PhD - Masters Thesis Transfer Policy and Procedures

Application

University masters by research students and University staff members involved in the transfer from masters thesis enrolments to PhD enrolments.

Purpose

To specify the policy and procedures that apply where an enrolled masters by research student wishes to transfer from a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment.

Policy

1. A current University of Auckland masters thesis enrolment of 90 points or 120 points may be transferred to a PhD enrolment at the University subject to this policy and associated procedures.

2. Transfer of a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment entails the conversion of an unfinished 90 point or 120 point masters thesis research project into a PhD research project.

3. A masters research portfolio enrolment at the University of Auckland is not eligible for transfer to a PhD enrolment.

4. A masters thesis enrolment at an institution other than the University of Auckland is not eligible for transfer to a PhD enrolment at the University of Auckland.

5. Where a masters thesis has been submitted for examination, the masters thesis enrolment is not eligible for transfer to a PhD enrolment.

6. For a masters thesis enrolment to be eligible for consideration for transfer to a PhD enrolment, progress towards the completion of the masters thesis must be sufficient to enable assessment in accordance with the procedures below, and one of the following requirements must be satisfied:

either

a) Where the masters degree includes course requirements other than the thesis, the student must have completed all other course requirements and with an average result of B+ or higher

or

b) Where the masters degree is entirely comprised of a 120 point thesis, the student must have completed the postgraduate programme that qualified them for entry into the masters degree (or the final two years of the undergraduate hons or equivalent degree that qualified them for entry into the masters degree) with the equivalent of an average result of B+ or higher at the University of Auckland

or

c) The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) must be satisfied that an exception to the applicable requirement at 6a or 6b is warranted by proportionate extenuating circumstances.

7. Applications to transfer a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment must be made via the online application for admission system, and should normally be made when the masters thesis enrolment is 4-8 months (full-time equivalent) in duration.

8. Applications to transfer a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment are not permitted to commence during the first four months of full-time equivalent masters thesis enrolment or during a period of extension to the masters thesis enrolment.

9. The masters thesis research must not be structured on the basis that transfer to the PhD will be approved.

10. Where an application to transfer a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment is not successful, a masters thesis will still be due for submission in accordance with the relevant masters programme regulations.

11. Transfer from a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment will only be approved where the Board of Graduate Studies is satisfied that:

i) the masters research work, as assessed in accordance with the procedures below, is at B+ or higher standard at masters level and that the rate of progress is appropriate

and

ii) that the proposed PhD research project is an extension of the existing masters project and appropriate to a PhD enrolment

and

iii) that appropriate supervision and the research resources deemed necessary by the Academic Head are available.

12. Unless otherwise stated, appropriateness, relevance and equivalence, where invoked in this policy and associated procedures, are determined by the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate).

Procedures

13. A student must satisfy the eligibility requirements at clauses 4-6 (including either clause 6a or 6b or 6c) and clause 8 of the above policy in order to apply to transfer a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment.

14. Where a student does not satisfy the requirements at either 6a or 6b of the above policy but believes their performance was subject to proportionate extenuating circumstances, and where the Academic Head is also of this view, the Academic Head must contact the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) to determine the student’s eligibility to be considered for a masters thesis transfer in accordance with clause 6c of the above policy.

  • Where either the Academic Head or the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) is not satisfied that proportionate extenuating circumstances apply, the student is not eligible for consideration.

15. Eligible students must apply for admission to the PhD programme via the online application for admission system and must submit:

a) a sole-authored piece of written work based on the masters research equivalent to at least 30 points of postgraduate research work in the discipline

b) a Statement of Research Intent for the proposed PhD and details of the proposed supervision team

c) a statement detailing the relationship between the research undertaken towards the masters thesis and the proposed PhD research project

d) where a student has been enrolled for 9 or more months full-time equivalent at the time of application to transfer, disciplinary appropriate evidence (as determined by the Academic Head) of the quality of the research conducted to date.

16. The material submitted at clauses 15 must be assessed in accordance with clauses 17 and 18. The assessment must include:

a) a proposed grade for the sole-authored written work in relation to the University masters grade descriptors, and a supporting rationale

b) a statement on the quality of the research conducted to date and the evidenced rate of progress

c) commentary as to whether the assessor is satisfied that the proposed PhD project is i) an extension of the existing masters project, ii) consistent with the requirements of Regulation 2 of the PhD Statute and iii) capable of satisfying the requirements for the award of the PhD degree (namely the requirements to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge or understanding in the field(s), and to meet internationally recognised standards for such work)

Note: Regulation 2 of the PhD Statute requires a research project to involve enquiry that is experimental and/or critical in nature and be driven by an intellectual hypothesis, position, problem or question(s) capable of being rigorously explored and of making an original and significant contribution to knowledge and/or understanding in the relevant field(s) of study.

