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Information for Current Students

General University Information

General University Postgraduate information can be found on the main University Postgraduate webpages.


Department Postgraduate Studies Committee

The Postgraduate Studies Committee is concerned with all postgraduate matters in the Department. The Committee meets monthly to discuss individual student progress and any initiatives or concerns that students may have (as raised through the postgraduate representative or other avenues). The Postgraduate Studies Committee is the first port of call in ensuring that your postgraduate experience at Otago is a beneficial one.

Student Postgraduate Representative

The student postgraduate representative is chosen by the postgraduate students to liaise between postgraduates and the Department’s Postgraduate Studies Committee. The postgraduate representative undertakes the following duties:

  • Meets with or is in contact with postgraduate students to pass on information or developments and convey any postgraduate problems to the Committee.
  • Provides a report on any initiatives or concerns that postgraduate students may have to the Postgraduate Studies Committee at their monthly meetings (and withdraws before progress reports and other confidential issues are discussed).
  • Attends monthly staff meetings to report on any problems, make requests, and inform the staff of events, successes etc. If any confidential matters are to be discussed at the meeting, the postgraduate rep may be asked to withdraw from the meeting.

The current postgraduate representative is Violetta Gilabert.


Concerns with Supervision

If at any time a postgraduate student experiences concerns with their supervision, then any of the following individuals can be consulted. All postgraduate concerns are treated confidentially:

  • Your supervisor
  • Student postgraduate representative (currently Violetta Gilabert)
  • Chair of the Department’s Postgraduate Studies Committee (currently Associate Professor John Stenhouse)
  • Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (currently Professor Lachy Paterson)
  • HoD (currently Professor Takashi Shogimen)

Research and Study Leave

Staff regularly receive Research and Study Leave sabbaticals. During this time the Postgraduate Studies Committee will appoint a substitute supervisor to ensure that you receive continuity with your supervision.

Student Supervisor Agreement

Completion of a Student Supervisor Agreement is compulsory and is completed after your acceptance. It serves as an agreement between you and your supervisors concerning supervision practices (how often you meet etc) and deadlines for the submission of written work.

Progress Reports

PhD students have a six-month meeting with the HoD and their supervisors in the first year, and annually thereafter. MA students have 6-monthly meetings with the HoD and their supervisors. These meetings are a chance to consider and judge progress, and to raise any supervision or other issues.


When applying for PhD study, you will have submitted a draft ‘Resources and Proposed Research Costing Outline for PhD applicants’ to the Department. Upon arrival in the Department this draft budget (which may have been revised) is discussed and approved/amended. This budget is for planning purposes only. All requests for actual funding must be submitted to the Postgraduate Studies Committee with the Request for Funding Form, supported by your primary supervisor, at least two months before the intended expenditure. MA students may request funding with the support of their supervisors, also using the funding request form, at least two months before the intended expenditure.

No expenditure is to be undertaken without formal approval by the Postgraduate Studies Committee. Once funding is approved, all possible bookings should be made in advance through the Department in consultation with the Department Administrator, Sue Lang. For expenditures that cannot be booked in advance, original GST receipts for all expenditure must be provided (not just credit card or eftpos chits). Failure to do so may prevent reimbursement of your expenses.

During the course of study PhD students may require additional funds for unanticipated research which is vital to the completion of their research. The Postgraduate Studies Committee will consider such applications through requests from supervisors.

Funding request form


Conference Funding

PhD students can request overseas conference funding for one conference from the Division of Humanities. Details can be found at:

The current amount that can be applied for is up to a maximum of $2,500. We generally recommend that a research trip is carried out in conjunction with conference attendance.

National Postgraduate Conference at Victoria University, Wellington

The History Programme at Victoria University of Wellington annually hosts a postgraduate conference and we encourage students to attend.

New Zealand Historical Association Conference

Postgraduate students are also encouraged to participate in the biannual New Zealand Historical Association conference.

University-related International Travel

For international travel, all flights should be booked and paid directly from the Department through the University travel agents. This is to ensure that in the event of a crisis the University can check where you are and alert embassies accordingly.

