Doctoral Candidate Research Capacity Policy and Procedures

Application

Applicants for doctoral programmes at the University of Auckland except the Doctor of Fine Arts.

Purpose

To detail the requirements for research capacity that must be satisfied by applicants for doctoral programmes at the University of Auckland except the Doctor of Fine Arts.

Policy

1. The requirements for doctoral candidate research capacity encompass the requirements for research experience and ability, disciplinary training and suitability to proposed research project detailed in this policy.

2. Relevance, equivalence, consistency and incompatibility, where invoked in this policy and associated procedures, are subject to determination by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate).

3. An applicant admitted to a doctoral programme under clause 9 or clause 11 or clause 15 of the Doctoral - Exceptional Circumstance Entry Policy and Procedures is deemed to have satisfied the requirements of this policy and associated procedures.
 

Research experience and ability

4. Applicants must have completed, in accordance with the requirements of clauses 5-8, either

a) a sole-authored postgraduate (or undergraduate honours or equivalent) research component of no less than 30 points at the University of Auckland with at least a B+ result, in a subject area relevant to the proposed doctoral research project

or

b) the equivalent as determined by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) in accordance with the procedures below

5. The University of Auckland research work must have been examined and assessed in accordance with the University’s procedures for the Examination of Sub-doctoral Postgraduate Research Components of 30 points and above Procedures and, in the case of bridging programmes under clause 11, in accordance with any additional requirements specified by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate), and must meet the requirements of clauses 6 and 7 of this policy.

6. Where scholarly creative work contributes to a research project, there must still be a written research project, which, excluding scholarly creative work, is equivalent to a sole-authored postgraduate research component of 30 points or more at the University of Auckland (25% of one year of study FTE) in a relevant subject area, and which meets at least B+ standard at the University of Auckland as determined in accordance with either clause 5 of this policy or the procedures below.

7. Multiple items of research work may not be combined for the purposes of assessment for equivalence with a 30 point research component under clause 4. Equivalence with a 30 point research component must be established through a single assessable piece of research work.

8. Where an applicant’s most recent qualification in a relevant subject area does not satisfy the requirements of clause 4:

a) the research component of a previous qualification in a relevant subject area may be used to satisfy this policy and associated procedures only with the permission of the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate). Such permission may be granted only where the most recent relevant qualification does not contain a sole-authored postgraduate or undergraduate honours (or equivalent) research component equivalent to 30 points or more at the University of Auckland or where the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) is satisfied that the most recent qualification is subject to proportionate extenuating circumstances.

b) a subsequent certificate of proficiency or postgraduate certificate at the University of Auckland may be used to satisfy clause 4 only where the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) has approved the composition of the certificate of proficiency or postgraduate certificate. The research enrolment, which must not be less than 30 points, may be required to be equivalent in scale to any existing research enrolment that was not completed to the required standard.

Disciplinary training

9. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) must be satisfied as to the appropriateness of the applicant’s qualification(s) to the proposed research topic.

10. A postgraduate qualification that is 50% or more comprised of creative practice must include the equivalent of a B+ or higher average at the University of Auckland in the equivalent of at least 60 points at the University of Auckland (50% of one year of study FTE) of non-creative practice courses in a relevant subject area in order to be considered sufficient disciplinary training for admission to the PhD.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, this clause does not mitigate the requirements of Regulation 13a of the PhD Statute.

11. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) may approve an individual bridging programme at the University of Auckland for the purpose of providing an applicant with an opportunity to satisfy clause 4a of this policy and/or disciplinary training requirements consistent with the standards of clause 10.

12. A research component (or its equivalent) that satisfies clauses 4, 6 and 7 of this policy may count, as determined by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate), towards the 60 point (or equivalent) threshold at clause 10.
 

Suitability to proposed research project

13. Two independent academic references must be supplied for all applicants who have not graduated from the University of Auckland, with their most recent qualification in a subject area relevant to the proposed PhD, within the five years prior to the application for admission to the PhD programme.

14. The main or joint supervisor and the Academic Head must be satisfied as to the applicant’s suitability for the proposed research project. Consideration may include the conduct of an interview with applicant.  

Procedures

15. At the invitation of the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate), an applicant may submit, for consideration in relation to clause 4 and/or clause 6 of the above policy, a research output, in a subject area relevant to the proposed doctoral project, in the form of either

a) a supervised postgraduate (or undergraduate honours or equivalent) research project, research essay, dissertation, or thesis (or equivalent) output from a research course enrolment equivalent to no less than 25% of one year of full-time study

or

b) a single research publication or report proposed as equivalent to the output of a research course enrolment of no less than 25% of one year of full-time study

16. Except where a submission under clause 15 of these procedures is manifestly incompatible with the requirements of clause(s) 4 and/or 6 and/or 7 of the above policy, the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) may release the research output to the academic unit for assessment and recommendation regarding equivalence with the requirements of clause 4a and/or clause 6 of the above policy.

17. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) may stipulate conditions and/or criteria for the assessment, including but not limited to, requirements for:

  • independent assessment (defined as assessment by an experienced academic staff member who is not part of the proposed supervision team)
  • recommendations, accompanied by supporting rationales, as to the scale of the work in relation to a University of Auckland postgraduate points enrolment, and/or as to grade in relation to the University of Auckland grading scale

18. Co-authored work may be considered under these procedures only where:

i) an applicant’s contribution to an individual piece of co-authored work can be established, to the satisfaction of the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate), as equivalent to a sole-authored research component of 30 points or more

and where

ii) a statement regarding author contribution and standing of research output, corroboration from at least one co-author and any other evidence as requested by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate), are provided for consideration

19. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) may also require the assessment of work in relation to the standards expressed at clause 10 of the above policy. In such cases, the provisions of clause 17 of these procedures apply.

20. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) may determine that an assessment conducted under these procedures is insufficient and/or that any recommendation made under these procedures is at odds with the evidence or with the substance of an assessment.

21. The final decision as to whether an applicant satisfies the requirements for PhD candidate research capacity will be made by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) after due consideration of the application and any material produced pursuant to the above policy and these procedures.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic Head is the head of the academic unit in which the applicant wishes to enrol, or their nominee.

Academic unit may refer to a faculty, Large Scale Research Institute (LSRI), school or department.

FTE is an abbreviation for Full Time Equivalent.

Joint supervisor refers to the joint supervisor with primary responsibility for administrative requirements.

Main supervisor is the lead supervisor who takes primary responsibility for the supervision of a candidate.

Subject area is the official subject area in which the applicant wishes to enrol.

Thesis is a substantial presentation of the outcome of an original and coherent doctoral research project. It situates the research in the broader framework of the disciplinary field(s), and entails a cohesive written document.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Content manager: School of Graduate Studies
Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies
Approved by: Board of Graduate Studies, Senate and Council
Date approved: October 2021
Review date: October 2024