Coronavirus updates for doctoral candidates

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

Alert Level 1

With the exception of examinations, all teaching, learning and research activities are on campus, according to the standard timetable.

Read more at Covid-19 information for our community.

Previous updates

Struggling? Find the support you need.

It's vitally important that you take care of your mental health during these difficult times. If you are struggling and need to talk, the University’s counselling service is available. To access support, please complete the online questionnaire found at Counselling services.

You can also call or text 1737 at any time to speak to a trained counsellor.

Registration changes

Domestic fee eligibility: clarifications on the 12-month rule

If you’re an international doctoral candidate stuck outside of New Zealand and worried that Covid-19 disruptions will take you over your 12-month limit for overseas research, we have good news. The Tertiary Education Commission have confirmed that any time spent outside of New Zealand as a result of Covid-19 disruption will NOT be taken into account when calculating the 12-month overseas period.

This applies to candidates who:

  • Are enrolled in a doctoral programme
  • Enrolled before the start of the Covid-19 crisis
  • Are overseas and unable to return to New Zealand as a result of Covid-19 disruption
  • Were living in New Zealand before their current period overseas

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 (or need) 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.

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, a suspension is a break from your programme. 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
We hope you stay well and healthy during this time. But if you do fall unwell, or need to care for someone who is unwell, and are unable to work on your thesis for a prolonged period (e.g. one month or more), you can suspend your enrolment. This allows you the time and space to focus on recovery without having to worry about your work. If you fall ill for a shorter period of time then you can continue your enrolment as usual, but please be sure to look after yourself.

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.

If you get to 41 months of active, full-time enrolment (or equivalent for part-time candidates) and still need some extra time because of delays caused by Covid-19, you can apply for a waiver for up to three months of fees. Find details at Doctoral Covid-19 Fee Waiver.

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 include online options as Zoom webinars. You can book via the link below.

Book your Doctoral Induction

Confirmation Reviews (PYRs) and Continuation Reviews (ARs)

Confirmation and Continuation 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 reviews to continue, even if adjustments are needed to take them online. Please 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

Any candidates struggling with financial hardship can explore options for 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

Oral examinations are taking place as usual, and online via Zoom in exceptional circumstances.

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.

Contact us

If your question is not answered here, you can contact our Doctoral Advisers at