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Current doctoral students

04 November 2023

From doctoral reporting milestones to supervisory agreements and submitting your thesis, check out all our information for current doctoral students at UC.


If you are a current doctoral student at UC, please make sure you have checked all of the information below. If you need any help please do not hesitate to ask a question!

The relevant reporting milestones are detailed below. All forms for these can be found here. Please complete your section of the form and pass on to your supervisor. Once completed, the forms should be submitted as an email attachment to Te Kura Tāura.

6 months: Supervisory Agreement

12 months: Confirmation Report

Every 6 months following Confirmation: Progress Report

Note that part-time students may complete their Confirmation at 18 months, if they submit a Progress Report at 12 months.

The Doctoral Supervisory Agreement form must be completed by PhD students, their supervisors and the relevant department/school Graduate Research Coordinator 6 months after initial enrolment as a PhD student. The form is then submitted to Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School for approval by the Dean of Postgraduate Research.

The purpose of the form is to confirm the composition of the student’s supervisory team, to endorse the student’s initial research proposal and to confirm the availability of resources to support the project. The form establishes expectations between student and supervisor around supervision – for example specifying the roles of each supervisor and the frequency of supervisory meetings. This agreement should be a “living document” that can be revisited through the tenure of the PhD. Some departments/schools have additional requirements (e.g., completion of Health and Safety documentation) – ensure that you talk to your supervisors about what is required.

The Supervisory Agreement is accompanied by a research proposal. Individual departments/schools may have additional requirements; please ensure that you are aware of the processes in your Department/School.‌

You will be notified by Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School when the Dean of Postgraduate Research has approved your Supervisory Agreement, or if there are any concerns that need to be discussed.

To complete the confirmation process the student must:

Submit a written report to department (usually due at 12 months after initial PhD enrolment). Information about the exact nature and structure of the report will be provided by your department/school. The written report should contain the following information:

  • a relevant literature review (or equivalent) that sets your research in the context of previous work in the field;
  • a description of your proposed research, including the planned methodology and data analysis techniques;
  • a report of your process to date (including any data collected);
  • a timeline for the completion of your thesis


Give an oral presentation. The exact nature of the oral presentation will be determined by your department/school and will include a question-and-answer session following your presentation. The Assessment Panel should consist of at least three members: Senior Supervisor; at least one Co or Associate Supervisor; and at least one Independent Assessor. 

You will be provided with written and oral feedback on both the written report and the oral presentation. This feedback will include comment from at least one additional academic, approved by the HoD/S or nominee, who is not part of the student’s supervisory team.

Following the confirmation process a Doctoral confirmation report form with a recommendation regarding confirmation of enrolment will be submitted by the Department to the Dean of Postgraduate Research for approval.

Possible recommendations are:

  • that your enrolment as a Doctoral candidate be confirmed;
  • that there be an extension of your current provisional enrolment, for a maximum of 6 months, to allow for issues raised in the conformation process to be addressed. In such circumstances you and your supervisory team must develop a timeline and clear goals to be achieved in this period. If goals are satisfactorily met within the recommended timeframe, then your enrolment is confirmed. If the goals are not met, your enrolment will be discontinued.
  • that you be invited to withdraw your enrolment, or your enrolment will be discontinued. In making this recommendation consideration would be given as to whether an alternative qualification pathway (e.g., transfer to a Master’s by Thesis only) is possible.

You will be notified by Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School when the Dean of Postgraduate Research has approved your Confirmation Report and confirmed your Doctoral candidature.

Following completion of the Doctoral Confirmation Process, you must submit progress reports every six months. Reminders are sent before your report is due. Please note it is your responsibility to remain an enrolled student throughout your studies, and you may not receive these reminders if you are not enrolled. 

Once you have completed the Doctoral progress report form, pass the form to your supervisor for their sign off.

This documentation is then assessed by the Dean of Postgraduate Research who evaluates your progress and makes the decision to either:

  • Approve your continued enrolment
  • Approve your continued enrolment under certain conditions (e.g., meeting certain milestones by certain dates)
  • Discontinue your candidature

You will receive notification of the Dean’s decision, and if the decision is to continue enrolment under certain conditions or to discontinue your enrolment this will be discussed with you and your supervisors.

You may need to make a change to your Doctoral enrolment during your studies, such as taking a suspension, applying for an extension to a milestone due date, studying outside of Christchurch, or changing between part- and full-time study. You can read more about these changes on the relevant regulations and forms, and if you have any questions you can contact a kaitoko for assistance.


Your final submission due date will be at midnight on the final day of a calendar month, even if that day is in a weekend. By this time you will need to submit a copy of your thesis as a pdf file to As part of your submission, you will need to complete a Declaration Form, in discussion with your supervisors. If you are including co-authored work in your thesis you will need to arrange one of your co-authors to complete the Co-Authorship Form. Your supervisor will need to complete a Supervisor Certificate and the Examiner Request Form which you will also need to sign.

You might also find it helpful to review the following policies and guidelines to inform you and your supervisory team’s decisions about your thesis submission:

  • Thesis Availability Policy
  • Proof-reading and Editing Guidelines
  • IP and Copyright Policies


Once you submit your thesis and all the required documents, your thesis will be sent for examination. The exam period usually takes between 3-9 months. Your examiners will be given 8 weeks to review your thesis and make a recommendation to the Dean about whether to proceed to the Oral Exam or not. We encourage you to read ‘The Information Sheet – Oral Examinations’. We also recommend attending a ‘Preparing for your Oral Exam’ session which are run a couple of times per year and can be registered for using the Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School calendar.

There are also a number of useful Forms and Information Sheets to better understand the examination process such as:


  • Doctoral examiner recommendation form
  • Doctoral Amendments Approval Form
  • Doctoral oral examination recommendation form

Information Sheets

  • What Happens After Submission
  • The Oral Examination
  • Selection of Thesis Examiners
  • The Oral Examination
  • Guidelines for Doctoral Examiners
  • Guidelines for Doctoral Oral Examination Chairs

You can find all relevant forms, policies and guidelines here.

The goal of the UC Research Student Publication Prize is to encourage students to publish their work in leading peer-reviewed publications, indexed in Scopus, during their doctoral or master's studies (e.g., journal articles, book chapters, monographs, or conference proceedings). Publication during the tenure of Doctoral or Master's studies enhances student’s employment prospects and, for UC, contributes to the enhancement of international university rankings.

You can read the regulations, check your eligibility and apply here.

Thesis House is a quiet writing space available to doctoral students in the months leading up to their thesis submission. If you'd like to book a writing space in Thesis House please contact the Graduate School.

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