Current postgraduate students

This page contains some useful information for current postgraduate students.

Useful information

General FAQs 

How do I get a copy of my transcript? 

You can order transcripts and official letters here. 

 

Is there any financial assistance for travel to a conference? 

Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School does not manage any central funding for this, but your department may be able to assist with funds for these kinds of academic activities. Please contact your department’s Postgraduate Co-ordinator to enquire about this.  

 

I am having trouble accessing Turnitin. Where can I go for assistance? 

To access Turnitin, first log in to LEARN and navigate to the Postgraduate Research Students course page. You can find the link to Turnitin along with a user guide in the section ‘Your Resources’.  

 If you have previously had access to LEARN but have lost this access, this may be because your enrolment is out of date and you are overdue to re-enrol. Please contact Te Kura Tāura for advice if this is the case, as this is usually caused by having an overdue milestone report.  

 If you are experiencing any other difficulties accessing LEARN or Turnitin, you will need to log a ticket with IT Services 

 

I need to renew my visa, who can help me with this? 

You can contact student-visa@canterbury.ac.nz for general information on visas, however UC is not able to provide personalised visa advice and you should discuss this with your INZ case manager or other Licenced Immigration Adviser. You can find out more about who can provide personalised advice here 

 Once you have submitted your thesis, Te Kura Tāura staff will check your student record. If you are on a student visa they will issue you with a letter for INZ in support of an application for a post-study work visa. This letter is not specifically addressed to INZ so you will be able to use this for other purposes as well, such as your job search. 

 

What are the rules around getting assistance for proofreading and editing? 

UC’s guidelines for this can be found here. To briefly summarise, students may solicit help from any person to have their work proofread but may not engage any person, except their supervisors, to edit their work. As there is variation on the depth of knowledge a proof-reader may require depending on discipline, Te Kura Tāura does not keep a list of available proof-readers. Your department may be able to assist with this – please contact your Postgraduate Co-ordinator 

 

Doctoral FAQs 

I have heard about a publication prize. How do I apply for this? When will I receive my prize if I am successful? 

You can find more information about the UC Foundation Doctoral Publication Prize here, including information on how to apply via myUC and when applications are processed. The Scholarships team will be in touch with you once the applications have been processed to advise on the outcome. 

 

I’m thinking of changing my enrolment to part-time. How do I go about doing this? 

You will need to discuss this with your supervisor first. Make sure you consider all aspects of your study that this may affect, such as your scholarship or your student visa. Once you have determined that this is the best option for you, you’ll need to complete a Change in Enrolment Status form which can be found here. Please note that the 0.35EFTS option will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, for example while transitioning back to study following a period of parental leave.  

 

I need a letter to confirm I’m enrolled/my progress is satisfactory. Where can I get this? 

You can usually use your most recent milestone approval letter. If you have not yet had a milestone approved, or if this letter is not suitable for your purposes, please contact Te Kura Tāura to request an updated letter. 

 

I have been called to Jury Service but I’m at a critical point in my thesis. Can I have a letter to be excused from Jury Service? Can I apply for a suspension if I am selected? 

Te Kura Tāura can provide a letter outlining your current status and requesting that you be excused from Jury Service, or that your service is deferred. This does not guarantee your request will be granted; only the court can excuse or defer your service after reviewing your application. Suspensions are always considered on an individual basis and the expectation is that no thesis work is undertaken at all during a suspension, so this will probably not be the most appropriate course of action. Suspensions are for whole months only, and it is quite unlikely that your jury service will begin on the 1st of the month and continue for an entire month or more.  However, you are welcome to apply for a suspension if you believe the circumstances warrant it, and the Dean will consider any application on a case-by-case basis.  

 

When is my next milestone report due? What milestones do I need to complete? 

You can find the schedule of when your milestone reports are due, and which milestones are due when, here. If you have taken a suspension, or switched your study between full- and part-time, please contact Te Kura Tāura to confirm specific dates as these changes may interrupt the usual timeline for your milestone reporting. 

 

When can I submit my doctoral thesis? 

You must complete the minimum enrolment period of 360 points (3 EFTS) before you are able to submit your doctoral thesis. The maximum time periods can vary between different doctoral degrees, so check the regulations (which can be found here) for your specific degree to find your maximum timeframes. If you need longer than the maximum timeframe, you will need to apply for an Extension to Thesis Submission Deadline. The form for this can be found here 

 

How long will my thesis examination take? 

