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Transfer from master's to PhD

28 March 2024

You can apply to transfer from a master's to a PhD once you've done at least six-months’ full-time-equivalent work (0.5 EFTS) on your master’s thesis. This application doesn't remove the requirements for entry into a PhD. Learn more about transferring from a master's to a PhD at UC.


Transfer from master's to PhD 

You can apply to transfer after at least six-months’ full-time-equivalent work (0.5 EFTS) on your master’s thesis. Such an application does not remove the requirements for entry into a PhD; in particular, if you have not already met the research experience criteria by other means, you must show substantial evidence of high-quality progress in your master’s research (see below).

Your HOD/HOS and supervisors must support your transfer so you need to discuss it with them before applying. 


You need to submit:
  • a letter explaining why you want to transfer
  • a completed PhD Application Form (form available below)
  • a comprehensive description of progress on your Master's thesis
  • supervisors' and HOD/HOS's comments on your progress
  • a completed Doctoral supervisory agreement form
  • *a completed confirmation report

Email the letter and all the supporting documents (including the PhD Application Form) to Te Kura Tāura.

Please note that if you have a UC Master's Scholarship, it does not transfer into a UC Doctoral Scholarship; you must make that application separately.

The Dean of Postgraduate Research may require additional objective evidence of high-quality progress in your research. Typically, this might include: peer-reviewed creative, scholarly or research outputs; the equivalent of an independently assessed Honours project report or dissertation; formal and independently ratified confirmation from the department, school or programme of the quality of research progress and suitability of preparation for doctoral enrolment.

If the Dean approves your application, your PhD enrolment will usually be backdated to the start of your master’s thesis enrolment. For a full-time student that means that you would have four years to complete your work after the date you started your master’s thesis, not four years from the time of transfer.

Please note it is not usually possible to transfer to a professional doctorate (DMA, EdD, DHSc) from a master's. In most cases you will be transferring to the PhD programme. 

*Students who have been enrolled in the master's thesis for 9-12 months full-time, may be required to complete the Confirmation process prior to the Dean considering the transfer application. Please contact Te Kura Tāura to confirm if this is required as part of the transfer application. 

PhD and Doctoral degree application form

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