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Interim Progress

Six monthly reporting

Candidate progress is monitored through a six-monthly reporting process (in March and September every year). These reports are very important as they record and formalise the channel of communication between candidates and supervisors, and so allows support and interventions where necessary.

Doctoral Candidates

You should:

  • Discuss the report with supervisors prior to completion
  • Complete the six-monthly reporting through the student portal (reminders are sent out prior to the reporting round)
  • Indicate any difficulties or problems with any aspect of academic progress – this can be done through the general comments or confidential comments
  • Screen the final report when all parties have completed it

Primary Supervisor

You should:

  • Use the Doctoral Candidate Six Monthly Report to assess the candidate’s progress. Comments should be informative and refer to benchmarks and features in previous reports. Specific research details need not be included
  • Use the six-month reporting exercise as an opportunity to reflect again on the characteristics of positive supervision
  • Meet with the candidate to discuss the report
  • Complete your section and forward to the relevant co-supervisor
  • Read co-supervisor comments and forward to the Head of School

Head of School

You should:

  • Read candidate and supervisor comments and alert the Doctoral Research Committee of any issues
  • Complete your section of the progress report within one month of initiation of the report by logging on to the portal

Suspension of Candidature

If a candidate is prevented from undertaking Doctoral work for a lengthy period (months rather than days) due to illness or unforeseen domestic and personal circumstances, the Doctoral Research Committee may approve a suspension of the candidate’s registration. The effect of a suspension is to ‘stop the clock’ for the candidature, thereby eliminating penalty in terms of the time requirements. Suspensions will only be approved under exceptional circumstances and for a maximum of 12 months (full-time) and 18 months (part-time) across the candidature.

Doctoral Candidates should:

  • Be aware that during a period of suspension entitlements are also suspended (for example scholarship and student allowances; rights to work on the research or thesis; access to supervisors and university facilities, including the library and equipment)
  • Use the Portal to request a suspension - enclose a medical certificate from a general practitioner or specialist with the application if ill-health is the basis of the suspension request

Primary Supervisors should:

  • Review and approve or decline the request on the Portal, following up with the candidate where appropriate

Heads of Academic Unit should:

  • Review and approve or decline the request on the Portal, following up with the supervisor(s) and/or the candidate where appropriate

Extension of Candidature

If candidates cannot complete their candidature within the relevant time limit (four years full-time and six years part-time) it is possible to apply for an extension of time. Applications are considered on merit and approval is not automatic. It is important to note that extension periods beyond a total of 12 months FTE across the candidature will only be approved under exceptional circumstances.

Doctoral Candidates should:

  • Discuss the extension with your supervisor(s)
  • Submit a request through the student portal, supplying any relevant supporting evidence
  • Be aware of the fees implications

Supervisors should:

  • Review and approve the application, or decline and discuss with the candidate - this is done through the portal

Heads of academic unit should:

  • Review and approve the application, or decline and discuss with the candidate and supervisor(s) - this is done through the portal

Change of Supervisor

The Doctoral Research Committee (DRC) must be informed of any circumstances that affect supervision; for example, when a primary supervisor goes on extended leave. In such cases another supervisor may be approved by the DRC. A less common reason for changing supervisors is when the research direction changes radically. In many cases, though, new co-supervisors can be added to the existing supervisory team. Candidates apply for a change of supervision through the student portal.  It is important that any changes be discussed with panel members beforehand.

Study OffSHORE

All candidates, both domestic and international, are required to be based in New Zealand for the duration of their doctoral candidature. However, we recognise that sometimes candidates are required to do field work offshore. If this is the case, candidates are required to submit an offshore study application through the student portal.  Please remember International doctoral students should not spend more than 12 months offshore across their candidacy otherwise they will be liable for international fees.  


Termination and Withdrawal have quite different meanings.  It is important the differences are clearly understood. Termination is used where candidate performance is unsatisfactory, or where the candidate has not made contact with their primary supervisor for a lengthy period. Termination is recorded on the academic record at Massey, and the candidate will not normally be permitted to re-register for Doctoral study at the University.

Withdrawal from the programme is voluntary and a candidate may request to withdraw from doctoral study at any time. Someone who withdraws will need to re-apply and meet the prevailing application criteria to be considered should they decide to take up study at a later date. Applications for Withdrawal are found on the student portal.