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Current doctoral students

28 March 2024

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

The Doctoral Student Lifecycle
A diagram showing an overview of a typical doctoral research journey for a full-time PhD student: 1. Enrol in the thesis course; 2. Work with your supervisory team to develop your research proposal; 3. Submit your proposal and supervisory agreement by 6 months after your first enrolment; 4. Prepare for your Confirmation and complete the confirmation process by 12 months after your first enrolment; 5. Conduct your research; 6. Complete progress reports every 6 months after passing Confirmation; 7. Submit your thesis for examination after at least 3 years of enrolment; 8. Complete the examination process; 9. Completion of the degree. There may be differences to this timeline if you are in a different doctoral programme; check the regulations for your specific degree.

Milestones are an important part of your doctoral journey. They provide an opportunity to reflect upon your progress, plan and discuss your goals with your supervisory team, identify researcher development or support needs, and ensure you are connected with support systems in your Department/School, Faculty, and the University. On this page you can find the forms that need to be completed as part of the doctoral journey, including milestone reporting, requesting changes to your study, and thesis submission and examination.


It is your responsibility to complete these required milestones. We suggest you review the Regulations relevant to your degree, and the Research Student Supervision Policy, to ensure that you fully understand the milestones. It is important to make a time to discuss your progress in relation to each milestone with your supervisory team, and consider your learning needs and goals. This process is important for you, your supervisory team, and the University, to monitor your progress. Failure to complete milestones may place your continuing enrolment at risk.


The milestones depicted in the diagram above are those for the majority of full-time students. Part-time students will complete the Supervisory Agreement and Proposal at the same time as full-time students, but have up to 18 months in which to complete the Confirmation Process. Progress Reports are expected at six-monthly intervals, and submission of your Doctoral thesis is required within a maximum of four years of equivalent full-time study.


If you have any questions about the process, or require clarification, please contact us at or drop in to Te Kura Tāura | UC Graduate School on Level 1 Matariki. We are here to help. 

On this page:

  • Enrol in the Degree: Your Senior Supervisor is confirmed, and you commence your studies.
  • Appointment of Supervisors: Your full supervisory team is confirmed. Your Senior Supervisor may also need to arrange for an External Supervisor Agreement to be completed if you have any supervisors who are not UC staff. This must be completed within 6 months of initial enrolment for PhD students.
  • Human Ethics, Māori Consultation and Animal Ethics: You should discuss with your supervisors early on in writing your research proposal whether any ethics applications will need to be submitted to the relevant ethics committee(s). This will be required if you plan to work with human or animal participants, or if your research will involve mātauranga Māori. 
  • Supervisory Agreement: Expectations related to your supervisory relationship are established and agreed. It is important that you talk with your supervisory team about all aspects of the Agreement. This will reduce the possibility of issues arising as your studies progress. This must be completed within 6 months of initial enrolment for PhD students.
  • Research Proposal: The outline of your thesis is determined and resourcing confirmed. This must be completed within 6 months of initial enrolment for PhD students.
  • Confirmation: This includes the Confirmation Proposal and Oral Presentation. The Confirmation Proposal forms the blueprint for your thesis. It articulates a clear rationale for your research and describes, in detail, how it will be undertaken. It includes a project plan, which will be used to track your progress in future Progress Reports. For full details of the Confirmation Proposal and Oral Presentation see the Confirmation Process Procedure. This must be completed within 12 months of initial enrolment for full-time PhD students, and 18 months for part-time PhD students.
  • Progress Report - PhD Students: Progress Reports provide an opportunity for research students to: (a) review and track their progress against their overall project plan; (b) reflect upon research and development in past months and structure plans for the next part of the research journey; and (c) raise any issues or concerns regarding progress. The Progress Report is also a key means by which supervisors and the University monitor and evaluate your progress. Please note that if sufficient progress is not being made by a PhD student,  the Unsatisfactory Progress Process may be initiated. This process is outlined in the Unsatisfactory Progress Procedures. Progress Reports must be submitted every 6 months after approval of Confirmation for PhD students.
  • Important note: If you are in a professional doctorate programme, you will need to use this form instead: Progress Report – DHSc, EdD and DMA Students. The due dates of Progress Reports for those in professional doctorates may differ from those in a PhD; check the regulations for your specific degree. 
Requesting a change to your thesis enrolment

Sometimes your progress does not go as planned, or exciting opportunities arise that you wish to pursue. In these instances there are a variety of options for you to consider in conjunction with your supervisory team. Please ensure that you communicate early, and openly, with your supervisory team. They will do their best to assist and connect you with appropriate supports across UC. Below are forms related to various options available to you. Each form contains a detailed description of the process, and what might be required to request various options. Discuss your application with your supervisory team, your Department/School Graduate Research Coordinator, or Kaitoko | Research Student Advisors in Te Kura Tāura. 

  • Change to Mode of Study: Request a change from full-time to part-time enrolment.

  • Suspension: Request a complete break from your study, for a period of time greater than one month.

Thesis submission

The journey is nearing completion, and your thesis is almost ready to submit! Your thesis must be submitted by midnight on the final day of the calendar month in which it is due, even if that date falls on a weekend or public holiday. Submit a PDF to Please ensure that you and your Senior Supervisor have completed the forms detailed below.

Read the Thesis Examination Procedures for further information on thesis examinations. 

If you have any questions about the process, contact the team by email or drop in to Level 1 Matariki to talk with us.

Please be aware that if a student's examination was started using older versions of examination forms, the older versions will need to be used throughout the examination process and the below links will not be suitable; please contact Te Kura Tāura staff if you need copies of legacy forms.

  • Thesis Submission and Use form: This form needs to accompany your thesis submission when sent to the Graduate School inbox (

  • Appointment of Examiners: Your Senior Supervisor will complete this form to nominate your thesis examiners.

  • Embargo and Secure Thesis Examination Request: Before submitting your thesis, discuss with your supervisors and the UC Library to determine if you may need to request an embargo or additional security requirements for your thesis examination.

Thesis examination

Once you submit your thesis and all the required documents, your thesis will be sent for examination. The entire examination period usually takes between three and nine months, depending on required amendments. Your examiners will be given 8 weeks to review your thesis and make a recommendation to the Dean about the outcome of the examination.

Read the Thesis Examination Procedures for further information on thesis examinations. 

Please be aware that if a student's examination was started using older versions of examination forms, the older versions will need to be used throughout the examination process and the below links will not be suitable; please contact Te Kura Tāura staff if you need copies of legacy forms.

  • Doctoral Examiner Recommendation and Report: Each of your thesis examiners will be asked to complete a copy of this form. The report will be released to you along with your final grade, however the individual examiner recommendations are not released. 
  • Examination Outcome: This form will be completed at your Oral Examination. In this form a recommendation will be made to the Dean about the outcome of your examination process.  

  • Amendments Approval: The most common outcome from an Oral Examination is that some amendments will need to be made. The nominated Evaluator for these amendments will need to complete this form to show that these have been completed to the required standard. 


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