Research degree completion times

K Roe made this Official Information request to University of Auckland

The request was refused by University of Auckland.

From: K Roe

Dear University of Auckland,

For each year 2015-2019, what proportion or percentage of graduate research degree completions were completed in the `minimum' time?

What is the `minimum' time for completing 120 and 360 point research degrees?

Does 35 weeks = 1,500 hours = 120 points, or something else?

Yours faithfully,

A person in New Zealand,

Kelly Roe.

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From: Landon Watt
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe,

I refer to your request of 30 June 2019, below. Consultations necessary to make a decision on your request are such that a proper response cannot reasonably be made within the original time limit. Accordingly the University has extended the time limit for your request until 16 August 2019 under section 15A of the Official Information Act. You have the right to make a complaint about this extension to an Ombudsman.

Yours sincerely,

Landon Watt
Legal Advisor
Office of the Vice Chancellor
University of Auckland

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe,

 

I refer to your request of 30 June 2019. The University’s response is as
follows.

 

“For each year 2015-2019, what proportion or percentage of graduate
research degree completions were completed in the `minimum' time?”

 

For doctorates:

Year Percentage of doctoral theses submitted in the minimum time
2015 19.9
2016 19.8
2017 21.6
2018 18.6
2019 Not available

 

For other postgraduate research qualifications:*

Year Enrolments Completed without extension Completed with extension
2015 730 470 127
2016 795 532 136
2017 717 456 87
2018 836 178 12
2019 Not available Not available Not available

 

*: Note that students who have not completed their programme are either
still enrolled in their programme, either with or without extension, moved
into a different programme, or have left the University. Non-doctoral
postgraduate research qualifications range from 120-360 points.

 

Data for 2019 is not yet available as this is the current year. This part
of your request is refused under section 18(g) of the OIA. You have the
right to make a complaint to an Ombudsman about this response.

 

What is the `minimum' time for completing 120 and 360 point research
degrees?

 

Does 35 weeks = 1,500 hours = 120 points, or something else?

 

Research degrees are not organised by semesters or defined in terms of
hours. Students who are enrolled full-time in a 120 point research masters
at the University of Auckland are enrolled for 12 months; anyone who takes
longer than 12 months needs to apply for an extension.

 

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

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From: K Roe

Dear Rebecca Ewert,

The Tertiary Education Commission defines (for the purposes of SAC level 3 and above funding):

120 points = 1 EFT = 34 notional learning weeks.

https://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/funding-...

Last Updated June 17:
Qualifications and Courses
Information about qualifications (and training schemes)
EFTS value of the qualification
Full-time weeks

`The EFTS value can be calculated using the full-time weeks method, by dividing the length of tuition for the qualification in weeks by 34 (the standard number of weeks that equate to one full-time equivalent teaching or tuition year).

The Tertiary education commission states (for the purposes of SAC level 3 and above funding) that the examination period is part of the notional learning weeks.

Last updated June 17:
Qualifications and Courses
Information about qualifications (and training schemes)
Duration
Learning hours

`NZQA defines `learning hours' as all planned learning activities leading toward the achievement of program or qualification learning outcomes. Types of learning activities include but are not limited to:... examination periods.'

https://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/funding-...

_______________

So now let me ask the question, again:

How many / what proportion of PhD students at the University of Auckland have either:

1) Had 360 point PhD theses accepted in fulfilment of regulations for PhD within 34 x 3 = 102 weeks?

Or

2) Had 360 point PhD theses accepted in fulfilment of regulations for PhD within 52 x 3 = 156 weeks (where 54 weeks had been pre-budgeted as `holiday' in their timeline)?

And again, for Masters students.

Or does the University of Auckland not obtain SAC level 3 and above funding for graduate research students?

Yours sincerely,

K Roe

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From: K Roe

Updating that I *chose* to clarify my request for FYI.org.nz

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe,
 
I refer to your request of 8 August 2019.
The University’s research masters degrees and doctorates are not organised
by semesters or weeks. The University does obtain SAC funding for graduate
research students. If you wish to understand more about Tertiary Education
Commission funding we suggest you contact them.
 
Yours sincerely
Rebecca Ewert
General Counsel
University of Auckland
 

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From: K Roe

Dear Rebecca Ewert,

Thankyou for confirming that Graduate Research Degrees do involve SAC funding, in New Zealand.

The Tertiary Education Commission is very clear that 120 points = 1,200 notional learning hours = 34 weeks = 1 Calendar / Academic year's worth of work.

I have provided the references for this.

The Tertiary Education Commission is telling the University (the staff, the students) the amount of work that is required for qualifications of different points values.

The examination process tells the University (the staff, the students) the quality of the work that was done within that time period and whether the quality is high enough for conferral of the Degree.

Is there some `special reason' why the University of Auckland thinks that they are above the rules when it comes to correctly informing staff, students, and the Tertiary Education Commission of the amount of work that was done / the amount of time that was spent on Graduate Research Qualifications?

The University should be keeping statistics on who completes in the `minimum, normal, or standard time' where that means:

120 points = 1,200 notional learning hours = 34 weeks = 1 Calendar / Academic year's worth of work.

That, of course, leaves time for students to take on *additional EFTS* such as a 40 point summer school enrolment and perhaps study some statistics which may (for example) help them with their statistical analysis.

If a 120 point Masters student is *invited* (and not forced or required) to `keep working' for the purpose of converting a 120 point Masters into a 180 point Masters, or a 180 point Masters into a 360 point PhD or a 360 point PhD into a 480 point PhD then that is one thing... If a student is *forced* (by withholding the degree) to produce a 360 point PhD while only signing up for and attaining credit for a 120 point Masters -- then this would seem to violate the Tertiary Education Commission Regulations. It would also violate the contract between the University and the Student when the University did not provide the good / service that the student contracted for (e.g., the University over-supplying).

You did not answer my question of `minimum time completion rates'.

Yours sincerely,

A person in New Zealand,

K Roe

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Ms Roe,

 

The University’s degree regulations are publicly available at
[1]https://www.calendar.auckland.ac.nz/en.h... Your request is refused
under section 18(d) of the Official Information Act. You have the right to
make a complaint to an Ombudsman about this response.

 

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

 

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