Usually between 3 and 6 months for the entire process. The examination has different stages: 

  • Written examination of thesis: this usually takes around 2-3 months. Two independent examiners review your thesis and submit a written report and recommended outcome. 
  • Oral examination: once the reports are received and the Dean approves you to proceed to oral examination, your Examination Chair will confirm the details of this. Depending on everyone’s schedules this may take some time to organise. Please note that while a date for your oral examination will be indicated at the time of submitting your thesis, this is a proposed date only and there may be unexpected delays or events which mean the oral exam will be rescheduled. 
  • After the oral examination you may be asked to complete amendments prior to the degree being awarded. This is the most common outcome of oral exams. Amendments could take 1-3 months, or even up to 6 months for more in-depth amendments. During the amendments process you will not be enrolled. Once the amendments are completed and approved there are final administrative checks that need to take place which can take 1-2 weeks. Once the checks are complete, you will be eligible to graduate. At this point we would be able to issue a Letter of Eligibility to Graduate if you need this, for example this may be required for job applications. 

A less-common outcome of the written examination is that you might not proceed directly to the oral examination. If this is the case, then Te Kura Tāura and/or Dean of Postgraduate Research will be in touch with you regarding the outcome and what the next steps will be. 

 

When will the oral exam happen? What should I be prepared for on the day? 

The oral examination will occur after the written examiner reports have been received and the Dean has confirmed you are able to proceed to the oral examination, usually about 3 months after submission. The examiners are asked to provide questions as part of their reports to help you to prepare for the oral exam, and you will be given the reports approximately 1 week prior to the exam. Discuss the specifics of your reports, as well as any Faculty- or Department-level expectations, with your Senior Supervisor. Oral examinations are generally around 1-2 hours long. This will usually begin with introductions and an overview of the exam format from the Examination Chair, then you will give a short presentation of your work (10-15 minutes), then the remainder of the examination will consist mostly of the oral examiner posing the questions that have been provided. This may include further discussion of your research that comes up during the course of questioning – this as an opportunity to really show off your knowledge of your topic. Prepare yourself physically as well as mentally by eating beforehand and ensuring you remain hydrated. The most common outcome of the oral examination is that you will need to complete some amendments prior to the degree being awarded, so be prepared to get right back to work to address these! 

 

Research master’s FAQs 

I’m thinking of going part time. How do I go about doing this? 

You will need to discuss this with your supervisor first to see if this is an option for your specific degree. Make sure you consider all aspects of your study that this may affect, such as your scholarship or your student visa. If this is an option for you, discuss with your Postgraduate Co-ordinator to confirm what is required by the Faculty to action this change. 

 

I need a letter to confirm I’m enrolled/my progress is satisfactory. Where can I get this? 

You can usually use your most recent milestone approval letter. If you have not yet had a milestone approved, or if your school/department does not normally provide letters for these, please contact your department/school administration or Postgraduate Co-ordinator to arrange a letter. 

 

I have been called to Jury Service but I’m at a critical point in my thesis. Can I have a letter to be excused from Jury Service? Can I apply for a suspension if I am selected? 

Your department administrators may be able to provide a letter outlining your current status and requesting that you be excused from Jury Service, or that your service is deferred. This does not guarantee your request will be granted; only the court can excuse or defer your service after reviewing your application. Suspensions are always considered on an individual basis and the expectation is that no thesis work is undertaken at all during a suspension, so this may not be the most appropriate course of action. Make sure to discuss this with your supervisor and Postgraduate Co-ordinator. 

 

When is my next milestone report due? What milestones do I need to complete? 

Check with your supervisor and Postgraduate Co-ordinator to determine what milestones/reports are required by your faculty or school.  

 

When can I submit my master’s thesis? 

You will need to refer to the regulations for your specific degree to find the minimum and maximum timeframes. The regulations can be found in the UC Calendar, or on the University Regulations webpage here. You can also discuss this with your supervisor or Postgraduate Co-ordinator. 

 

How long will my thesis examination take? 

A master’s examination will usually take around 8-12 weeks. However, please be aware that there are several factors which can contribute to delays in the process, including difficulty in securing examiners, illness or other work commitments delaying return of examiner reports, or a consensus needing to be reached if the two examiners’ recommended grades differ by more than 2 grades. Please refer to the Master’s Thesis Work Policy and Guidelines for further information on how a grade is determined for a master’s thesis. In rare cases an adjudicator may need to be appointed if the two initial examiners cannot reach agreement – in this case the adjudicator will be given a minimum of 6 weeks to complete their own report.  

Once the reports and recommendations are received, there are final administrative checks that need to take place which can take 1-2 weeks. Once the checks are complete, your thesis examination will be complete and you will be advised of your grade. Te Kura Tāura can only advise on the outcome of your thesis examination, so if there are other outstanding requirements for your degree you will need to ensure these have been resolved before you will be eligible to graduate. 

