New Part-Time Enrolment Available for Doctoral Programmes

For the past 10 years, AUT has allowed only full-time enrolment for doctoral programmes. We are aware that this doesn’t suit all students’ needs, and that there is strong demand for a part-time enrolment option. Many of you need to balance research around family, work, or other commitments; and we know that it’s sometimes not possible to dedicate your full time or attention to your doctorate.

You’ve asked, and we’ve listened.

Graduate Research School Dean Professor Nigel Harris has advocated for a part-time doctoral enrolment option, and this has been approved. Due to the terms of international student visas, this option will unfortunately not apply to international students. However, from February 1, 2024, domestic students will be able to study part-time towards a doctoral degree.

Here’s what this change means for you.

Domestic students currently enrolled in a doctoral programme

If you are already enrolled in a doctoral programme as a domestic student, your full-time enrolment status will continue by default. You can consider requesting to change your enrolment to part-time if that suits you better. The change to part-time is called a “change of mode of study” and can be requested by submitting a Variation of Record/Change Request form, with the rationale for change clearly stated. Applications for this change will open in January 2024. Please bear in mind that if you are on a scholarship, changing to part-time may affect or even nullify your scholarship entitlement – so please check the terms of your scholarship carefully before proceeding. You will also need to negotiate this change with your supervisors. 

New domestic students enrolling in a doctoral programme

If you are a domestic student enrolling to start doctoral study on or after February 1, 2024, you can choose to enrol on either a full-time or part-time basis. If you prefer part-time status, this will need to be agreed with your supervisors.

Current or prospective international doctoral students

At this time, part-time enrolment is only available to domestic students due to the terms of international student visas.


Q: Can I convert to part-time study?

A: If you (a) are a domestic doctoral student; and (b) have your supervisors’ agreement to supervise you part-time; and (c) have checked that your scholarship (if any) allows for part-time study, then this may be an option for you.

Q: Why are international doctoral students unable to study part-time?

A: International student visas require full-time enrolment status. This requirement is set by Immigration New Zealand and is unfortunately outside of AUT’s control.

Q: How long does it take to get a doctoral degree part-time?

A: The standard expected completion time for a part-time doctorate is 6 years. This compares to 3 years for those enrolled full-time. Part-time doctoral study is treated as half-pace relative to full-time.

Q: What if I can’t finish within the standard time?

A: As with full-time enrolment, part-time doctoral students can apply for extensions to continue their enrolment past the standard 6 years.

Q: What if I finish early?

A: All students – whether part-time or full-time – must be enrolled for the full programme value of 360 points before they can submit for examination. 

Q: How does part-time enrolment affect the resources I can access?

A: In terms of supervision, part-time doctoral students will typically get half the time allocation from their supervisors, for double the duration. Minimum resources would be contextual as appropriate within the discipline. Note that resources such as desk-space allocation would be pro-rata for part-time students, if available (please liaise with your faculty postgraduate office for more information).

Q: What would part-time enrolment mean for my Confirmation of Candidature (PGR9)?

A: Part-time PhD students are expected to commence the confirmation of candidature review process after 18 months of provisional admission to the doctoral programme, with a view to submit the completed Confirmation of Candidature form to the University Postgraduate Research Board within 24 months (part-time) of provisional admission. This compares to 9 months and 12 months respectively for full-time students. Part-time students enrolled in professional doctorates will normally submit a full research proposal (Confirmation of Candidature) at the end of the last coursework component.

Q: What would part-time enrolment mean for my scholarship?

A: That depends on your scholarship. Please refer to the terms of your scholarship for details, and talk to the friendly team at the Scholarships Office if you are unsure of how part-time enrolment might affect your payments or entitlement.

Q: I want to switch from full-time to part-time enrolment. What do I do?

A: Firstly, talk with your supervisors. A change to part-time enrolment will affect timelines and workloads for all of you, and needs to be negotiated. Secondly, if you have a scholarship, ensure that a change to part-time could be accommodated within the scholarship terms. If you are confident that a switch to part-time is feasible, you can request the change by submitting a Variation of Record/Change Request form (available here). You will need to clearly state the rationale for the change. Please note that a change to part-time status is not guaranteed.

Q: I’m making the change to part-time enrolment. When will the change take effect?

A: Although the part-time enrolment category becomes available on February 1, 2024, your individual enrolment change may not take effect on that date. Changes to the mode of study will only be permitted at the end of the current period of enrolment. You will need to request the change to part-time prior to the completion of your current enrolment, but the change will only commence at the end of that enrolment.  

Q: If I change to part-time enrolment, what will happen to my milestone and submission dates?

A: Milestones dates (i.e. for confirmation of candidature and progress reports) and submission dates will be adjusted and communicated to you upon approval of your change in enrolment.

Q: How can I find out more about part-time doctoral enrolment?

A: If your question is not answered here, please contact your faculty postgraduate office, or the Graduate Research School at

About Graduate Research School (Auckland University of Technology)

The Auckland University of Technology Graduate Research School offers support and resources to all postgraduate students at AUT. Come and visit us on the 5th floor of the WU building.

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