COVID-19 Extensions for Higher Research Degree (Doctoral and MPhil) Candidates

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak starting March 2020, the New Zealand Government requested various regional and nationwide lockdowns (Alert Levels 3 and 4), which caused restrictions to research facilities, equipment, and activities for research candidates.

Te Mata Kairangi School of Graduate Research (SGR) recognises that some higher research degree (HRD) candidates (Doctoral and Master of Philosophy) have had their research significantly impacted by COVID-19, and understand that as a result, confirmed enrolment due dates, progress report due dates, and thesis submission due dates may have been affected. Some HRD candidates have also had their data collection impacted.

There are a number of COVID-related extensions already available to HRD candidates due to the 2020 and 2021 Alert Level lockdowns. This document summarises past extension practice, and sets out the practice for the remainder of 2021 and 2022.

2. Future Extensions

Alert Level 3: Sunday 3 October 2021 – TBA

All HRD candidates who are yet to submit their thesis for examination and have been affected by the Alert Level 3 lockdown from Sunday 3 October, are able to apply for up to two months extension to enrolment for submission (tuition and student services levy fees waiver applied), due to the recent lockdown .

This extension request is for HRD candidates whose research progress has been significantly impacted by the recent Alert Level lockdowns.

The criterion used for considering 2021 COVID-19 related extension requests are:

  • whether the HRD candidate has already received a fees waiver (e.g. through the UoW Doctoral Scholarship or through a previous COVID-related extension, Section 1)

  • whether the HRD candidate has made a reasonable effort to work around the challenges

  • extenuating personal circumstances that have impacted the HRD candidates ability to progress with their research
  • the degree to which the HRD candidate’s thesis research was affected by COVID, and how difficult it would be to find an alternative pathway.

  • Please note that priority will be given to Higher Research Degree candidates who are over or close to 3 years of full-time enrolment (6 years part-time equivalent)

To be considered for this 2021 extension of enrolment for submission (fees waiver applied), you will need to complete the online application form:

COVID-19 HRD Extension Application Form

This application will be considered on a monthly basis until further notice.

After receiving your application, Te Mata Kairangi - School of Graduate Research (SGR) will contact your Chief Supervisor to ensure they support your request, so please discuss your request with them prior to submitting your application.

The Dean, School of Graduate Research, will consider all requests and you will be notified the week following each monthly decision.

Important Points

From 1 November 2021, the COVID-19 HRD Extension policy is as follows:

  • Eligible HRD candidates are those who were enrolled (i.e. not suspended) during the various Hamilton City Alert Level lockdown periods indicated above. If you live outside of Hamilton City and have been affected by another Alert Level lockdown, please note this in your application.
  • 2021 COVID-19 HRD extension requests of up to two months (across part-time or full-time) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • If a candidate has not yet applied for the two month COVID-related extension from the 2020 lockdown period, candidates can note this in their application for consideration.

  • If the candidate’s research has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and their submission due date is beyond 2021, please note this in the application as well as the candidate’s upcoming progress reports, which can be further referred to when the submission is due.
  • Any COVID-19 HRD extensions that have already been approved to date will be honoured.

  • Extensions to conditional enrolment do not require an extension request. Doctoral candidates who are due to reach confirmed enrolment before 31 December 2021 (maximum 9 months full-time equivalent) will have an additional two months at conditional enrolment to prepare their full research proposal, if needed. The SGR will not adjust the candidate’s official confirmed enrolment due date, but will be aware that these candidates have an additional two months to submit their full research proposal. Please note that only two months of extension will be considered across full-time or part-time enrolments.

  • Progress reports can be delayed by up to two months up to 31 December 2021, although we recommend that progress reports be completed as soon as possible. The SGR will not adjust any progress report dates, as they need to be in line with the Higher Research Degree Regulations (clause 16).

  • Higher Research Degree candidates, who are due to submit their thesis for examination in 2021, are eligible to apply for up to two-months extension of enrolment for submission (fees waiver applied). Please note:

    1. If approved for a COVID-19 related extension of enrolment, the submission due date will be updated and the Higher Research Degrees Team will set up the enrolment accordingly. If the candidate finds after two months that they need further time to submit their thesis, they will be required to apply for a further extension to their submission due date via MyWaikato and pay for that enrolment period.

    2. International candidates will need to keep in mind their upcoming student visa expiry dates if applying for an extension of enrolment. Please contact the Visa Team ([email protected]) to discuss your visa requirements before submitting a COVID-19 an extension request.
      • Doctoral candidates will still receive a zero fees enrolment agreement following the submission of their thesis for examination.

    3. For non-scholarship holders, approved applicants will receive a tuition and student services levy fees waiver for the duration of the extension approved.
      • Any approved waiver of fees applies to tuition fees and the student services levy only. Medical insurance for international Higher Research Degree candidates is not included in this COVID-19 related fees waiver.

Scholarship Holders:

University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship
  • Extensions to the University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship are considered separately to SGR COVID-19 Doctoral extension requests.

  • If your UOW Doctoral Scholarship finishes between 01 August and 31 December 2021 then we will contact you before the end of October.

  • You will either be automatically eligible for two months extension of your scholarship stipend and fees, or you will need to apply for consideration for an extension.

  • In order to confirm your automatic eligibility for an extension, we will ask your Chief Supervisor to confirm that you are on track to submit your thesis within two months of your original thesis hand-in date, and that any delay to handing in is due to impacts of COVID-19

  • If we ask you to apply to be considered for an extension, we will provide more details on what is required at that time. You do not need to do anything more at this stage. No other UOW Doctoral Scholarship recipients will be receiving a COVID-19 extension of their scholarship.
All other Scholarship holders
  • Please check with your scholarship provider as to whether they would consider providing you with an extension of funding.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Te Mata Kairangi School of Graduate Research:

Tanya Mete
Higher Research Degrees Manager
Te Mata Kairangi School of Graduate Research
[email protected]

Higher Research Degrees Team
Te Mata Kairangi School of Graduate Research
[email protected]