The UCSA Postgraduate Starter Pack can be viewed here

There are a range of clubs and communities that you can engage with as a postgraduate student. Here are just a few of them, and you can fine out more information on the clubs and societies page.

UC Provides a wide range of IP and commercialisation services for students who need this. You can find out more about this here, or contact the team in Research & Innovation.

If you are intending to complete your qualification this year, or have completed your qualification but have yet to have this conferred, and you wish to attend a graduation celebration please click here for more information. You can also contact the Graduation team directly. 

You can apply to graduate in advance of completing your qualification, however if you have not yet completed your examination process by the deadline the Graduation team can shift you to the next available celebration.

Enrol

This is the starting point for becoming a PhD candidate. Enrolment establishes:

  • A proposed senior supervisor
  • A proposed initial research topic
  • Expectations over frequency of meetings with proposed supervisor
  • That there are suitable resources available to support the proposed area of research

The application form can be found here.

Doctoral supervisory agreement

The Doctoral supervisory agreement form is submitted six months after you enrol. It confirms:

  • The composition of the student’s supervisory team (minimum of two active supervisors)
  • The endorsement of the student’s initial research proposal
  • That resources are available to support the project

The form includes a supervisor agreement which sets out the expectations around:

  • Roles of each supervisor
  • Frequency of meetings
  • Expectations over publications
  • Issues related to intellectual property

It is completed by the student, senior supervisor, Department/School postgraduate coordinator and is submitted to the Postgraduate Office for approval by the Dean of Postgraduate Research.

Doctoral confirmation

The Doctoral Confirmation Process involves the student:

  • Submitting a written report to their department detailing progress to date and detailing the next steps in the proposed research. The exact nature of this document is determined by each department/school (this is due at 12 months)
  • Giving an oral presentation on his/her thesis research and answering questions (this usually happens within two months of the written report being submitted)

The student’s performance on the above two components is evaluated by the supervisory team and at least one additional person. Written and oral feedback is given to the student. The Doctoral confirmation report form is completed by the departmental panel and submitted to the Postgraduate Office for approval by the Dean of Postgraduate Research.

The Dean may:

  • Confirm the student’s enrolment;
  • Support the student’s continued enrolment subject to certain conditions
  • Discontinue the student’s enrolment 

Progress reports

Doctoral progress report form is required to be submitted every six months (after Doctoral Confirmation) to report on what has been achieved. They plan upcoming milestones and aims, and identify any issues for discussion (with supervisors, Postgraduate Office, Department/School coordinators or the Dean of Postgraduate Research).

Effectiveness of progress reports depends on:

  • Taking seriously the process of reflection and planning
  • Candid responses from all
  • A willingness to discuss and address any issues that arise through the process of reflection and planning

The progress report form is completed by the student, supervisors and Department/School coordinator and is then submitted to the Post Graduate Office for approval by the Dean of Postgraduate Research. The Dean may:

  • Confirm the student’s enrolment;
  • Support the student’s continued enrolment subject to certain conditions
  • Discontinue the student’s enrolment 

Thesis submission

Student's tasks:

  • Ensure enrolment is complete and that fees are up to date
  • A PDF copy of the thesis and the completed Thesis declaration form are required to be submitted electronically to the Postgraduate Office
  • International students are advised to contact the Enrolments Team to discuss their visa situation
  • Once examiners are nominated, a student is informed of their names and must submit a Notification of Examiners Form (Doctoral) indicating that they are either happy with the examiners nominated, or wish to raise concerns. This form must be submitted to the Postgraduate Office before a thesis can be sent to the examiners.

Senior supervisor’s tasks:

  • Complete the supervisor’s certificate
  • Complete the examiners’ nomination form and obtain Head of Department/School and student sign off
  • Inform the student of the names of the nominated examiners.

Oral examination

The oral examination is part of the formal process for awarding a PhD. It is usually conducted in person but can be done by video-link. The date of the oral examination is set at the time of submission of the thesis for examination and is usually three to four months from submission. The oral examination is an opportunity to discuss the thesis with knowledgeable experts (the examiners) who will clarify points raised in reports and establish amendments if required. 

The structure:

  • During the examination an oral chair, oral examiner and senior supervisor is present
  • Other members of the supervisory team are invited to attend, and the student can invite support person(s)
  • The examination reports are released to the student and supervisor 5 – 10 days before the oral examination

At the completion of the oral examination a recommendation is made to the Dean of Postgraduate Research. Typically some final amendments are required prior to the award of the PhD – the student will be notified of such requirements by the Postgraduate Office. 

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