Covid-19 updates for doctoral candidates

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

18 October 2021

Activities on our Auckland campuses are severely limited under Alert Level 3, with only staff and students specifically authorised to access campus being allowed to do so. If you do not have permission to be on campus under Alert Level 3, please stay at home. More details are available:

The School of Graduate Studies team will continue to work from home and operate online during this period.

Please take care of yourselves and your whānau during these challenging times.

View the latest University updates: Covid-19 information for our community.

View the latest Government updates: Unite against COVID-19 website.

Useful links

Working at home information and support

Money matters

Updates for international candidates

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.

Milestones and resources

Doctoral Induction

Don’t worry - we’re still holding Doctoral Induction sessions. Upcoming Inductions include online options as Zoom webinars. 

If you are a PhD candidate, please use the calendar function on Wahapū to book your Doctoral Induction. Visit Wahapū.

If you are in a Named Doctorate Programme (EdD, DClinPsy, MD, DocFA, DMus or DMA) please contact the School of Graduate Studies to book your Doctoral Induction. Contact the School of Graduate Studies.

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.  


Scholarships administered by the University of Auckland are operating as usual, so you'll still receive your payments.

If you are a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship recipient who is starting your doctoral programme offshore, the scholarship will pay your fees and administrative costs while you remain offshore, but the stipend component will only commence once you arrive in New Zealand and set up a local bank account. To learn more, see University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships.

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 Financial 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.

For candidates on the new PhD Statute: Indicate your intention to submit via Wahapū, and the system will guide you through what is required.

For candidates on the 2016 PhD Statute: Send an email to and a Doctoral Candidate Adviser will get in touch with you. Please note: The examination process via Wahapū is more streamlined and keeps you updated throughout all the different stages. If you’d like to use Wahapū for your examination, please also submit a PhD Statute Consent Form to indicate that you’d like to move the new Statute.

Initial submission appointment

For candidates on the new PhD Statute: There is no requirement for an initial submission appointment.

For candidates on the 2016 PhD Statute: You may meet 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; we have just moved them 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.

For candidates on the new PhD Statute: Upload your thesis via Wahapū – there are clear instructions on how to do this. There is no requirement for a hard-bound thesis.

For candidates on the 2016 PhD Statute: 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. There is no obligation to submit a hard-bound copy of your thesis. However, please note that if no hard-bound copies are received by SGS, then PReSS funds cannot be used for printing hard-bound copies.

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
  • Are overseas and unable to be in 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

Please note that if you have been awarded a scholarship, there may be some restrictions on a deferment. We encourage you to check the regulations of your scholarship, and contact the Scholarships Office if your scholarship is paid by or through the University.


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 Wahapū or 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  Wahapū or 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 need some extra time because of delays caused by Covid-19, you can apply for one of the following funds:

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 through Wahapū, or 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.

Contact us

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