PhD Full Registration Confirmation Policy

People involved:

Diana Siwiak - Postgraduate Coordinator
Tony McLoughlin - Postgraduate Administrator
Pawel Dmochowski - Seminar Chair
James Noble - Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research)

This policy is subject to, and should be read in conjunction with, the VUW PhD Policy mandated by FGR.


  • VUW PhD provisional registration lasts for 12 months from the commencement of the PhD (inital date of registration). Any further extension requires approval from the Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research).

  • To move from provisional to full registration, the student is required to submit a full doctoral research proposal and present a doctoral proposal seminar to the school. The full proposal must be submitted within 9 months (FTE), which gives sufficient time for examination and, if necessary, time to address any minor shortcomings within the University's 12 month (FTE) requirement.

    • The student should submit a full research proposal (through the online submission system) three weeks before the seminar is scheduled. When the student submits full proposal, Postgraduate Coordinator and Postgraduate Administrator will get automatically notified.
  • The supervisors must discuss their examiners with the Seminar Chair prior to the student submitting the proposal document.
  • The proposal will be assessed by a graduate sub-committee, typically consisting of the Seminar Chair, the student's supervisors, and 2-3 academic staff members: one in the corresponding research group and one knowledgeable but a bit further removed from the student's group.
  • Directly after reading the proposal and attending the PhD Proposal Seminar, the committee will hold a meeting and make a recommendation and complete the School Research Committee form. The recommendation can be:
    1. recommend unconditional approval of the candidate's transfer to full registration; or
    2. require an extension of the provisional registration to a certain period (e.g. three months) for revision; or
    3. recommend transfer to a Masters degree; or
    4. terminate the candidate's registration.
  • The full proposal should provide evidence of the viability of the proposed research topic and the capacity of the student to carry out the proposed research. The full proposal should aim to be under 40 pages (A4, font ~ 12pt) or <10,000 words. If there is more work to report than can be fit within these limits, details should be put into an appendix. [Note: the University has no official page/word limit for the full proposal; this mandate is from the ECS SRC.]
  • The full proposal is expected to contain the following elements:
    • A clear motivation(s) for the proposed research.
    • The clear goals/objectives/research questions/hypotheses of the proposed research, including the overall goal and the specific objectives.
    • A literature survey of related research. This should make clear the difference between the proposed work and existing work.
    • A description of what the student has done so far related to the research goals in the provisional registration periods; giving details of published/accepted papers, if any.
    • An outline of the project, including a detailed plan for the goals/objectives to be carried out in the following years (particularly the next six months) a time line for the thesis (including writing), a possible thesis outline, and the proposed major contributions.
    • Special facility/materials needed for the thesis (if any).
    • A list of relevant references.
  • The time frame described above is for full-time students. For part-time students or other special cases, such as with suspension, contact the Postgraduate Coordinator for clarification on time scale.