17. The supervisor may conduct the assessment of the material submitted under clause 15 in the following two cases (a and b):

a) where a student enrolled in a 120 point research masters degree:

i) obtained the equivalent of an average result of B+ or higher at the University of Auckland, and the equivalent of at least a B+ result at the University of Auckland in a research component of 30 points or more, in the postgraduate programme that qualified them for entry into the masters degree (or in the final two years of the undergraduate hons or equivalent degree that qualified them for entry into the masters degree), and completed all course requirements other than the thesis (if any) for the masters degree with an average result of B+ or higher

and

ii) has been enrolled for 4-8 months (full-time equivalent) in the masters thesis.

b) where a student enrolled in a research masters degree greater than 120 points has completed a postgraduate research component of 30 points or more in a relevant subject area with at least the equivalent of a B+ or higher result at the University of Auckland, and completed all course requirements for the masters degree other than the thesis with an average result of B+ or higher, and has been enrolled for 4-8 months (full-time equivalent) in the masters thesis.

18. Where one or more of the following criteria apply, the review of the material submitted under clause 15 must be undertaken by a qualified party outside the existing masters and proposed PhD supervisory team(s) and appointed by the Academic Head (external review may be appropriate):

a) The student has not completed all course requirements other than the thesis (if any) for the masters degree with an average result of B+ or higher

b) The masters degree is comprised of a 120 point thesis and the student has not completed the postgraduate programme that qualified them for entry into the masters degree (or the final two years of the undergraduate hons or equivalent degree that qualified them for entry into the masters degree) with the equivalent of an average result of B+ or higher at the University of Auckland

c) The student has not completed, or has not on their most recent attempt (excluding the masters thesis) completed, a postgraduate (or undergraduate hons or equivalent) research component of 30 points or more in a relevant subject area with at least the equivalent of a B+ or higher result at the University of Auckland

d) The student has been enrolled for 9 or more months full-time equivalent in the masters thesis at the time of application for transfer.

19. Where the sole-authored written work submitted under clause 15a is assessed under clause 16a as operating at less than B+ standard in relation to the University masters grade descriptors, the application to transfer to a PhD enrolment cannot be approved.

20. Where the assessor is not satisfied as to the matters at clause 16(c), the application to transfer to a PhD enrolment cannot be approved.

21. Where the sole-authored written work submitted under clause 15a is assessed under clause 16a as operating at a B+ or higher standard in relation to the University masters grade descriptors, and the assessor is satisfied as to the matters at clause 16(c), the application will be subject to the standard consideration process for PhD applications within the academic unit, and may be subject to recommendation by the Academic Head and/or Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research).

21. Where Regulation 13f of the PhD Statute is not satisfied, the transfer cannot be approved.

Note: Regulation 13f of the PhD Statute requires Academic Head approval of the availability of both appropriate supervision and the research resources deemed necessary by the Academic Head.

23. The Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) will make the decision as to whether the student satisfies the requirements for transfer from a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment as detailed in the above policy (n.b. clause 11) and these procedures.

24. Where the criterion at 18c applies and the Board of Graduate Studies (or delegate) determines under clause 23 that the student satisfies the requirements of this policy and procedures, the student is deemed to have satisfied the PhD - Candidate Research Capacity Policy and Procedures.

25. Where a student is permitted to transfer from a masters thesis enrolment to a PhD enrolment:

a) the start date for the PhD enrolment will be backdated to the start date of the masters thesis enrolment

b) the confirmation review date will be 12 months from the date on which the transfer was approved

c) the student is responsible for any scholarship implications of the transfer.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic Head refers to the head of the academic unit in which the candidate is enrolled or to their nominee

Academic unit refers to the faculty, large scale research institute, school or department in which the candidate is enrolled

Masters by research students refers to students enrolled in a masters degree which includes a research component of 90 points or above.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis

Supervisor refers to the main supervisor for the masters thesis

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Content manager: School of Graduate Studies
Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies
Approved by: Board of Graduate Studies
Date approved: November 2020
Review date: November 2023