Coronavirus updates for doctoral candidates
Covid-19 updates to processes and procedures for all PhD and named doctorate candidates.
Alert Level 1 and beyond
We have settled into the new normal here at the School of Graduate Studies and continue to provide all our usual services. Supporting prospective and current doctoral candidates and their supervisors remains our priority.
Any new Covid-19 information will be updated on this page and communicated via our enwsletters. If you are a doctoral candidate with a situation-specific question, please contact our Doctoral Candidate Advisers at email@example.com.
You can find the latest news in the grey box below. Beneath that is an overview of other recent updates. Information about important changes to our process and procedures can be found below that, organised into three categories: Registration changes, Milestones and resources, and Examinations.
Alert Level 1
We are currently in Alert Level 1. Find out more about what that means at Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
Covid-19 Income Relief Payment
Domestic candidates who worked part time prior to Covid, and lost their job due to the disruptions, may be eligible for temporary income relief. Find out if you are eligible at New Covid-19 Income Relief Payment.
Moving to Alert Level 2
The University has commensed the move to Alert Level 2. You can find detailed guidance about what this means in terms of permitted activities at Moving to Alert Level 2.
Updated information is also available at Covid-19 Researcher continuity guidance.
All staff and students visiting campus must register their arrival via the University's Check-IN service. Find out more at Using Check-IN.
Pre-visa PhD applications and registrations
We're happy to announce temporary changes to rules around making offers to and commencing supervision for off-shore international candidates prior to their obtaining a visa or arriving in New Zealand.
Staff members can read more at Pre-visa applications and registrations.
Alert Level 3 information and guidance
- Researcher continuity support and information
- Covid-19: Research continuity guidance
- Moving to Alert Level 3
- Please speak to your supervisor if you have a campus or lab access request
Updates for international candidates
- Visa information for international candidates
- Domestic fee eligibility: clarifications on the 12-month rule (outlined below under 'Registration changes')
Working at home information and support
All-Doctoral Candidate Forum
The School of Graduate Studies held an All-Doctoral Candidate Forum on Friday 24 April. We had close to 500 attendees and over 90 questions by the end of the session. Here is an overview of the key information:
- Campus access will remain restricted under Alert Level 3. Protecting the health of University staff and students remains a priority.
- Please direct campus and lab access requests to supervisors.
- Libraries and Learning Services will operate a Click and Collect service. Details TBA.
- Some study spaces will be available to book for those who don’t have a safe or suitable space to work from home. Details TBA.
- The University continues to offer 6-month scholarship extensions with an additional fees free extension of up to three months via the Doctoral Covid-19 Fee Waiver.
- The current situation and level of uncertainty is stressful for many candidates. We encourage candidates to reach out to the available support services if you need to.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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
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.
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, but with the adjustments 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.
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.
Refer any accommodation-related questions to Accommodation.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
If your question is not answered here, you can contact our Doctoral Advisers at email@example.com.