD Deferral from Research Component

A deferral is a period of temporary withdrawal, for either academic or personal reasons. A deferral stops the clock in terms of EFTS, calendar years, services, support, supervision,tuition fees and scholarships. Deferrals will not normally be granted for periods of less than two months or more than 12 months in the first instance and the dates of the deferral must be from the first of a month to the end date of a month. Multiple deferrals (i.e. more than two) will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. A reason must be stated on the deferral form, and the application should be endorsed by the supervisor(s), the Head of Department and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.  Candidates on deferral, or continuing on deferral, must still re-enrol for study in the next calendar year before 1 December of the current year.  Unless their deferral covers a full calendar year.

International Students – The University of Otago has an obligation to notify Immigration New Zealand (INZ) when an international student defers. Before submitting the deferral form you need to contact Student Visa Services at the International Office so that you understand what visa implications there may be if you apply for deferral.

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 Doctoral Office and notification will be sent to the candidate, primary supervisor and head of department once the process is complete.

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