It is mandatory that postgraduate students take out the University’s travel insurance for any University related international travel. Please see the Department's Administrator for help with this.


Language Requirement

It is a requirement that all History PhD students in the Department obtain language expertise.

The Department recommends an introductory course in the Maori language (MAOR110) and suggests that students undertake this at an early stage in their study. The Postgraduate Studies Committee will consider alternative language options to MAOR110, particularly for topics or future career prospects requiring knowledge of a different language.

Tutoring and Lecturing

Opportunities for tutoring are limited but the Department is committed to ensuring that students gain, where possible, some tutoring experience during their postgraduate study.

Where possible, supervisors are encouraged to give their postgraduate students some lecturing experience (eg. a guest lecture in a taught course).


Office space in the Department including desk space, internet access, and a computer will be provided (if required).

Access to the building after hours is via student ID card and code access.

After hours access to the photocopier room is by key entry. Please note that as this room contains mail for staff and students, it should always be locked after hours.

For all space and access queries, please ask at the Department's Reception area.

Library and Interlibrary loans


The Department has a designated library contact: Christopher Seay. His email is: and his phone number is 479 8976. Christopher is available to provide tours of the library and assist with access to library resources and training.

Interlibrary loans

Interlibrary loans are covered by the Department, within reason. Please ask at reception if you require an interlibrary loan.


Instructions for using the photocopier are on the wall in the copy room. If the photocopier breaks down and you are unable to fix it please see any of the administrative staff.

Your student card can be loaded with credit for photocopying. The Department pays for photocopying within reason, and it is expected that you will use the Departmental photocopy machine whenever practical.

Should you need photocopying from the Hocken Collections, the Department can provide you with an account code to use.

Ethical Approval

If your research requires you to use ethically sensitive sources (e.g. restricted Health Department or Asylum records, to conduct interviews) or to deal with questions that might lead individuals or groups to challenge your research in court then your supervisor should apply for ethical approval on your behalf. For further information, see Guidelines for Ethical Practices in Research and Teaching involving Human Participants in the Policies section of the University of Otago website. It contains all the information and application forms you will need. You should be able to decide on whether or not you need ethical approval, and what kind you need, by reading these Guidelines.

If you are unsure about whether or not you need to obtain ethical approval, you should discuss your research with your supervisor. If in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution and obtain ethical approval, which is in most cases a straightforward process. But you and your supervisor should do so as early as possible, before beginning your research.

For additional information or any queries, please contact Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla (

Seminars, workshops and afternoon tea

The Department operates a regular Wednesday afternoon seminar series. Postgraduate attendance at these seminars is considered obligatory as part of the culture of the Department.

Afternoon tea is provided every Wednesday afternoon at 3pm in the Humanities Division common room. This is a wonderful opportunity for staff and postgraduate students to meet informally.


Postgraduate students are welcome to be on the Committee of the History & Art History Students Association. This Association is assisted by the Department and regularly holds a meet and greet event in the first semester followed by a pub quiz in semester two.

Current Historiography

Postgraduate students are advised to consult the last few issues of the New Zealand Journal of History to be kept up-to-date on happenings in the field.

Thesis writing guides

Thesis writing guides are available from the University Library.

Submission of Thesis

PhD students submit 4 soft bound copies of their thesis to the PhD Office. Please see their website for more information.

MA students submit 3 soft bound copies of their thesis to the Department.

Students are welcome to use the Department's photocopy machine to print their thesis for soft binding. Please discuss this with Reception a few days before you are ready to submit. Students should be aware that their thesis will be printed double sided, and should have a ready to print PDF of their thesis for printing. Theses can be soft bound at Uniprint.

MA and PhD students must include an author declaration in their soft bound theses. The forms can be found at Masters & PhD.

Resources and Contacts for Maori, Pacific Island, and International Students

Maori Liaison Officer is currently Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla.

Pacific Island Liaison Officer is currently Professor Judy Bennett.

Exchange Students Officer is currently Professor Takashi Shogimen.

Contact Information

Please contact the department for any administrative matters.