Coronavirus updates for doctoral candidates

COVID-19-related updates to processes and procedures for all PhD and named doctorate candidates.

The School of Graduate Studies has transferred operations online, and we are all now working from home. Supporting prospective and current doctoral candidates and their supervisors remains our priority. Please be kind and have patience with us during this time - we are dealing with new working contexts and increased workloads, so some things may take a little longer than usual. Thank you in advance.

Changes due to COVID-19

We are settling into the "new normal" here at the School of Graduate Studies. Though much has stayed the same, moving online has been helped enormously by a few key updates to processes and procedures. You can find information on what has changed (and some things that haven't) below, organised into three categories: Registration changes, Milestones and resources, and Examinations.

You may also wish to browse the following information for researchers: Researcher continuity support and information.

Update: Visa information

International candidates with questions about suspensions and visas can check out the information available at the bottom of the page, here: Visas.

Update: Doctoral COVID-19 Hardship Fund

Information on the new doctoral hardship funding is now online at Doctoral COVID-19 Hardship Fund.

Registration changes

Deferring your start date

For most doctoral programmes, we can help if you need to defer your start date. Just discuss your deferral with your supervisor and, once you have agreed a new start date, forward your supervisor’s approval (an email trail is fine) to


Our Doctoral Candidate Advisers are all set up to welcome you to the University with an online enrolment meeting via Zoom. This appointment usually takes around 15 minutes.

Book an appointment.

First time using Zoom? No problem. The Doctoral Candidate Adviser will send you a Zoom link and easy-to-follow instructions.

Suspending your enrolment

Given everything that’s going on, it's understandable that you might want to apply to suspend your studies. You can use the DOC 6 form as usual, but there's no need to get your form signed; we'll accept approvals in an email trail if that's easier.

Suspensions are granted on a month-by-month basis and your suspension period must start on the first day of the month.

To give you a bit more flexibility, we've lowered the minimum suspension duration to one month. And if you're on a longer suspension, but want to resume your studies before it ends, just let us know by emailing

Remember, you aren't allowed to do any work on your thesis during your suspension and you'll have no access to University resources, including supervision. You won't receive scholarship payments and you won't pay tuition fees.

Getting sick
If you are unable to work on your thesis for a prolonged period (e.g. one month or more) due to illness or caring for someone with an illness, you should consider suspending your enrolment. This allows you have the time and focus you need to recover, without having to worry about your work.

Leaving the country?
If you're leaving New Zealand then you must suspend your studies; you're not allowed to continue your programme if you travel out of the country. This applies to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and international candidates. The COVID crisis means that you can't currently use any University resources to travel.

Extending your enrolment

If you need a bit more time before you submit your thesis for examination, you can apply to extend your enrolment using the DOC 6 form. No need to get your form signed; we'll accept approvals in an email trail if that's easier.

Changing your research focus

There's a lot going on at the moment, and we understand that travel restrictions and other COVID-19 circumstances might mean that you have to change the focus of your research. These changes can have significant visa and scholarship implications, so please discuss your ideas with your supervisor before you apply. If your supervisor considers your proposed changes to be a new topic, book an online appointment with a Doctoral Candidate Adviser to discuss the situation.

Book an appointment  

Going part-time

With all that’s going on, you may wish to move to part-time studies. You can apply by submitting a completed DOC 6 form. We'll accept approvals in an email trail rather than form signatures if that's easier for you.

Don't forget that changing to part-time status can have scholarship implications. We encourage you to check the regulations of your scholarship for more information, and contact the Scholarships Office if your scholarship is paid by or through the University.

And finally, if you’re on a student visa then you can only move to part-time study if Immigration New Zealand grants you a variation to your visa. We need to see that variation before we can move you to part-time enrolment.

Milestones and resources

Doctoral Induction

Don’t worry - we’re still holding Doctoral Induction sessions. Upcoming Inductions will be held online as Zoom webinars and will take approximately two hours. You can book via the link below.

Book your Doctoral Induction

Provisional and Annual Reviews

Provisional Year and Annual Reviews are vital elements of your doctoral journey, and a perfect time to get acknowledgement for and essential feedback on your progress. We expect your Provisional Year Review or Annual Review to continue as planned, with adjustments for online delivery. Contact your supervisor to discuss arrangements for your review.

Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA)

DELNA screening and diagnosis sessions will take place online, as will English Language Enrichment workshops.

Find out more and book a session online at Doctoral candidates and DELNA.

PReSS Accounts

Normal PReSS Account rules still apply; you may not spend your PReSS funding on anything that is not a direct research cost.

Read more about Doctoral PReSS account use.  


Don't worry - scholarships administered by the University of Auckland are operating as usual, so you'll still receive your payments.

If you have queries about scholarships not administered by the University, please refer them to the scholarship provider.

University of Auckland Scholarships Office 


Refer any accommodation-related questions to Accommodation.

Hardship funding

We know that some of you are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 situation, and the University has set aside a limited amount of funding to assist doctoral candidates who are in crisis with essential living costs.

You can check your eligibility and apply for same week payment (if your application is submitted before midday Monday), at Doctoral COVID-19 Hardship Fund.

You can explore other means of financial support at Hardship support.

Visiting scholars
Visiting scholars are not enrolled at the University of Auckland, so we are unable to offer them any of the financial support we offer enrolled students. Please contact your funding provider for information.


Intention to submit

It's business as usual for submissions and examinations. Please continue to notify us three months before you intend to submit your thesis – just send an email to

A Doctoral Candidate Adviser will get in touch and give you all the information you'll need for your online initial submission appointment.

Initial submission appointment

Submission appointments are taking place as normal - but you'll be meeting with your Doctoral Candidate Adviser online via Zoom. They will send you all the information you need, plus a submission link, once you've booked your appointment.

And to make things easier, you only need to submit a digital copy of your thesis, not a soft-bound copy.

Book your Initial Submission appointment

Oral examinations

Rest assured that most oral examinations are running as usual, but are taking place online via Zoom.

First time using Zoom? No problem. Your Doctoral Examination Coordinator will send you a Zoom link and easy-to-follow instructions.

Final submission

You can make your final submission once you have received an email from the School of Graduate Studies inviting you to do so.

To make your final submission, upload your thesis on ResearchSpace then email us your receipt and your DOC 7D. To make things easier, your DOC 7D does not need to be signed by a JP.

You don't have to submit the hard-bound version of your thesis at this time; we look forward to receiving the hard-bound copy once the campus has re-opened.