Faculty of Education and Social Work

Getting started

Key information about your first year of doctoral study (including ethics requirements) at Te Puna Wānanga.

The first year

The first year is different for the EdD and the PhD.


You are required to meet a number of goals in your first year. To continue in the PhD you must complete the tasks set for your provisional year and have a full research (thesis) proposal approved.

Goals for the first (provisional) year
The following goals are compulsory for all PhD students:

  • completion of a full research proposal. If you have enrolled part-time, you are required to submit a Research Proposal within two years of enrolling. If you are a full-time student, your Research Proposal should be completed within one year
  • completion of a substantial piece of written work, e.g. a literature review
  • presentation of the proposal or work-in-progress to an appropriate forum, e.g. a seminar, to the satisfaction of supervisors
  • approval of the full research proposal by the appropriate departmental / faculty postgraduate committee
  • ethics approval(s) / permissions obtained for the research if required (see Ethics below)
  • attendance at a Doctoral Induction Day

Your supervisor can require additional goals, including completion of a methodologies course, or some other course.

Once you and your supervisor are happy with the proposal, your supervisor will send it to the Doctoral Administrator Leigh Beever, along with the names of two academics from a different School in the Faculty who have agreed to review it. It will be reviewed and a report will be sent to the supervisor who will discuss the reports with you. The reports are an opportunity to revise the proposal and/or discuss critical points.

Remember: your final thesis will not necessarily follow your proposal because, as you do the research, your ideas and argument may change, and probably will!


The EdD is a two-part programme. Part One is a structured part-time programme in which you work with a group of other doctoral candidates who may come from a range of areas of professional work. The programme you follow is similar to the first year of the PhD, in that you will have the same provisional goals – to write a substantial piece of work, to reflect on research methods, to resolve ethical issues and to think ahead to your research proposal. What is distinct is the added dimension of learning through and with others. You will have a personal supervisor as you think ahead to the thesis to be completed in Part Two, and there will also be course tutors to provide support. The EdD engages you in a long-term conversation about professional enquiry with peers and tutors.

EdD Programme



If your research involves talking to, observing, or questioning people, you have to complete the requirements of the University Ethics Committee. You normally do this in your Provisional Year. Because the process of getting Ethics Committee approval can take six weeks at least, it is important to look at the form and get started in completing it as soon as you can. Your supervisor will assist with this.

The University of Auckland’s Human Participants Ethics Committee guidelines.

For forms and the timetable, visit Ethics applications.