Covid-19 Information for Postgraduate Students

 

Being a research student during a pandemic is not easy. We have detailed below some of the options for students to consider when there are bumps in the road.

As general advice, we'd suggest that all students work with their supervisors on a Covid plan. While for some students, changes in alert levels have limited effects, for others it results in unavoidable disruption. Alert level changes may also have affected supervisors' availability. Given the current situation in Aotearoa, planning with your supervisors is a high priority. 

 

Information for international students 


NZ border situation

On the 24th November 2021, the New Zealand Government announced a new plan for opening up the New Zealand borders in 2022. More information about this can be found at the following link: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/international/updates-for-international-students/#51696

Please note that Immigration New Zealand still have a hold on the processing of offshore student visas until Februray 2022, but this may change. International students in New Zealand can still renew their student visas as usual. 

Once you are able to apply for a visa, UC Student Care can also assist students if issues arise with processing. See International Student Support https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/needtotalk/

 

Students wishing to return home

An extramural study option (to study or conduct research outside of Christchurch) is possible; however, Doctoral students are usually required to study on-campus for a minimum of 18 months of their candidature. The supervisor and student should discuss this option before applying. They should consider how their research requirements will be met, how to manage any risks associated with their research, and discuss how supervisory meetings can be managed remotely.

Given the current border restrictions, students who return to their home country will need to be aware of implications for their planned return to New Zealand. They should discuss and clarify, with their supervisor, the ‘Plan B’ for managing their research, should a student be unable to return to New Zealand when they expect to.

More information about how to apply can be found at Application to study outside Christchurch


Information for offshore students

If overseas based PhD students have questions about their situation, it's best to first discuss these with their supervisor. Alternatively, you can contact Alison Stevenson, who coordinates the offshore process for PhD students, for further advice and information. 

 

Support for students

We recognise that COVID has put a lot of pressure on students. A good place to start for finding information on support services available is on the Support Service website https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/get-support/. However, some further information on support services, or initiatives, are highlighted here.


Financial support

  • Hardship funds: Students who may be experiencing financial challenges due to Covid-19 can check the following on the UC website https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/financial-assistance/

  • Research grant or departmental scholarship holders: In these cases, we recommend students talk directly to their supervisors or a departmental research advisor to see what options there are. 


Library services

Library services are fully functioning at alert level 2, but if there are any alert changes, you can check the latest information on the Library’s website https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/library/


Student care

Student Care are able to offer practical advice for your wellbeing and success as a UC student. They are available to help students both on campus and extramural. Please take a look at their website https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/needtotalk/student-care-contacts--people/


Academic Skills Centre

the Academic Skills Centre is available to help students either by Zoom or telephone. Please take a look at their website for more information https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/needtotalk/student-care-contacts--people/



Lockdown related extensions

There are a number of different lockdown related extensions available for those who fit the criteria. More information can be found on the Covid-19 Extension webpage COVID Extensions

For all other extensions (i.e., when a student is approaching 4 EFTS), students will need to apply for a standard extension to submission deadline. More information can be found at the following Application for an extension



Other changes in your Doctoral studies

It may become apparent, during your studies, that other changes need to be made due to the impacts of COVID. Below is some information around a number of the options available.

Suspension

If requesting a suspension, students must suspend for a minimum of 1 month; they need to apply and the application is considered by the Dean of Postgraduate Research. To assist with decisions, the rationale for the suspension needs to be clear.

Please note that there is a 3 month maximum for international students who are on student visas, and this should be taken into account when applying. 

More information can be found at Application for a suspension to your study


Change to part-time study

Part-time study for Doctoral students is normally at 0.65 EFTS; however, part-time at 0.35 EFTS may be approved in special circumstances, but for a limited period of time only. 

International students who hold student visas can not normally change to part-time study due to the conditions of their visa. 

More information can be found at Application to change between full-time and part-time study


Extramural study 

An extramural option (to study or conduct research outside of Christchurch) is possible; however, Doctoral students are usually required to study on-campus for a minimum of 18 months of their candidature. The supervisor and student should discuss this option before applying. They should consider how their research requirements will be met, how to manage any risks associated with their research, and discuss how supervisory meetings can be managed remotely.

Given the current border restrictions, students who return to their home country will need to be aware of implications for their planned return to New Zealand. They should discuss and clarify, with their supervisor, the ‘Plan B’ for managing their research, should a student be unable to return to New Zealand when they expect to.

More information can be found at Application to study outside Christchurch

 

Information for students nearing submission

Students who are close to submitting their thesis may ask you about how the oral examination can be managed remotely. It’s now common practice that oral examinations are held remotely, and students are advised to check well in advance that they have suitable video conferencing software/reliable internet access. They will receive more information about their oral examination closer to the time from the Oral Chair.

Also, as mentioned earlier, there is information related to lockdown extensions at COVID Extensions

 

Master's thesis students

In most cases, Master’s students should first contact their supervisors to see what options are available as the colleges oversee the Master’s programmes. Alternatively, their College Academic Manager or Departmental Postgraduate Coordinator may be able to advise further.

However, there is some COVID information available for Master’s students in relation to thesis extensions, and more information can be found at COVID Extensions