From provisional to full registration

Read about the requirements and process for achieving full PhD registration at Victoria University of Wellington.

Your first major goal as a doctoral student will be to progress from provisional to full registration.

You will have to show to the satisfaction of your School Research Committee (or School Postgraduate Committee) that you have the ability and knowledge to undertake a doctorate.

The confirmation of full registration is a key milestone in doctoral candidature.

Time allowed

You are expected to progress to full registration within 12 months (24 months for half-time candidates). There is, however, variation between schools on when they will expect your proposal to be submitted (some are as early as 9 months) so make sure you know your school’s procedures.

If you are enrolled in a professional doctorate, satisfactory completion of all requirements for Part 1 is equivalent to achieving full registration.


As you move towards full registration, you will need to make satisfactory progress against agreed-upon performance standards. Your school should make you aware of what standards it expects of its students.

Indicators of satisfactory performance will generally include:

  • knowledge of the literature in your field of study
  • the ability to summarise, interpret and critique that literature
  • the ability to design research tasks
  • the ability to summarise, interpret and evaluate data
  • the ability to communicate research findings in formats appropriate to your discipline
  • the ability to argue your case.

Candidate Development Plans provide a means for your school to document and comment on your progress.

Before your full registration can be confirmed, you will have to demonstrate in your full research proposal that you possess the required knowledge and abilities.

Your candidature may be terminated if you fail to meet the requirements within the allotted timeframe or if your School Research Committee considers that your work is not of doctoral standard.

Developing ideas

Find out about the considerations you should be aware of as you decide on your research direction

The proposal

As you’re writing your research proposal you'll need to keep in mind the general assessment criteria.

Outcomes of the proposal

Find out about the proposal outcome options.