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Thread: Universities and NZQA

  1. #1
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    Default Universities and NZQA

    Hello peeps,

    I have been thinking about doing part-time studies (PhD) in the future. I have a Master's from a Finnish university, but the NZQA classed it only worth a NZ Bachelor's with Hons. I naturally don't agree because all of Europe and North America accept Finnish Master's degrees as equivalent to the local ones, and I don't personally believe that the NZ requirements are that much higher than in the rest of the world...

    Are the Universities in NZ bound by the NZQA's decision? I.e. can they themselves decide whether my Master's is acceptable for them or do they have to treat it according to the NZQA's decision? Some PhD programs only require B.Hons but some require a Master's degree, and this is the problem.

    I tried to ask this directly from a university, but all they did was to direct me to their international students' web pages with no information on this, and with PR I'm not considered an international student anyway...

    Also is it obligatory to do the PhD studies in exactly the same field than the earlier studies? For example, can a historian do a PhD in literature?

    I'd appreciate if anyone with knowledge on the academic life in NZ could answer my questions. Ta.

  2. #2
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    I was at a New Zealand education fair the other day and most of the uni reps advised me to submit my qualifications and transcript to them directly. They will do their own assessments. I have not tried, so can't confirm what they said.

  3. #3
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    This is said from a UK background without detailed knowledge of the NZ set-up, but may be worth consideration.

    In the faculty where I studied, people hoping to work for a PhD were recommended to talk informally to whichever of the professors or lecturers they hoped might supervise them. In some cases, one of our professors put the person in touch with a contact at another university for this purpose, if they felt it might be a better fit. The idea was that when the formal written proposal went in, and was considered in the faculty meeting, then the staff member who was already familiar with it would 'claim' it.

    I wonder if an approach on your part to someone you feel might suit you as a supervisor would help. At the very least you'd get some informed advice on the process.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies! I actually worked at a local Uni here for some time and assessed foreign qualifications if needed (we had guidelines of course), so I do understand that they need to look at each applicant's papers and assess them individually. I just wasn't sure if due to the NZQA the process would be the same in NZ or if NZQA's decision would be official truth everyone needs to follow. Hmm, this sort of makes me think what the purpose of NZQA really is and whether if would be more sensible to have a NZIS quals department if the NZQA is not used for anything else except for immigration process...

  5. #5
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    Jun 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    This is said from a UK background without detailed knowledge of the NZ set-up, but may be worth consideration.

    In the faculty where I studied, people hoping to work for a PhD were recommended to talk informally to whichever of the professors or lecturers they hoped might supervise them. In some cases, one of our professors put the person in touch with a contact at another university for this purpose, if they felt it might be a better fit. The idea was that when the formal written proposal went in, and was considered in the faculty meeting, then the staff member who was already familiar with it would 'claim' it.

    I wonder if an approach on your part to someone you feel might suit you as a supervisor would help. At the very least you'd get some informed advice on the process.

    Hi there,

    Great advice J&M, and having worked in Uni Admin here in NZ, this is exactly what I would have said. NZIS need to refer to NZQA for immigration purposes. (And of course the main purpose of NZQA is in the administration of NZ qualifications! Assessment of international quals is rather a small part of their remit). But in terms of applying for further study at University here, get in touch with the Post Graduate coordinator at the relevant faculty for your proposed study. They have their own application procedures, in a very similar vein to that outlined by J&M above, in my experience.

    Good luck.

    Saskia

  6. #6
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    Pretty much what the previous people said. I would start thinking what kind of area you want to do a PhD in, then find out who might be a potential supervisor and contact them directly. They will also be able to tell you whether you really need that NZ master's equivalent degree or your normal Finnish one will be enough (I suspect most would be perfectly happy with that).

    As a lecturer I get quite a few emails asking for PhD/master's places, as I am sure your potential supervisor will. So some advice from me:
    - please don't write to every single person in a department. We academics actually talk to each other If I get an email from someone who appears to be suitable, but in an area in which a collegeague has better credentials, I forward it and so do my colleagues. One day I got about 6 copies of the same email, one directly sent to me the other 5 via different colleagues. It makes you look very desperate, usually not a good sign!
    - select the potential supervisor carefully and make sure that at least on paper they look like the best fit for what you would like to do. Sound obvious, but I have had requests for PhD's rangeing from plant physiology to economics (I am an irrigation engineering in a civil engineering department....), again makes you look desperate, still not a good idea.
    - include a scan of your transcipt with a list of courses. It gives us academics a quick idea of your background and lets us quickly identify where there might be gaps in your knowledge. I personally don't find the grades particularly interesting, but plenty others do, so include those.
    - if you submit your own proposal talk about why you think a particular research needs doing, how does it advance your area of study? "I like to study the shape of doorknobs" makes me groan whereas "The shape of doorknobs is an important aspect in the determination of the age, social status and colonial influence of the British Empire of residential properties and therefore can be used as one tool in the preservation of the heritage of our country" make me think that you have thought about it a little bit (actually I personally think doorknobs are not particularly interesting, but you get the idea

    Anyway that's my 2 pennies worth. Hope you will get around to doing it, it can be very frustrating, it will be an obsession, but it is definitely worth it. Good luck in advance!

    HTH

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