Doctoral student FAQs

How do I go about re-enrolling each year?

Enrolments open for the following academic year on 1 October in the preceding year. At this stage students are required to go into the portal and re-enrol before the end of the preceding year. An Enrolment Offer of Place will be send to you through the portal which you will need to accept to confirm your place in the new academic year. If you are enrolled in a named doctorate degree (DClinPsych, EdD) and are completing coursework, you will also be required to accept a Student Declaration for each academic year. The Graduate Research School will email you if this applies to you. Re-enrolment will generate a fees invoice for the new academic year.

How do I change my thesis topic from the one I put on my application?

If the change in thesis topic is fine tuning of the name it can be noted on the six monthly report that the topic has changed. However if the change is more substantial requiring a change of supervision panel, and/or academic unit the candidate should withdraw from the programme and re-enrol into a new candidature. This is particularly so if data collected for the original topic cannot be used in the new thesis.


What is the difference between extension and suspension?

A suspension applies when the candidate will not carry out any work on their doctoral study. Access to the library and supervision is stopped and the clock is stopped in terms of expected submission date. A compensatory extension applies when a candidate has been working on their study however due to no fault of their own progress has been impeded. This can include difficulty accessing laboratory equipment, family issues and ill health. An extension applies if a candidate needs extra time in which to complete their thesis. Extensions incur additional fees


What if I find out I don't want to continue doctoral study after I have started?

You can withdraw from your doctoral studies at any time. Please complete a Notification of Withdrawal form and forward it to the Graduate Research School once your Supervisor and Head of Academic Unit have signed it off. Please refer to the Doctoral Web-book for the regulations around eligibility for reversal of tuition fees.


How do I deal with supervision problems?

In the first instance you should make an appointment with your supervisor and discuss any issues one-on-one. If this does not work or you feel unable to do this you should see the Postgraduate Co-ordinator for your School/Department/Institute. Alternatively, contact the Head of department. If this does not help, please contact the Graduate Research School.


Where can I get statistical consultation above and beyond my supervisor's knowledge?

Statistical consultancy is available from the Institute of Fundamental Sciences on the Palmerston North campus or the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences on the Albany campus.

What constitutes a Thesis by Publication?

Please read the web book guidelines for further details.


How many copies of my thesis do I have to submit?

For examination you need to submit a PDF digital copy in a single file uploaded to the student portal along with the Application to be Examined (DRC4) and Statement of Contribution where applicable.  For thesis/exergesis which have a creative component, please liaise with the Graduate Research School.  If you are unsure, please contact us at for clarification.  Examiners will be provided with the PDF copy of your thesis.  Should an examiner request a printed copy of your thesis the Graduate Research School will contact your Academic Unit.


When can I call myself "Dr"?

Officially you can only call yourself "Dr" when the degree has been conferred by the Massey Council, either in a council meeting or at a graduation ceremony.


How do I get my certificate? How do I graduate?

You need to apply to graduate which you can do online. Please contact 0800 Massey (0800 627 739), email or drop into your Massey campus Contact Centre for further information, or to request an application form.