Approval and start date
Applications to enrol in a doctoral degree are considered by the Chairperson of the Postgraduate Research Committee, usually on a weekly basis. Once approval has been granted the candidate will be invited to enrol conditionally as a student of the University of Waikato. The official research start date will always be the first of the month between February and November, as is selected by the candidate, but which must be within one year of the formal offer to enrol.
The conditional enrolment period is usually for 6 months of full time equivalent study. During this time the candidate works to develop their initial research proposal into a full research proposal. Ethical approval for the research is also sought during this period, if required.
MPhil candidates do not have a period of conditional enrolment as their initial research proposal, which must include an ethics statement, forms the basis for approval to enrol in an MPhil degree.
The research proposal
The research proposal forms the basis for the research project. Its development should be a major part of the early work of the candidate (usually 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time for doctoral study and 1 month or two months for MPhil) and be proactively supported by the supervisor/s.
A well prepared research proposal generally increases the likelihood of timely completion of the research qualification.
Guidelines for preparing a full research proposal
The full research proposal, submitted to the Postgraduate Research Committee with a completed Application for Confirmation of Enrolment form, should contain the following minimum components:
- Working title
- Outline of significance of topic (e.g. its importance for advancing knowledge in the field/discipline or regions and/or implications for methodology or understanding)
- Literature review in a form consistent with practices of the discipline
- Statement of the research questions or hypotheses
- The methodologies that will be used to investigate the questions or hypotheses
- How the data will be analysed
- Thesis outline
- Any resource requirements
- Timetable for research and thesis writing, including dates when key objectives should be met
- A statement concerning the requirement for any ethical approvals and a copy of that approval having been granted by the Faculty/School
During development of the proposal, consideration should also be given to implications for intellectual property and confidentiality matters which might lead to a request to embargo the thesis.
At the end of the conditional enrolment period each doctoral candidate presents their research proposal to their Faculty/School and applies to reach confirmed enrolment.
Availability of resources
The Statement of Expectations clearly identifies the resources that are available to all degree research candidates. The resources covered within this document are:
- Office space and furniture
- Electronic facilities
- Financial support
The main sources of academic support are supervisor(s) and Faculty/School staff. Student Learning offers advice on thesis writing, has a small library of appropriate reference books for loan, and holds Doctoral Writing Conversations each Friday during semester time.